A triathlon journalist friend asked for a short answer to “what winning this race means to me?” Here’s my answer.
To add to that, it also shows a change in me. My first 70.3 title, my most comfortable race (mentally and physically), my stronger focus and motivation in training towards Hawaii than previous years.
Coming back to the Philippines was something I had to do. The Polo Tri club in Manila are so welcoming and accomodating that is like a trip to visit friends, as much as for a race. It also feels like a holiday in nice little wooden tiki huts, no tv, vey basic but really a great chance to read, catch up with peers and friends, and after the race, go wake boarding in the cable park lake we raced in earlier today!
Above all else is the community, which has little, but has an incredible enthusiasm to be involved. The school kids line the streets and have organised dances and cheers for when we ride past, and they are non stop. It is an incredible experience to see so many happy faces, and see how they light up even more when you smile and wave on the bike, or high 5 them on the run. It’s the same for the big kids too. Everyone competing and spectating here is so friendly, it is just a very enjoyable and rewarding weekend.
Thanks so much to Fred, the president of Alaska Milk, who has done so much and put his heart and soul (and wallet) into growing triathlon in his country for no personal gain, but just because he loves the sport and the Philippines and wants to make a difference. This was also shown in the addition of the Alaska Ironkids event this year. Many competed in their first ever triathlon this weekend!
Of course I couldn’t be as focused and motivated without my sponsors – Team Abu Dhabi – and all the sponsors of our team – Abu Dhabi, Storck, Suunto, Adidas, Oakley, Aquasphere, Powerbar, Xentis, Shimano, Continental, SRM, and Paul Lange & Co Bikeshop. Everyone of the above products played a vital role in my race, and I am very happy I have the best in the business .
Thanks everyone for all the messages of congratulations and support.
Will get to a race report soon. Have to shoot to awards now.