#AVonVoyage to Abu Dhabi – A Maxi Triathlon weekend

Last weekend, I participated in my first ITU World Triathlon Series race in the awesome city of Abu Dhabi. I’m unable to race Ironman South Africa this year, so I thought a Maxi triathlon in the region would suffice. In case you don’t know, a Maxi consists of:

– 1500 meter swim
– 80 kilometre cycle
– 20-kilometer run

This and 70.3 is a great distance for me. I’m able to find my groove, and I know how to pace myself accordingly. When it comes to Olympic distances, I tend to push hard on the swim and the first bit of the cycle. So I get a lot slower towards the end of the race. That’s going to change, though, as I build up to the New York City Triathlon in July (WOOOOHOOOO). Back to Abu Dhabi though.

I arrived in the UAE on Thursday evening. I had a bit of drama with the Etihad Airways ground staff in Doha. They wouldn’t let me take my bike bag and a checked piece of luggage on, even though the agent who works for the airline and who booked my package assured me that everything had been arranged especially for us triathletes. Alas after a bit of annoyance and a broken piece of hand luggage later, I got through. When I arrived in Abu Dhabi, I caught one of the cabs waiting outside the airport… A nice little (not so little) Mercedes-Benz took me to the Centro Al Manhal By Rotana.

Sidebar, nice comfortable accommodation on Yas Island if you’re looking for somewhere to stay. It’s close to the Marina, the racetrack, the mall, Ferrari World. It’s perfect!

On Friday, after a bit of breakfast with a friend who came through from Dubai (45minutes or so), I headed off to registration. It was smooth, a breeze. The one weird thing is that the race briefing was held on the grandstands… Standard really, but there was no shade, and for athletes who are supposed to be keeping hydrated and resting, this seemed a bit off. It was about 28 degrees, so it was hot. First world problems, blah blah, but that was one observation. The one thing that saved the briefing was the ever entertaining and awesome announce, Paul Kaye. It’s weird; I almost feel at home when he’s on the circuit giving us our briefings and throwing in some quips and funnies along the way.

True to the pre-race routine, I checked the old bike, packed the bags, got the bottles ready and hit up a restaurant in the mall for some chicken protein boet. I always say I’ll have an early night, but inevitably land up having a late one, and then I don’t sleep properly for fear of missing the alarm, etc. So by 3 am, I was up and at it. I gave up coffee and chocolate for Lent, so a cuppa tea was on hand to wake me up, lol. My other race must-have is my FUTURELIFE High Protein, trusty and now old faithful ☺

Once everything was sorted in bike-check and transition, I headed off to the swim start. It’s quite a walk from where the bikes were, so if you’re doing the race next year, give yourself enough time to get there. The race was supposed to kick off at 7 am, but due to some delays on the cycle route, they delayed it until 7:30. One gent, who was clearly very anxious, was getting rather frustrated, tried to get me involved in his frustration meets anxious tendency, and I was like BYE! I’m one of those characters who gets really quiet. I’m singing songs in my head and analysing the water conditions. I guess you can say I ‘Zen’ myself, haha.

We finally got going, and so did my swimming muscles it would appear. I haven’t been able to swim properly because believe it or not; it has been pretty cold in Doha. It wasn’t ideal because I love my swimming and I usually do pretty well here, so I was a little worried about that. It turns out muscle memory is a winner – I climbed out the 1500m swim, some 22 minutes later. I believe I was fourth out the water too, so I was pleased, to say the least. That success didn’t last long though because of the cycle, once again, was weak for me. I don’t know why but I just can’t get it right. I think it has a lot to do with bike positioning and the fact that I don’t have tribars. I need some cycling assistance, so if anyone is keen to help a brother out with some tips and guidance, holler!

