Cape Point Challenge 2019 - GOLD

Ending my season on a high by winning the Cape Point Challenge, this is a huge race and a massive achievement just to finish it.  For anyone that does not know about the race, it is a 52km race around the iconic Cape Point in Cape Town, South Africa.

Coming into the race I had trained well and felt confident I could be competitive. Following the online coaching program of Linton Hope and my gym coaching set out by Hayley Nixon both coaches from the Wildog Squad, I knew I had the best chance of being right up there. My nutrition and hydration the week leading up to the race also played a vital role in going into this race ready for a long morning out on the water. I use Precision Hydration and make sure I am topping up my "system" on a daily basis leading in an ultra race like this.

We arrived in Fish Hoek on Wednesday 11th of December, a few days before the race, so I could just settle a little bit and get used to the area again. With the ever frantic refreshing of all the different wind/weather apps, it was looking like it was going to one of the tough races. On Friday it was announcement that we would not round the point but go from Fish Hoek Beach and race to the Point and back. It was a good call, as we would all realise when we reached the point. But now it was time to relax and just start to focus on the race ahead. The SW wind was predicted, which meant that we would have a lot of swirling gusts and lots of side wind. Saturday the batches were emailed out and later that day we all gathered at the Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club for registration and the briefing. I was set to go off at 7am on Sunday morning, a batch of about 25 of us including Bianca Beavitt, Melanie van Niekerk, Bridgitte Hartley and my coach Linton - so that settled my nerves a little bit, just having Linton on the start line with me.

Race day - the nerves are at a high first thing in the morning. You can here the wind gusting while you are trying to eat breakfast at 5am, this is not settling any last minute nerves. So I just blocked out the race for a few minutes while I got stuck into breakfast. Then it was time to head to the start line and get ready. It was cool morning, with some rain predicted for later. I chose to wear my Vaikobi VCold shorts (the most comfortable paddling shorts on the market) and my VCold base layer top. I knew there would be times I might get warm and times I might get cold so this was the best in-between combo and it worked a treat.

Checking our boats through the safety gate there was a bit of chatter, but the start line was relatively quiet. And before I knew it, it was "Paddler's ready - GO" and we were off. I got a great start and sat in a nice bunch, we were actually going at quite a pace to start with. I was happy as I felt good and even though occasionally the pace increased, I knew it would settle again so I just stayed with it. We pretty much all stayed together or at least with in sight of each other. When we hit around 17km we really felt the South Wester, and had a side wind until we turned at the Point. The turn buoy was quite a way out from the point so we really got the feel of the size of the swell that was hitting the Point, at this point I think everyone realised what a good call it was to stay in the bay.

Leading up to and after the turn we were all starting to split up so I knew I would pretty much be on my own until the end and I was happy with that, I had done many solo training sessions leading up to the race so it actually felt better just to find my own groove and power back to Fish Hoek. The only time I saw any of my competitors after we turned at the Point was just before Miller's Point, Bridgitte came past me and I followed her through the rocks as we were very close in trying to hide from the wind. But I seemed to get a second wind right there and decided that this was the time I needed to go, still with around 12km to go it might have been a brave move but I backed my training and just went with it. I wasn't sure the lines the other girls would be on so I was not sure where exactly I was placed. Good or bad I just went as hard as I could and made little goals the whole way back. I only realised I had won when I was catching a wave into the finish and I heard Oscar on the commentary saying "Chloe Bunnett - First lady home!"

What a feeling, I had done it. Hard work pays off.

I felt so comfortable in my Carbonology Pulse, it handled the side wind and the headwind perfectly. Ok not that we want to be out in side winds and headwinds but it does happen and we have to race in what the ocean serves up for us on the day.

Again I would like to thank my sponsors for providing with the best equipment, hydration, clothing and coaching any paddler could wish for.
Precision Hydration
Wilddog Squad

It has been a good season, highlights of my season were making the Spanish National Surfski Team and representing Spain at the World Championships - placing in the top 10. Followed by winning the Spanish National Title for 2019 and now capping my year off with my name on the Cape Point Trophy for the 2nd time.

It is definitely time for a little rest before we kick off next season with the World Cup in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain in February.

All the best to everyone for 2020 - set your goals, achieve your dreams and have a fantastic year.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. ­čÄë­čÄŐ


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