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Cape Town WTS

By Kirsten Kasper | May 05, 2015, 12:40 p.m. (ET)

The start of the 2015 season did not go according to plan. Overcoming obstacles and facing setbacks is all part of being an athlete. I was faced with a challenge February 6 when I broke my collarbone in a bike crash. I was lucky to have a speedy recovery and was back racing only 6 weeks after surgery. Unfortunately, I was faced with another setback when my incision became infected. Although I was not 100% healthy and was taking antibiotics to overcome the infection, I continued to compete in the Auckland and Gold Coast WTS races. These races did not go as well as I had hoped, but they were valuable learning experiences. I was eager for my next race and seeking redemption. My health was coming around and I had finally finished a month worth of antibiotics! Cape Town was going to be my race. I was determined to race to my full potential and be competitive at the WTS level.Kirsten Kasper in Cape Town

Racing in Cape Town, South Africa was exciting as I had never been to this part of the world. The group of Americans stayed in Stellenbosch, 45 minutes outside of the city, leading up to the race. Stellenbosch was a great place to train with scenic bike routes, a 50m pool and decent running trails. A highlight of my stay in Stellenbosch was being able to visit a local winery and visit the local Cheetah Outreach center where I got to pet a cheetah! With a solid 10 days of training and race preparation in Stellenbosch behind me I was anxious to race.

The venue for the Cape Town WTS race was absolutely stunning. The views of Table Mountain and the beautiful coast line made the race site to be one of my favorite places to race so far. Race day arrived and the overcast sky and cool weather was adding a little excitement to the day. There was word that the swim might be shortened to 750m or the race might even become a duathlon because the water temperature was only about 11 Celsius making it possibly too cold to swim in. I was ready for anything and wasn’t going to let a possible change in the race effect my preparation to race well. An hour before the race, the race directors made the call that the swim would only be 750m. Kirsten Kasper competes at Cape Town WTSThis was my first time swimming in water this cold and I was grateful to have my ROKA wetsuit to keep me warm! My hands and feet were numb the entire 750m and it made it challenging to get my wetsuit off in transition. I came out of the water in 17th and made the chase bike pack that was working to catch the 4 leaders about 20 seconds ahead. The bike course followed the coast and took us through transition which was located in a stadium 9 times. I positioned myself well over the last two laps and came into transition toward the front of the pack setting me up well for the run. The run consisted of 4 laps and one 400m lap around the stadium’s track. I was confident in my run and sat comfortably in about 4th place. I tried my best to relax in the pack and take it one lap at a time. It was exciting to be racing up with the leaders and truly be in the race. Going into the last full lap the leaders made a surge and I was unable to respond. As they pulled away from me I was sitting in 6th place with less than a 1k to go. Coming into the stadium, I tried my best to make up ground and catch 5th place, but I didn’t have the final sprint or enough time to catch the girls in front of me. I am so happy and excited to have finished 6th at a WTS race. I finally raced to my potential and was excited to execute all aspects of the race.Kirsten Kasper at Cape Town WTS

The past few months have definitely been challenging and I am so thankful to have an amazing support system. I am proud and grateful for the opportunity to represent Roka, Team Psycho and race in the USA uniform. None of this would have been possible without the support and guidance of USAT and my coaches. A special thanks to Bobby McGee for being so accommodating and for making this trip extra special by showing us around his home country! Cape Town was an exciting trip and I am looking forward to racing again at Chengdu World Cup May 9!