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Erhard doubles up

Triathletes are generally tough nuts at the best of time but every now and then there’s one who does that little bit extra to prove the point, writes Mark Etheridge.

Take Erhard Wolfaardt as an example. On Saturday he was lined up to race the African Championships at Le Morne, Mauritius.

He raced well and ended third overall and second in the Africa Championship event clocking 1hr 55min 52sec for the 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run to end exactly three minutes behind winner Richard Murray of Cape Town.

Most of his contemporaries then did what most visitors to Mauritius generally do, take in some snorkeling and catch up on some tropical sunshine before the onset of the southern hemisphere winter.

Not Wolfaardt though the Potchefstroom based All Africa Games winner jumped on a jet back to South Africa where he not only competed in the Joburg City Triathlon the very next day but ended up winning the event.

And his time of 1:52.29 was more than three minutes quicker than his Mauritian jaunt.

“It was definitely a short trip to Mauritius as I’d already planned to race the Joburg City even the next day,” Wolfaardt told Road to London 2012 this week.

“I’ve spent some time in the pool lately to get my swimming back on par after what happened in PE [he had a bad second lap and lost touch with the pack], so I was positive about my swimming again. I managed to settle in the front group consisting of myself, Henri Schoeman, Mehdi Essadiq [Morocco]and Filip Ospally [Czech Republic] throughout the swim. We had about a 40sec lead out the water and continued to work well on what proved to be a very challenging bike course. The legs unfortunately started to slowly disappear in my group and we were caught eventually near the end of the bike.

“The heat and humidity took its toll and some big time gaps were opening on the 10km run but I ended up in second for the Africa Championship and third overall for the race. But I must say, well done to Richard for a brilliant running performance on the day.

“With this latest result I managed to move up to 89th on the Olympic Ranking list . Still some way to go but things are looking promising ÔÇô┬áI also managed to move into first spot on the ITU African Rankings and 29th on the ITU ponts list.

Then it was back to South Africa to line up for his next challenge. “Having raced the day before I was not sure what to expect on the day. My goal was to win the overall series, and place as high up on the day as possible.

“I arrived at 9pm the previous night from Mauritius so did some bike building on race morning. I felt pretty good at the swim start and settled into a good comfy pace.”

But the sleep deprivation and travel fatigue came back to waylay the Mr Price athlete. “Clearly still fast asleep I swam straight past the turn buoy and eventually got caught and corrected by a lifesaver. I caught Claude [Eksteen] again by the end of the first lap and made sure I swam the second lap back on course!!

“Coming out the water with a good lead I put the hammer down a bit on the bike, but I must admit the wind made it difficult at times. By the end of the bike I put some serious time into my main competition which made the run a lot easier. All in all though, very happy with another top spot on the podium and the JHB Tri Series win,” concluded Wolfaardt who celebrates his 29th birthday later this month.


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