The pre-eminent Steyn City welcomed an enthusiastic host of triathlon athletes and their supporters for the inaugural Auto & General Cross Tri event, powered by HOT 102.7 FM. The atmosphere was electric, with everyone hungry for a bit of healthy competition after the COVID-19 event drought.
The Steyn City Lagoon lay mirrorlike under a pale orange sunrise, waiting for swimmers of all ages and fitness levels to disturb its bright waters. It felt like the pause before the breath, the calm before the storm.
Lined up at the start were big names on the triathlon scene that included the likes of Conrad Stoltz, seven times XTerra World Champion, British champion, Emma Pallant, our own Hannah Newman, Shaun Wolfaart, Nico Sterk with the Sterk Team, to name but a few.
The gun went at 07h00. The swim was underway. Soon the turquoise waters were churning as all the swimmers were making their way along the 300 m length of the lagoon and back again, all while excited onlookers were cheering on their favourite athletes.
HOT 102.7 FM got the athletes and supporters amped and the adrenaline flowing by pumping out the music to the rhythmic thumping of the media helicopter blades – the atmosphere was electric.
The transition between the swim and the bike was lightning-quick and well-executed. It was an absolute pleasure to watch the pro athletes perform at their peak.
The bike leg saw the riders enjoy 30 km of the best features that the Steyn City mountain bike trail network has to offer. It was a pleasant mix of flowy singletrack, short, punchy climbs and fast descents on the track, all winding this way and that along the Jukskei River.
Another transition, quick as you may, and the runners were pounding along 7km of artevia promenade, crossing and re-crossing the Jukskei a couple of times, never flat, before finishing triumphantly back at the lagoon.
Shaun Wolfaardt rendered a phenomenal performance, finishing in a time of 01:49:04, with Dylan Nortje and Adriaan Myburgh following closely in second and third place.Photo by Hendrik Steytler
The ladies were no less impressive, with Hannah Newman taking the win with Adrienne Moolman and Johandri Leicester rounding out the podium.Photo by Hendrik Steytler
The British Duathlon two-times World Champ, Emma Pallant and Danny Spence, took the win in the Mixed Team Category.
But you may mistakenly believe that the Solo Men and Ladies and pro teams were the only HOTly contested races out there. Some believe the real race was between ex-rugby legends Breyten Paulse and Warren Brosnihan and their respective teams. These guys brought it and gave it everything, but Breyten and his team were the Auto & General Cross Tri, powered by HOT 102.7 victors!
Supporters and families were enjoying an idyllic day sprawled on the lush lawns next to the splendid lagoon after the business end of the racing was completed. Kids were whizzing down the slides all day, taking out the boats for a paddle, running riot through the sprinklers and generally having a blast.
All in all, a glorious day out! We returned home energised and invigorated thanks to Auto & General, HOT 102.7 FM and Steyn City, gracious sponsors and hosts.
Can we do this again sometime?