Neethling Gears Up For ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships
Jeffrey Neethling, cyclist and triathlon enthusiast from Cape Town, recently qualified for his most intense event yet: the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in New South Wales, Australia.
This one day, off-road, action-packed event is a highlight on the international triathlon calendar, and offers a platform for the world’s best to compete head to head for the winning spot.
“The triathlon I am competing in is called an off-road or cross triathlon,” says Neethling. “This means that we do all our swimming in dams or the sea, and the cycling and running off-road through mountains, forests and across rivers.”
Hailing from a sport-loving family, his training and competing in swimming events started at an early age:
“Only when I turned 21 did I get a mountain bike and immediately got hooked,” Jeffrey says. “Then a year later I was challenged by friends to compete with them in my first triathlon, the Xterra Buffelspoort Full. I really suffered that day and had to walk most of the run leg of the event but soon after finishing the race I wanted more,” says Neethling.
Now he is pushing the limits of the sport, having qualified for the ITU Cross Triathlon through his participation at Xterra Grabouw, the South African off road triathlon national championships, where he took first place in his category. He will be taking part in the men’s elite category, competing against the world’s best off road triathletes.
WEBPRINTER, a top printing company in Cape Town, was eager to fulfil the role as title sponsor:
“We are extremely proud to have the opportunity to sponsor Jeffrey during his participation in the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship, and are eager to see how he fairs against the world’s best athletes in this event,” says WEBPRINTER CEO, Peter Kohnert.
WEBPRINTER’s sponsorship for the race came as a big surprise: “I met Peter through his wife, who is in the same running club as I am,” says Neethling. “I was shocked and so happy when they approached me about a sponsorship. Their willingness to help me, and so quickly, was fantastic.”
A self-described “elite amateur”, he somehow manages to throw himself into a full time job and still train twice a day, before and after work.
Neethling’s training schedule has been a gruelling one, to say the least:
|Monday||High intensity intervals on the bike (90 min)||3 km swim|
|Tuesday||Long easy cycle (2 hours)||2 km swim and easy 30 min run|
|Wednesday||Running session on the athletics track (60 min)||Easy cycle (60 min)|
|Thursday||Gym and 2 km swim||High intensity intervals on the bike (60 min)|
|Friday||Rest, maybe an easy swim or cycle if the weather is good.|
|Saturday||Brick session (Cycle 90 min then straight into a run 45 min)|
|Sunday||Long easy cycle (about 3 hours)|
The idea behind the intensive training was to really push his body close to fatigue and then allow it to recover and get stronger. Then his training schedule for the two weeks leading up to the race was less intense, with training times “tapering down” to make sure he peaks just before the race.
Neethling says that competing at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Champs in the elite category is the highest level in this sporting discipline, meaning that he will be racing against the best in the world: “Just being able to compete in this event has exceeded my expectations and it will mean I have reached a huge goal of mine. Basically I am just really excited!”
There are several factors motivating him to push through the gruelling training: “Being selected to compete at an international event definitely makes the early morning and tough training sessions a bit easier to do. Sponsorship also motivates me as I have people who believe in me and I don’t want to let them down. I also train with Edgemead Running Club. Training with other runners gives me the motivation to train a bit harder or a bit longer.”
Being the biggest race of his life, this particular event is his main goal for the year, but he has his eyes set on the South African Cross Triathlon Championships in February 2017. He’s also looking at competing in more trail running events next year.
Neethling’s plans for the future are ambitious as he hopes to qualify and compete at the Xterra World Championships in Hawaii, “but my plans are mainly to just keep on having fun, giving it my all every time and seeing where that takes me,” he says hopefully.
Neethling departed for Australia earlier this week and the race takes place on the 19th November.
For more information on the upcoming race, click here.