What is more fun than taking part in an exciting, well-organised race in a picturesque little town at the coast? Doing so as an entire family, of course!
The past weekend marked a big first for us, and boy, was it fun! After Mr. V (5) announced that he was going to earn more medals than his parents, I suggested we enter them for the annual Sandman Triathlon. This event, hosted by OTB for the past 10+ years, is the oldest triathlon in Namibia, dating back to 1986 when it was still known as the Desert Triathlon.
Knowing how they can fret when feeling pressured, we didn’t overload the boys with info and distances before the race. We only told them that there would be loads of other kids, that they could do how much or little they liked and that it would be fun. Of course, none of them felt the least bit excited the day before the race, so we were crossing fingers that the race day vibe would be as infectious for them as for us.
And sure enough, once we got there and they noted that there was a special place on the rack for their little bikes, the two of them were all in. The only thing they refused to attempt was the swim. Not that they can’t swim or that the temperature (around 11°C) usually poses ANY problem to them whatsoever, but none of them have ventured that far into the ocean before, and race day was probably not a good time for a lesson. Nico and I have also don’t have much experience in that category, but we reckoned 150m in relatively calm waters couldn’t be that hard. Oi! In the end we did survive, but let’s just say we have a whole lot of respect for anyone that did a longer swim than us. The water was FRIGID! Upon entering, the icy shock half-paralyzed my limbs, which, of course, were needed for forward propulsion or at the very least to stay afloat. Needless to say, I was in full-on survival mode for the first half of the swim, and deeply empathising with the whimpering little girl next to me whose dad tried his dearest to calm her down and motivate her to keep going (he ended up piggy-backing her most of the way – which could not have been easy task!)
The boys were very excited to cheer us out of the water, rearing to go and in full on race mode. The “incredibly long time” it took their parents to get dried off and dressed may very well spur their individual participation in the future, but at least we enjoyed cooperation and teamwork abound.
The Sandman marks the official kickoff to the holiday season, and in true spirit, the supporters were there en masse. It was beyond heartwarming to see our little boys beaming as they rode their little bikes past the friendly, cheering faces.
Mr. V is a little overdue for a bigger bike, as is Mr. Z (7), but both of them are still adamant that their bikes are just fine so we haven’t pushed the subject. But the little one, especially, had to pedal his little heart out to get up the very first little hill, which resulted in some pushing, first me pushing him, and then him pushing the bike. Mr. Z was having the time of his life, zipping down the smooth tarmac with the elation of a kid used to battling sandy, corrugated roads only (ahem).
We turned around in time for everyone to still mostly enjoy the remainder of the bike leg and still have a little left in the tank for a short run, although we didn’t bargain on it. To our big surprise, the run turned out to be the boys’ favourite leg, and even Mr. Z enjoyed it enough to tell us a few times how he loved it!
With enough rest stops, a ride on Daddy’s shoulders and some candy from the friendly volunteers at the aid station they completed the 3 km run with smiles.
Nico and the boys were fully entered for the Mini category, and I strung along for team spirit. Their event consisted of a 150 m swim, 7 km bike and 3 km run, although I did forwarn Yvonne, the race coordinator, that team Scholtz was going to participate on the fly. She graciously accepted and we were all able to enjoy the full race experience without any pressure or unnecessary competition.
Knowing beforehand that there wouldn’t be any finisher’s medals at the race, I had two readymade gold medals on hand that we could award to our two happy champs.
My heart is full. We all had fun and the bonus was seeing and cheering for so many of our lovely Swakopmund friends. OTB once again pulled off a fantastically rewarding, enjoyable event. Thank you, Yvonne, Mark and the team, until next year!