James Hodge went to Bintan to race the MetaMan half to get some data on racing in the heat. He has not raced in a humid climate and wanted to test out nutrition and see how he handled things. Prior to the race he had been crook but hadn’t told his team this and also had only ridden his bike for a week after four weeks of zero riding. He found the race incredibly tough and the final time was more an indication of the temperature being faced.
I’ve taken a little longer to get this race report together, which I’m sorry about, but I hope you have an insightful read all the same :-).
Last Wednesday I started the most enjoyable part of travelling as a triathlete, I packed my bike box! Once I had this loaded in the car I got the car filled with petrol and set off south to Melbourne. I stayed the night in Melbourne with Darryl Griffiths, the brains and owner of Shotz Sports Nutrition, his wife Steph and daughter Kate. The next morning Darryl and I flew out from Melbourne to Singapore, I was stoked to be travelling and staying with Darryl for the entire trip, due to the fact that Shotz Sports Nutrition was the major nutrition sponsor for the MetaMan Bintan event.
We landed in Singapore around 4pm and were chauffeured from the airport by my manager Evan Gallagher of BPM-Sport to his house for a few hours of R&R. We also squeezed in a small swim to get the body ticking over after the flight. The race venue was on Bintan Island, at the top of Indonesia, the only way across is via the Ferry, which we caught later that arvo and arrived at our hotel room around 8.30pm. Was a long 24hours of travelling so I dozed off quite quickly to the soft and mellow sounds of Darryl snoring, nothing a quick hit with a pillow can’t stop though ;-).
The next morning we woke to a beautiful day, I got registered and then sorted out all my transition bags. At about 11am it started pouring down with rain, which lasted for about 4hours, it was absolutely crazy, the resort had started to flood, but apparently that is the norm in this region. That afternoon Darryl presented an informative talk to all the athletes about Shotz Sports Nutrition which was fantastic. I then checked my bike into transition and headed back to the resort for some dinner before heading to bed.
The best way to describe race morning was HOT! The MetaMan Bintan Full Iron Distance started at 7am with my race not starting till 8.30am. I watched the start of the full and then headed over to transition to set my area up. It was not long before the leaders of the full were out of the water and then it was for me to head down to race start.
The weather was insane; it smothered me and was relentless. At race start I was sweating like a water fountain with the temperature and humidity at 37degrees and 78% respectively. I played it smart in the swim and saved most of my energy for later in the race, so I drafted the entire swim until the last 400m where I dropped off the wheel of Eric, Michael and Andy who exited the water in that order, followed by myself in 4th.
I mounted the bike for the one 90km loop around the island and was instantly hit by a wall of heat, and hills, the first hill was 20metres into the ride and they didn’t stop, hill after hill after hill, it was by far the hardest bike course I have done and combined with the heat drained so much energy out of me. One of the things that got me through the bike ride was the support I received on course. The course weaved its way in and out of heaps of villages, and on the side of the road were thousands of kids cheering like mad and giving high fives, it was so much fun seeing the happiness on these kids’ faces and being able to give them all high fives. I did have a sore left hand after 90km, but it was definitely worth it.
When I dismounted the bike the humidity had risen to 82% and the temp was 41degrees, this run was going to be a race of survival and result of who ever had maintained the best nutrition plan on the day. I got through the first lap still feeling good, the run was great, lots of variety so that made it mentally easier. Parts of it were on trail which I love and there were other parts over hills and through other resorts. Each lap of the run I felt stronger and stronger. This was a real positive point for me to show me that my run is once again moving in the right direction. I can also do the entire race without socks now thanks to Asics Australia who provide me with the best shoes, which are so well designed that I no longer get blisters. Top quality shoes make the world of difference. I race in Asics Hyperspeed’s which are fantastic on all surfaces.
I eventually won the race by a tad over 4 and a half minutes which I was stoked about. I have now won races in Australia, China, Japan and Indonesia which has easily exceeded my goals for this early in my career. Thanks once again to Darryl Griffiths for making my trip awesome, thanks to the MetaSport crew for such and great event and Nirwana Gardens for the hospitality.
Thanks Evan for your continued support, all my sponsors Asics, Shotz Sports Nutrition, Rudy Project, Blueseventy, Flight Centre Active Travel, F2P Sport & BPM-Sport.
Would also like to give a special mention to Kris Whybro from Kidsons Cycles Wagga Wagga for getting me a bike to train and race on over the weekend. Very much appreciated mate. Once again I’d like to thank the Guru for keeping you all updated on Twitter and Facebook while I’m racing.
Big thanks to Michael Maney from Southern Cross News Tasmania for contacting me yesterday and presenting a segment on the race in the Tassie news, absolutely priceless, cheers mate.
Mum and Dad, you are the best, thank you both so much!
Cheers for taking the time to read this, I really appreciate it. It’s also possible to keep up to date at www.hodgemate.com
My next race in Noosa, so until then I’ll catch you on the flip side. James 🙂