“Adventure without limits”- my personal mantra for this year. I was pretty much on track putting this mantra into action so I joined a relay team to compete in the Ironman 70.3 Philippines. Hang on, i know a bubble thought just popped in your head ” What did you get yourself into?”. This one’s a true test of one’s passion, strength and character. Thought bubble burst.
Sometime in April, Pippa- my roadbike was born, conceived by Bikeworx Inc. which I am very thankful for getting the right size of a road bike for me and future proofing Pippa’s needs, a pre-loved ride.
Here we go, months of training, getting at one with my bike, cross-training (bike to eat), indoor training in preparation for the big day. There were times that i went on hiatus from training but with my friends’ encouragement and the will to go on i got back up and geared up for a tune up race.
I woke up one morning, slowly sat on the bike trainer, looked at the calendar, counted 1,2,3…14days to go before i fly out to Cebu for Ironman 70.3, I have to make the most of my training time while setting up our office, running back and forth the city hall but lo and behold weekend bike out is always cancelled due to nonstop rains. Talk about weekend ride out spoiler. No choice but to go on the trainer instead.
A week before i fly out to Cebu, I started packing my bike stuff. Had to learn how to take the rear derailleur off and put it back on. Right, Cebu here I come, although I was hassled at the airport, Pippa and I arrived Cebu safely. Had fun at the Cebu Beach Club, thumbs up!
Day before the race I can feel dinosaurs rumbling inside me. Although I am only doing the bike leg which is 90km I cant get myself to relax. What if I don’t make it to the cut off? But thanks a lot to my friends who helped me overcome pre-race jitters through food. A treat at one of Cebu’s tasty lechon (roast pork) at Zubuchon.
The Race Day
RACE DAY – August 5, 2012, at the Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa Cebu, Philippines was so packed with 1,700 triathletes from all over the world. A star studded Ironman, Jenson Button- yup! the Formula One World Champion from McLaren his girlfriend Jessica Michibata, local actor Piolo Pascual, Pete Jacobs, Belinda Granger, Philippines’ prides- Monica Torres and Neil Catiil to name a few.
I can’t say much about the 1.9km swim leg of the Ironman 70.3 but one things for sure, presence of strong waves can be seen from the audience area, a few meters from the shore. Still the triathletes braved the waters of Shangri-la and ran on the white sand up to the bike transition.
At the relay corral- where the bikers , swimmers and runners of each respective teams converge, everyone was just having a grand time as we witness each triathlete run to their bike and for relay the swimmer have to pass the timing chip to the biker. As soon as I saw our team’s swimmer Rachelle Escudero I waved at her so she can easily come to me and do the bike split as fast as we can. I walked my bike up to mounting area and off I go. A bit of struggle here, as my left shoe slid and wont clip in, I had to do it 3x before it finally clipped in.
Off I went out of Shangri-la to Punta Engano, where hundreds of spectators, mostly students, lined up on both sides of the road. They cheered with so much enthusiasm that it fueled us to pedal some more and withstand the heat for the long road ahead. Countless times I heard them say “Go girl!”, “You can do it!”. Suddenly bikers became instant idols for the Cebuanos as they shout “I love you Idol!”. This is what I love the most when I racing in Cebu, people go out, withstand the heat and tirelessly cheer for all the participants. Truly Cebu is the “City of Smiles”.
The 90km bike route was a tour of four cities of Cebu- Lapu-lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay. We had to climb the Marcelo Fernan Bridge with headwinds pushing us back, some had to dismount and walk their bike up the bridge. I maintained a steady pace, counted 1 -2, 1-2 to get to the top.
But since we’re competing in an Ironman 70.3 race more surprise challenges unfold. As we cycled out to what they call Cebu Boardwalk- South Reclamation Properties (SRP) strong headwinds and tailwinds enveloped us. We had to complete a letter “M” route on a long stretch of pavement under the heat of the sun. This was my first time to set my gears to “granny” (lightest gear) to tackle the unstoppable headwinds. My front wheel swayed to the left by the warm breeze from the sea so I had to be more cautious.
On a positive note, the ride back to complete the “M” loop was the sweetest part of the bike route, I was thrilled by how fast the tailwind accelerated Pippa to make up for the time I lost due to headwind. At this point is where I enjoyed the race and told myself “bike leg for now, next year would be Ironman 70.3“.
But the battle isnt over yet, I had to pass the timing chip to our runner Carly who will run 21km to complete our race.
After my wounds were treated due to my crash (avoided two kids who suddenly crossed the street) I felt how blessed I am. Thankful for finishing the bike leg, for being surrounded by positive friends who cheered me up in times I feel I don’t have the energy to get up each morning. To my family, I know you guys are always there for me.
I have finished a third of 70.3 to start a battle for the full half Ironman 70.3 distance next year.
To God be the glory.