Preparation. I’d been working on getting back into training since Nov 2014. Mostly with the indoor trainer, occasionally runs in the gym and even fewer swims. My overall level of fitness was good but I had not completed a long ride with the except of one 100km ride in Chongming for a long long time. My main purpose for this race was to help build some endurance through a test early in the season so that I would benefit later in key races.
After entering, I only later realised how tough the course was on the bike with hundreds of meters of climbing AND on the run with an undulating course. Been based in Shanghai I have no experience or ability to train and this was a limiting factor. I wasn’t worried about the heat too much as I’ve become acclimatised to heat over the years of summer racing in Asia.
We got to Subic Bay about a week before for a vacation and my main target was not to put on weight with all the good food. I did some light exercise and mainly rested, built up my electrolyte levels and prepared for my first race in 15 months.
Swim. This was a lovely swim in the sea. Mostly clear, calm and at parts very shallow. I found clear water early and also managed to tag a few similar paced swimmers to swim with. Was comfortable the whole time and enjoyed the whole time.
Bike. So given the extreme hills and technical course – both up and down, I was hoping to just hold a steady pace, not crash, not blow up and to conserve something for the run. I had prepared enough salt tablets and with the aid stations every 15km, it was easy enough to stay hydrated. The down hills were especially exhilarating – although I had my stomach in my chest a few times. Even when the corners were not too sharp, it was possible to build up too much speed and only by the third corner did you realise that you should have slowed down two corners ago! It was a lot of fun and I only saw a few flats and maybe one crash. The final third was really tough as the heat and wind kicked up and my lack of endurance on the bike showed. I slowed down noticeably and the final two climbs while not feeling too tough were slow. The final descent was great and I was really happy to be off the bike without any incident.
Run. It was hot now and while the run was all in the jungle – it was actually in and out with large stretches unprotected from the sun. I should have worn my neck scarf by had taken it off after the bike. Mistake as I got burned. The hills were a real challenge but I just tried to run steady between the aid stations and keep the km times to something with a 6/7min. It was a struggle on the uphills so my heart rates was jacking up. After a couple of aid stations I was asking for ice only (with a bit of water and pocari). I was sticking ice under my hat and on my back and chest and even in a calf guard to cool down. Holding ice helps with the cooling process. Finally around half way I was slowing down and only by pacing off a female athlete who was going around 9.5kmh did I find a second wind and picked up well through 12-18 km. I knew the end was in sight and went past a few more runners. I was especially happy to finally get past a runner who was walking up the hills – I would shuffle past him – and then run past me on the down. After this yo-yoing for a few hills, he decided to run up one of them with me and when I went past him never saw him again. I finished strong and was happy to be finished with the race. This was a very very tough race and course-wise the hardest and most technical run and bike. The time was slow – probably about 15 mins outside my final prediction but I’m happy to get through it.
Result: Overall race time was 6hrs 44min 27secs. Position was 13th in age group from 76 starters. Overall position was 125th from 444 starters individual race. Gender finish was 107th from 383 starters.
Swim was 35mins 46 secs for 1.9km. 5th in my age group!
Bike was 3hrs 35mins 56 sec for 90kms.
Run was 2hrs 15mins 57 secs for 21km run.