Team Athlete Roy participated in the Penang Internation Triathlon and Duathlon last weekend. Here's his take about the race and the experience.
Doing an olympic distance triathlon a week after coming back from one of the toughest 100KM trail race in Hong Kong that took me more than 30 hours to complete, is insane. But since I needed the triathlon experience badly, I decided to just go ahead with the race, the least to experience the swimming leg and call it off.
Ever since coming back from Hong Kong, the plan is to recover from the ultra with minimal training and maximum food loading. I thought I added 2KG at least to my weight, something you would not think is possible after a 100KM race.
Anyway, moving on to the race day morning, around , we decided to cycle about 5KM to the race start. That was probably a good move as it was a good warm up. Once arrived, look for my transition spot and start laying all my stuff as neatly as possible. When we strolled down to the beach side, to my horror, the wave was nasty that morning. It was nothing like the sea of 2013 in the Penang Tri official video. Deep down, I was feeling great and yet worried. Great that I will get to try out the roughest sea swim soon, and worried how I would fare with my not so great swimming technique.
|With CM Lim|
In no time, the Duathlons race was flagged off and we moved back to the beach side awaiting the start. Decided to jump into the sea to get the feel of the waves. By the time I got back onto the beach, YB Lim was already at the beach wishing the participants all the best. Managed to get our photo taken with him, maybe a good luck souvenir for us? Met my schoolmates that I have not met for years, brought back memories of us making the round the island trip on our motorbikes.
Back to the race, once the race started, we just proceeded to jump into the sea and never look back. Months of swimming training would now shows if I have done it right or wasted all my effort. Started swimming as calmly as possible while trying to avoid the crowds. One good feeling this round is I keep bumping onto the swimmer in front, instead of being bumped. This could only means that I am faster this time around. Ignoring the waves, I keep focusing on my strokes to try to move as fast forward as possible. By the time I completed the first lap, it was , that's fast for me. Later on, I noticed a photo of me on fb just behind my idol Bryan Lee. Ahem, I can swim almost as fast as him!!!! The second lap was tougher as I was stuck in a jam towards the first bouy. Too many swimmers were trying to take the shortest path through and causing human jam there. Feeling much more confidence this round, flexed a bit of muscles to force my way through the queue and continue to swim on. Completed the swim leg in 27:22. Well, based on the timing, that's a 16 minutes improvement from my last triathlon, I have to thanks my swimming coaches for this improvement that has gave me confidence to jump into the sea anytime.
T1 was as normal as possible, the only thing I wish I can do the flying mount to save time from running with clip shoe on. As my bike was at the far end, I have the priviledge to run the most with my clip shoe on, something that you do not really wish to do that much. I make sure I took a pack of Hammer Gel to keep me strong for the hills. Putting on the Spyder helmet, I realised I forget to put on my Spyder sunglass 1km in. Climbs after climbs we have to face as we cycled our way up to the dam and then continue on to Balik Pulau. I tried to pace with a season triathlete Wong as I haven't been cycling that much and worry that I would cramped. I was glad that my quads were not giving me sign to slow down as I gradually make my way up the hills. Once we hit the town area, traffic was a bit congested as no road closure around the villages. Grabbing water from the support station and cooling myself down, I awaited another gruelling climb back to the dam.
This is when Andrew of Velocipede Works overtook me effortlessly going up the hill. Looking at him going up put me in awe. I was like struggling to keep going and there he goes, like an elevator up the hill. Continue on up the hills slowly, I was able to slowly pass many of the slower duathletes. Once reaching the top of hill, it was smooth to just steer down the slopes now. However, the roads are winding and as the traffic are building ups with runners and cyclists on both side, safety is my priority. While going down towards Teluk Bahang from the dam, I spotted my team mate, Chan Jun Shen, on his way back to the finishing to complete his duathlon race. He managed to podium with 3rd placing in the Men's Open. Back in Teluk Bahang, again traffic was bad as road closure is not possible there. We cyclist had to stop and dismount as lorries and cars were blocking the road. I decided to carry my bike up the side walk and just walk pass the jam to move forward. Completed the bike leg is 1:30:21, not great timing but nothing more than I can expect of considering the lack of cycling time.
Going into the running leg, I thought I would want to take it slowly to ensure my ITB and ankles are ok. With the Skechers GoBionic, I did not feel any disturbance to any parts and decided to keep going as fast as I could. Down another Hammer Gel to give me the last push, I am ready to run in the hot sun. At the climbs toward the dam, I decided to save my leg by walking a bit and suddenly, my running idol from Penang, Francis overtook me and just flew off. Once reaching the top decided to try to maintain my pace again and upon the uturn, try to speed up trying to hit a sub 3 hours race. It was not meant to be as I completed the run in 57:02, missing the sub 3 by 2 minutes.
Glad that the Ultra + Triathlon back to back is over and I managed to place 55 out of the 245 finisher in Men's Open with the timing of 3:02:11. It was one triathlon that is fun and great. Swim was rough, Bike was challenging, Run was hot. Recommended race to get the feel of triathlon! Thanks to the sponsors - 2ndskins, Hammers, Skechers, Spyder and Get Active. I do believe my ability to perform in this race a week after an ultra is due to the strengthening and conditioning from Get Active. Now, is time to focus on the biggie in April.
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