This weeks blog comes from our overseas guest blogger TC who has been racing again and putting us all to shame with another first class performance in the ASTC Gunsan Long Distance Triathlon. He’s made your life even easier by putting together a YouTube video of the race that you should check out here.
During the first quarter of 2018 I had a chance to meet an executive from Korea Triathlon. I agreed to join their inaugural event ; ASTC Gunsan Long Distance Triathlon and help them to promote this event among Thai triathletes.
After I finished Challenge Melbourne, my training was a bit of inconsistent due to heavy hours of my full time job. Because of the double of distance of swim part from standard distance (1500 to 3000m) and the likeliness of riding through cross and head wind on this course. Main things which I tried to focus are being able to swim and ride strongly.
I knew that race day air temperature would be around 15-20c so there is no concern about running in hot and humid conditions.
I arrived Gunsan on Friday afternoon and felt so tired after a long trip. So I decided not to train and rest as much as I can on Friday night. On Saturday, the weather conditions was not so good as the rain poured all day long. Swim, bike and run course familiarisation were all cancelled and only bike course survey by car was conducted by race organiser.
On race day morning, water temperature was around 13.5-14c. It became clear that no one would really like to swim in this extreme water temperature. Race organiser had decided to shorten the swim from 3 km to around 1.8km (two laps)
Swim : I started in a good position as my coach advised. As soon as I entered the water I knew that my body would react badly in this water conditions. The first lap went quite well as I could draft faster swimmer and I tried to control myself not to panic in this extreme temperature and conditions. As I started the second lap, both of my hand fingers were all numb and I could not control them. Pulling and pushing had become super difficult tasks. I tried to focus on drafting others , propelling and gliding through water as fast as possible. I finished the swim part around 35 minutes.
T1: Transition was set a bit far from swim exit(around 500 meters). During my run to T1, I managed to take off the upper part of wet suit and be ready for the bike part.
Bike: I started this part in a calm mode by try not to push myself early and save energy for the latter part. I carried 3 bottles with me on the bike; one for concentrate sodium and two for electrolyte with calories and 3 gels in cycling jersey. Road surface was quite slippery after the rain from yesterday. It was hard to believe that after all those experience I still made a silly mistake by forgetting to shift to big front chain ring until I reach 40 km on the bike. During the second 40km, I gave it everything I got. Not so sure this was a good thing or not because it was probably the first time I could run without any cramp and be able to push myself in the last 3 km on the run.
T2: I entered T2 and tried to save the lost time during the bike as much as possible. I spent around 2 minutes in T2
Run: During the first 2 km, I started slow and make sure I had good legs to run. As soon as I knew my legs were still good, I decided to take risk and pushed to 5:30-5:40 min/km and stay in this speed and pace as long as possible. I carried 3 gels with me and took it on 5, 10, 15 km marked. I took 2 small cups of Cola during km 12-15. I think it really helped me to be able to push in the last 3 km. During the last 3 km, my legs were started to get heavy but I decided to push through it and run my best. I finished the run part around 1:52 hrs
I felt like I still able to ride better (may be avg 31.5-32 kph or 155 watt) but this mistake made metruly realise about my bike and run fitness. During the swim part I felt like I was a bit struggling but surprisingly I could finish better than I thought. Running was probably the most part which I proud of my effort because I was able to focus on present and gave it everything I had even though I made a silly mistake on the bike.
Pre race communication : 7/10
Consider that this race is handled and organised by Asia Triathlon Confederation and Korea Triathlon Federation, only resource which athlete can find was limited only on ITU website. Athlete guide can be downloaded and contain all important informations.
Race day safety : 10/10
During the event on swim, bike and run course I can feel that race organiser has made race safety as their first priority. Even I am not a Korean speaker I know that they are very very serious on this issue. Swim course was full of life guard kayak, bike and run course were 100% road closure with policemen on crossroads and junctions
On course nutrition 8/10
Water stations are available after swim exit and transition area entrance and exit. Only water was provide on bike course. During run course aid stations were set every 2 km and there are plenty of 500 ml bottle of water, Coca-Cola , Bananas and electrolyte
Finish line experience : 7/10
Finish line and transition 1 and 2 were set in the same location which made it quite convenience for athlete to access their bike and belongings after the race. Finish line was opened to public and taking photo for your favourite athlete was permitted. Refreshment with snacks and fruits are available for athletes and family.
Race course and race venue is around 3 hours from Incheon International Airport and can be accessed by bus and taxi. During the race week, it was considered as a transition period between spring and summer season in South Korea. You can expect of air temperature between 15-25c. Try this race and enjoy one of the coolest conditions and probably the most beautiful swim, bike and run course in Asia.