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.
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.
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.
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!