I met Bernard and Adeline at Bike Pro at 9am, racked up their bikes on the back of the car and we hit the road at 10am after some kopi and makan at a nearby shop.
'Twas nice to have good company for the journey and the time flew by quite quickly. We stopped for a late-ish lunch in Kota Tinggi and arrived in Desaru at about 3.30pm. During the journey 3 cars/lorries moved over to let us overtake! WOW! - must have been Courteous Driver Day or something like that.
We checked-in and registered and I gave my Fizik saddle to Razani to sell (hopefully) and got new fittings for my unstable hydrotail from the BB boys.
The race briefing turned out to be a bit later than we thought so the three of us went for a swim (recce for the race and for Adeline in particular to get an idea of what the swim would be like). Lots of irritating "sea lice" in the water and I emerged from the sea after a good 4-500m recce with some unusual cuts on my foot - perhaps a sting of some kind. Nothing major though.
Evening makan - we headed off on a 30min drive to Restoran Makanan Laut Telok Sengat with the imcyclist.com gang and many other pals.
I slept surprisingly well for the night before a race! Bernard's bike also slept well after being lovingly tucked-in...
Saturday - Race Day
Up at 7-ish - satisfyingly late for a race day - and prepared. Tightened-up bike fittings and prepared kit and race nutrition. 1 bottle of 100plus & 1 bottle of ORS to last the entire 90km ride and 1 bottle of water to be replaced each 30km lap. 2 gels for the run.
Brekkie at 7.30 giving 2.5hrs for digesting. Then off to transition. Lucky I had string to tie my bike as I couldn't hook my saddle over the rack as usual (tall bike).
Forgot to start my stopwatch! Remembered after 20s or so whilst still running through the waves. My recently serviced HRM wasn't reading my HR either - makes you wonder if it is worth having them "serviced".
We had 2 triangle shaped loops to look forward to, with a short run on the beach in between. The loop legs were 300-350-350m. This was a tough swim! On the first loop the 2nd and 3rd legs looked very long and seemed to take a long time. On the 2nd leg we were swimming with the waves coming across us and diagonally on the last leg. Sighting was difficult due to the waves but my navigation was ok and I didn't go off course much. I did a bit of breaststroke only for sighting and when I got caught up with other swimmers.
I was back on the beach in about 27mins - terrible!! - my target for the whole swim was 43mins so I was already more than 5 mins down!
2nd loop - goggles still fogging up! still lots of swimmers around me, but feeling good, breathing ok, was quite well warmed up and my improved timing made me feel my strokes were quite powerful. However my time was almost an hour as I hit the beach - nearly 10mins down on my target!!
One ray of hope was that I finished at the same time as Ironman Sam Pritchard.
Swim time - Lap 1: 28mins, Lap 2: 30mins, TOTAL: 58mins.
A steady 300m jog then an uneventful T1 and I was on the bike - time to see what benefit I would get from the "Stealth" in race-mode!
The first speedy section came after the first u-turn at 1.5km. I managed to pick-up a good pace and started passing a few riders. After another 5mins - a rear wheel flat!!! SH*T!!! Oh no it isn't - its vibration from the road surface and a slight incline - phew!
Out onto the exposed road (main part of the loop) there were quite strong crosswinds. On the inclines I sat-up and kept my cadence up and seemed to maintain a reasonable speed. After 7-8km of the first loop I was past by a bunch of cheating drafters who I swiftly reported to a marshall, who whizzed off whistle-a-blowing to break them up. Before I got to the 2nd u-turn I spotted Ironman Sam still not too far ahead, and Jason also a couple of minutes ahead of me. Also Steve Lee, who always seems to be just ahead of me in triathlons.
I settled into a pattern - whizzing along in aero-mode most of the time and sitting-up and spinning up the few inclines. For the 1st/2nd laps I spent some time in the close (but not drafting) company of Carmen Leong and Saiful. I spotted Shazly ahead of me too. Bernard was a short distance behind and I expected him to catch me.
Lap 1 time - 57mins (wow! thats around 30kph!!)
