In recent times I have picked up a few pieces of great advice from Trannies (and a fair bit to the contrary as well). After posting a few weeks prior to my trip in an attempt to grab some intel about Putrujaya I came up pretty empty handed but with an opportunity to contribute something meaningful to the forum. So, here it goes, from the keyboard of a long time reader, first time reporter. Good luck to those of you heading over next year, i hope this helps and if you want any more, I'm happy to help.
A bit of context...
After IMOZ last year I managed to pile on 13kg in 8 months. Jan 1 was the line in the sand and the beginning of my "Sloth to Roth" campaign. One highlight of being knee deep in beer cans and Nachos after Port was being inebriated enough one night in December to roll the dice on the limited release entry. I Jagged one and it was also that night I stitched up a trip to Malaysia to visit friends and to have a crack at Putrujaya.
I started a 27 week program for Roth early Jan (shout out to Bruiser and the crew at Ferrosapien Sports in Mooloolaba) and wherever Putrujaya landed in that would simply form a big brick day with the focus on Roth.
I left Sydney on Good Friday, with the race being that Sunday. Yes, its hot, tropical and humid but I was comfortable with the Friday night arrival given i was there to complete rather than compete.
Here we go, hope it helps those of you that were interested and thanks to all of you who have previously posted reports, i love reading about people's experiences in races
The race was the first time there was a rolling start in Asia apparently. It was interesting that the first and therefore fastest gate was "sub 45" and also interesting to see there was a floating pontoon aid stations out on the swim course as part of the "swim safe initiative".
Having experienced the rolling start at IMOZ last year i wasn't phased. I love the concept. Find a set of hips and off you go. Malaysia is a safe and wonderful country and this was my 5th visit there but I always evoke the "bottled water" rule when travelling. I avoided the potential of copping a mouthful of dirty water and risking an upset gut. Man made lake with little natural flow, hot water...algae, you get the picture. For this reason I had avoided the practice swims prior to race day. This also meant I had no idea what was waiting for me once I was in the water.
I managed to get myself close to the front for the start, we dived in from a pontoon into the deep and it was like getting into a bath. Reports were that water temp was around 30 degrees but it wouldn't have surprised me if it was more. I had a swim skin on and was literally poaching, with a swim cap on it was uncomfortable to say the least, ditch the cap if you're over there next year. The swim layout is great. Straight out, 50m 90 degree turn and straight back. They have numbered bouys so you have a great idea of how far along you are... plenty of magic landmarks for sighting as well, very hard to go off course even with poor visibility in the water. I got dropped by the group i was swimming with just after the turn around, (standard for me) and exited in 31.28 the second slowest 70.3 swim time I have ever had over the distance but reflective of the amount of swim training i had done
T1 was slow, but i wasn't racing for sheep stations and took the time to put on more sunscreen and jam a couple of electrolyte tabs into me.
The ride is beautiful. Roughly 730m of elevation over 2x45k loops around the island. Fastest and smooth in most places. The organisers run a duathlon that starts around the same time as the swim, meaning there is a little bit of traffic to navigate through which inevitably leads to surging and for numbers people like me, its annoying but great to see people out there having a dig. Fist lap was pretty uneventful and after about 40km i was through the traffic an settled in the legal pace line where i stayed until the numbers indicated there would be a looming disaster on an already tough run leg if i remained.... not enough endurance in the legs yet. I rode the last 25km solo which seems to be the story of my tri life, spat by the top end but in front of the main pack.
There are only really two small turn arounds where you could see where those in front of you were and only then if you are close enough (there is nowhere on the run to get an eye where the competition is as its one 10km loop around the island).
The aid stations and volleys are amazing. The course is so well marked and marshalled that I don't think there are any witches hats left in Asia on race day, they're all on course.
Nutrition on course is icy cold which is a relief. Lap one was ok weather wise and its always that little harder to measure heat when you are moving but the sweat dripping from me was indicative that Toto wasn't in Kansas anymore. I ran 3 bottles on the bike which is over kill in any race but one bottle of cool water was pleasantly dispensed over the head and core at every opportunity I had and the rest went in the gut whether i wanted it or not.
