Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lake Victoria Triathlon

To avoid the intensity of the midday heat, the annual Lake Victoria triathlon kicked off in Entebbe at 0700 am after a 0630 am registration.

A tradition started four years back had this year managed to get 140 participants to sign up – 84 competing for the 28 men's teams. Our team was assembled for maximum speed.. Peter (Austrian and a strong swimmer) did the swim leg, I, as the weakest link, did the cycling and Richard (Ugandan and a strong runner) was to nail the race with a fast 10 km sprint. The accepted wisdom was that if I only performed mediocre we would still be able to nail a spot in the top three. It failed, but not for the reasons expected.

The track went follows: 1,000 meters swimming in Lake Victoria; 30 km cycling in the Entebbe area (basically around the airport and a bit more); and running 10 km through the Entebbe Botanical Gardens.

I started out on the cycling as number four, but quickly caught up with the three ahead, and was in the lead for most of the race. Being in the lead had the amusing benefit of trailing the official boda boda motorcycle.. It rained intensely in the beginning which made it a very muddy experience.

About 5 minutes or so from the finish line, I did a left turn where I should have gone right.. It was partly my fault and partly the fault of the marker who was out of view. It took me a good 5 minutes to realize I had gone wrong, and turned backs, so total lost time came to about 10 minutes. In the end we came 4th out of 28th men's teams, so not bad at all. 4 minutes faster, though, and we would have taken the price. I have pledged to come back next year! Peder Hanssen

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