This was my first 70.3 distance race, having completed two shorter distance triathlons in my limited athletic career (Laguna Phuket Tri and HK Festival of Sport Tri). Pre-race a few people ominously informed me that I had “picked a hard race to start out”, so I decided to go easy on the day. Well, to be honest I probably would have gone easy regardless but this forewarning provided a welcome dignity-saving excuse. Weather conditions were favourable, the race organisation was spotless, and all went very smoothly for my own race. In a nice twist, the overall winner of 70.3 Bintan 2019 is fellow Triton / Swib Lab athlete, Jacob Wissum, well done!
Single-lap swim in a sheltered bay. Beautiful location and very calm water, no currents or swells.
Two laps of an out-and-back course on a tarmac footpath / road in the Lagoi-lake area. Flat course, but no shade. Very frequent aid stations (good) but almost the entire course is strewn with plastic rubbish due to people sadly not using the large yellow bins around the aid-stations.
Slightly overcast during the whole race, with a thunderstorm in the afternoon after cut-off.
Very well organized with all the facilities you could wish for. The village is within Plaza Lagoi shopping centre where a few Warungs serve very delicious and reasonably priced local food. There are several day-spas offering foot and full-body massage. Another noteworthy detail is that there are clean public toilets in the centre – the ones on the first floor have much shorter queues.
Tourist infrastructure on Bintan appears to centre around self-sufficient resorts, with little in the way of restaurants or other facilities outside of the resorts. Therefore, if you are the type who likes to walk through a town centre in the evening to “soak up the vibe” and choose a nice place to eat, this may not be the place for you. Plaza Lagoi shopping centre goes very quiet in the evening, with some of the nicer restaurants closing early, and it’s a 10-minute drive to the resorts, with taxis charging a flat rate.
One of the official accommodation venues: The resort is huge, with well-maintained gardens facing a beautiful long beach-front. There are not many people around, or so it feels due to the size of the place. It makes for a very peaceful stay. The facilities are generally good although you get the feeling some of the rooms are a bit dated. There are several dining options, including a food buffet for breakfast and dinner. Unfortunately, it is very meat-oriented. Vegetarians will suffer, but even for a meat-eater there’s something a little unrefined about enhancing every dish or side with pieces of meat. All in all, it’s a good place for a relaxing short stay, very quiet, family friendly but I wouldn’t spend more than a few days there.
There are no direct flights to Bintan and it is a day-long journey door-to-door.