Expectation: 6 hours 50 minutes, Reality: 7:12.
I only knew about the exact date of the event last Thursday. I was still hammering on my bike route, swam a 2.2K time trial, and jogged for about 40 minutes with less than two days until the race not knowing that Saturday would be race day. It was luck that I got to check the event schedule and found out that it's not a Sunday race. Miracle number 1: I didn't DNS.
My pre race routine included a visit to the rest room when the race was about to start. I was in the line for a major necessity but it was getting too late so at around 6 minutes before the horn I proceeded to the starting line and prayed for the best. Miracle number 2: my stomach was not looking for the restroom throughout the race.
It was a very clean start at the Camayan Beach Resort. I was on the fourth wave (M18-29, Male 40-49) and my first tri swim without the feeling of a washing machine start. The middle part was shallow and I think I saw a ship wreck on the last turn. It was over in less than 37 minutes. Miracle number 3: no washing machine start.
I wore my loose cycling shorts, loose muscle shirt (yes, I hate tight fitting clothes), my cycling shoes, sunglasses and race number; then I was off.
From kilometer 1 to 89 people were passing me. It felt like everybody in my wave just overtook me. Even the athletes from the last wave overtook me on the hills of Bataan. The view was a typical mountain view, unpopulated with dense forestation. The road was endlessly winding and undulating. And the weather was HOT! The first 30 kilometers was OK by my standard but the last 60K was terrible. I had a better ride last year when Reggie was pacing. But still... Miracle number 4: I only had one stop and it was a brief one, I neither got a flat tire nor a mechanical problem considering that I used an MTB crankset on a Shimano 105.
Just like Tri United 3 last year, I was already spent at that point. I was so 'laspag' that I forgot to change to my running attire. I didn't forget the cellphone though. I saw my teammate Lloyd on my entry to the forest, he was already on the way out to the finish line. The difference between last year and this time around was that I knew what to expect. I felt I couldn't run so I just jogged and tried to minimize the time I spend on hydration breaks. I was jogging much slower than Tri United 3 but I had a better run split. The run course took us to the forest reserve where PNP Special Action Forces were training specifically the Viper commandos. On short distance triathlons I usually overtake a lot on the run course but it wasn't short and on that day I couldn't seem to overtake anyone. Miracle number 5: I finished.
So here goes...
The Good: the difficulty of the bike route added to the challenge that is Challenge PH
The Bad: my performance needs a little bit / LOT of improvement
The Ugly: I could have gotten this race for a much cheaper price as part of the Bohol 226 appeasement program hehe
The Race: Challenge PH Subic is very well organized unlike last year, the events within the event are all above average.
The Time: more than 4 hours on the bike, period.
The Best: the hydration stations and kilometer markers were big big upgrades.
The Lesson: be prepared even if it's not your main priority race