The race organisers were calling it the worlds toughest race. I dont know about that but it sure was the hottest race I have ever done.August 16th was the date for this years annual Desaru International long distance triathlon on the coast of Malaysia. 500 people took part in the race, being the largest field so far,with a very small but quality pro field including Pete Jacobs who finished 2nd in Ironman Roth only three weeks earlier and Matt O’halloren a young guy with huge potential training with team TBB and some of the best athletes in the world.
I had been based in Singapore for three weeks prior to the race to get used to the heat and humitidy as it is only a short ferry trip away from the race site, which turned out to be a great idea. I was ready for the most extreme conditions and that is what we got! 38 degrees with 80-100% humitidy!!! The race didnt start until 10:00am so after a good sleep in we rolled out the door of the motel to transition which was quite conveniently located in the car park 10 metres away from our room.
2 lap swim course (2km), 3 lap undulating bike (90km) and a 2 lap run (21km), was pretty straight forward, so after a rather slow start I came out of the water in 3rd position about 1.30 down on the leader and 45sec behind second place which I thought was rather good considering the two guys in front of me are amoung the best swimmers in triathlon and it was a really choppy ocean swim which did’nt suite me.
Once on the bike I just wanted to work at my own pace and if I could catch the two in front before the run that would be great, but as it turned out I had caught both of them in the first half lap and still felt well within my comfort zone. I have done many halfs in the past and simply run out of power because I have gone to hard to early, so I was very cautious not to fall into the same trap. I also had to make sure I was staying hydrated and eating enough to be able to run the 21km in the extreme heat to finish the race. At the front Pete and I swapt of turns quite casually for the first two laps before I decided to try and get away, sencing that Pete wasent having his best day, I was able to open up a 4 minute gap going into the run. Behind us there was a quite a big gap back to the rest of the field, who were really suffering in the heat.
I had four water bottles on the bike and needed more where as most of the guys only had two so ended up in real trouble going into the run. Once out of transition I hit the bitchumen again with a convoy of escorts in front of me. I felt terrible but for the first time I was’nt cramping and was’nt short on nutrition so I just tried to set a good pace and see what happened. It was so hot that running fast just wasent an option, it was more just trying to survive and make it from aid station to aid station to cool off which were about 1km apart. After the first turn around I knew Pete was in real trouble, he’s a great runner on his day but the time check that I got was 5min to start with, then it blew out to 15 min with about 7km to go which was a massive relief for me. I still tried to get to the finish as quick as I could but it meant I could relax a little and stop a lille longer at the aid stations.
I crossed the line totally exhausted but very happy, finally I had got everything right and I raced as well as I could have. Perfect preparation for my upcoming races over the next few months starting with Singapore 70.3 on the 7th of Sep.
Will let you know how it all goes.