After all these years, I was finally able to join EX TRI, the Philippines’ longest-running off-road triathlon. And boy was I glad I did! My friend Rizzo had to go out of the country and turned over her slot to me, even lending me her mountain bike shoes (we both have big feet!). I have to thank Rizzo and Anton for those and Ginny Summerfield for lending me her mountain bike…hugs to you!
I was officially adopted by TEAM SABAK for the weekend, and being a group of mountain bikers, they were hands down the perfect group to be with for an event like this. I was able to test-ride Ginny’s bike once in a Sta. Rosa Ride with Tyrone, Ginny and David a week and a half ago to make sure I still knew how to use a mountain bike (last time I rode one was when I joined Carrera-Habagat in 2007!).
Our “school bus” going to La Luz Resort in Batangas included David, Noel, Richie, and David’s trusty driver Rex. We had a long convoy of Team Sabak SUVs with bike racks and luckily we had a relatively fast trip. As we neared the resort I saw the choppy waters and thought, this was going to be interesting…
Eric and his eXtribe Crew gave us the race briefing and we headed to shore soon after that. A lot were nervous because of the waves. I get excited when I see the rough ocean though–as long as it is not too much. This was perfect, I thought. It was a fast swim and up ahead I could see the lead swimmers, Nonoy and Noel in the distance.
The bike was a mixture of paved road and trails and as I settled into a good rhythm (only after stopping to figure out how to use my borrowed CamelBack..tsk tsk, rookie) I found myself grinning. This was pure FUN! I loved the small break from my tri bike, to be honest. I forgot how much I enjoyed mountain biking.
I completed the bike quite satisfied and went on to do the trail run… which might as well have been a roller coaster ride. The first part had no flat portions whatsoever. It was either straight up or straight down. I mean it– I had to resign myself to walking up the hills. Oh well, I thought, everyone else would walk too for sure.
The last part of the run was along the beach, and it was a barrage of rocks and sand, I was a bit slow in my footing as I wasn’t wearing proper trail shoes and I dropped down two places because of this (I count the guys 🙂 ) but it was all I could manage as training on the track and running on loose sand are definitely not the same.
I saw the finish line after the stretch of big rocks and for the second time during the race caught myself grinning again. If only all races would make me this level of happy, I would bottle the feeling up and sell it! I was especially happy because my athletes did remarkably well and snatched the top podium spots. A coach can only be so proud 🙂
Congratulations to all the finishers and thank you very much to the organizers for putting up such an awesome event!!! Thanks to Teddy Tong, Raoul Floresca, and Alman Dave Quiboquibo for the photos.