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Aviva Ironman 70.3, Singapore - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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HiTri Events
90F / 32C
Total Time = 5h 21m 7s
Overall Rank = 141/1055
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 4/76
Pre-race routine:

Strategy –

In order to qualify for Kona, I needed to beat two other racers; Boudewijn and Ser Luck. Ser Luck (36) was the Guest of Honor for the race, and serves as Singapore’s Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Sports and Activities, or something like that. Boudewijn (42) runs a company which licenses the platform which processes 2/3 of all text messages in the world, and this was his first half-Ironman. The rest of the field of 1200 didn’t matter, but it was interesting that 50% were International, only about 160 were women, and only another 160 were my age (45) and older. So, it was a young, male field, and it looked like it would be fast. Mike Ricci coached me to swim relaxed, bike strong, and then take the race on the run….

Pre-Race –

On Wednesday at midnight, I had a great start to all of this when my luggage arrived to Singapore intact, but fairly mangled by the TSA, (who made a mess out of my bike and confiscated my CO2 cartridges). The highlight Thursday was dinner with Ted Kennedy where a waitress poured scalding soup down the back of the fellow sitting next to me at a Sushi bar. His screams and rapid strip tease were a bit surprising, but not as much as his expression when he received the tab: they charged him for the soup! Saturday morning featured a swim with professional triathlete, Uwe Widmann. Now, I’ve heard of being “trashed” by a swim, but swimming into an empty McDonald’s french fry box and a bottle of motor oil in the first ten yards made it clear that this swim was going to be… special. Slept an average of three hours each night from Wednesday to the race (four nights), so I was pretty groggy at the start…
Event warmup:

Swam about 20 yards in goo. Ate a stinger 20 minutes before start of race.
  • 41m 43s
  • 1900 meters
  • 02m 12s / 100 meters

Swim (target: 40 minutes, actual: 41:43 with transition) –

Ser Luck started in a wave ahead of Boudewijn and me, so I wouldn’t see him again for several hours. Just before our start, everyone on the beach started screaming for what seemed like several minutes, as one swimmer was signaling for rescue just 30 yards off the beach. The rescue team took forever to get to him, and one of the race coordinators dove in and swam out to help with the rescue. Apparently, an unusually high number of participants were hauled out of the water in distress.

The race started with a run down from the beach, and while everyone seemed to dive in and start swimming right away, I just kept running through the trash until I was up to my chest in it all. The water was polluted, muddy, salty, and warm. Thankfully, Mike Ricci told me to buy a speedsuit for this race, and it really helped out. The swim from the beach out to the first buoy was only about 500 meters, but it was into the current, so it required the harder effort. After a left turn, we were swimming into the sun, with the current pushing us in toward the beach. The waves were high enough that the sighting buoys could only be seen at the crest, so the pack swam off course and drifted in toward the beach. Then, as we all approached markers, we would abruptly turn right and head back out to sea to stay on course. I have no doubt that a number of swimmers never managed to get back out, and ultimately shorted the course. These swims are always crazy, but this race was compounded by the large number of people who were swimming breast stroke and modified dog paddle. It’s one thing to be kicked or slapped by someone swimming freestyle, but getting clocked to the side by a frog kick is pretty bad. I found myself sighting these swimmers and passing them with a very wide berth.

After a left turn at the end buoy, we were swimming in the current toward the shore, and it was possible to body surf the waves, so this section went pretty fast. Unfortunately, we still needed to turn left and head back toward the start, so there was a long stretch back that was rocked with higher waves, and seemed to be the repository area for a lot of Singapore’s garbage. I remember hitting ropes, plastic bottles, and unidentifiable objects that were decomposing. By the time we turned back into the beach, it was enough.
What would you do differently?:

Help organize a group to clean the beach the day before the race.
Transition 1
  • 00m
  • 2h 39m 33s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.06 mile/hr

