When I first saw the poster of, Hunat Sugbo Triathlon Goes to Oslob, from Aktib’s listing of races and events, it left me ecstatic. The first thing that caught my eye was the “At least ONE FEMALE per Team is required” for the relay category. The individual tri events: both full and sprint distance didn’t really appeal to me. Not as of the moment. To complete the threesome, I immediately contacted two of my teammates from Team Big Ring. Ken our swimmer, Alan our runner and I’m the biker. It’s my first time to be part of a relay team for a Triathlon event so imagine my excitement. We’re all mountain bikers and you can find us somewhere in the trails of Cebu. XC races are totally different with Triathlon, the latter being a more popular sport in town. Triathlon is more “bongga” which something I understand — it’s not an inexpensive sport. Well, anything that has to do with a bike is never cheap anyway.
I’ll create a bullet point list of what really went down that weekend.
- Month(s) before race day, the organizers released a promotional video found here. If you noticed, the runner stopped in awe of Tumalog Falls, passed by some trails and uphill climbs. On the race briefing and race day itself, the 10K run for the full tri and relay, athletes had to do four loops in The Heritage Park. What’s up with that?
- One of the things that made us decide to join is because of what we saw on the promotional video. We even contemplated on the thought if the athletes had to swim with the famous whale sharks. Running through scenic landscapes completely sold us. But the athletes had to bear doing a dizzying and rather boring four loops of a 10k run. Great marketing strategy.
- On the bike portion of the race. This is a bit alarming according to my point of view. I’ve marshaled XTERRA and IRONMAN this year. On the two said events, I was assigned to the transition area – it’s where the athlete transitions to bike from the swim leg and then run from the bike leg. This is one the critical area of the race because this is where the bikes and all the athletes’ stuff are. Again, these are not your ordinary Made in China or bought in CDR KING items. I even noticed people, when I say people I meant non-participants, could just come and go so easily.
- Even on the bike check out, they’re not too strict with it. No papers to sign or what have you. Anybody could have gone home with someone else’s bike or worse – someone took your bike home. Not that I don’t trust anyone but it’s always better safe than sorry. I haven’t heard of anyone reported lost or stolen though. Well, none from my own circle.
- Still on the bike leg. For the full and relay category, we had to do two loops from the transition area to Barangay Granada. So that’s like 10k to and from until we’re done and biked 40k. I don’t know about the rest but I very much prefer biking a distance of 40k in just one loop. That’s 20k from start point and another 20k to the end point. I also noticed the lack of race marshals along the way. There’s not even any sign or anything to indicate that the athlete have completed the first out of two loops. I couldn’t blame some athletes who only biked one out of two. Race marshals weren’t as alert as I thought they should be. At some point, when I was done with my first loop from the bike leg, I even got lost and went straight ahead to the transition area. Not just me but some other athletes as well. If you ask a race marshal, you always trust them when they tell you which way to go.
- Similar thing happened to my teammate in the run portion of the race. Marshals should at least remind if not help the athlete keep track on how many they have done out of the four loops for the 10k run. This, I know that athletes should be mindful when racing but after the swim and bike, I’m sure some are already mindf*cked.
- The Loot bags. From what was said on the site is we all get these stuff. But some of us didn’t have a shirt, no race number holder. There were some things missing. It’s not the same as what was seen and a lot missing. My teammate, Ken, does not even have his personalized finishers t-shirt. To think we registered as early as August. The shirt’s been taken cared of though, props to Kim Trinidad for this one.
- It’s been five days since race day but there’s still no race result, except for the top finishers in their respective age categories. There’s still no race result for the individual and relay categories. I mean, as an athlete, I would really love to know where I stand among the other participants. I don’t know my official time from the bike leg. Or even our team standing. I REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT’S UP WITH THAT.
Those were just what I noticed or it’s what somehow disappointed me but overall I really had a fun experience. The Hunat Sugbu Staff and Crew were all so accommodating and friendly. They all had smiles on their faces. At least to me they were all smiles. I noticed the staffs’ warm welcome from the race briefing up until the serving of the buffet lunch. Kudos to the athletes who braved the waves. I don’t know how they did it. But man, wow! Oslob, even if it’s 100k from the city, is a very good venue for triathlon. The event really promotes the town and it has a lot more to offer aside from the Whale Sharks. I also like that the crowd cheered on every athlete even if there wasn’t any showbiz personality in sight. You know some people always associate triathlon with the “artistas”. But really, the locals were so friendly and helpful. Some even prepared water either to drink or to refresh yourself. The crowd and the place was just amazing. Oslob, I shall return.
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