Laguna Phuket Triathlon – Friday Update

The 2011 Laguna Phuket Triathlon has reportedly gone through the
1,000 entries barrier for the first time in its 18-year history to
underline Phuket’s reputation as a one of the great destination races.
With a total of 1,078 athletes from 41 countries registered – 985
individual entries and 31 relay teams – Sunday’s race in Phuket,
Thailand, is shaping up to be yet another successful event.

Laguna Phuket Triathlon begins at 6.30am local time (10.30am AEDT) this
Sunday, 27 November. A three-wave swim start kicks off at the Laguna
Beach Resort beachfront on Bang Tao Beach. The unique ocean to lagoon
swim course involves a total swim of 1.8km, broken into a 1200m ocean
swim with a 100m beach sprint over a sand dune to swim the last 600m
across a freshwater lagoon. Athletes depart transition for the 55km bike
course that takes them through a technical but extremely scenic course
of pineapple plantations, rainforest and local villages, whilst the 12K
run is pancake flat through the Laguna Phuket complex. “One thing you
can guarantee. it’s going to be hot and humid.” BPM-Sport’s Nicole
Gallagher told us from Phuket. Nicole and her team of coaches including
Justin Granger regularly prepare athletes to race Phuket’s course and we
asked her to share some insights into racing the Laguna Phuket well.

people hear stories about the dreaded Naithon Hills on the bike and the
heat and humidty. In reality it is a very manageable course and with a
12-25 rear cassette set up you can take on the 3 early hills well, then
make the most of a relatively flat course. Too many people take the
early stages of the bike and the first climb far too aggressively, get
well into the red and struggle. Pacing is key through the first 15kms on
the bike. For people not used to Asia’s heat and humidity that is where
the challenge really kicks in. I’ve seen very talented athletes have
some sensational blow ups on the run here, all not realising the impact
of the conditions. Hydration in the days leading in is key as well as
keeping cool throughout the race. The race organisers ensure there are
plenty of aid stations with ice cold bidons available on the bike and
plenty on the run. One trick of the trade on the run, a small handful of
aid station ice down your tri shorts does wonders. Trust me it works!
Most importantly competitors should soak up the beauty of the course and
have fun with the school kids that will line sections of the course
cheering and waving flags as you ride by. Have fun and remember, where
else can you finish a triathlon with an elephant giving you a kiss at
the finish?”

Among the 985 age group category entries, Hong Kong
leads the field with 260 entries of country nationals and expats – and
Thailand is second with 217, demonstrating its growing triathlon
enthusiasm. Other regional countries such as Singapore, China, Malaysia,
the Philippines and Taiwan are all strongly represented, as well as the
US, Britain and of course Australia who brings the race its oldest
competitor in 74 year old Wilf Deck.

The Laguna Phuket Triathlon
is a curtain-raiser to the second Phuket Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific
Championship, which will be staged at Laguna Phuket a week later on
Sunday 4 December. The Laguna Phuket Triathlon also kicks off the
week-long Tri-Fest carnival of sporting and social activities at Laguna
Phuket leading up to the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship. will be bringing you all the latest from Phuket throughout the week.

Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.