The cycle route was interesting. We got to ride around the Yas Marina Island Circuit, which is quite technical and isn’t short on turns. We cycled around the outskirts of the circuit and through Yas Island too. So at least there was some reprieve too. The Maxi athletes had to do four loops, while the Olympic racers did two. We were all on the track at the same time at one point, which could’ve gone horribly wrong, but luckily for most, it seemed okay. My suggestion to organisers would be to relook the cycle. It’s just a little too boring for the Maxi I feel. I managed to do the distance in 2:31, which isn’t bad, but still, I need to put a lot more work into it to make the cycle count. The run was grand, and thank goodness for good weather conditions. If the sun was baking down on us, I think I would’ve battled a lot more. The run was a double loop of ten kilometres each. At about 11 km in, I stopped to grab some coke and an orange. I walked a bit, then ran and then walked again. A fellow racer, probably in his early sixties came running past me and said there is no way I am to walk. It’s funny, because this always seems to happen to me, and it’s always the ‘wiser’ gents. So I carried on, and he was hot on my heels, so I just carried on knowing he would curse me if I walked again haha. I managed to finish the race in 4:34, which I think is good? I haven’t done the distance before, but I’m pretty happy with that performance.

I enjoyed the race. I thought it was fun, tough but good. I love pushing myself too. So perhaps that why I felt so shattered afterwards? There’s always a lot of room for improvement, and I’m ready to keep moving forward. I wish I were doing Ironman South Africa on the 2nd of April, but alas this year it isn’t meant to be ☹

Gallery: #AVonVoyage to Abu Dhabi

We didn’t have a lot of time to explore the city too much, but post race, and a delicious burger later, myself and a few tri club friends decided to head off to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque… It’s one of THE most raved about Mosques in the region, so we had to check it out. What a marvellous piece of architecture, culture and a beautiful, calming place. It was busy, full of people from all over the world. It’s a place you need to visit if you’re in Abu Dhabi. As I said, time was limited, but next time I’m keen to hit up the theme parks, and also see more of the city, the souqs and eat more local food. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.

Stay tuned for #AVonVoyage to Oman, and more races, coming soon. Who knows where to next after that? Well besides Dubai this weekend 😉

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SAG Awards 2017 winners list

We’re making our way towards the film industry’s biggest night, and the road to the Oscars is looking mighty fine for stars like Emma Stone and Viola Davis. This as the two actresses scooped coveted awards at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, which wrapped up just a few hours ago. While it looked like Ryan Gosling was well on his way to Oscar glory, it’s clear he has some stiff competition in the form of Denzel Washington, whose performance in Fences caught the eyes of the selection panel at this year’s SAG Awards. Other big winners on the night included the cast of Hidden Figures, the cast of Stranger Things and the stars of The Crown. See the full list below:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Troy Maxson – “FENCES” (Paramount Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
EMMA STONE / Mia – “LA LA LAND” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
MAHERSHALA ALI / Juan – “MOONLIGHT” (A24)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
VIOLA DAVIS / Rose Maxson – “FENCES” (Paramount Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox)

MAHERSHALA ALI / Col. Jim Johnson
KEVIN COSTNER / Al Harrison
KIRSTEN DUNST / Vivian Mitchell
TARAJI P. HENSON / Katherine G. Johnson
ALDIS HODGE / Levi Jackson
JANELLE MONÁE / Mary Jackson
JIM PARSONS / Paul Stafford
GLEN POWELL / John Glenn
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Dorothy Vaughan

TELEVISION PROGRAMS

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series
BRYAN CRANSTON / President Lyndon B. Johnson – “ALL THE WAY” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series
SARAH PAULSON / Marcia Clark – “THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY” (FX Networks)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
JOHN LITHGOW / Winston Churchill – “THE CROWN” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE FOY / Queen Elizabeth II – “THE CROWN” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank Gallagher – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
STRANGER THINGS (Netflix)

