It was a crazy weekend. Full of highs and lows. Elation at achieving my personal best was brought crashing to the ground by the tragedy that occurred. Here's the story:
Cousin Megat's first tri. And boy, was he ever nervous. The relentless rain didn't help either. He kept pacing up and down and asking me if the race was going to be postponed. Told him to relax, it's all for fun, after all.
The airhorn sounded and off we went. It wasn't long before we were spit out the back of the pack. But with full determination, he went on.
Rounded the first bouy, and he was in trouble. Goggles fogging up and he couldn't see jack. We stopped for a while, took his goggles off and cleaned it a bit with sea water. Then we continued.
Finally, got out of the water in about 33 minutes. Looked behind us and there was still someone in the water. A-ha! We weren't last out of the water!
Ran to the bikes, geared up and off we go. By this time, several of the competitiors were already coming back from the bike leg and onto the run leg. Turns out the bike course was cut short by 10km.
Then it was on the the run. By now, the rain was falling heavily. Because he cycled with his running shoes, Megat's T2 time was extremely quick. I was still putting my shoes when the dude ran out of transition. I had to play catch-up.
Unfortunately, that was the only burst of speed he had. We continued the rest of the run leg with a run/walk. Finally we crossed the line at just under two hours. He was happy, but tired. And he wants to do it again.
Woke up excited but didn't have high hopes for the race. Last year was a 3h25m and I had a very very bad swim. This year, anything quicker than that would be a good target. Under 3h10m would be a bonus.
Started the swim at the back. Saw the pros do a pseudo-butterfly stroke at shallow water, so i tried to do that to. Felt weird and I dunno if i was doing it right but what the hell, just do it lah. Had a nice rhythm going throughout the swim and felt good. I was thinking i'd end up with maybe a 40min swim. Got to the beach and looked at my watch: 33m28s! Whoa! Personal best swim! Things were looking good.
Ran to the bike and almost took off without putting on my helmet. A bit kancheong at that point in time! Helmet on, sunglasses on, race belt on and off we go. After the roundabout, a dude on a blue cannondale with zipp wheels and aerobars overtook me, along with a relay rider. Immediately, I hopped on. I sucked their wheels for all its worth before I got dropped at the traffic lights. From there, the next 10km or so was a quiet and lonely ride.
Then, it happened. This big train rumbled past me, led by a guy wearing a Tour de France yellow jersey. It must have had at least 10 riders in it. Ever the opportunist, I hopped on and followed them to the turnaround. I was supposed to take a powergel at the u-turn but i didn't want to lose the train. So forget the powergel and let's go. My plan at this point was to try and stick to the train for at least 5k before getting dropped. But somehow or other, I managed to hang on all the way to the traffic lights. At that point, feeling good, I actually attacked that group.
But it was short-lived. They pulled me back in and I got dropped. And it was a lonely 5km ride back to T2. Nonetheless, it was fun riding in a pack like that, made me feel like I was in Le Tour de France for a while!
Got back to T2 and looked at my time. I clocked a 1h12m33s for the 40k with an average speed of 33km/h. Whoa! That was the fastest I've ever been on a bike. What a difference a pack makes.
But here i had a spot of bother. I couldn't get my socks on properly. Wasted a minute or so trying to get my socks and shoes on. It started raining during the run, which made it a lot easier. I think I could have pushed a bit more during the run, but doing some mental math at the time, i was on target to finish under 3 hours. So I took it a bit easy during the run, not wanting to get my usual knee pain.
In the end, I crossed the line below 3 hours. A 2h49m48s according to my watch (I'm hoping it's a bit more accurate this time, unlike at Kenyir), a good 35 minutes faster than last year and a personal best!
Senn, too, had her best race to date, finishing under 3h30m for the first time.
Race-wise, we all had a great weekend. Unfortunately, the tragedy that struck later left us all feeling empty inside.