by Pigaboo on Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:55 pm
Day 1 Saturday 6 December
It was a balmy afternoon when we arrived at Phuket International Airport on Saturday. Our trip was almost cancelled due to the political uncertainty that had shut the main airport in Bangkok. Thankfully, the blockade was lifted a few days before and things returned to quasi normality. Six of us had flown in from HK, with Austin directly from Switzerland and another friend, Chin Loo, from Singapore. First order of the day was to check out our Villa and assemble our bikes. After sorting out the room arrangements, Austin, Stefan and myself rode the 15 mins on our bikes to the Laguna Phuket race briefing. It was also a good chance for us to fine tune our gears and brakes, and the onsite TBB mechanics did a good job. After briefing and race bib collection, with a choice of joining the pasta dinner or going out for some local food, the majority voted for Thai dinner, so we gave the pasta a miss. We returned to the Villa after dinner for an early night.
Day 2 Sunday 7 December RACE DAY
Our day started at 4.30 am. For some reason, I woke up at 3.30 am (as I forgot to set my alarm back an hour to account for Thai time!). Anyway, the extra time was good as that allowed me to have an extra cup of coffee and do my morning rituals without rush! It had rained overnight and we were concerned that the bike course might be wet and slippery, but that was not the case. We arrived at T1 at 5.30 am and promptly checked in our bikes. Race organization was excellent and bike security was tight. The race start was on Laguna Beach, and getting there required us to board a barge to cross a lagoon (which we had to swim on the way back). At 7 am, the first wave of competitors took off, with pros like Massimo Cigana (last year’s winner), Belinda Granger, Mirinda Carfrae, Chris Legh and Richie Cunningham as well as age groupers mixing it up. First out of water was actually a very fast age grouper! Our group, which was Austin, Joyce (Team Sexy Back) and myself decided to voluntarily start with the second wave at 7.10 am. The swim was a lot more spaced out than at HKITU. We had a one loop swim course, with 1200m in the open sea and another 600m in the lagoon. Swimming in the lagoon was a lot tougher than anticipated. With sun in the face, navigating to the end was a challenge. The sea weeds and gunk in the lagoon also made swimmers look like The Swamp Thing at the swim exit. First out of the water was Austin and Joyce, with myself a good 5 mins later!
In T1, with Stefan and Austin on the bikes with a 5 mins headstart, I had a relatively quick transition time and was soon hitting the tarmac. It was an overcast and cool day – perfect for a fast bike time. About 5 km into the bike came the dreaded hills. It wasn’t so much of a single big hill climb but rather a series of small to medium steep hills. Think of the big Tai Po hill climb at the start and you have a close idea of the steepness. Many cyclists had resorted to getting off and pushing but I was determined not to join their ranks and continued pumping the pedals. About Km 15, I came upon Stefan on road side. Austin had suffered a back tyre puncture and swapped wheels with Stefan. A friendly competitor stopped to help Stefan with his wheel, which was eventually fixed and allowed him to complete the bike. The course wound downhill at 15 km and was flat for balance of the race, running through plantations, villages, schools and past shop lots. The Thai supporters were great, especially the school kids who sat by the road side with flags cheering the competitors on. I caught up with Austin somewhere in the middle of the bike section on the highway. We chatted for a while and drafted, but I eventually pulled away to a 5 min lead.
Coming into T2 for the run, I was worried about getting leg cramps like in Singapore 70.3 a year ago, but thankfully I am in better shape this year. The weather by now had warmed up a bit and the sun started showing a bit. I alternated between a shuffle and slow jog, trying to shake off cramps in the first 3 km of the run. After much Gatorade and many cold sponges later, I was able to pick up the pace. The course was part road and part trail and grass, running along the fairway rough of Laguna Phuket Golf Course. It was something different and interesting. The drink stations were well located, every 2 km of the run, and served up cold water, coke, Gatorade and cold sponges. Going by past experience, I stuck to the Gatorade and cold sponges and that worked well for me – the cramps soon faded away. Coming into the last 200 m, I naturally picked up the pace with a hard run. It was a great feeling coming into the final stretch with no one behind! But I paid the price for that sprint finish with massive leg cramps past the finish line. I was helped to the first aid tent and promptly iced and sponged down by some nice Thai ladies! The cramps eventually subsided and I managed to make it to the finish line to see Austin and Loo come in.
Overall, I must say the LPT is a very well organized event, and definitely something could be learned from that by the HKITU organizers. I will return to do this race again, just because the race is well organized, well supported, and the Thais so friendly (not to mention the massages and the food!).
Day 3 and beyond
We spent the next couple of days Diving, Karting and alternating between massages and eating and playing board games in the Villa when we didn’t feel like going out. It was a thoroughly enjoyable race/vacation and I’d recommend anyone thinking about doing it next year to go for it! Time to think about getting a group and booking a villa for LPT 2009! Pictures will be posted on website in due time.
Overall pl Name Age Gp Place Cat Swim Time Swim Place T1 Bike Time Bike Plce T2 Run Time Run Plce FinishTime
238 Art Liew M 35 - 39 53 40:41 333 1:35 1:51:52 230 1:26 1:04 250 3:39:32
311 Austin Wang M 25 - 29 27 35:45 205 2:17 1:56:50 287 2:11 1:19 375 3:56:26
28 Sexy Back Team 35:49 19 1:35 2:06:17 24 1:28 1:18 33 4:03:59