Totalsports Challenge shenanigans

January 12th, 2009 by

totalsports challenge 2009 paddle startSaturday morning was spent watching, cheering and ‘seconding’ at this local, but extremely unique multisport event a bit further down the coast. The Totalsports Challenge ( comprises of 7 seperate disciplines, and equates to what must feel like an ironman – taking the winner, my good friend Dan Hugo (, well over 6 hours to complete.

Athletes started with a 12k surf ski (pictured), 1.5k swim, 50k road bike ride, 13k road run, 12k canoe, 25k mtb and to finish them off good and proper – an horrendous 9k beach run – the kind of soft, horrible sand that you dont even want to walk on! Virtually everyone that I know here in the ‘Bosch was taking part in some shape or form, be it individually or as a part of a team. That also included my brother Blair, for I had decided to enter him in the ‘Terra firma’ event – everything but the ‘wet stuff’. We were barely on speaking terms by the end of the day……. well, he was barely speaking to me!!!!

Gavin (fresh off a flight from Norn Ireland), Nikola (my website guru) and myself watched the early depart with varying degrees of excitement ­čÖé

Gavin Noble


Fraser Cartmell TYR

My job for the day was to be the ‘seconder’ for Blair. Every athlete needs a second, since the event is mostly point-to-point, and so you rely upon helpers to set up the next transition area. I have entered the books as possibly the worst seconder in the history of seconding after my dismal attempt on Saturday! Blair arrived here in SA late on Tues evening, giving him only 3 days to acclimatise to the warm climate and get his bearings, yet I went ahead and entered him in the ‘little novice event – it’s only a bike run bike run’. My reassuring words were not ringing so true 5 and half hours later whilst he trudged in from the beach run. I think we started to realise at the briefing on Thursday eve that it might take a little more prep than he had managed in the previous months!!! – Not much! However, he decided that by taking things easy on the runs it should be fine. Ummm, nope.

Fraser was late getting to the first change over after the road bike, missed him mid way thro the road run to give him fuel and was subsequently 5-10mins late arriving with his mtb – parking was a nightmare! Then when Blair finally appeared for the final change over (by which point I was asking race officials if they had heard anything over the radio …) he looked white as a sheet and asked simply, but desperately┬á“have you got any food?” Err, that would be no. “I’ve got a gel, if you want?” That didn’t go down well at all. Truth be told, between us it was a complete cock up and we hugely underestimated the task at hand, especially for him┬áunder the South African sun.

But credit where it is more than due, for he ran off out onto the beach, vowing to finish and claim his medal. Over an hour later he came back into sight – trainers evidently not required.

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