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Candon City Triathlon. « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Candon City Triathlon.

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 ;)

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