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March « 2013 « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog

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Archive for March, 2013

Candon City Triathlon.

Monday, March 18th, 2013

HEY! Doing this race was a last minute decision – I had been in a bit of a ‘funk’ since pulling out of X-Terra Cebu as well to being busy with the usual coaching stuff and then a good friend of Joyettes, Reymond ‘Mon’ Cruz past away last weekend during a triathlon in Subic Bay…So to say the least, when we traveled to the City of Candon in the Province of Ilocos Sur, we where both looking forward to get away and refresh our souls for the weekend to enjoy it!

Considering that the total prize purse of 360 000 pesos (8686 USD) – this race attracted many top local athletes who where at one point or another or still on the National Triathlon or Duathlon team.

The day before the race we went on an organized bike ride to check out the course which was on some pretty narrow, technical and bumpy roads…Combined with the fact that is race was also draft legal where the relay athletes could draft with the individuals as well and that many of the under privileged competitors might have an edge with their road bikes…

All the while my banged up wrist from X-Terra Cebu started to ache a bit mid way into the ride…I did have a brief paranoid moment where the scenario of having a bad swim due a full week out of the water and those behind me working together to hunt me down…

Well, turns out that 14 years of bustin’ my A$$ up and down a pool did not just go away over a week and that my chasers during the race would fail to consolidate their energy, but rather, battle each other and let me do my own race: out of sight & out of mind.

Thumbie giving the final details on the swim course - we actually had a vote on which direction we would swim - the unanimous decision was COUNTER clockwise!

The swim was pretty wavy and it being a 3 loop course meant we had to brave the braking waves near the shore 6 times total. My strategy was to have a fast/short ‘tornado’ stroke into the waves and then go for a long/strong stroke with the waves at my back.

First lap done - good start for me but Dhill still needs to transfer his pool abilities into open water prowess!

Each lap I felt like I handled the waves better and better - im not great @ dolphin diving nor running in the water but on this day I would do it progressively!

Woah that was a challenging swim - happy to be out of there and on dry land!

Once I got on my Cervégnolo P3 I spun a higher RPM than usual to start, slammed down a Reload Energy Gel and charged down the road.

I like to do my early season racing without 'toys' as to give me something to look forward to in the bigger races further in the season!

My plan for the bike was to break down the 41k bike into 3 sections: the HAMMER in the big gear on the smooth strait surfaces – caution on the sketchy sections – SPIN on the technical/slow sections. I was able to stay in my aerobars for maybe 75% of the ride all the while modulating my gears and varying the pressure on my pedals according to the miscellaneous terrain/circumstances.

Basically, pacing myself would have been a bad idea and I would have lost time in some sections and risk a flat or crash in other sections – I had to really gut myself in some of the early stages and then just go slow and recover over some of the ruff roads.

The course included a gradual 4km uphill where we went down the back-side, turn around and then came back up afterwards.

Once I got into the run, I nose breath all the way to the first turn around (~2km) as the sultry South East Asian summer sun was up and doing its thing – after the turn first around I crossed my chasers and knew all I had to do was put on my ‘bullet proof vest’ and get to the finishing line without melting…Easier said than done ;)

^Running ON Clouds ;)

I broke the 10k run into 4 sections and increase my turn over on each section all the while skipping every other water station…In the final stretch, I saw that I had actually extended the lead over my chasers, bear in mind running off the bike in the heat is my weakness and very often the local Pinoy athletes advantage over me!

I crossed the line with the cheering of the crowds of which many had just witness their first triathlon – in true Filipino style I was congratulated by anybody and everybody with a big smile- posed for various pictures and was referred to as “Joe” or “Americano” and a few times “Gwapo” by some locals!

Me and Dhill @ the finish line with Congressman Singson!

Dhill got 3rd place in the U23 and snag his first ever triathlon paycheck!

Joyette won her age group as well to collect her 3rd paycheck this year!

As well for the top prize – I won a Magic Sing Karaoke machine which was handed to me the Congressman Singson (on my left) who is the brand owner & its also a product endorsed by Manny Pacquiao.

Me and Joyette with the beach!

After lunch, me and Dhill set out on the 63km ‘cold down’ ride to Vigan City which is actually a World Heritage Site as its an old Hispanic city!

There is actually some plans to do a Half Ironman this December on these beautiful coastal roads and this event served as a prologue to get a feel for the participants and race organization!

This might be one of the most Europeen spots in Asia!

We hooped on a horse powered chariot to our supper location!

