Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bintan Sprint Triathlon Race Report

You would think that having gone through the Bintan Sprint Tri last year I would be a little bit more prepared or at least less freaked out. I was neither. Despite having a whole year to ‘ride up and down hills’ in training (as I said in last year’s entry on the Bintan Tri), the only time I did something close to a ‘hill’ was when I did my sad little 5k at Rifle Range and gave up because it was too tiring. I had been going for spin classes once a week though, so I guess I wasn’t being TOO lazy, but really I could have done with more hours on the saddle.


After mucking up my race pack collection last year, this year I got smart and went straight to collect my swag right after I got off the ferry at Bintan. Not bad, I thought, at least I figured this whole thing out after last year’s fiasco. I spoke too soon. Obviously I wouldn’t make the same mistakes as I did. I’d make fresh new ones.

Instead of picking up my bike at the hotel’s bike depot, giving instructions to get the bike sent to the race venue in the morning and collecting some special tag, I thought the hotel would automatically send my bike to the race venue in the morning – you know, because everyone should know I was doing a race and all. So I was sat happily on the shuttle waiting to head off (and thank God they did this check) before one of the hotel guys realized that I wasn’t holding on to some special tag and so my bike was still sitting in the hotel’s bike depot. I may have come off sounding a bit pissed off when I went, ‘So this means I should just get off and not do the race?’ but once again (as it was last year) I was really hoping he would tell me, ‘Yeah, too bad. Sorry about that.’ But he was nice and in no time at all my bike and I were on a mini van to the race venue. Dammit.


Clear waters. Loads of jellyfish. Which made warming up a bit freaky since you could actually see the dang jellyfish. Got bitten all over by sea bugs as well. Hoped for rain. Hoped to get stung by a jellyfish. None of those came through. I was destined to do the race.

Swim Leg

Because this was half the distance of what I’d done the previous week, I wasn’t too fussed about the swim. I was dreading the thought of potentially doing a snake swim again, but then I figured it’d be at least for a shorter distance. (Side note: The one thing that freaks me out about the Bintan Sprint Tri is the fact that everyone there just looks so fit. I mean I just wanted one unfit looking person…just so I was assured I wouldn’t come in dead last!)

The first half of the swim went pretty well. I found a girl doing the front crawl going at a good pace and I followed bubbles all the way to the turn. Then I lost her in the pile-up. Which really sucked because right after I turned around and had no one to follow I was back to my snake swim. After an eternity of swimming, seemingly getting no where and feeling that familiar panic that I wasn’t getting anywhere (you’ll be amazed at how quickly you freak out in open waters), I changed to breast-stroke. Yes, I who go on about breast-strokers became one. I needed to know that I was at least swimming straight and I really needed to just calm the hell down. Once I got my bearings sorted, I reverted back to the front crawl and managed to get back on shore.

Bike Leg

To the guy who stood by the start of the bike leg and told me to get as quickly as I could to my small chain, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This year I didn’t push my bike up the hill (woohoo!), I actually made it all the way to the top and then remembered how much the bike leg sucked last year. Once again, every man and his dog overtook me on the bike leg. I think I muttered ‘the people who designed this course are sadists’ about a million times.

Overall, I coped better this time than I did last year. For one all my gears worked so I was pretty much on my small chain the entire ride. I overtook people on the hills (weird) but then got overtaken on the flats. I bitched and moaned at the last bit where the sadists decided to round up 20k of riding by putting in a hill. And I also nearly fell on my face when running (read: stumbling) back to the transition.

Run Leg

I started this leg walking. Well before that I headed out the wrong way at the transition and then had to turn back. I made friends with a chick who was also walking and then eventually ditched her around the 1.5k mark to attempt a run. I’m not sure if I was fitter or more prepared this time around, but I actually managed to finish the rest of the leg running (albeit at a very slow pace).

