Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sungailiat Triathlon Race Report

This past weekend I travelled to the Indonesian Island of Bangka for the 4th edition of the Sungailiat Triathlon. Joyette had done this race a couple years ago and enjoyed it a lot. I decided to go so I can network with athletes for coaching and see some friends.

It's about 45 min flight from the capital Jakarta!

This being my 2nd race in 30 months, my expectations were medium. Getting a podium here would get me enough Rupiah's to cover for the trip and bring back some pasalubong!

This was also my first race with my new Vellum Phantom Shadow road bike that I had built just a few days earlier.

Coming from ‘overseas’ made the travel a bit more time consuming and grand production with some late night travel. I was happy to arrive at my destination, the Parai Beach Resort.


I went through my usual race routine all the while finalizing the programs of my athletes for the following week. To my surprise, but not, the WIFI internet speed was pretty good. I also found that the general architecture to be pretty decent for a provincial island. This based on my experience at the airport, then observing the roofs of the houses and the quality of the main roads.  
Race day was on a Saturday, which I think is great! There’s time for a party in the evening and then you have Sunday to enjoy yourself in the area. It's common for working class people to take Friday as a day off during summers.


There were 3 distances during this event: Sprint, Olympic and half Ironman. I was doing the Olympic distance. I found the event to be very genuine and the crowd to have a wide range of essential characters in local triathlon hierarchy. There was nothing lavish or overly commercial - a local experience for sure!
Photo credit: Reinhard Perkasa
Once the gun went off, it was already pretty hot and the ocean was fairly wavy. I led my race from the start and built a few minutes lead out of the water – I had to zig-zag around some athletes I was lapping on the 2nd loop which added some challenge. The run to transition was long-ish and uphill. I put on my De Soto Cool Wings (thanks Harley) because I practice what I preach ;)

Photo credit: Reinhard Perkasa

Once on my bike, I felt good from the go and was riding at a good tempo - I was encouraged by hundreds, if not thousands of children cheering and waving Indonesian flags. That did however slow me down a bit, being a foreigner and all.
Off the may highway and through the in land towards the coast, it was rolling terrain, random private residences and various types of field crops.
Photo credit: Reinhard Perkasa
As I started to feel the pressure of my quick start on the bike, I saw some funny things behind me after a 120 degree turn going into the only out/back section of the bike.

Where there is smoke - there is usually fire. There are clear rules in all races about intent to give outside assistance and following athletes at high speed on the course, especially when there's a relationship.

Anyway, I went from 1st to 3rd at the turn around section, then struggled at the end of the bike, lost time due to my lack of fitness and starting too fast.

On the run, I ran into 2nd place with a slow/grumpy run, on what was very tough weather.

Sport I find is a great vessel to connect people, but sometimes money can bring out the worst in people. As soon a competitor appears to have a potential outside advantage over others, that's not cool.

Moving forward, it's important to handle these situations calmly at the finish line - next time I will try to feel flattered that much needs to be done to give me a good beating on a hot/slow day.

Very cool lay out for the post race lunch.


Miscellaneous rice sweets after the awards! 

Tribuddies morning photo shoot the day after the race!

The following day I travelled to Jakarta and spent 36 hours there exploring the city and meeting some people.
Selfie near the mall in front of my hotel!
Panoramic at sunset.

At night...

All in all it was a good experience, only 1 delay in my travel and did not get sick.

Special thanks to the organizers for their hospitality and the event. As well to my sponsors: Garmin Center Philippines - Token Wheels - Vellum Cycles.


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