Luvuyo Bangazi: Stop complaining and get on your bike, before it’s too late

Triathletes can be a strange and snobbish bunch sometimes. I say this because every year athletes complain about the lack of racing in the Eastern Cape.

I will accept that races are few and far between, but jeepers, we complain a lot.

We complain without doing any digging to find alternatives or when options appear, we move the goalposts.

Many Bay triathletes find it impossible to take a day trip to Buffalo City to get a good Olympic distance triathlon under the bag that side.

I’ve heard it all now – it is about costs, and it is distance or who is going to look after my dog!

Seriously, for athletes who already shell out hundreds on race gear, nutrition and I’m not even talking about the bikes, that is unacceptable. All of that gear and no plans to race!

This year there were more than 800 athletes registered for the Ironman African Championship, all from around the Eastern Cape and mainly from the Bay.

Then come December, the best time to put all that training and prep to work for the big ones, and triathletes don’t show up.

Come on, ladies and gents, we have to support our own local events and give NMB Triathlon a chance to try new things and give us the opportunity that we cry for all year long.

It is very worrying to see big triathlon training groups and individual athletes going out in numbers while there is a race put on for them.

If we don’t support these local races, then what’s going to happen to the growth of our own sport?

I personally missed the first race due to an aunt’s funeral, but I wasn’t going to miss the second one, on a working day too.

Yep, I and 60-odd other souls took to the starting line.

Why less than 100 athletes when the region can muster at least 800 for an Ironman?

I get that the races are short and most people are interested in the long stuff, but jeepers, what’s one day going to do to your programme?

I too had a long session planned for Wednesday but a quick message to my coach and the answer was simple. He said: “Go and do the race, we’ll catch up.”

If our region is to benefit from the legacy of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship next year, then the triathlon community better wake up.

The big show will come to town and leave and we’ll be standing there scratching our heads wondering what happened.

If public amenities and human infrastructure is to be set up, then there better be a community ready to utilise it.

It is a simple matter of supply and demand, peeps.

It is even worse from a sporting front and by this I take nothing away from my good friend Keegan Cooke. Keegs, as we call him, is an amazing athlete who is sure to go places.

I was talking to an Ironman Pro the other day and I said: “Look after that champ – he’s the next you.”

Top athletes like Keegs need strong competition to prepare for even greater challenges in the international space.

If all the really good athletes stay away from racing then we’re not doing champions like Keegs a favour.

Why should an athlete like me find himself on the podium, like I did last week?

Yep, I got third place in my age category. With all due respect to everyone who raced, that situation should never be. The best athletes available in our region should be battling it out for those podium spots.

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