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Bangkok Triathlon 2012

What is the motivation to do Bangkok Triathlon? Swimming in the Chao Phraya River?
Bangkok is our backyard, if you think of the scene that only one hard morning and then all you can do is spending a few days and staying at the luxury hotel, enjoying great services, dining out at the nice restaurant at the reasonable prices, go shopping and party! Why not?! Especially that Bangkok Triathlon had been successfully organized for a few years since 2009 when Chrissie Wellington was still in TeamBB and won the race! The race had also been constantly attracting few hundred local and expat, the distance had also been extended from standard OD to 1.8k swim/55k bike/10k similar to LPT. Our friend Michal Bueck won overall champion last year and highly recommend this race! “The water in the river is a lot better than Science Park and Plover Cove in HK!”. So I decided to do it this year!
Enrollment fee and travelling costs is reasonable! Only THB2500 for early bird entry, HK$8500 for 5D4N package for G and I, cheaper than all other oversea Triathlon race I’ve done!
I used to hate packing two bikes into the box but thing are getting better if you get familiar with the bike box that you trust. (30mins/bike for pack or unpacking)

Still, you can’t avoid the overhead when travelling with bike box – A van for airport-hotel transfer.
It’s also a difference feeling when you bring your bike box and unpack it at the luxury hotel in Bangkok – Metropolitan Bangkok, than in other place that I raced in e.g. Phuket, Taiwan, China, Macau…you just don’t want your bike to disturb other guests when most of them are pretty stylish young couple.
G and I arrived two days before and meet John (he was on vocation there) and Frederic who arrived three days before for meeting. Friday night we already at Zinotti for a nice Italian dinner and a bottle of wine.
My setup
Saturday was all about getting up early for a conditional swim and run build up and attending race briefing at Royal Bangkok Hotel.
We bumped into a friend we met in Phuket LPT last year Santi.
The most funny thing in the briefing slide ‘An easy swimming downstream…’ – at every Triathlon swim, I never seen ‘easy’ at any race info.

Due to the road closure limited, the race start 15mins earlier and swim cut shorter.
After race briefing we had a canal cruises to Silom and had a casual chicken rice lunch in the street, then head to CentralWorld supermarket to buy water and breakfast for next day morning. Then back to hotel for the pre-race setup, Bangkok Triathlon is all about Pink!

G setup
Here come the race day, as usual, I never had good sleep before race and now I know it’s not bother me too much on performance. Wake up at 3:45am, Van transport already arranged by the hotel at 04:15, Fred is here so we’re ready to go! Just 20mins we got there. Usual routine for body-mark, Transition setup, swinging arms swinging legs, wait for the sunrise and head to the ferryboat transferred us to the swim start.
Swim course was cut shorter from 1.8k to 1.5k, Fred and I was in heat one, G in heat three, gun started we didn’t hear but we saw people start jumping off the ferry so they started it, 10 secs handicap I’d say. Swim is ‘easy’ and straight forward, just swimming downstream, keep to the right and head to RAMA 8 bridge.

I didn’t think much, just jump and start the swim, brown river water same as what you seen during your river cruises, and I can’t even see my hands and see if I crashed any legs at the front. It’s still an amazing experience as people never expect to swim in Bangkok river that I was doing, alone the 1.5k journey I can tell it was surprising choppy (where the wave from?!) I saw people watching my swim, I smell coconut oil and sa-tay grill! Michal Bucek said he clocked 16mins last year as the current move you, my swim was 23mins! I am not going to count as PB with the help of current.
T1 was smooth, meeting Fred and quickly get on the bike together and rode up the ‘Industrial Ring’ which is an expressway to the west of Bangkok. 2 x 27.5k loop out and back, very straight forward, boring but not easy. Wind was mild at both way, all you have to do keep aero, head down and hammer down, race marshal was doing a good job to warn any drafting, Fred and I keeping a good distance to each other, keeping 32-34km/h pace, hey but how far I go?! Damn! I didn’t start the Garmin timer!!! I realized it has been 10k as I asked Fred!!!! This is the 2nd time I forgot to start the meter since I was on Garmin. My 910XT also keep beeping at each 1km so I know the auto-multi-sports mode was screwed up again….last 10k bike was a bit weak and facing ahead the sun, took one gel, maintain the pace and not over-burn, tried to chat up the other as it was really really boring course.
T2 was ok, no idea on my bike split, pour water over my body to refresh before heading the last dance, 10k run!
Oh Gosh…same as usual, couldn’t pick up the tempo, well, I accepted this due to my inconsistence training. In fact the change of run course is a big favor for me, it was skipping the RAMA 8 bridge, instead it’s 4 x 2.5k loop, 2k in the street and 500m in the park where I got shaded at most of the run, it’s still hot though. I was only jogging (7km pace WTF.…
Water station is nice, they gave ice water, spongy, ice gatorade, ice coke, I only walk a bit during the aid station, I saw G is on the better tempo, (she said it’s slow), I know she gonna pass me if I don’t pick up, and she did pass me at 7.5k, good job! (John captured the moment!) Consistent training is the key! And I just jogging way too slow….ok, keeping it till the end, at least catch a better looking finish line photo!! And Party time!!!!
At the finish line, I saw Fred, G and John already waiting for me! Khorb-Khun-Krup!!
The finisher medal is very nice! G then also won age-group champion in Asian category!
Looking at the result, I am not happy. 23mins swim, 1:14 T1, 1:43 bike, 1:33 T2, 1:08 run, finishing at 3:18:03, Place rank from 31st drop to 84th, the run split is definitely not reasonable, I was aiming at 55mins. I need to enforce regular long run and run-off-bike in 2nd half of the year.

Overall, I am very happy, doing the race at my flavor travel place, pampering at my flavor hotel, with great accompanies, and I’ve done something who don’t do.
I told the Thai people for my swim at the river in Bangkok, their response, ‘No way!’, ‘Yes I really swim in this morning!’, ‘Are you crazy?!’
I didn’t see any catfish, snake and crocodiles in the river, as I didn’t even see my hands!

Post-race brunch at Four Season Bangkok

Would you still do this race if you read this?
Fears as snakes, crocodiles and disease threaten the floodwaters of Thailand


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