It was a sprint duathlon event organised by MetaSport, a sport management company in Singapore. Participants are required to run the first leg of 3 km, cycle 20 km and run the second leg of 3 km to the finish. It was to be my first such event when my GP Riders' captain, Tomas invited us to join him. Tomas did this event for the fourth consecutive time since its inception. At his calling, 10 of us from GP Riders eventually signed up for it. One surprise element was Richard Foo, Aranda Country Club's general manager who is not known to enjoy running which is his Achilles heel. When he signed up, I gave him two thumbs-up for his courage. Steve was to participate but a recent bike incident put paid to it. Our 'grand old man' of the team, Teong at '63 young' was his last minute replacement. From our GP Riders, we had Tomas, Bernard, Peter Yeo, William, Richard Tan, Ernest, Teong, Richard Foo, Poh Kuan and me - nine testosterone driven males and one petite lady in Poh Kuan.
The event was scheduled on 24 Mar, Sunday and we had arranged to meet at Aranda Country Club (ACC) at 0600 hrs to pick up our bikes where William and Peter will help to transport to the venue on their truck and van respectively. Save for Bernard who will meet us at the start up venue in Sengkang, all of us met at ACC and moved together at about 0700 hrs.
We were to be flagged off in waves based on gender and age group. I was grouped in the 50-59 age group with Tomas and Richard Foo in wave 3 and Teong who was in the 60-69 age group was also in the same wave as us. Poh Kuan was in wave 2 with the ladies. For the rest of them, they were in 40-49 age group and they were in wave 6.
I was not prepared to push hard, had intended to tag along with Tomas. Tomas is a strong cyclist but running is his weaker discipline. Further, he had not been feeling well and had not been training much either. Richard Foo and I encountered some difficulty getting to the start point, we had to made few detours and asked the officials before we can find the start point. When we reached, it was just seconds left before we were flagged off in our detail. I was looking around for Tomas but I couldn't find him. I realised after the race that Tomas was actually trying to find us when he noticed we had yet to turn up. As I didn't see Tomas at the start line with me, I decided to go all out. Running the first leg of 3 km was easy, and soon I passed many runners. It was quite hot when we were flagged off at 0820 hrs.
Some 1 km into the run, I saw Poh Kuan on the finishing leg and I shouted at her. She was flagged off 10 mins ahead of me. It was a good run for me, no doubt. Now, it was the bike race. Soon I was on my bike. We had to do four laps, total 20 km. I was pedalling quite hard and I can feel a tight strain on my thighs from the push. Almost completing my first lap, I saw Tomas who had just started his cycling. I saw Teong too. The U-turn proved quite a challenge. Everyone had to slow down and made a sharp turn. Any wrong move could send one tumble to the ground. The road was broad enough for overtaking but I was careful. Each time I was about to pass someone in front, I will shout "Right" and the same, someone will shout "Right" when he or she was to pass me.
Soon, I completed my four laps on bike and now, the second leg of 3 km to the finish. I thought I should not have any problem running but I was proven dead wrong. I felt cramp was slowly building up on my right calf. I had to stop for a while, limbered up my legs and then resumed the run. I must admit it was tough. My legs just could not listen to my body. It was a hard run and my pace slowed considerably. I just could not muster energy to accelerate like I used to do. I had wanted to stop and walk but I persevered on.
Nearing to the finish, the officials managed to place the tape before I made a final dash. I raised my hands when I hit the tape as if I have just won an Olympic gold. The toughest part was the second leg run.
When I checked my result, I admit I was pleasantly surprised that I have clocked 1 hour 13 mins 3 seconds. To be exact, I clocked 14 min 2 sec in my first 3km leg, 38 mins 45 secs in my 20km cycle and 18 mins12 secs for the final 3km run. In my age category 50 to 59, I was placed in 10th position out of 45 competitors and overall, 233th position out of 763 competitors. Many did not finish, either they were absent or gave up midway in the race. Soon, one by one, our GP Riders competitors raced to the finishing line. Nobody from our side gave up mid way. Even our rotund Richard Foo puffed and huffed in his final run to touch home. We took more pictures before we loaded up our bikes and made our way back to ACC. Barring any unforeseeable, I should be back for next year to better my time.