Blogging a day late as we got back from the awards dinner quite late last night.
As always, I had a terrible nights sleep after the race on Sunday. Still buzzing after the race. After breakfast (and my first coffee in 3 weeks!) I made my way to the pros press conference. I figured as I had nothing else to do I'd try and get in, and get in I did! It was really interesting to hear the pros talk in depth about their experiences from the race and the tactics that were involved on the day.
After that it was time to indulge in more coffee goodness and patiently wait for the Hawaii slot allocation. Seeing as I had time to kill, I bought a biro and pad of paper and started to make notes of everything I could remember about yesterday - good and bad. I always keep these notes to reflect upon when planning for future races.
The Hawaii slot allocation has a great atmosphere. It's he second time I've been to one (first was at Ironman Austria last year) and there's such a nervous tension with people praying they'll get a rolldown slot. Ironman South Africa has just 30 slots in total, so when you factor in 1745 registered competitors, that's tough. After the allocation process was fully explained, the process began.
'Male 18-24 age-group, 1 slot available, Nick Baldwin...', I quickly stood to applause and made my way to the front, cash in hand, ready to accept the slot I'd worked so hard to achieve. Despite trying to act all cool, it's impossible to hide the satisfaction of qualifying for the Ironman World Championships. Nothing was left to do but have a celebratory pizza!
In the evening there was the awards dinner, which was again held 30 minutes outside of town. After the dinner itself, the evening began with images from yesterdays race as well as a video highlights reel. Amazingly, my finishing photo was shown on the big screen!! I say amazingly, as that's the kind of thing that always happens to 'that other guy'! Soon after, the awards began, and once again the first group was the 18-24 category. For the second time I had the opportunity to stand on top of the podium amongst the other top age-groupers in the category. Woop woop!