The title is obvious, I didn’t make it to the start line as planned… I got pretty damn close though, with my transition bags and bike all checked in, hoping that some miracle would happen. Alas, it was not meant to be, but here’s the story nonetheless.
Preparation before the trip was a real logistical nightmare due to “unforeseen circumstances”. I was also nursing a cough which didn’t seem threatening at that time; but it somehow messed up my tapering in the last 2 weeks leading up to the race.
The flight to Perth was an uneventful one, on Malaysian Airline System which took us on a slight detour to Kuala Lumpur before heading in the correct southerly direction to Perth. Met a fellow Malaysian triathlete, Eugene, who was also making his way to Busselton.
I spent 2 nights in Perth catching up with my cousins before making the 200+km drive down to Busselton in our rented Hyundai Elantra which barely contained my bike box and luggage.
Things didn’t start to look good on the drive down when I got really tired and
had to hand over the wheel to Jaime, who safely took us to our new home at Busselton. We reached there by mid afternoon and had a late lunch before I headed straight to bed, without even touching my bike box. Pretty unusual coz I’d usually be enthusiastically assembling the Slice.
The days leading up to the race was all a blur. I was having a fever and was just lying in bed while the rest of the guys went for their swim and rides on Friday and Saturday. Somehow in between the sleeping and the complaining, I managed to assemble my bike, pack my transition bags, and made it down to the event area to drop them all off. Clinging on to that glimmer of hope that I’ll recover on Saturday night and still be able to race on Sunday. I’ve already given up on the expectation to clock a PB, and was just hoping to do a decent race on Sunday.
Sunday morning came and it was obvious I was in no shape to put on anything Lycra that day. My left cheek was aching and my nose was only runny on the left side. Eventually went to see a doctor on Monday and I was told I had a sinus bacteria infection.
Went down to the event site to give some support to friends who were there, many of them doing their maiden Ironman distance. Really happy to see everyone so excited, reminded me of IM Zurich a couple of months ago. I can’t imagine how I held my nerves together before my first race that morning! The anxiety before the flag off is probably the worst part of the whole Ironman race.
The swim started for the pros, and the age groupers started shortly after. We headed to the jetty to watch the swimmers up close; the view was absolutely awesome, walking along the jetty and watching the swimmers struggling and jostling for space. The water was so clear and we were so close we could see the numbers on their race caps!!.The pros made their way to T1 with the leaders finishing in about 47mins.
Jaime once told me that she saw athletes of all shapes and sizes at the ironman in Zurich, it was really impressive to see how all these individuals come together for such a big race. No matter where you came from, everyone raced the same course as the professionals. Many people I speak to always say how daunting it is to do a race like this, it’s hard for me to convince them when I’m still a “young man” and look relatively athletic. This morning there were athletes who were more than 2 times my age, some where 2.5 times my weight; I saw true grit in their eyes as they clawed their way out of the water and into T1. Absolutely amazing.
We made our way home once the last few friends got out of the water. The cycling route would pass our house 3 times so we had the best view that day. We moved our couch outside, and with an annoying bell and chicken, we cheered for the guys in the comfort of our own home.
I was getting my usual afternoon fever so i headed to bed for an afternoon nap. Next up would be meeting the guys at the finish line!
There will always be a constant flow of people coming in towards the finish line. All bruised and battered after hours and hours of racing. The salt stains on the shorts didn’t matter any more, they run their last hundred meters in such an “unglam” state, mustering the last bit of energy to raise their arms in celebration and change that grimace into a smile.
Everyone suffers in this race, doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, the sheer distance will make sure you suffer somewhere along the race.
The guys made their way through the finishers chute. Everyone safe from the day’s battle. It was really chilly so we quickly heading home for a warm shower and dinner. Everyone was so excited, even after 13hours on the road, these guys were still buzzing with energy….. Must be the caffeine.
It was an awesome experience to see the race from a different point of view. It’s not easy being a supporter!! So kudos to all the partners who patiently stand and wait all day just to catch a glimpse of their loved ones on the race course. Notwithstanding the months and months of putting up with the mood swings and grumpiness heehee.
Thanks dear! This post is dedicated to you!