Just when you think you're tough enough

Tough Takes Triathlon

Triathlon Newbies team up for Relay at Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya

Team Tough Asia and their groupies at the Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya
Team Tough Asia and their groupies at the Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya.

Are you just venturing out into multi-sports like Triathlon and can’t handle all the disciplines at once? Most Triathlon events offer Duathlons – bike and run, Aquathlons – cycle and run, or get into a team relay where 2 or 3 members can complete the Triathlon together.

At the recent Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya, Tough Asia(TA) put together a team, to encourage newbies at Triathlon the chance to participate without having to master all the disciplines.

Weekend warrior Samuel Teh is well-versed with cycling but hasn’t taken the plunge into swimming, so we roped in our TA Obstacle Racing enthusiast Cereal Buff to run the 21km and found fins on Vignesh Kay to complete the 1.9km swim. And voila, we have a team!

Team Tough Asia took Josh Amberger's best advise in hand for race day.
Team Tough Asia took Pro Triathlete Josh Amberger’s best advise in hand for race day. Fr L-R: Cereal Buff, Josh Amberger, Vignesh Kay and Samuel Teh.

Swimmer needs to complete to avoid team disqualification

Vignesh Kay, happily joined Team Tough Asia as the swimmer. It was his first time participating in the relay format for Triathlon, although he has completed the half-Ironman, 70.3 miles distance on his own twice before.

This was good news to the team, as Vignesh would not suffer from race-nerves and fear of drowning in the murky Putrajaya lake. Completing the swim is also important, so that the team does not get disqualified right off the bat.

The swim course was a 1.9km out and back loop which means you only need to navigate 4 turns over the entire swim course. There was 3 waves to the rolling start where swimmers had to seed themselves according to their finishing times.

All ready for the race before sunrise.
All ready for the race before sunrise.

“I noticed the slower swimmers had gaily joined in the fastest wave and caused a bunch-up. This caused me to stop intermittently, and find a way round them affecting my swim rhythm and time. I suspect this happens as many of them want more time to avoid being cut-off for being too slow,” said Vignesh.

“The swim caps were made of latex and not of silicone as it was last year which means that I wont be using it ever again. Cost cutting measure maybe?”

“Anyhow, I finished the swim in 45 minutes and quickly ran up the well-carpeted path up to the transition and passed the timing chip to our cyclist,” added Vignesh.

Vignesh swam pretty quickly to get Samuel out on the cycling route.
Vignesh swam pretty quickly to get Samuel out on the cycling route.

Weekend cyclist keeps the team relay rolling on

Weekend warrior Samuel Teh was in awe with the Ironman 70.3 event as a newbie who is just dabbling with multi-sports.

“Unfortunately I can’t swim and had to rely to a relay team but the experience was precious. Initially I thought I was going to be intimidated by the TT and aero bikes but after seeing some other endurance bikes around, the feeling went away and I was excited to start cycling,” said Sam enthusiastically.

“I took the bike course for granted and thought it would have been fairly flat but how wrong I was. I timed and paced myself to a personal target of 3.5 hours for 90km. The heatwave posed quite a challenge and caused fatigue but I was determined to do better,” added Sam.

Samuel completed the cycling route as the temperatures rose at high noon.
Samuel completed the cycling route as the temperatures rose at high noon.

Distract yourself with sights and sounds

“Passing by new places on the route kept me intrigued. I finished the first loop slightly behind my targeted time, so I tried to cycle faster during my second loop but I was already tired by then,” said Sam.

“Loading up with power gels at the water stations and gave me the extra boost but I completed the ride 6 minutes later than targeted. Passed the timing chip to our runner and I have a nice sunburn to show off from my ride and a good experience to share with my family, friends and team mates.”

“Newbies should definitely join this event, even if you’re not able to swim and do not have aero bikes. It was indeed a great experience and I hope to learn swimming and compete in the individual category in future,” concluded Sam.

There's always time for a Team Tough Asia group-fie.
There’s always time for a Team Tough Asia group-fie.

Keeping cool in the heatwave

Cereal Buff finds swimming his Achilles heel and usually participates in Duathlon – Cycle and Run prior to this.

“I snapped up this opportunity to complete the last leg – 21km run in team relay so I could learn about transitions and rules like no drafting which is allowed in other cycling events.”

“It was a little intimidating as I hardly run long distance nowadays due to limited time to train on weekends. Starting the run at high noon during the sweltering heatwave, certainly did not help.”

“Thankfully everything went smoothly, and I kept to my strategy of keeping cool and not getting heat stroke. I also didn’t want to disappoint my team mates and deprived them of their finisher medals.”

Mission accomplished! Team Tough Asia completes the relay at Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya
Mission accomplished! Team Tough Asia completes the relay at Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya

“The 6 aid stations were well stocked like a candy store for fresh legged runner like me, which made my run very pleasant and enjoyable.”

“The park route was scenic and probably one of the nicest 21km I ever ran passing by the ‘Iron Mosque’ – Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, Monumen Alaf Baru, Skyrides festival ground and the majestic Seri Wawasan bridge. We also had a gorgeous view of the Putra Mosque and Prime Minister office across the lake,” continued Cereal.

Overall, the Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya was well planned and organized, and has inspired our newbie team to consider triathlons in the future.

If you’re still mulling about mastering one or two disciplines, ring up some friends and join forces to experience triathlon with a different twist.

For more photos, view Tough Asia’s Facebook album here.

More about the Team Tough Asia

Vignesh has been training and racing triathlons since 2014 and  finds the challenge in preparing multisport racing rewarding and character building.

Cereal Buff is currently doing his PhD in mid-life crisis management. He’s often into santai-santai rides or runs and  sometimes turns into a weekend adrenaline junkie wannabe.

Samuel Teh likes to travel and cook during his free time and would love to explore parts of the world on two wheels if the opportunity arises.

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