The reality about races is that you have to take it for what it is worth. You sign up, and you race with the caveats. Despite the sad excuse for a race-kit, I made race preparations, and slept for eight hours. I arrived 90 minutes before the race, racked my bike, and greeted familiar faces. I acknowledged Craig Tucker, who was next to me, and reminded him that we both had Elite Bicycles.
Richard Leong, elusively, captured me on his camera while I was running my first 10K. I promised him that he would see his tri-suit design on me in this race. One spectator called me ‘Schneider’ as the company’s name was distinct on my heaving body. I decided to run the first run leg (4 loops of 2.5K) in a conservative 46 minutes, as I did not want to blitz my leg. Already, from the rising heat and humidity, I knew that this race would feel long and unforgiving.
The bike leg caused me the most grief. In the past, this popular bike route tested newbies who crashed and injured themselves taking the curves. This year, the critical area was removed, although that did not remove the jinx. Six loops of the 6K-circuit saw two fallen riders on my first loop. I swerved clear of them, allowing my riding muscles to accommodate the new workload. I found my rhythm and speed at sections of the course, although the headwind met us, straight on, in the first-half of the circuit. I sat on the aero-bars as it gave me brief respite, and compose myself for the slower, crowded sections on the remainder of the loop. I focused on doing all six loops, and not get penalized for miscounting.
My second run of 5K saw me start off with heavy legs; this is why brick-training (back-to-back disciplines) is a critical component of training. However, I soon found them worthy enough to kick out a sub-5 minute pace, overtaking a few of my age-groupers – it was my consolation for a hot day. Up till now, I consumed fluid at each aid-station, and opted to forgo the last two since it would barely matter much. I, gratefully, attempted to sprint after another age-grouper in the last 100 metres although it was futile; the lad had a far better kick at the end. I congratulated him, collected my finisher medal, got my champion-chip removed from my left ankle, and grabbed my bottle of water and 100-Plus. I bumped into my friend, Wan Yang, who returned recently after graduating from an Australian university. We shot the breeze with his girlfriend as we received the incoming finishers. I had another photo opportunity when the trio from Crazy2Tri returned: Reese, Ivan and Lawrence. Hopefully, I may get to wear their group colours at a future race.
I met my Monday swim group, who finished with some annoyances. Most of them cramped on the ride, and my conjecture was that they attacked hard on the sharp turns, and their calves surrendered. I met Muscle Poon and his friend, Alex (who did a 39-minute, first 10K); Poon got a podium finish!
To borrow a quote from Matthew, who did the Desaru 100K-ride today, ‘You got to be happy about that!’ Although I was not fast enough for a podium placing I was glad to race with the big boys. I learnt what to focus on, in my lead up to my A-races.
Have a good week ahead!
Photo-credits: Reese of Crazy2Tri (group photo); Richard Leong (run photo);