Just over an hour drive outside of Bangkok, Bangsaen is a favorite tourist spot for many locals and foreginers in Thailand. The long beach, rows of hotels, bars, shopping stalls, and smooth roads make it a perfect location for a fast and fun 1.5km swim - 42km cycle - 10km run.
With about 1,200 participants on a mostly flat 2-loop course, I was a bit worried about the congestion on the roads for our second lap on the bike. But the Sport Master crew definitely stepped up their game, and improved upon their previous races by putting in bigger gaps on the wave start times, and also thoroughly briefing the participants.
I was very impressed by the fact that though 50% were first-time racers, riders were respectful and aware of cycling etiquette and drafting rules, and kept to the sides except to overtake. A massive improvement from my experience in Cha Am last year, where riders were in full on pelotons going every which way.
The swim was a unique double L: first through the outer lane going clockwise, and then up on the beach and into the inner lane going counter-clockwise. The run took us along the beach road lined with food stalls giving off crazy smells of Thai delicacies, and also included about a kilometer through the dreaded Monkey Zone...
Most of us that raced in the Open category were pretty much spread apart at that point, so I had no one to cower behind as I made my way through the monkey zone. Most monkeys at home in Subic Bay are total pests, and I wasn't looking forward to seeing their Thai cousins during a race.
They were all minding their own business in the first few hundred meters of me running through - sitting, eating, scratching their balls. Until suddenly they just decided to take notice and come up at me from all directions! They just started hissing at me! Aaaaah! I actually shouted for help like a big baby, and started kicking my legs out at them, completely losing my breath and my rhythm. Thankfully a photographer on a motorbike came by and stayed with me until I exited. Next time maybe I'll just bring some food to hand out? What do you guys think? :p
Thank you to everyone that made Bangsaen Triathlon possible. I always feel so welcome in Thailand! It truly is my second home! So happy to spend time with the many friends I have made through this sport.
I look forward to seeing you all in the Philippines for Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, and again for the rest of the Thailand Tri-league Series.