Name of Race: Sarawak International Triathlon
Website for the Race: http://www.triathlonmalaysia.com
Date of Race: June 21, 2008
Location of Race: Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Type of Race: Sprint Triathlon
Distance or duration of Race: 750km Swim, 20km Bike, 5k run
Description of Race:
With big names such as Muhammad Razani Husain, Kimberly Yap, Wong Ah Thiam, the Miri triathlon was a very competitive race. Of course, the names of the athletes and the town would not be familiar to most of us, but the event was well run and lots of fun, with a certain Malaysian flavour. I had the pleasure to participate in the sprint race near the end of a one year work commitment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with very little training; I decided (along with my very understanding wife) that not doing a single race in our home for the year would be a real shame. So, we booked the plane tickets, packed our bags and a bike to the Borneo side of Malaysia for a Sprint race.
There is a solid scene of runners and triathletes near where we lived, however, traffic is a bit crazy and air quality is sketchy, so most people drive to a destination whether it’s a park or less busy area to train. Without a car, my training was limited to running near home or at a gym, and a couple times of cycling while tagging along with a friend and fellow triathlete. And yes, I bought a bike (a Scott Addict R4 for the bike geeks) in Malaysia as the price is quite a bit cheaper than in Toronto.
The organization was of the race was great, when we arrived with a few other triathletes at the airport, there were a few volunteers waiting for us. Our bikes were put in a truck and a bus drove us to the hotel. Since my race was on the following afternoon, we went into town to browse around and had a nice seafood dinner. On race day we were told that registration was at 10AM, the information meeting at 12 and race start at 3PM. This is where things were very different from racing in Ontario, for this Sprint race, I basically spent the whole day getting ready and racing. As the information meeting finished at 1PM, the athletes headed over to the start area with a bit of time for a quick bite. This is the first time that my pre-race meal was rice with BBQ meat… tasty!
The swim portion was in the yacht club and was a loop swim, the water was a bit murky. I was in serious pain in the last 200 or so in the swim as I have not done much swimming for an entire year. The bike portion and the run were held in rather busy streets within the city limit, drafting was allowed and the road was not closed to traffic. The bike course included a couple of steep hills and the run course was mostly flat. My run was by far the best leg of the race as I have run regularly over the year in Malaysia. My team profile picture was taken at the race, if you look closely, you can see the palm trees in the background. Fortunately, race day was not hot for Malaysian standard, but it was still around 30 degrees. By the time I was done, packed up and shower, it was unfortunately too late to check out the town. My time, by the way was nothing to brag about. It was 1:16, with a swim that was long.
As said earlier, I am very glad to be able to participate in a race for the experience. It was very gratifying to be immersed in a different scene from the one in Ontario, also seeing how things are done differently and how people from another culture enjoy what the sport has to offer in their own contexts.
Until next time,