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Riana’s long haul in Asia

Riana de Lange has placed 13th in her first major International Long Distance Triathlon, the Asian Long Distance championships in Gangweon, Korea.

Not surprisingly the South African also rates it as probably the toughest race of┬á her career. A 20-hour trip (16 on the plane via Dubai and four on the bus from Seoul), jet lag and a flu bug thrown in for good measure, were certainly not conducive for competing in a race which featured Tereza Marcel, Gina Ferguson and Erin O’ Hara, all experienced Iron Man athletes.

Then there was the course and the humidity. A 3km swim followed by an 80km bike leg ÔÇô which climbed from the start. First gently, at 40km the riders would have climbed only 400m. But the second half saw a climb of 1,200m. ÔÇ£We rode in the mist, or was it low clouds?ÔÇØ according to Riana. The 20km run had another sting in the tail. A climb from 1,600m to ,2200m and it was cross-country.

ÔÇ£This was the hardest race of my life. I did not feel good at all (a combination of traveling, getting over the flu and the humidity).ÔÇØ

Riana’s strength is usually on the bike, but this time ÔÇ£my legs felt like lead. The climb certainly was a monster. We started at Gangweon Beach with the swim. The 80km bike leg went to Teaback to the Korean Olympic Training Centre. And it was climbing all the way. The last 12km are the worst.ÔÇØ

The humidity on the bike caused Riana to sweat a lot and she battled with the altitude (up to 2,200m ÔÇô as a comparison Pretoria is just under 1400m).

Riana did the 3km swim in 45min59sec, the bike in around three hours 20min and the 20km run in 1hr 44min. ÔÇ£Not good at all,ÔÇØ according to Riana, ÔÇ£even considering the climbs.ÔÇØ

She exited the water eighth, was 13th off the bike and dropped to 15th on the run but clawed her way back to 13th overall to finish in 5:51:26.

ÔÇ£The race was non-draft legal, but even if it was, I do not think it would have made a difference with those climbs. But one thing I do know, the longer races are definitely for me. I can’t wait for Perth.ÔÇØ Riana’s long distance races have included:
Jailbreak ( 2.2 km swim / 90 km bike 25 run) first;  10th female pro at 70.3 Ironman SA (1.9 swim , 90km bike , 21 run) , second at SA Long Distance Champs (1.8 km swim , 80 km bike , 17 km run); second at Half Ironman SA Vanderbylpark 2006 and  second at Afriman Duathlon 2008 (30 sec behind Caroline Koll).

The World Long Distance Championships are in Perth in October this year and the bike leg is, according to Riana, flat. The race in Korea will have been a valuable lesson for Riana whose next race will be the All Africa Championships in Durban on 3 and 4 July.

Results for Elite women
1 Macel Tereza (Cze) 4:56:41
2 Ferguson Gina (Nzl) 5:07:25
3 O’Hara Erin (Nzl) 5:12:44
13 De Lange Riana (SA) 5:51:26