Friday, October 15, 2010

Race Report: Naga Triathlon

The Naga Triathlon was my second triathlon race.  I was more relaxed preparing for this race as I kept improving my running time already and the long distance swim is not that intimidating anymore.

The race is scheduled at 7 AM and we arrived at the place around an hour before.  My running friends, Coleen, Katol and Brian went along with us, trying to observe the race as they may have plans of joining next.  It was a cloudy morning and after claiming my race kit, I proceeded to check in the bike.

There were two categories, SPRINT (2 loops) and SUPER SPRINT (1 loop).  I figured that super sprint would be too short (and will not be value for money for the registration fee) so I signed up for SPRINT, consisting of a 1K swim, 30K bike and 7.5K run.  There were about 50 triathletes and 4 relay teams.  An elite triathlete (one of the fastest swimmers at the Kona Ironman Championships) and a local actor also joined the event. 

After the briefing, we proceeded to the water for the warm-up. 

The starting gun fired at 8AM and as expected, I have noticed and enjoyed again the CHAOTIC SWIM START.

I was happy with my swim split but made the mistake of using too much obliques and calf muscles.  My left gastrocnemius was on the verge of cramping at the end of the swim leg.  Time for T1.

Entering the bike leg.

The bike leg was a slight uphill climb and I now felt the weight of the bike on me.  I was struggling to keep 30kph while others on their roadbikes/TT's were on the 35's.  I trashed my quadriceps muscles on the process.

Time for T2
I was already wasted on the run leg as I can barely move my legs and my core muscles hurt.  My pace was 2min/km behind my planned pace and at 10AM with barely enough hydration, I was on the verge of collapsing.  I still managed to smile at the finish line though with the aid of friends who cheered for me.

Being 6-feet has its disadvantage also.  Aside from the fact that you weigh heavier, have more swing weight and will never be a fast runner unless you're a Kenyan, you should also be careful crossing the finish line as you're forehead might get stamped.  LOL

I had a good swim split, a so-so bike split and a bad run split.  What did I learn?

1. Don't engage too much core and calf muscles on the swim leg.  Save it for the run.
2. You can save time on T1 (transition from swim to bike) by wearing a tri-suit and put on the cleats when the bike is moving already.  This way, all you have to do is grab the helmet, put on the sunglasses and get rolling immediately.
3. Get a road bike.  TT bike is good but my longer femur is better for the road geometry.
4. Don't trash your legs on the bike leg.
5. Practice the flying dismount as it looks cool.
6. Get running shoes that don't require socks so T2 (transition from bike to run) will be minimum.  Only 2 processes will be involved: (rack the bike + helmet), then slip on the running shoes.
7. Run as if there's no tomorrow (just kidding).

Except for the fact that the race started at 8AM or an hour late, I would rate the race 9/10 for the safety (lots of marshals and policemen on the bike leg) and well designed race course.  Hydration was scarce but this could be prevented by bringing my hydration belt.  We can't blame other triathletes for gulping too much water as we are in the tropics and it's very hot at 9AM onwards.

Another triathlon, in the books. :-)