Bike (target 2:40, actual: 2:39:33 with transition) –

I have no idea where Ser Luck racked his bike, but I beat Boudewijn out of the water. I was at the bike for 45 seconds when he showed up with a pretty surprised expression; he had expected to beat me in the swim by 5 or 10 minutes. Rather than bolt out ahead of him on the bike, I waited for him to put on his socks and get going, so that we left transition together. Now Boudewijn is both big and strong, and his race strategy was to finish the bike 10 minutes ahead of me, and right out of transition he took off like a (really big) rabbit. I stayed on him until the only climb of the day, a bridge heading into the Central Business District. At this point I was feeling good and decided to drive hard up the bridge to see if he could hang, and give him a sense that I wasn’t going to be easy to drop. This really fired Boudewijn, and he raced past me again at the top of the bridge. After that, I let him go and just rode at a level that felt strong and good, but easy enough to keep my legs ready for the run.

Boudewijn had a bit of a disadvantage because his bike computer fell off in transit, so he didn’t have a good way to monitor his pace or distance. This disadvantage was mitigated by the fact that he was racing me, and I’m sort of stupid about bikes, so I put my front wheel on backward so that the magnet that activated my bike computer was on the wrong side. So, neither of us had any clue how fast or far we were riding.

The race through the Central Business District was pretty dangerous, and just awesome. We were on a four-loop track through sky-scrapers and screaming around tight turns all over the place; a flat, but highly technical ride, really. I came around an underpass, and a female cyclist heading in the opposite direction had her wheels slip out from under her and she crumpled to the ground and skidded into the race barriers. When I came back around to the spot, she was clearly hurt, but was being helped off the course by medical personnel. There was one aid station for the entire bike race course, but we came upon it once on each of the four city loops. My plan was to take water and Power Bar drink at the second loop, but the volunteers had never experienced anything like this and they were running all over the place… the result was that I rode through the aid station with nobody offering me aid. I thought about doing the smart thing, and turning back around to get the fluids, but decided to press forward for the loop with my remaining half-bottle of Power Bar. This proved to be the right strategy, but it was concerning because of the intense, and rising, heat and humidity.

I came upon another crash involving three bikes and a good deal of blood, but everyone was okay and heading back out onto the course. I did more passing on the bike than being passed, but at one point a pack of the professional triathletes came whistling by like a freight train. I was surprised to see them seriously drafting off Uwe. The pack had to be at least a dozen athletes, and their tires couldn’t have been more than 6 inches off each other, so I don’t think it was a coincidence.

As I neared the aid station for the fourth and final time, I got Boudewijn in my sights. I stayed on his wheel until just before the aid station, when I pulled up beside him to say, “hello.” I also told him to leave me some water on his way through the aid station. When he heard that I was taking aid, he decided to skip the station. A couple of cyclists fell over going through the aid station, but Boudewijn managed to ride around them, and they were out of the way by the time I arrived. At this point, Boudewijn put the hammer down, and I just kept my eyes on him. I think that I was really groggy from the lack of sleep, and I wasn’t sure what lap we were on, so I just eyed him to see if he was heading back out for another lap, or in for the bike finish. I knew that whichever way he was going, I would just follow. Boudewijn was really pounding the bike at this point, and flying back into town. I can’t adequately describe the startled expression on his face when he got off his bike at the dismount and looked behind him to see that the rider immediately beside him was none other than his buddy from Denver. At this point I knew that the race was in hand.
What would you do differently?:

Put the front wheel on right so that the bike computer was working.
Transition 2
  • 00m
  • 1h 59m 58s
  • 13.3 miles
  • 09m 01s  min/mile

Run (target: 1:40, actual: 1:59:58) –

In transition, I asked Boudewijn if he wanted to split a pizza, but he told me that this race was coming down to the run. So I said, “Let’s go for a little run, then.” We came out of transition together, and Boudewijn shot out ahead of me like a man on fire. He told me later that he saw his whole family and a bunch of employees coming through the transition, and he had to show them something. Well, it certainly gave me a start, because I was running fine but wasn’t going to be keeping up with that. So, I just watched him take off, and he must have gained 100 yards or more on me before I started to reel him back in. When I caught him, I noticed that he had a cadence monitor set to 85, and people around him were all moving to the beat of his metronome. It was too slow of a turnover rate, and at this point I just wanted to run, so I did what Mike Ricci told me to do… pass strong, with confidence, and maintain that passing speed for five to ten minutes. I knew that, the race was won when I passed Boudewijn and he just couldn’t respond to the push. From there, I just maintained my pace, looking to find my other competitor, Ser Luck.

