112 days before Cobra Ironman was the Tri United 1 2012’s female, relay and elites race event. Playa Laiya Batangas, the race venue was a three hour drive from Manila, including the stop over at Petron gas station in the South Luzon Expressway for our team’s meet up. There was moderate traffic all the way to Batangas luckily which gave us enough time to settle to the grueling heat of Laiya. Weather when we got there was extremely hot so we had to continuously hydrate ourselves till the race started
Since Laiya Playa is not a resort (it’s being marketed as residential community), there was no restaurant at the site. There was a food concessionaire though that sold chicken barbeque with rice and the smallest side dish I’ve ever seen – a teaspoon of buttered (?) corn. There were sandwiches and hot dogs for sale too but all looked unappetizing. So, since all the chicken meals were sold out, we had to eat hot dog and rice to give us the energy we needed for the race. I am not into processed food but I had no choice but to indulge in it for the 1 kilometer swim, 30 k bike and 7 k run I needed to finish in a few hours.
The waters of Laiya that afternoon was WAVY! My weakest among the three sports is swim and the site of the waves splashing towards the shore gave me all the jitters! My all girl team mates decided to test the Laiya waves before race started. It was not as bad as I thought but we all decided to head back to the shore even before we reached the first big buoy. Better conquer the waves with lifeguards during the race!
It was a mass start for the female, relay and elite participants. My 16 year old daughter, part of the relay and a strong swimmer, swam ahead with the more experienced ones. I settled to enter the water when most of the pack have entered. My husband coached me to stay away from the right side as everyone would want to swim near the buoy, he was right. The two loops went okay except when a female participant had to be rescued by the lifeboat due to cramps. There were too many rescue boats that made the waves even bigger! I tried my best to keep calm and relaxed and I told myself I didn’t want to be rescued too! Since all the boats seem to have rescued her, I didn’t see a kayak at the turn around where the waves and current was the strongest. Relax…relax…swim…swim… It was harder to site on the second loop because the current and waves seemed stronger. Fortunately, I saw a participant a few meters in front of me and just followed her till I reached the shore. I realized it was my team mate, and we headed to the transition!
I had to pedal lightly until my legs were no longer jelly like for about 2 kilometers. Since the route was not closed to traffic, we had to use our bike skills (?) on the well asphalted and cemented roads and maneuvered the various types of transportation crusing Laiya – from tricycles, jeepneys and tourist buses which was plenty. I was able to practice my shouting skils of – BIKE BIKE BIKE – so these vehicles would let me pass. The bike leg was my favorite even though my Speedfill’s spout broke and only had a sip at the beginning of the bike leg. Well, the heat was disguised by the fresh breeze (crosswind actually which made the race challenging) of Laiya and the bike leg went smoothly, well almost smoothly. I finished the 30k route in 1 hour 5 minutes. Not bad I guess? 🙂
Then the two loop run….where we all had to face the heat of the afternoon sun, the steam of the asphalt road and the uphill of the turnarounds! If the race was done in the morning, it would not have been too bad definitely. I was overtaken though by 2 male relay runners and a fast twenty something lady but still I managed to finish strong with a big smile though very thirsty. Three small bottles of Pocari was enough for a prize at the finish line!
Overall the race was well organized like any other Bike King events. But calling race organizer Raul Cuevas – “Can the female race instead in the morning next time please?”
Mass start for female, relay and elite participants. Photo courtesy of Pinky Bravia
See you all at Tri United 2!
Btw, race results can be viewed at – Tri United 1 Race Results
Photos to follow too…