It is hard to believe but the XTERRA Asia Tour is almost over, the weeks have gone by incredibly fast and there is only one more race to go in XTERRA Saipan on Saturday. Before that happens though need to get things caught up on what happened last week at XTERRA Philippines. I will tell you more about the culture and experience once all the racing is done but want to get an update on the races before I go and do another one.
The race was held in Liloan a suburb of Cebu, it was an early shuttle over but the earlier the start the more thankful I would be of not racing in the heat and humidity as much. I was happy that it was overcast for much of the day with the sun poking through here and there during the race. Had the sun been blazing it may have been a very different story. Though I thought is was warm all the locals thought it was a very pleasant day, and not nearly has bad as last year.
Unlike Guam where we were in a more protected bay, we were right out on the open ocean and it was a bit choppy for the two loop swim. I started toward the outside that way at the gun I could use the ground to push off of as opposed to being in deep water at the buoy. It was a bit longer but I figured I could swim hard and get to the inside line and on to the feet of the other guys. It worked perfectly and I filed in right behind Olivier Marceau. As expected Ben Allen and two others got away after the first turn and slowly worked up a gap. Olivier and I exited a little over a minute down from them and took off in to the crowd.
The bike was like nothing any of us has experienced in a race. The two loop bike course wound through the small towns surrounding Liloan. After chasing Olivier out of transition he took off and once we start to wind through the streets I wouldn't see him again except for at the turn around points. We were flying through the streets, backyards, basketball courts, through a marina around light house and through the "graveyard". The entire time there were people lining the road, no one that lived in that area was inside, they were all out on the course watching, it was awesome.
one side and it dropped in to the ocean on the other for about 100 feet then it opened up a little bit to 2-3 feet wide but riding through some smooth sections and some rock garden sections and both sides dropped into the ocean. It was a fun different challenge. I was riding much better than the previous week in Guam technically and flying through the rough sections making time on everyone but it was a flat and short climbs that my legs just weren't responding on. Just at the end of the first lap Cedric flew by before we entered the graveyard section. It was a short rocky decent in to a rough single track section with loose rocks
here and there and then up a steep rock hill to start the second lap. I had no problem catching and staying on Cedrics wheel through the technical stuff but once it opened up he was gone. I tried to just get back into my rhythm but I one way out on the second lap I really felt the heat and humidity and felt like I was going to burst when the sun came out from the clouds. Once it was over cast again I felt a bit better but just didn't feel the power in my legs. I cleaned the technical sections again and slowly ground my way back into transition in preparation for the run.
As I headed out I grabbed an extra bottle of water on top of my bottle of EFS and began the slow slog out of transition. The legs were very heavy and I tried to use everything to try to help them start turning over. There was not much that was going to help a that point, I focused on grabbing all the fluids I could and tried to help cool myself down but was just suffering. About half way through the run Graham Wadsworth caught me as we ran through a group of turkeys (literally) and then crossed a nice semi rickety bamboo bridge the creaked and felt and sounded like is was breaking beneath your feet. This was the only stretch on the entire course where there were not spectators for almost a quarter mile. The crowd is all that kept me from walking parts when my legs were just lead weights. They turned out to watch us and I was very grateful, it was an unbelievable sight. I crossed the line in 5th exhausted and immediately went to the massage tent and laid down hoping to get all the kinks worked out and get re-hydrated. Congrast to Ben, Olivier, Cedric and Graham for getting the best of me today, they suffered a bit better than I did through the heat.