I mentioned last year that I actually do like this race a lot because of the camaraderie and just the good fun. Families head to Bintan for the weekend to support Dad or Mum or whoever is taking part in the triathlon and there is a general air of happiness all around. At one point in the run where we ran by some of the villas, a bunch of kids were congregating with their little pails of water asking us if we wanted water and then emptying water on us. It was nice (although I did end up doing the rest of the run with soggy shoes), we got to cool down, the kids got to have fun – everyone was happy.


Overall – 1 hr 57 mins
Swim leg - 16 mins 20 sec (18th of 37)
T1 – 1 min 56 sec
Bike leg – 59 mins 14 sec (24th)
T2 – 1 min 19 sec
Run leg – 38 mins 49 sec (28th)

All my times improved, with a good 5 minutes sliced off my swim!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tri-Factor 1.5k Swim Race Report

Urgh, I've not been very good at updating my race reports, so this is about 2 weeks late.

Before the Race

Anyway, the Tri-Factor Swim Race took place the Sunday before last and I signed up to swim 1.5km. I've basically spent the better part of the last month and a half training for that (and the Bintan triathlon). I actually was pretty diligent, heading to swim training 3 times a week. I gave up my Friday nights because swim training started was at 8am on Saturday and essentially didn't have much of a life. Well, I'm exaggerating. I did manage a trip to Bangkok and Phuket in May...and I did watch a ton of plays, musicals, concerts and even managed to squeeze in a comedic ballet.

Race Day

G had signed up for the 500m so her wave started earlier than mine. So while I was warming up and trying to look out for her (and somehow managed to miss her wave start), I was also freaking myself out with how darn long the 750m course looked. And I had to do 2 laps of that! Somehow doing 30 lengths in a 25m pool seems fine. Putting those 30 lengths into one long course is a whole other ball game.


Nothing to shout about. I didn't get bitten by sea bugs, but it could well be that the sea bugs had stuffed their faces on the 3k swimmers and the 500m swimmers nice sweet blood and were just flat-out full when I got in the water.
I did a few lame strokes. Kicked for a while. I'm not sure why I can never figure out the whole warm-up drill. Coach Alain told me before that I should do a 300m warm-up before the race. Which is all fine and good in the pool, but I had absolutely no idea how to measure 300m in the sea.


What a nightmare it was. I started off fine. The usual everyone swimming over everyone else and all. Then the huge pack broke. I broke away from some people and then I became the swimmer everyone hates. I was the swimming equivalent of the annoying driver that weaves in and out of traffic. No matter how much I tried swimming straight, I kept swimming like a snake. So I was either so dang near to the ropes I crashed into it and knocked my googles off or I was swimming away from the ropes to oblivion. I knocked my goggles off a grand total of 3 times and hit the ropes God only knows how many times. If there was a way to swim inefficiently, I was acing it. In hindsight, I probably should have sighted more often.

Needless to say I was pretty much over all the swimming at the last 200m or so. I struggled to kick hard and push past this one breast-stroker (who might I add I am thoroughly impressed by!) but each time I slowed she caught up again. I was going to put down that she was where the adage 'slow and steady wins the race' came from, but then I remembered she was anything but slow. Hats off to her, whoever she is. I am happy to have been beaten by someone so worthy. Well played, breast-stroker.

Last note, the race once again ended with a 30m (I really am plucking arbitrary distances here...it seemed like 30m to me, but it could easily have been 5m) dash on my much dreaded sand. By this time I was biting breast-stroker's dust, so I just gave up and strolled the remaining stretch of the beach.


Coach Alain had targeted a 40min finish. I targeted a more realistic 45min finish. In the end, I finished in 40:44mins. And I should be happy and all that I beat my target, but I'm just a little bit annoyed that I couldn't break the 40min target set for me. Dang snake swim.

15th of 33 - 40:44mins (breast-stroker made 40:17mins, I think)
First lap (750m) - 19:27mins
Second lap (750m)- 21:16mins

So much for negative splits.

All in all, I’ve never had anything bad to say about Tri-Factor’s races. They’ve all been well organized and good fun!

Bintan race report tomorrow!