My random meandering - stream of consciousness thoughts, ideas, and feelings

Monday, August 6, 2012

2012 Ironman Philippines 70.3 Race Report

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same.."  Kipling

One of my favourite quotes from the great Rudyard Kipling.  I was ready to put out a good performance for this year's event last Sunday here in Cebu.  I was having such a great lead up to the event.  Aside from getting food poisoning and a flat tire a week beforehand , everything seemed to be going my way.   The Saturday before the race, Junki Flores and Joseph Miller and I rode the 40Km that is the legendary Transcentral Highway the hilliest section of climbs arguably in all of the Philippines.   On the way to the ride I noticed my front wheel got flat.  Joseph, being the expert mechanic he is was able to fix the flat with a patch and it seemed my tire was like new!  Junki suggested that I change it before the race, but it held pressure the entire week and I assumed it would be good for race day.  

hangin out with Papa Pi (Piolo Pascual) before the race

On race morning as I was getting the tires up to pressure.  August Benedicto, who went on the win the Philippine elite category helped my fill my tires, but he bent the valve of my rear wheel!  I was angry at him but ironically it was my front wheel that punctured again 5km into the bike ride.

The Swim went well other than having a somewhat disorganized start as we didn't have an EXACT starting line.  I had a good start but missed the pack I wanted to swim with after having a bit of a crazy start swimming with a big wave off almost 400 people+ rather than the elite wave we've had the previous years.  I would up swimming most of the race with Michelle Wu a female pro from Australia and my longtime rival here and friend George Vilog.   Other than cutting my hip and putting a hole in my BRAND NEW Tyr Torque Pro Speedsuit, it was an ok swim.

brand new TYR Torque Speedsuit and Orion Goggles

Then onto the bike I was having my usual struggles settling into my rhythm after a long run out to the bikes from the beach.   And then just as I started finding my legs I head a loud pop and felt my front tire go soft.   I tried to remain calm, but I knew I didn't pack a spare so I just tried to yell at my fellow racers to see if anyone could help out with a tube and CO2.  Several racers passed by but most were either too into their own races or had tubulars and couldn't help.  Finally Javy Olives stopped and gave me a can of Pit Stop sealant - that seemed to work and then Alvin Abarquez gave me a cartridge of co2 to get the pressure up.  I was finally back up and running but I had lost 10 minutes already by this point.  The tire seemed to be holding up ok and then when I caught up to Alvin again on the bridge he gave my a spare tube so for now I was ok.

Then after riding through some rough sections and then through the tunnel on the SRP I felt the tire go soft again.   And then I had to repeat the process again of asking riders for help.  Anton Tangan stopped to give me some CO2 but I couldn't figure out how to use it, then Arnold Ansaldo stopped to give me his co2 and cut his hand in the process.  I had a spare tube but i realized it was not a long stem valve so I was still screwed!  Finally fellow FilAmTri team mate Noah Nodalo stopped and gave me a long stem tube that worked with my 85mm IRT wheels also the neutral support mechanic arrived with a floor pump and got me up and running.   But at this point it was a bit too late as I had lost another 10 minutes+ (total time lost was 24 minutes!)

I was able to get back to riding but the race course was set up as multiple loops going back and forth on the same road so it made passing very difficult as several riders were riding in packs stretched across the road, 2-3 riders abreast at some points and with traffic coming head on on the opposite side.  The good thing was that our bibs had our names on them so I was able to yell the riders by their girst names at least ;)   The out and back section was pretty much headwind going down where I was only able to maintain about 20mph or less.  My quarq power meter was working possibly from all the rides in the rain in manila so it was hard to gauge my efforts.  But on the way back we had tailwind and that was really fun to hold close to a 50kph average, aside from trying to pass the packs, it was fun.   

Then onto the run it was the same thing.  I had already resolved that I was just going to become a long training session so I tried to be as positive as I could be.  I was nice to run behind the Champ Pete Jacobs for a bit as he was 1 lap ahead of me.  I was running and slapping hands with my fellow competitors and seeing so many Fil Am Tri uniforms out there I realized that this was victory in itself.  I'm so proud of our group that started 6 years ago and it's great to see how big we have grown today.  

FAT crew at swim start

I think we had about 15 racers on the weekend from all different parts of the world and in the end it was my teammates who helped my get back up and running much like the domestiques would in a cycling race.

it was HOT on that run!

August  Benedicto my former training partner who finished 2nd to me in both Camsur and the Timex 226 iron distance event in Bohol last year won the Philippine Elite Category just 3 days after his birthday.   A great bday gift indeed!  If I had not punctured, it would have been a close race for sure but August truly deserved this victory having improved his swim and having a solid bike and a very good run in the hot conditions.

My consolation prize was getting 2nd place in the Century Tuna Superbods competition (only second place right?? haha ;)  but the prize $ for that was actually equivalent to if I had placed 3rd in the Philippine Elite category.

So many lessons learned.  Always replace a patched tire.  Always carry a spare.   I am disappointed as I really wanted to defend my title this year, but I have keep things in perspective.  It is just a race, and having learned that a fellow athlete died on the race course 
things could been a lot worse.  So now time for a bit of mental break and then build up for some full Iron Distance racing in the not too distant future.

Thanks for reading - more pictures to follow :)



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