Second lap the heat started to creep up and there was minimal wind but life wasn't too bad. I came into T2 with a split of 2.33, averaged just a notch over 200 watts which isn't too far off what i was aiming for
T2 was equally as cruisy as the first as i again went tropo with the sunscreen, salt sticks and a couple of sneaky voltaran. A lot slower than normal but as i said, no sheep stations on offer today.
I left T2 with 2 female pros. One who had landed two flats on the bike and took off like on a clear mission to clearly bury herself.
I ran the first few aid stations with a German pro female which was cool. There's something surreal about this sport when you get to share the course with the pros and watch first hand them do their thing.
The first few ks were tough, very little running off the bike in the base phase of the Roth gig and limited time on the TT bike. As a rule, I don't normally stop at aid stations but given conditions and the level of fitness I was at, this wasn't going to be standard practice this time around.
I walked through the stations taking in as much fluid as I could handle and welcoming the cool water being thrown on my by the volleys, embracing the icy sponges they had on offer imagining the relief they must bring to people out on the Queen K in Kona. The run course itself is essentially flat and is a mixture of walking paths along water and street footpaths. Really picturesque. The Malaysian's take pride in their gardens and public spaces and Putrujaya being a suburb specifically built to house government buildings and the Prime Minister's residence reflects this. Manicured beyond comprehension.
I was cruising along at a comfortable pace, enjoying the day. A few slight gut cramps which I put down to probably drinking too much on the bike but nothing bad. Only mistake I made was not jumping on the coca-cola-rollercoaster earlier. That stuff just does it for me but I try to delay it as long as possible. Average HR on the run ended up almost 20bpm higher than IMOZ where I didn't walk once and had the wind to deal with, a combination of the heat and current fitness. The second lap of the run was carnage. I was feeling ok but there were bodies everywhere. A lot walking, a lot falling in a heap with cramps. I did a few good deeds and off loaded the majority of my salt and electrolyte tabs to those who looked like they needed it.... got to be good karma for next time I'm in need, right?
Any race chute is awesome but this one I was just happy to see. All up the chute there were people collapsing and my finisher pic features the medical people and a guy in a world of hurt on the ground. Across the line you get your towel that has been soaking in ice water and is nothing short of perfection. They have all the usual recovery area features including food, massage etc but the best part are massive kids pools with blocks of ice floating around in them which is where I stayed for a good 20 min. I ticked off the run in 1.49 for a finishing time of 4:59:58 and 9th in the 30-34s.
Logistics and musings
In terms of the logistics, if anyone is thinking of going over next year I suggest looking at this year's athlete guide.
There were a number of hotels that were pick up points for an Ironman organised shuttle bus that took you to rego/expo etc. Unfortunately for me they didn't announce this until after I had booked my own accommodation. The main race hotel where I know a few of the pros stayed was the Shangri-La. It was only about 1km from the race village but also a stop point for the shuttle. I stayed at the Marriott which was a bit further out but a little cheaper however the cash i spend going backwards and forwards to the race, while not expensive (about $10-$15 AUD) probably negated the cheaper hotel and meant that I was chasing cabs and on my feet in the heat when I would have preferred to be in air con and watching tv prior to the race. I mentioned earlier i have been to Malaysia a number of times before, Putrujaya is not your typical Malaysia compared to KL and other parts of the country. Ill throw my two bob's worth in and say that if you are going, make sure you get into KL and have a look around and experience the place. Putrujaya has western food everywhere which isn't a bad thing if you're racing, massive flash shopping centres with supermarkets etc...very touristy but all you need. Its a lot more expensive out that way and cabs aren't as easy to get a hold of. The good thing is that the people are super friendly and English is spoken widely in all parts of the country. I got my cab driver's name and mobile number and used him essentially as my driver when i wanted him. Better to do that than rely on luck or having to pay double on race morning. (Malaysian taxis have a 50% surcharge from midnight to 6am).
Feel free to flick me a message if you would like anything else. For now, im on the countdown to Roth and looking forward to another trip away and ticking off a major bucked list race.
Text: "Tossacoin" Images: Supplied