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Ilocos Double Race Weekend. « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog

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Ilocos Double Race Weekend.

Hey readers – this past weekends I raced back-2-back races in the province of Ilocos Sur of which is in the Northern Philippines, some 8 hour drive from our home in Laguna! The races where organized by 2 different groups and had pretty big prize purse for the local standards, so it attracted the strongest and smartest athletes locally – and when I say smartest, I mean that some should have been here but were M.I.A.

The Saturday race was a draft legal Olympic distance in the city of Narvacan.

The Sunday race was a point-to-point Half Ironman that started in the small town of Santiago with the swim in its beautiful cove, then the bike course went down towards Candon City where I raced/won this past March and then went back up to the historic City of Vigan for the run on cobble stoned roads of which I consider to be ‘Eurasian’  due to its Euro atmosphere and great food!

First race report: Pretty simple approach, spend as little  energy needed to win. The 3 loop swim course with a run on the beach meant that this would get technical, a young athlete from La Union lead me on the first loop, I pulled on the 2nd loop and then got a slight gap on the 3rd loop. The bike, was 4 X 10k laps of which is great for the spectators, but a but hard when I start to overtake athletes, none the less I build the pressure on my pedals every lap but due to the ruff roads and jarring, my left aerobar extension came out of its sleeve on the 2nd lap…Putangina!!!

From then on, I rode on my drops on the technical/bumpy sections and then held on with both hands on my right aerobar and keeped the other extension inside my tri-suite! All the while there was a legal-draft-fest going behind including the relay athletes with the individual athletes!

Once on the run, I focused on running the entire way nose breathing and making sure nobody gets to close, apart from a bit of confusion on the run course, of which has no real bearing impact on the over-all results, all went fine! Joyette got 4th place overall and our new recruit Bea got 5th place overall, with the fastest swim prime in her first triathlon, where both got a small paycheck and where very happy =)

After a quick nap, lots of food, compression socks, an easy swim, a race briefing and some ice cream – its was time to wake up again @ 3h30am for the next race!

This time I would have a Pro from Belgium challenging me.

My plan was simple: build into each leg, fuel early and leave EVERYTHING out on the course!

On the swim, I swam on the feet of the Belgium guy and then took the lead on the 2nd lap when I loosened up and felt the pace weaken, I lead all the way into T1 and once I got on the bike, he passed my like I was ridding still and simply disappeared into the distance…

I focused on gradually increasing the pressure on the pedals, stayed dynamic around the technical sections all the while staying positive.

Staying controlled, aero and hydrated!

In truth, I was not half Ironman fit for this race, I had been on a 5 week vacation in August/September, crammed training for 3 weeks before Safeguard 5150 and then focused on Banjo before the Taiwan 70.3 were then of course, coach Brett resigned from the team, which meant that November was a stressful and busy month for me!

Never the less, I believed in myself and got to T2 5 minutes behind the leader.

I started the run in a brisk pace that I knew I could build upon! Very rarely I find myself on the OFFENSIVE on the run course, most often I am on the DEFENSIVE trying to hold my lead/position. I struggled to get accurate splits to the gap in front and due to the nature of the course, it was easy to get out-of-sight-and-out-of-mind.

All of a sudden, at about the 13km point I caught a glimpse of the lead car, this was the crucial part of the race, I put in a surge to bridge the gap, my thinking was to get to him sooner than later, sit on his shoulder and KICK IT in the final stretch as the run course was a bit complicated and I did not want to find myself in a pressure position.

I manage to catch him at around 16km where I sat behind him for a moment…All of a sudden, my body just shut down, I mean literally like a switch being turned off, I went from running fast and strong to barely running at all…I watched him gradually pull away by simply maintaining his pace while I fell apart, got shivers and simply started to cramp in my hamstrings…I tried to get going a few times, start to build at this tree, then after this speed bump, walk a bit and try again…nothing…

I soldiered to a respectable 2nd place, loosing around 5 minutes in the final 5 km…

As much as I could blame racing the day before, my nutrition, my lack of fitness, blah, blah, fucken BLAH! The truth is, I should have reeled him in slower, been more patient and simply keep my rythym going to blow by him right at the end by taking no prisoners while motoring to the finish line!

My little Joyette manage to also get 2nd place overall to snag her biggest paycheck ever! We combined for 115k php in both races, of which is almost 3k USD so it was a good weekend where we went on a short vacation afterwards up in Pagudpud and Laoag!

Enjoy the pictures and captions =)

Checking out the giant windmills!

Gotta do a jump-off-shot!

Beach time!

Checking out the reef's during low tide.

Joyette visiting her old yaya from many years back - she was very surprised and happy to see us!

Next stop!

Yes thats a real army hummer!

Yes thats a real machine gun i'm gonna shoot!

This is very precise - hehehehehe!

Joyette's turn to shoot - dont mess with her, she nailed a can on her first try!

Our target and cans on the ground!

Lets go for an ATV ride in the sandunes!

Going down - feels like being in a roller-coaster!

The terrain we will eventually conquer!

Going up!

My turn to drive!

I want one of there for x-mast to go around Manila!

With our generous and entertaining host: Carlos!

Gotta try some sand-boarding before sunset!

Joyette decided to take safe option and go down on her bum ;)

Anyway thats it for now – final event of the year is will be a fun race at the ExTri next weekend where I will look to three-peat =)

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