MILLIE BOBBY BROWN / Eleven
CARA BUONO / Karen Wheeler
JOE CHREST / Ted Wheeler
NATALIA DYER / Nancy Wheeler
DAVID HARBOUR / Jim Hopper
CHARLIE HEATON / Jonathan Byers
JOE KEERY / Steve Harrington
GATEN MATARAZZO / Dustin Henderson
CALEB McLAUGHLIN / Lucas Sinclair
MATTHEW MODINE / Dr. Martin Brenner
ROB MORGAN / Officer Powell
JOHN PAUL REYNOLDS / Officer Callahan
WINONA RYDER / Joyce Byers
NOAH SCHNAPP / Will Byers
MARK STEGER / The Monster
FINN WOLFHARD / Mike Wheeler

 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (Netflix)

UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
ALAN AISENBERG / Baxter “Gerber” Bayley
DANIELLE BROOKS / Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson
BLAIR BROWN / Judy King
JACKIE CRUZ / Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales
LEA DeLARIA / Big Boo
BETH DOVER / Linda Ferguson
KIMIKO GLENN / Brook Soso
ANNIE GOLDEN / Norma Romano
LAURA GOMEZ / Blanca Flores
DIANE GUERRERO / Maritza Ramos
MICHAEL J. HARNEY / Sam Healy
BRAD WILLIAM HENKE / Desi Piscatella
VICKY JEUDY / Janae Watson
JULIE LAKE / Angie Rice
SELENIS LEYVA / Gloria Mendoza
NATASHA LYONNE / Nicky Nichols
TARYN MANNING / Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett
JAMES McMENAMIN / Charlie “Donuts” Coates
ADRIENNE C. MOORE / Cindy “Black Cindy” Hayes
KATE MULGREW / Galina “Red” Reznikov
EMMA MYLES / Leanne Taylor
MATT PETERS / Joel Luschek
LORI PETTY / Lolly Whitehill
JESSICA PIMENTEL / Maria Ruiz
DASCHA POLANCO / Dayanara “Daya” Diaz
LAURA PREPON / Alex Vause
JOLENE PURDY / Stephanie Hapakuka
ELIZABETH RODRIGUEZ / Aleida Diaz
NICK SANDOW / Joe Caputo
ABIGAIL SAVAGE / Gina Murphy
TAYLOR SCHILLING / Piper Chapman
CONSTANCE SHULMAN / Erica “Yoga” Jones
DALE SOULES / Frieda Berlin
YAEL STONE / Lorna Morello
LIN TUCCI / Anita DeMarco
SAMIRA WILEY / Poussey Washington

STUNT ENSEMBLES

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“HACKSAW RIDGE” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“GAME OF THRONES” (HBO)
LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

53rd Annual SAG Life Achievement Award
LILY TOMLIN

Be the A-lister you’ve always believed you were with M-Net Movies

M-NetMovies

Okay, hands up. How many of you pretend to be an actor, a singer or both in the comforts of your car, your shower or your home? Your home becomes your set location, your car becomes your stage and it’s there that you act out one of your favourite movie scenes or belt out your best version of your ultimate song. I have, you can see it here (disclaimer, my singing isn’t grand), but you can watch it anyway. I also sometimes catch myself re-enacting a scene from a movie or a series because I’m just that amazing. There’s a point to all of this, I promise…

M-Net Movies is giving its viewers the opportunity of a lifetime: to ‘Star in your own Greatest Movie Ever Made’ and maybe win a trip to the mecca of moviemaking i.e. Hollywood!!! The movies stable on DStv has created this platform for aspiring A-listers to get their big break and big wanderlust adventure at the same time. All you need to do is this:

  • Re-enact a scene from a movie now showing on one of the movie channels (M-Net Movies Premiere (Channel 104); M-Net Movies Smile (Channel 105); M-Net Movies Action + (Channel 106), M-Net Movies Showcase (Channel 107); M-Net Movies Action (Channel 110); M-Net Movies All Stars (Channel 111) and M-Net Movies Zone (Channel 139)
  • Upload your video to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MMGreatest
  • To validate your entry, you must go to mnet.tv to fill out the entry form too.

