Ironman 70.3 Cebu, Philippines

Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines
4th year, 1st year in Cebu (new venue) and my 3rd time here in the Philippines 70.3 race.
To be honest it’s much more convenient here for me (direct flight) and the hotel is awesome (shangri-la) with beautiful sandy beaches, coral…Love it.

 1.9k loop, deep-water start (a bit messy, I think we cut a few hundreds meters sculling waiting for the gun!). Nice crystal-clear waters. Fist time of the season pros get to start with AGers. Very good for me, finally able to draft behind some feet! Felt easy all the way, pretty good swim, happy with that. Exit in 25′. 3min+ down on PJ, that’s my level.

Quick transition, already cramping on the run from the beach to T1 (not a good omen for sure…shame, I knew I had screwed up my nutrition before the race. It was already showing signs…)

Off onto the bike, caught my fellow friend Dane right at the mount lane and here I was on my way…

My plan was simple: to go as hard as possible on the bike to catch Matt – who’s a good swimmer and who would normally miles ahead of me (but clearly my only target today as PJ and Cam are on another league). Which I did. Very rough patches on the bike leg…one of my aerobar came loose with the vibrations so I spent my time putting it back in position. Not a big issue actually. Kept me busy!

Passed the girls after bridge and was riding in 4th overall…chasing. Felt slow and shitty but I was passing riders…must have been some headwind (I was really hoping for that but not so obvious when looking at the trees on the side of the road…). Finally saw PJ coming back, then Cam, and Matt. U-turn, I am 2′ down on Matt and 6-7min on the lead. Wow strong tailwind on the way back, awesome, riding 50k+ often on that long stretch…

2nd loop and I’m now 1′xx behind Matt, catching up. I should get in T2 with him if things go right…Unfortunately I missed a bottle (too fast, my mistake) at one aid station and rode pretty much 20km without drinks… I knew this would hurt so I slowed down a notch (Am I getting experienced here? nah.. If I were experienced I would have gone much slower on that tough ride but that was the test today anyway!). Anyway, as expected I got some really bad cramps heading back to the bridge. I could not stay sit so I had to ride out of the saddle the whole way, trying to massage the cramp on my abductor…damn it! Now riding on one leg at 30kph instead of 50+

Cramps went away on the bridge and I was able to sit the last 5k while not pushing too hard. Just getting a higher cadence to ease the work on my legs. The crowds were amazing all along the bike course. But that few last kms were just madness. Felt I was watching the Tour de France on TV! People screaming and cheering so loud! Unbelievable!

4th overall in T2. Now the plan is to run as well as possible. And maybe catch Matt for a 3rd pro position… Let’s see.
Ouch…not looking good at all! Can barely run…slow motion…Xena (Caroline Steffen) arrives just behind me in T2 (I thought she would be tired and would go easy today. Only 5 days after winning the ITU LD World Champs in Spain!) but here she is…
Someone running with me, passing me already at a sub4′ pace…This guy looks like Jenson Button (Who’s here racing indeed). I’m thinking, are you serious? These F1 drivers are seriously fit! Actually it was not him but a friend of him. Still flying…while I was already struggling in the 1st km of the run. 
I know that feelings, it’s gonna be a LONG PAINFUL RUN! 
You know what, suck it up…it will be the same for everyone….just put a foot in front of the other and keep moving! Dont look your watch you’ll get depressed…
Xena passes me after 6km…then I passed Matt who was dying going even slower than me…Then after 10-12km he found a 2nd wind and passed me flying to almost catch everyone back! Insane Matt! ;-)
Still it was a terrible run from my side. Felt ashamed of myself not being able to run (That’s what happen when you don’t respect the race! I underestimated the conditions…) Anyway, got passed by Thomas Vonach whom always try to win overall amateur, and finally by Assad who ran a 1h24 half (15min faster than me, 3min faster than PJ…amazing!)
Got caught at the end by Bree Wee (2nd women) so we ran the last few k’s together and were able to celebrate at the finish line! Pretty cool!
Result: 25′ swim, 2h19 (3rd fastest bike split behind PJ and Cam) bike, 1h39 run for a 4th pro position and 8th overall (ouch…)
Comments: overall happy with my swim/bike, poor run but the main lesson here is to not underestimate these ‘hot’ races!
I did not come over-confident. But I was already qualified to Las Vegas (basically my main goal this year) so I did not need points…
This race was just bonus, holidays, have fun with friends and enjoy Cebu, beaches…
Also last year we had a heavy rainfall during the race that cool down everything. So the run was pretty comfortable.
This year however, we were back to serious heat and humidity…And I had not prepare for that!
I was not rested (too busy at work these past few days. Was in China on Wed/Thu for work, spent the Friday and Sat in my room working…I did not do any recognition: no swim, no bike, no run…)
I was not focused enough
But more importantly I did not take any salt tablets and complements (leading up to the race). Normally you’d need to start loading on electrolytes at least 2 weeks before your race! I did not…at all! Worse I kept drinking water at the hotel (lunchs/dinners) with awesome staff pouring your glass all the time. I did not realize I was even drinking water until I kept peeing for 2 days non-stop….flushing away all the few electrolytes I had in my body! Lesson learnt for next time! Be more focused and more serious in your preparation! Even for a B-race!
No wonder I started cramping at the end of the swim, then on the bike, then I simply could not run…
I tried to hydrate as much as possible on the run to compensate but I was way too low on electrolytes anyway. (OK I also did not bring any salt tablets with me on the bike/run, only took what was available at the aid stations…which was not enough to catch up the deficit
Long story cut short, it was a great race! I love the new venue. The course is awesome (I’d prefer more smoother roads on the bike, but maybe next year they can get new tarmac laid down ;-) and I could just blame myself on the run….but still suck it up to finish. Good for motivation.
Thanks again to Fred and his crew from Sunrise Events for putting such a great event, Princess and Ching in particular. I had a great time in Cebu and I can’t wait to come back again next year! And this time I will be better prepared ;-)
Thanks also to my roomate Aarland for sharing some good stories and good times together (Bad luck he got a flat but hopefully some good result at IM NY!)
And thanks to the other pros athletes. Great sharing stories with them. Good to see many familiar faces too. See you next year!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s