Monday, October 06, 2014

Shimoda homegrown triathlon #1

We held our first inaugural triathlon in Shimoda in June, and followed up with a second in September. It was a bit hairy with the organisation but turned out to be a great experience. We had about 10 triathletes. Stan won by a mile, Jay was second, and Petr a surprising 3rd place despite no clip-on pedals or wetsuit. Mika T. also had a strong race. Chris, Matt, Youri, Asaka, Rhino, and Motozo were the other athletes. Brett and Alessandra were a great help with the timekeeping and refreshments. 

Pre-race: Thanks to Brett ランナー, we had a special guest over at the beach house, Mr. Hosaka Yoshihisa. He is a running legend and lives in Shimoda and popped over bearing gifts and a huge smile. You won't believe this but he ran a 2:34:23 marathon at age 59, and I think he holds the world record for over 60 year olds also. He trains everyday by running up Shimoda's steep hills. Food for thought for us mortal men. 

Anyway, back to the triathlon. My plan was to go over the olympic distance swim, bike, and run course with everyone on Saturday, and do the race on Sunday morning at 6 AM in order to avoid the traffic on the highway. This worked out fairly well except that I was a bit tired on Sunday morning from all the biking, swimming and running the prior day. Some others had done long bike rides on Saturday also, so this was pretty much a training weekend. We had great weather and bikers were extremely excited by the views at Irozaki during the bike ride. I didn't use any buoys or markers for any of the course, but there weren't that many wrong turns during the race. We had a magnificent BBQ in the back yard, did a final race briefing, and it was off to bed at 9 PM much do the dismay of one Chris P.

Swim: Amazingly, everyone showed up at 5:50 AM, and we started at 6 AM sharp, swimming from the north side of Kisami Ohama beach south towards Toji. The water was pretty cold and I was worried about the 2 guys swimming without wetsuits, so I kept looking back to make sure they were still OK. I came out just after Youri with Matt on my tail, which was more a factor of leading a group that wasn't totally clear on where they were going, rather than my swimming speed. 

Bike: Although I was leading my own race at the bike start, I got passed by Stan very early while still in Shimoda, and tried to stay with him, but soon lost contact on the first major hill out of town. (Note to myself; I need to do more hill work). I was soon joined by Matt, Jay, and Petr, a triathlon unknown with great potential. Jay and I traded 2nd place positions throughout most of the ride while Petr watched curiously from a short distance. 

Run: By the run, I was pretty drained, and struggled to continue running on the big inclines. Petr and Mika were resilient on the run, flying effortlessly through the uphills. I finished just at around 3 hours, while Stan the gold medalist was around 2:40. After post-race discussions, we determined that the run was actually over 10k, which made for a very slow run given the extreme uphills in Toji. 

     swim      bike      run     total
Stan:  31:31  1:14:10  51:45  2:40:50
Jay:   34:55  1:18:35  52:39  2:51:09
Petr:  34:30  1:25:20  52:15  2:54:00
Mika:  35:40  1:21:00  55:00  2:55:05
Matt:  31:55  1:23:40  59:20  2:59:25
Moto: 31:30  1:24:45 1:04:20 3:03:20
Chris:  34:10  1:29:18  1:12:20 3:12:20
Youri: 30:55  1:25:35    ------       -------  
Asaka:  -----  1:43:50  1:05:35  ------- 
Aless.:  -----   -------     1:06:55   -------

Post-race: the brunch and party were fantastic afterwards, all you can eat buffet at the White Beach Hotel, world cup soccer featuring Japan, coffee, beer, and all the fixings. It didn't matter much that Japan lost the match. A successful start to the homegrown triathlon in Shimoda had been born, and we were very exciting.

We pledged to do this again soon...

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