Its’ been over a year since I last made my last entry! I cannot believe it!
So many races I have done this year and right now as I speak, I am already in the mist of my final preparations works before I cross swords with my other opponents in Auckland 70.3, come 19th January 2014.
One of the greatest highlight of 2013 I can recall would be to leave my mark as the fastest female age grouper biker at the CEBU Cobra 70.3 ironman. And to pick up my new Argon E118 race bike from my generous sponsors, Entro cycle who has been ever so supportive of me pursuing my passion over the years. (Which girl doesn’t love presents?!?!)
Cebu was a race where I eventually break the Sub 5 hours benchmark which is usually the unspoken time to go under for a guy to be considered fast. To do it with such a big contingent of Singaporeans as a chick just sweetens the whole experience. 4hrs 58mins is the time.
With the success at the race, the race did however, leave a tinge of bitterness for me. Coming into the finishing 5 km stretch, my left femur decided to act up again and I had to change my running tempo and stride to accommodate the twitch it was giving. It was at that point that I was passed by Jamie Jacobs( 2012 Ironman Pete Jacobs wife!) who’s strength lies on the run. I eventually finished 2nd position in my age group. Such a race left me a lot of question on “what if’s”. It wasn’t about me not being in shape for the race but rather, my biomechanics which could not pull it together on race day.
Now I have mentioned in the past that I was really lucky to have my partner Alan in my life, he couldn’t have come to me at a better time. He pulled me to a corner when I was soaking myself up in the post-race ice-bath pool. Spoke to me in a clam and collective manner, telling me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of the mark than I have made today. And most importantly if the results are correct, I would have been the fastest female age group bike across all age group today even with the human traffic of people cycling abreast holding me back at times along the bike course. And of all that I have done was not to prove my doubters wrong but rather, it was just a glimpse or tip of the iceberg of what more I can give to the sports.
Triathlon indeed, never fails to amaze and humble me.
Coming back to Singapore, I was greeted by a surprise message from Eugene of Entro Cycle telling me that both he and Bernard has a surprise for me. A new Bike.
It was a very joyous moment for me, knowing that all my hard work is acknowledge by my friends, family and sponsors. Recognising the effort I am putting in hope of becoming Singapore first Professional Ironman Triathlete.
Now with all the sunshine and fireworks of racing in 2013. The one race where I learnt the most about myself as a person would have to be Japan Ironman, Hokkaido.
Race conditions were less than ideal with neighbouring country Taiwan, threatening the race with a monsoon storm on the weekend of the race. It was simply wet and cold from morning till night when I tested my equipment and travel around town to satisfy Alan’s gastronomy of Japanese food.
I don’t take long flights very well and along with the drastic change of climate, I soon went under the weather and develop a fever. It was just before the race start did I manage to shake of the feeling of being sick and psych myself back into race mode.
Swim conditions in the morning was surprisingly calm and warm. It was a pretty straight forward swim course with two triangular loops before transitioning to the T1. I spotted Alan when I was about to exit T1 where he would usually give me information’s of the time splits between me and my competitors. There was a surprising lead of 15mins from the Japanese girl in front of me. Bike profile was a hilly ride around Lake Toya. Game plan was to keep a strong pace on the bike given its hilly profile and to see how it pens out. Everything was on schedule until the 120km mark. There was a sudden change in the weather and the storm which went into hiding in the morning just jumped out and overcast the whole race with its insane wind conditions and freezing rain. According to Alan and our good friend, Joyce, who was a photographer for her husband participating in the race, temperature went from 17deg to 10deg due to the chill factor. This made biking on the course very technical and treacherous. For every steep climbs comes an equally steep decent and usually followed by a narrow and tight bend on the road. The colder temperature also mean that traction and grip on the tires also deteriorates compared to riding in a dry and warmer conditions. I decided to be safe and not take risk on the bike from that point so as for me to reach the run leg of the race unscathed.
Run was 4 times along Lake Toya with half the run course totally exposed to the elements of the wind and rain. The once peaceful lake in the morning that I swam had waves gushing onto the pathway as if Medusa herself was trying to make a cameo in the race! My palms was turning whitish at his point from the drop in temperature. I was really lucky to have my saviour went back to the hotel room and grab a running jacket for me to allow me some form of comfort from such horrible weather.
I eventually finished 2nd position in the race with the 1st position Japanese girl having close to an hour lead on me. I was really disheartened when I saw the time gap she had. I had put in so much to get to where I am, only to be distant by and hour by a competitor. It certainly wasn’t a position I was used to.
I found out from my Taiwanese Professional Triathlete friend Jenny, that the Japanese girl raced on the professional circuit and might just have her racing license expired before the race and henceforth racing in my category. Those words did offer me some level of comfort. Know that I know I was beaten by a worthy opponent and she duly deserve the respect from me. I lost out on the only available Kona slot to her. But the knowledge and experience to race with a pro should I move up the ranks in the future, could only give me an advantage and a better head start.
As Alan always tells me, to take a step back and appreciate the finer things in life. I still took home a 2nd position in an Ironman race. A feat which I have reason to believe has yet to be achieve for any Singaporean men thus far.
From now on, it can only get better from here.
Bring on 2014!!!