I remember passing a thin palm tree in a park early in the run with one competitor trying to hide and pee behind it. Another racer shouted, “That’s five lashings with a cane!” Singapore: Disneyland with a death penalty. At mile 9 I had the same urge, but took care of it while running. I feel for the girl who took the timing chip off my ankle at the finish.

Anyway, half-way through the run (mile 6), I came upon Ser Luck. I ran with him briefly and told him what a great race he and his country had pulled off. I think he looked a bit stunned that I was running and talking to him, and after annoying him with pleasantries for about 30 seconds, I turned the burners on and kept them on for about 10 minutes. At that point, Ser Luck was gone (and he had a five-minute head start), and Boudewijn was behind me, and I actually got choked up realizing that the race was won. My only concern was that I would have a sudden bonk or other physical distress in the final 6 miles, so I backed off and just finished it easy. I kept listening for Boudewijn’s “tick, tick, tick” to come up behind me like some sort of Captain Hook, and I stayed ready to burst at any time, but by this time they were both around 15 minutes back.

I came across the finish line and did the “Blazeman Roll” in honor of Jon Blaze who was the first athlete to complete the Hawaii Ironman with ALS. He rolled across the finish at his important race, and I did it at mine. Within seconds of finishing, the heavens burst open and unloaded a torrential Southeast Asia downpour that was really amazing. I waited for it to clear and gathered my belongings to pack for the early flight home (after my fifth straight 3 hour night of sleep).

Boudewijn ran a 2:22:19, finishing 22:27 back. I’m not sure where Ser Luck finished, but it was behind me.
What would you do differently?:

I should have run hard for the last 3 to 7 miles of this race. If I had done that, I would have finished 2d or 3d in age group. All I cared about was beating the CEO's so that I could qualify for Kona, but there were other prizes to be had....
Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the finish line and entered VIP tent as rain burst through. Sat and talked to friend Kal and her daughter Maya.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat, humidity, and real concern that I just HAD to beat those two guys. Once I was past them, I backed off to conserve energy for a race-ending sprint if necessary.

Event comments:

SO – that’s how I won the CEO Challenge at the Ironman Singapore 70.3. I won it with a time of 5:21:07, and was a bit surprised to learn that I finished fourth in my age group (M45-49) out of 76 racers. I missed a third-place podium finish by only 46 seconds, but I qualified for the ITU 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, FL. Having qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona with the CEO win, however, I don’t feel bad that I let the Half-Ironman Championship slot roll down.

Last updated: 2007-08-20 12:00 AM
00:41:43 | 1900 meters | 02m 12s / 100meters
Age Group: 15/76
Overall: 0/1055
Performance: Good
Suit: BlueSeventy Speedsuit
Course: This bad boy started on the beach (loved the boards with nails sticking up through them), and headed out about 500 meters until a left turn for a long run parallel to the beach and the oil tankers. Then, a turn into shore (now with the current), followed by a turn back up the beach to the finish.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 00:00
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
02:39:33 | 56 miles | 21.06 mile/hr
Age Group: 13/76
Overall: 0/1055
Performance: Good
Wind: Little with gusts
Course: A wicked little course ripping through the Central Business District of Singapore -- four laps.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:00
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:59:58 | 13.3 miles | 09m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/76
Overall: 0/1055
Performance: Good
Course: Very hot run, even though much of it was shaded. Went out along Singapore Harbor, then back through very nice park. Three short laps in front of Government Building.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2007-09-03 10:31 PM

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Subject: Aviva Ironman 70.3, Singapore

2007-09-04 6:37 PM
in reply to: #951096

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Subject: RE: Aviva Ironman 70.3, Singapore
Great RR!  Congratulations on the result...very impressive.  I was there too and agree with what you said about the swim. It was a mess :P  Good luck in Kona!
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