Xterra Belgium

Xterra Belgium = Sport meets party.

I only heard myths about this race, like its the best in Europe, or the after party is the best, or the feeling is amazing, or it is super special, or the country is amazing and so on. So after my 2 weeks training camp in South Africa, I gave it a try and I traveled to Belgium. First impression: very nice country. I really loved the place, the course, and the people.

So I checked out the course, it was one muddy hell on the bike, the forest keeps all the rain water for such a long time and our tires made us dirty like crazy. The run was slippery and steep.

On the race day I actually saw the swim course for the first time, it is in a river. We had to swim around a little island which was more or less 1500m of swimming. Quickly changed onto my bike we had a long climb ahead, of to the old castle, the “Citadel de Namur” it was beautiful. After that the bike course was two loops, single trail, gravel road and a little bit of asphalt. There were super steep climbs too, everyone was happy for the first gear on the bike.

I felt really great on the bike, already raced myself into 7th position when suddenly my body told me that there is nothing left for racing. So I lost some places on the bike again, athletes that I overtook came from behind again, it was absolutely terrible. Was is too much pushing in the beginning? Did I over do it? What happened to me?
When I came into T2, up in the castle and took my running shoes, I also grabbed one gel that I prepared there for me for safety. I took it immediately but nothing changed. I was running and walking, but most of the time only standing and cramping. It was crazy. The same also happened to 2 very good friends of mine from Belgium and Portugal. We were all completely broken.

In the end I just made it over the finish line with dying afterwards. I got massaged immediately but the next day or even the evening was a pain party like never before.

I traveled back home and went to my coach and doctor. After a week they found out that the water in Belgium is free of minerals ans electrolytes, which made me dying during the race, because without these salts the body can’t work anymore. So I definitely have to go back there, because I like this place a lot.

 

Photos: Carel du Plessis