Cebu City Triathlon 2
Allan Choachoy (The Freeman) - January 29, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Over the weekend, another exciting triathlon event happened right in the heart of the city. The Cornerstone Group, which organizes the 8080 Triathlon Series, staged another highly successful race, the 2nd Cebu City Triathlon. What makes this race spectacular is its venue. Also, it is spectator friendly.

The swim took place at Olympic-size pool of the Cebu City Sports Center.  It covers only 750 meters swim and is released by waves. What makes this swim leg exciting is that the 750m is divided into three laps at 250 meters each and on your second turn, you have to run around 75 meters back to the starting lane. You may jump feet first or dive head first and take advantage of the momentum. Others who can hold their breath longer opted to stay longer under water to take advantage of lesser drag and come out almost halfway of the pool. There are different strategies you play when you swim in the pool especially at the turn-around point. You can use the wall to your advantage and have a strong kick to push you further and glide to the next turning point. The best strategy, however, is to swim faster and be ahead of the pack as to avoid the washing machine like situation. Just imagine when five or six swimmers in a bottleneck at the final one lane and everybody grabbing the ladder to get out of the water. But you can always just jump out the pool and not use the ladder.  After the third lap, you will then make a transition under the bleachers hallway and exit to the bike racks situated just beside the oval.

 I came out of the pool eight in my age group, thanks to my good friend Attorney Terence Fernandez who was keeping an eye on the other swimmers. In a sprint distance race, every second counts so how fast your transition from swim to bike is sometimes what you need to win the race. Some takes time in transition like wearing helmet, socks, gloves and bike shoes, but some who is just racing for fun, takes time for selfie and chat with their family who are cheering for them at the bleachers. From the bike rack, you then have to run and bring your bike to the mounting point. It took me less than 45 seconds for my transition from swim to bike and was able to catch up two age groupers at this point. My bike shoes are already mounted on the pedals, so all I need to do was to wear my helmet, no gloves, no socks. I just grabbed my bike and run to the mounting point.

 The bike route traversed through the heart of the city. It will be the only time you will be able to bike around the city at 40kph especially in front of the Sto. Niño Church. Only one side of the road is closed, the pedestrians and vehicle are controlled by the marshal so all cyclists had to be extra alert. The challenge begins when you enter the SRP. The entire left lane is closed for cyclists but strong head winds await them. Going south was easy, I was pedaling with an average speed of 40 to 42kph thanks to the tail wind. But as soon as you turn around the challenge begins. The head wind was strong and my speed went down to 29 to 32 kph. Luckily, I was able to draft with some of the cyclist and was able get back to third position in the bike leg.

 I had another fast transition from bike to run, after mounting the bike, I grab all my run gear (cap, shades and bib number) and wear them all while running. The uphill gradient from the CSCC oval to Fuente and Capitol was tough. I was trying to push on the run. Some Metafit support group was there to cheer me up namely Dona, PJ, Daphne, Emelyn, Jay and Maui, it gave me an added boost. But as soon as I reached Fuente Circle, one by one I was being caught by my age groupers so instead of running after the second placer, it was more on protecting my lead that prevails in my head. I finally came back and finished seventh place. Lawyer Terence even ran the whole 5km route just to cheer me up but the toll of the tough bike leg just was too much for my legs. Bernard Sia, another age grouper, tried to pace me and took some wonderful videos going to the finishing line. Unofficially, I finished seventh place but what is important is that I completed the race and had lots of fun.

 The Metafit Tri Team also had a good finish. Zusette Co finished first in her age group, Jeffrey Coro finished third in 25-29 age group, Dandy Maturan finished fourth, while Fritz Co finished faster than his last year's time and was happy to overtake his good friend Michael Randy Uy in the bike leg. Congratulations also to Lem Co, Pimco Pimentel and Jon Ouano who conquered their first CCT. This is our team's first triathlon race for 2016 and is part of our preparations for the bigger and tougher Cobra 70.3 Ironman Asia Pacific Championships this August.

 SIDELINE: Congratulations to the people behind Cornerstone Group namely Steve and Maricel Maniquis, Quinito Moras and Niño Abarquez for a job welldone. Steve gave me an exciting schedule for 2016, the 8080 Triathlon Series  that starts with the Dip & Dash Series in March, then April in OceanTown Mactan and May 22 in Compostela. The rest includes  Sogod 8080 Triathlon on July 3,  SanRem 8080 on November 5 and Defy 1616 on December 4.     (FREEMAN)

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