Duathlon events in the country are known to be dominated by mamaws (roughly defined in this entry as n: elites, speedsters and multisport veterans). I checked out the results of previous Powerade Duathlon events, and I knew that if I were in that list, I’d be in the last pack, if not the last finisher. They bike fast and they run even faster.
For my first sprint duathlon (but second dua, the first being the cross country duathlon where I ended up as a dirt ball), I had a very simple goal: finish in one piece—unscathed (read: no semplang moment) and injury-free, as I had another “diabolical” plan the week after. Little did I know that I would have to add another goal on race day.
Friday morning—just two days before D-day—the first tweet on my TwitterGadget’s friends was from Gerard, fellow duathlete-newbie: “kasali sa duathlon si Piolo Pascual sa Sunday?”
While this breaking news shook the multisport scene (especially the ego of the male athletes), it did nothing but brighten my day. At least there’s something exciting to look forward to on Sunday. It also somehow made me forget about the hills of the course and how daunting it is to rack an MTB alongside the beautiful bikes of professional athletes in my age category. Hence, another goal on race day: Have a photo with Papa Piolo.
Jitters and japorm
Race day came. I woke up with eyes red from lack of sleep. Blame it on pre-race jitters and diabolical plans crammed in two weeks. The busy week also robbed me of shuteye time.
While japorm should be my mantra at this duathlon, it’s a term that rarely crosses my vocabulary—even in everyday life. As a newbie for this duathlon, I did try my best, though.
However, Bike King had been out of stock of my size of its Transition One full-length tights. I had been in and out of R.O.X. for an orientation and the hunt for a lightweight jacket suitable for an upcoming race, but had forgotten to scout for a pair of duathlon shorts and buy one in time for a “dress rehearsal.”
So I chose to wear what I’m most comfortable with when training and competing: running gear. And that’s from top to bottom: shirt, shorts, socks and shoes.
So much for my japorm.
At the transition area, all I brought was my Deuter multipurpose Bounty bag containing my GU gels and one hydration bottle.
At about 5:30am, I lined up at the bodymarking with a nearly cramping lower abdomen and a queasy stomach due to acid reflux. In front of me was a guy with his handsome tri-bike, while I lined up with my dad’s full suspension bike.
I was hoping to see familiar faces to ease my troubled nerves. Then came Ian, who also lined up for the body marking. Rico had already instructed me where to put the stickers, but the sprint duathlete newbie has brain cells frozen with fear: I couldn’t figure out how to put them on the bike seat post.
Thankfully, Ian was nice enough to demo and put the stickers neatly. He even adjusted the seat accordingly and removed the blinker to make way for a tidy “03” sticker on the seat post. We racked the bike along with winsome roadies. When I took a bathroom break later, I even spotted Monica Torres, duathlon champ and National team. I was awestruck—my eyes would’ve sparkled with stars at the sight of a speedster and professional. Haha.
Pretty soon, more familiar, friendly faces were visible. Rico, Pio, Gerard, RJ and the rest of the mamaws have arrived. I relaxed a bit. Support/cheerers Chelly and Ellen were also in the transition area, ready with their cameras for a sight of Piolo. I also kept looking around. Isn’t he supposed to be here by now? I wondered.
More Papa P duathlon details in the next entry.
Photos courtesy of Brando Losaria