Al fresco dinning in Eurasia =)

Me with A LOT of Longaniza sausages which is a local specialty here in Vigan - I actually had Longaniza Pizza before this picture was taken =)

Anyway thats it for now – the last thing I’d like to add is how appreciative I am of Triathlon, for all the places is has (and will) taken me across the globe, many of which I would have never cared to visit or see unless there was a race there. In the end, we all have our own personal purpose to compete in triathlon, some for health, others for the lifestyle, many for Kona, for healthy, others for time/performance and others just for the bling  equipment ;) But in the end, the locations we visit and people we meet along the way are the true takeaways and far more valuable than all other reasons combined…In my opinion of course ;)

X-Terra Philippines Race Report.

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Hey – well if im gonna blog about the good ones, I gotta blog about the bad ones a well…For my sponsors, for the generous race organizers, for my fans and for my own personal closure.

2 days before the race, I was checking out the race course with the other Pro’s when I came into a downhill a bit to hot, ‘Tokyo Drifted’ into a tree and smashed my right hand up real good – initially I though it be fine, but the next morning my hand was very stiff and simple tasks like shaking hands, typing on a computer, eating, brushing my teeth, ect where all painful and difficult to do…

Like any day before the race, I had  a mountain of things to do and going to the hospital as far form convenient…Race morning came, I hoped for the best, stayed positive and planned around my injured hand.

I did my race warm/up and the salt water burned my open wounds and made sure I was aware of it…I hoped this would be the worst of it and did my best to keep my head up.

Once the gun went off I charged into the water and my hand started to hurt as soon I as I put some power into my stroke – you can be sure I’m one of the ‘swimmers’ who GRABS a lot of water!

After a one handed transition I did one loop of the very challenging bike course and decided to pull out after sever pain in my figers/hand/wrist…

Here you can see how I'm resting my slightly open right hand on my handle bars versus my left hand that his firmly gripped!

Banjo was 2nd Filipino out of the water and leading on the bike until he got a flat in the coral section…A second flat afterwards ensure he would finish further back…

Joyette was the only good performer from room # 118 where she grabbed 3rd spot in the Filippina Elite category and a small paycheck! Her swim keeps to improve, she has mastered the hammer up the hills and walk down the hills strategy and had a very strong (overall) run slip over a tuff run course.

And then Joseph Miller, my partner in Putik Pare last year won the Filippino Elite race and gave a very good/grateful speech with his daughter at his side.

I would like to point out that Joseph is a bike mechanic at The Brick Multisport Store in Cebu and actually went from the race back to the bike store to pack the bikes of some athletes who where too tired to pack their own bikes and where leaving soon after!

Young Filipino athletes, are you paying attention?

Now, this is the section where im supposed to insert some cliché quote/statement post failure but none come to mind – I mean this was my 2nd only every DNF and 11 years in between. There is for sure the: shoulda-woulda-coulda thoughts that drift through my mind…Did it hurt enuff to pull out? Could I not have just gone slower and limit the pain/damage to my hand?

Stopping mid race gave me instant physical relief, but temporary mentally relief…When I would see some spectators/fans/friends/organizers/sponsors/ect asking me what/why/how I stopped, was about the time I wanted to go hide in dark/deep hole far-far away…For the first hour I had stopped,I had repetitive urges to get back on my bike and re-enter the bike course where I had stepped out, you know, to finish what I had started and not disrespect others who where having a bad day, had also crashed or where suffering from any other adversity over a hot and grueling course.

Well, it-is-what-it-is. I pulled out. I quit. I stopped. I DNF. I tap out. I give up.

Last but not least, let me finish with something more positive:

While I may not be Filipino, I feel a sense of bride to being associated by these races organized by Sun Rise Events because every single foreigner that I talked to had a genuinely fantastic experience where they will remember the atmosphere, the energy and local hospitality of this race for ever – they will go back home and rave about the event, say good things and recommend this unique event to their peers!

Trust me, its easy to focus on the negatives of The Philippines, their everywhere! But some-how, the race organizers put these big idea’s into reality, regardless of the logistical complexity, chaotic environment and poor infrastructure – it gets done better than anybody would ever expect!

I would be very interested to know if/which other events that draw’s such a variety foreign tourism, gives The Philippines a great name and allows the visitors to leave with more than they came with?

One of those who did way more than his share of true  Pinoy hospitality was my Kuya from a different mama Noy Jopson – yes everybody knows him, hes that Filipino guy talking to everybody, smiling/laughing and helping anybody who needed a hand all the while having a good time himself!

Regardless if it was organizing transport, tours of Cebu or giving out spare tubes/Co2′s/tires/tire levers/saddle bags to those who needed and asking for the money AFTER the race – Kuya Noy was every-where and any-where ready to help regardless! He managed 2nd in is age group despite being slowed down by a flat tire!

Anyway, thats it for now – check out this cool clip from the race:

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