The competition will run through to the 20th of August and thereafter the fun starts. 24 of the top entries will then be selected by a panel of experts. The public will then choose their top 12, who will be selected to star in a production by the highly acclaimed production company, Bomb Productions. Sidebar, this team is incredible guys and girls. They’re the brains behind shows like Isibaya and Jacob’s Cross, both of which are brilliant from production values and casting perspectives. So best you know you’re working with the crème de la crème. The script for this production will be written by Tebogo Malope, and the top 12 will co-star alongside acting greats Thapelo Mokoena, Thomas Gumede, Lalla Land’s Lalla Hirayama and Maps Maponyane when the shoot takes places on the 26th of September. #NOTKAK at all!!!

So the big question is, SHALL WE? I’m in… I know what scene will get me a couple of votes, but you’ll have to wait and see what it is. Which movie scene would you act out?

If you want more information visit www.mnet.tv

 

Bonang Matheba to host the Global Glitz & Glam stage at the 2016 BET Awards

Tomorrow, South Africa’s Bonang Matheba will celebrate her birthday. For someone still so young, her resume is as long as some of the industry’s oldest and experienced names. From radio, to TV, magazine covers to webisodes, the “Queen B” has done it all, but this year’s birthday present (and next project)must take the cake. I’m sure many of you are going to love this too. Her real life is one that many can only fantasize about, but luckily for you and I she takes us all on a journey whenever she’s signs on for a new deal, appears on a new show, or delivers her magic on radio or on TV.

This weekend the star continues to explore her international opportunities. She once again finds herself back in LA for the BET Awards. Last year she walked the red carpet. This year she’s hosting it as part of the BET INTERNATIONAL GLOBAL GLITZ & GLAM STAGE FOR BET AWARDS RED CARPET, on Sunday, 26 June.

“I have had the opportunity to walk the BET AWARDS carpet before, and I was so honored to receive the call up for this glamorous event. I was more astounded when my PR team informed me that I would be hosting SOLO. This alone gives credence to the time that I put into everything I do and how I have consciously positioned myself since the beginning of this year. Yes I have done this before, but the nerves are more as the BET AWARDS carpet is graced by some of the best in global entertainment. It is such a blessing and I will do more than my best.”

A Marie Claire magazine cover and now this? A very happy birthday to she who reigns supreme!

As if I have to tell you where to follow her, but just in case you’ve been sleeping:

Instagram: bonang_m

Twitter: bonang_m

Snapchat: bonangmatheba

Facebook: bonangmatheba

Christina Aguilera releases “Change”, dedicates it to Orlando victims

In light of the horrific mass shooting in Orlando, Florida last week, celebrities, policians and humans alike, have rallied together to show their support for those lost and to those they leave behind. The Voice star, Christina Aguilera today released her new song called Change, which she has dedicated to the victims of the Orlando shooting last week. Here’s here personal message:

Personal message from Christina:

 “The horrific tragedy that occurred in Orlando continues to weigh heavily on my mind. I am sending so much love and so many prayers to the victims and their families. Like so many, I want to help be part of the change this world needs to make it a beautiful inclusive place where humanity can love each other freely and passionately. 

We live in a time of diversity, in a time of endless possibilities, in a time where expression of oneself is something to be celebrated.  And I am left wondering how people filled with so much love could be taken by so much hate.

Though there is such heavy sadness I believe that there is much more love in the world than we know.  We need to learn to love again, we need to learn that one person does make a difference; we need to keep love in our hearts. As Nelson Mandela once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Listen to Change below:

 

Christina Aguilera, RCA Records, Flo Reutter, Fancy Hagood, Big Machine Music and BMG Platinum Songs US are proudly donating 100% of their proceeds* from each U.S. download sale of the single “Change” on iTunes from June 17 to September 14 to the National Compassion Fund, to benefit the victims and families affected by the Pulse shooting in Orlando. For more information, please visit nationalcompassionfund.org.