Carmen, Saiful and I exchanged places for a lap or so before I eventually pulled away (a little bit). May Senn and Patrick were also spotted on my travels, but no sign of Arif.
On lap 2 I caught Shazly. He managed to fend me off for a while but eventually I overtook him. I was surprised that Bernard hadn't made up any time on me - maybe my bike was helping!
Lap 2 time - 56mins (faster than 1st - wow again!)
I think it was towards the end of lap 3 that I caught Raymond. The mid-section of this lap was great as the wind had changed to give us a great tailwind, however this also made the last few km back to the final left hand turn at the roundabout a bit tough. A this point I pushed a bit hard with my left leg and my quad gave a tiny hint of cramp. This prompted me to get into spinning mode earlier than planned to get my legs ready for the run, so this lap was a few minutes slower.
Lap 3 time - 58mins
TOTAL Bike Time - 2:48:59 (my goodness gracious me! that's >30.5kph for 86km!)
Nutrition - 1 banana at the start of the ride, then a PowerGel every 45mins (total 4 i think)
I seemed to take forever in T2, but I was deliberately taking it calmly. Trying to put wet socks on quickly always ends in disaster!
Run (only 20km according to Google Earth):
Easy-does-it for the first 10mins and no sign of cramp - hooray! After 5 mins I came across a walking Jason - still trying to find his running legs. We ran together for a while before he dropped back, but glad to say he found his running legs and was close behind for the remainder of the race. After 1.5km (first u-turn) I could see a string of "rivals" breathing down my neck - Raymond, Shazly and Dicky Z. Only a minute or two behind me after the bike, Saiful cruised past me quite early on in the run. Carmen had passed me in T2 i think and was flying on the run. Sofian was spotted many times too - looking very calm & collected.
I ran all the way except the steep hill before the roundabout. My legs were tired, but ticking over, and I did the first 10km in little over an hour.
Run Lap 1 - 1:04:43
Running past the crowd at the end of the first lap provided some much-appreciated company and support, and part of me wished I could finish - anyway only 1 lap to go - no more after this one! One PowerGel left and I was slowing down so I drank as much energy drinks as I could. There was good support from one particular fan standing outside The Pulai Resort, and seeing numerous familiar faces who I knew had further to go than me was keeping me going!
Ray caught me about 5km into this lap and Dicky Z got me at the roundabout. However twice Dicky let me catch him by going to "water the daisies" - he pipped me by 36s in the end! With 1km to go I saw room-mate Bernard for the 3rd time on the run. The first 2 times I saw him (Lap 1) he looked very serious - "in the zone" I thought - running and listening to music - so no response to my greetings. This time he was still looking very stern, and didn't reply even though the MP3 player was off. Little did I know why he was not a happy-chappy! (see later)
I crossed the finish line in 6:07:09, well inside my 6:30:00 target, and was well-pleased, even getting slightly emotional (but only for a sec, and not showing it!).
Run Lap 2 - 1:09:39
Run Nutrition - 2 PowerGels (3 would have been better)
I was welcomed by Sam and Carmen and a few others at the finish, got my medal and refreshingly freezing cold Powerbar towel and a drink. Lizi was there and asked me if I'd seen Bernards bike. It then became apparent why he didn't look too happy. He'd cycled into someone who'd stopped in the middle of the road (idiot!) to vomit. Bernard's bike frame was therefore in three pieces instead of one. Luckily Bernard was still in one piece!
60th out of 112 in Mens 34-39 category.
S - 0:58:01
T1 - 0:03:39
B - 2:48:59
T2 - 0:02:08
R - 2:14:22
TOTAL - 6:07:09
We watched the Sprint race. If I hadn't have already packed I might have raced. It was great fun to watch a whole race and there was a great atmosphere.
We joined the post-race lunch but didn't hang around for all the prize-giving and headed home at 1pm. Back to KL by 6.30pm, where I managed to top the weekend off by watching the MotoGP and the crappy Red Devils lose 0-1 to City! ha ha!
I will upload all my photos to a photo-sharing website soon. I have snaps of Willy, May Senn, Adeline, Azmar, Omar, Jeffrey, our evening seafood dinners etc...