This was the second year for Davao 70.3 and Sunrise put on another great event by all accounts.
Only a few hardened members of the Tritons entered this race with many weaker members of the club choosing the cooler climate and wetsuit swim of Taitung 70.3 held on the same day. We had the big guns of Marcel Guethoff, Steph Lau and Nick Mawdsley representing with semi-retired athlete Jerry Nieuwkoop (did I spell that right?) providing much needed emotional support and race updates to Chairman Fen.
We all flew in Friday afternoon on Cathay's new direct flight, allowing us plenty of time to assemble our bikes, grab some dinner and get an early night. Marcel, who was travelling with his family, chose to stay at the Marco Polo hotel hoping to rub shoulders with the pro athletes while Steph, Jerry and I stayed at the Park Inn which was a bit closer to transition. We crewed up with Peter Goldberg, Mark Doel and Tom Hardcastle from the Sai Kung Triathlon community as well as Wayne Crossley from a lesser known club called Dragons.
We missed the Carbo Load Dinner that night. Tom Hardcastle, who had very keenly arrived in Davao on Wednesday, attended and said the food was decent and they put on a great show with various entertainment. In hindsight, we should have joined.
On to Saturday. Most of us had a perfectly good hotel buffet breakfast while Steph swanned off to the elite AWA breakfast which I am told was well worth going with some good course / weather specific advice on offer. There were big queues at the athlete check-in but some sweet talking got us all through the AWA channel. Clearly, I don’t spend enough money to get AWA status.
We joined the bike course ride out which was a good call as it gave us a good flavour of the road conditions which were rough and bumpy. The police did a great job escorting us all but the amount of traffic on the road still made it quite an unnerving experience. We also checked out the swim course which was a little choppy but overall a nice temp and clean. T1 and T2 were in the same place and there was no messing around with bike and run bags as all your gear could be kept next to your bike. Also, the swim exit and bike mount / dismount line were right next to transition so not much barefoot running required.
After checking our bikes in, it was off for an early dinner and then back to hotel for usual final faffing around with gear, nutrition, drugs and where the hell are my salt tabs?!!
On to race day. I slept through my alarm and miraculously woke up at 4:07am, missing breakfast and giving me 23 minutes to cobble together something to eat, grab my gear and catch the bus. If I had checked my messages I would have had an extra 15 minutes by joining Steph and Jerry in their luxury private van.
Swim - One big loop. We were all split into corrals based on previous swim times ready for a rolling start. Pretty well organised and efficient. Was quite difficult to find the first turn as there was no sighting buoy but after that it was fairly well sign posted. Bit of the normal washing machine chaos at the start particularly as some swimmers were clearly in the wrong corral as they immediately broke into breaststroke. Apparently about 40 swimmers didn't make the cut off due to the currents. Otherwise it was a nice swim with a little bit of chop here and there. Marcel somehow beat me in the swim despite me being faster on paper. Afterwards he said "You need to go to front group and grab feet!" Sound advice.
Bike - One long flat out and back completely closed off to traffic. Head wind on the way out but nice tail wind on the way back. Roads were really rough and bumpy in parts but there were also some nice long smooth parts. Bike aid stations could have been a little better sign posted on approach. Loads of spectators lining most of the course, clapping and cheering the whole way. Marcel crushed the bike with a time of 2:23 despite having to deal with a flat tire early on.
Run - Two loop out and back. The run aid stations were bi-directional which was a bit chaotic with people running into each other from both directions but on balance it was probably better that way as it seemed like there was an aid station every kilometre. It was a scorcher but the aid stations were well stocked with ice buckets, cold sponges, iced water, etc. Again the spectators were fantastic. The whole run course was lined end to end with school kids, brass bands playing, dancing troupes, and pom pom girls (you looked great Jerry!). And any acknowledgement from an athlete and the crowd went nuts. It was a crazy carnival atmosphere.
Finish line - Weird wooden jingly finisher's medal was unique but still heavy. Food options were a little lacking at the end but ice baths, showers, massage and free beer made up for it.
Overall a really good race - very well organised and easy to get to. Highly recommended.
Marcel - 4:35 / 3rd M35-39 / 6th male age grouper / 20th overall
Steph - 6:28 / 10th F30-34
Nick - 5:11 / 4th M45-49
Other notable results:
Craig Alexander - 3:52 / 2nd MPro
Tom Hardcastle - 4:56 / 2nd M50-54
Mark Doel - 5:25 / 7th M50-54
Peter Goldberg - 5:39 / 10th M50-54
Wayne Crossley - 5:49 / 44th M40-44