Monday, June 25, 2007

Miri Olympic Distance Triathlon - 24th June 2007

Pretty pumped about yesterday but today was the big test. I'd gotten plenty of sleep a good breakfast and I was ready to go. Once again it's a drafting race so I was very focused on a good swim to give myself half a chance of being with a good group of riders.

As the gun went off I was caught a little unaware as instead of the start rope being lifted as normal we had to somehow struggle over the "tripwire". Never mind not too much time was lost and similar to the sprint yesterday I had a clear swim without too much interference.

I got into a good strong rhythm early on and kept it up all the way to the finish. Drafted a little which was useful, navigation wasn't great but alright and the end result was that I came out of the swim considerably faster than last year.

On to the bike and found a good rhythm again. Picked up a handful of bikes going up the hill (a mention to Choi Mun Yong - he was there again - as strong as ever) and got them semi organised on the flat (it took a lot of shouting though!).

We were doing a very nice job and then saw a big pack in the distance - when we were about 300m behind them I made a point of briefing each rider that when we were on their tale I'd take the lead and we'd sprint past them. To my dismay the leading rider in our pack thought I meant now and off he went. By the time I brought him back we were on the tale of the big pack and I guess the umphh was taken out of my big push - within 2 or 3k both packs were all back together - including Kevin Chan (my friendly competitor) and also Iwata-san (my next proper competitor in my age-group).

I tried various breakaway attempts but all were eventually reeled in (neither Iwata nor Kevin were going to let me get away that easily today). No one wanted to work although I have to say that a couple of guys did more than their fair share - everyone seemed very happy when I was out in front and no-one seemed to have the slightest bit of a conscience when I called for some help. In the end I went to the back and tootled along letting them get on with it. I was waiting for the hill again (although I knew this was too close to the finish of the ride to give me much of an advantage).

At last the hill was there, I dropped the pack and cycled into T2 with a reasonable margin. I felt great on the run and once again it wasn't until 2.5k before Iwata caught me - he surged past me obviously not wanting to enter into the same game as yesterday. I had decided before the race that in this scenario I'd let him go and then focus on staying in contact with him - if I then felt strong enough and saw a chink in his armour I'd have a chance to chase him down.

All went to plan and he didn't pull very far ahead of me - the only flaw in the plan is that there was no chink in his armour! - the man is made of steal! However, the plan did enable me to keep a good pace going and with just a couple of kilometres to go I came across my arch Nemesis - Ip Chin Nang from Macao (see Singapore and PD last year). He is a fantastic swimmer, a solid biker but struggles sometimes on the run, today he was having a tough run and I was able to go past to secure 3rd place in my category (and I think 7th place overall).

Razani won our category as usual but I remain hopeful that his margin of victory is reducing. All in all not bad for a race to "see where I am" and now with another three weeks of intensive training before PD who knows what the limits are - perhaps there are none - "There is no Spoon!"

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