Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dubai International Triathlon (Half Ironman) 7 Nov 2014

A Bit of Background

The DIT is the first Half Ironman distance race in the Gulf Region (Saudi, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait). Its not an official "Ironman / Challenge" event, so I guess that's why its called the Dubai International Triathlon. Its not a grand event like the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, in fact I think there was only one female Pro participant and a few male Pros.

Nevertheless the race location (Dubai, Atlantis Resort, The Palm Jumeirah etc) perked my interest and I decided to make the short trip from Doha, Qatar.

Through the convenience of the internet, we managed to obtain accommodation at the huge Hotel Marina Apartment which was located at the Dubai Marina Walk, one of the most beautiful city spots I have ever been to. 
Dubai Marina Walk
 I suppose its amazing how Dubai has become one of the top cities in the world. On the drive from the airport I could see buildings with the logos CNN, Microsoft, Google. Wipro, Oracle, so on. They have done well.

Bike Check In Day

Bike check in, EXPO (just a small one), registration, race briefing etc. was on Thursday. Not very grand, but OK. "WOLFI's" provided free bicycle services, which was very useful to iron out issues with our bicycles. The EXPO wasn't the large one I was hoping for, but never mind.

I intentionally missed the race briefing as nowadays, just normal standing around is problematic with my Osteo Arthritis.
Tip was able to spot double Ironman World Champion, Chris McCormack standing right beside me at the EXPO. Its the second time I have raced with Macca (the first time being Ironman China), both times I beat him as he DNF.
The friendly WOLFI bike mechanic

Part of the Doha Tri Team

Chris McCormack. Ironman World Champ 2007 & 2010. Wonderful chap. Thank You Macca


I arrived at about 6 a.m. to hear the transition lady scream "everybody out in 2 mins, I mean it". Phew, don't mess around with transition ladies, including our lovely and very competent Emily Kelly in Doha. A few participants were not allowed in and had to place their things near the swim exit.

The swim start was quite beautiful. The sun was rising and we could see the city sky scrappers. It was a wave start swim (6.30 a.m., 6.40 a.m., 6.50 a.m. and 7 a.m.), so no bashing each other. I was in the last wave, oops now everyone is going to see me right at the back.
There was a lot of sharp stones on the beach. But otherwise the swim was well laid out. We could actually see each marker buoy as we swam, so no complaints.
I took my time on the swim as it was going to be a long day. Panic hit me the moment I stood up at the end of the swim. My hip bone was making all kind of noises. My problematic bones did not like the hip position required for the swim.
I didn't even smile at my wife. I was worried whether I should carry on.
Swim warm up section

swim finish, already in pain


The bike route was probably the easiest 90 km I have raced. The roads were super smooth, only flyovers to climb, not that windy and not that hot. Someone good could do a quick time on this route. Only 3 hours 20 mins for me. I enjoyed it though, I didn't feel any pain on the bike.


The run was a different matter though. It had got very hot and I thought the aid stations were too far apart for me.

Osteo arthritis meant my joints were painful, bending down was difficult, each step was slow etc.

The first two km went well though. Our buddy Rupert Nell came to support on his bicycle. After a few km I started to get into trouble. I realised "I couldn't run anymore", I have to stop running totally after this. My body was only ok with cycling.

Anyway I plodded along. I'm used to suffering during the many slow Ironmans I have done. I checked my watch to make sure I was going to make the cut off. It was HOT and each step was painful. I suddenly got cramps in my thighs and hung to the beach wall. A little girl gave me a bottle of water, "keep it", she said. That probably saved me, I swallowed the three salt pills I was carrying.

The last km after the turnaround was sweet. I felt a second wind, the other participants were caught in the jam going home. Some were cheering me as there was hardly anyone behind me.

I finished in 7 hour 49 mins, almost in last placing. The 21km took me a whopping 3 hours 43 mins, I have problems there.
Thai style

I couldn't have done it without her


I received the most "likes" ever on Facebook for that effort. Thank you my Facebook friends for your love.




Kevin Siah said...

Kasi you satu lagi Like!

Great job Sofian! Sounds like a really nice race. Did you beat Macca again?

sofiantriathlete said...

Thanks Kevin

We couldn't find Macca's name on the results.