First leg was the Amarin Outdoor Unlimited International Triathlon in beautiful Cha Am, just a 120-km drive from Bangkok. There were over 1,000 racers in total for the standard, relay, sprint, and duathlon categories.
Race morning was filled with even more excitement and anticipation. We were a group of about 30 men and women for the open category wave.
You know it's gonna be a fun day when you manage a few laughs and smiles at the start line. The photo below left is exactly what I looked like when Jurgen did his "Look there's someone naked!" trick on me, and proceeded to steal two shrimp from my tom yum soup while I looked away. But here in this photo, he is just pointing out the turning buoys ;)
The two-loop swim course had a 50-m run on the beach in between loops, specifically designed to allow the cameras and spectators to catch the athletes in action. There were seats lined up on the beach, and just behind it two grandstands along the finish line chute. There were also big screens at the expo, finish, transition, and stage area playing live coverage of the leading athletes, making the race very spectator friendly indeed.
I came out of the water in 8th, and rode the very flat and fast bike course alone, moving my way up to 5th place. The run went through a bit of trail in the law enforcement training facility that hosted the event. The girls ahead were too good that day, and I didn't catch anybody else off the bike. I crossed the line maintaining 5th for the women's open.
Frederik Croneborg, Nick Gates, Ben Hammond, Jaray Jareani, and Slanon Chantaraj came in top 5 for the men's open, while Parys Edwards, Dimity Duke, Brooke Langereis, Katja Rabe, and myself took the top 5 for the women. And here is Tom Sangwanich, the CEO of Sportmaster, Olympian swimmer and former Thai record holder for 100m freestyle, who came in an impressive 10th place in the open category, despite the demanding work schedule he had as organizer for this awesome race.
And as we all had such a great time during the race, the expectations were high for the awards party that evening. And of course, Sportmaster did not disappoint! Two of my favorite Thai things awaited all the participants - Thai food and Singha! After having copious amounts of seafood and noodle, I stuffed myself with coconut icecream mixed with some type of sweetened root crop/ unidentifiable veggie, and this coconut milk dessert with gelatinous green things and crushed ice. Every time I am in Thailand I always look for this weird green dessert. Can anybody tell me what it's called??? That's me rubbing my super stuffed belly up on stage... classy.
The party continued with a concert featuring top Thai hip hop group, Buddha Bless. I had no idea what they were rapping about, but I really liked their beat, and so did the rest of the triathletes!
The 2nd leg of the Thailand Tri-league will be happening in Bangkok on July 4! Word is, it's going to be a night race in a man-made lake! I cannot wait! Keep posted for more details or visit Thailand Tri-League on Facebook. There's a lot of cheap flights from Manila or Clark to Bangkok! Hoping to see all you Filipino triathletes there!
P.S. Check out my ride from Bangkok to Cha Am and back. You've got to forgive the selfie, I had to take a photo in the glittering gold pimped out van! Big thanks to Ben and Tom for welcoming me!!! See you again soon!