My 2012 Tri United Experience Sprint 1Km Swim 30Km Bike 7km Run

Id like to wish all the participants racing this March 10, 2013 Unilab Active Health Tri United the best of luck. Sadly I wont be able to join as I have an event to host at the same date. Looking back, I just want to share my Tri United 1 experiece last 2012 in Laiya. But mind you based on the website at UNILABACTIVE HEALTH the venue for TRI UNITED 1 is at Subic.

arriving near the transition area

arriving near the transition area

Practicing my bike transition as I arrive near the transition area. I still have time to prep up my bike. Coach Cris Supremo de la Cruz was also with me. He did the swim relay a day earlier.

Getting some help from coach tweaking the bike

Getting some help from coach tweaking the bike


For TRI UNITED in Laiya, if you are far from race site you may have to bring the car than ride to race site. Make sure you plan ahead giving time for bike prep. Make sure that when you attached the wheels, it is all aligned, brakes, clippers, chains and mechanics functioning well. If you need to disassemble seat post make sure you have markers. By the end of the bike prep your bike should be fit for you.

Posing with my road bike converted for tri

Posing with my road bike converted for tri

I didnt have a tri frame bike during the Tri United1  race so I had to make do with some modifications. Whats the difference between a tri and a road bike? its basically the seat post angle which gives you a more agressive riding position, which lets you activate other muscle groups needed for the run. It activates  the glutes more and rests the quads more on the much needed run to follow. I got an Profile Design forward post to compensate for the straight seatpost giving me an inch to 2inches forward angle. I also placed a Profile Design clip on aero bar.

Kinakabahan na ako

Kinakabahan na ako

The serious Oh shit what did I get myself into look was brought by the fact that Im doing something new at the race which is a big no no. Its common racing sense to just go what you practiced, what your usual nutrition and food intake is and no new gear your are just about to try in the race. It was my first time to ride on an FSA forward sea post. I wasnt able to ride more than 5km on it yet.

Transition area

Transition area


And Im off to my transition area. I make sure that everything is on the checklist.  Make sure that the stuff is prepared and laid out well in accordance to swim, bike, run leg.

For my swim I make sure that I brought the following

1 I am body marked

2) Brought my goggles

3) Brought my issued cap which is mandatory to be worn for safety reasons ( so marshals on kayaks can see you)

4) slippers/shoes on my jog/ run after the swim from the beach to transition 1. Just playing safe I wouldnt want to injure myself on splinters, sharp rocks, etc

5) watch w heart rate monitor

Transition from swim to bike

6) a Gallon of Water, for washing the feet, face/head. If you come from salt water the salt gets to stay on the skin and drizzle to your eyes which can be very uncomfortable when youre on the bike. you wouldnt want sand on your feet ether so the wash water really helps

7) power gel shot

8) race bib on race belt turned and worn at the back so marshals can see your number, it is reverted back to front later at the run

9)  Drinking water left at transition area

10) Gatorade/ pocari sweat on bike water bottle brought on the bike leg

11) HELMET! no helmet no ride

12) shades which serves as protective eyewear too

13) bike shoes, cleats

14) mini toolset

15) extra tire

Transition bike to run

16) Power gel shot

17) socks rolled so its easy to slip on ( I use socks, others dont)

18) running shoes, preferred if you have boa ties, no need to tie shoe laces

19) cap


Park your slippers you will use on your run back to t1 where its visible

Around 20 minute prior to gun start  I already go to the water and try to get acclimatized. This is the time to be focused and not be intimidated by other triathletes as everyone starts to position themselves at the starting line. I do some swim strokes good for around 50 meters to acclimatize myself  with the water temperature, bouyancy and get acquanted with water visibility clarity or cloudyness.

Check out my warm up swim video here


Its best to position yourself depending on your swim split. If you have a faster than average swim split position yourself at the front. If not just stay at the back. Lessons learned from previous tri races, is that I would be humble and position myself at the back. I would say im an above average swimmer.  The problem there is that its extremely difficult to overtake slow swimmers ahead of you.  IF your comfortable makipag brasuhan sa tubig, stay inner lane, KEEP CALM,  WAG MAPIKON, getting hit on the face, kicked on the goggles, pulled, etc. . is part of it. If it may seem deliberate, its not, or at least think its not. If youre not comfortable with the limb frenzy stay outer lane.

I teach swimming, thats why some people call me coach boy coz im their swim coach. Labo noh… swim coach pero running host. Whatever.

I position myself at the 3nd row, Im confident im able to cope up with the lead pack for at least 400meters.  At gunstart, Run towards the water, when you feel the water near knee deep you actually thrust yourself forward and start swimming. Cant really share some swim secrets but if youre keen on watching the warm up swim video youll be surprised that the technique I use (taught by coach eric imperio tri dogs) gets you from shore to 25meters in less than 20  seconds

Check out the high intensity gun start video here

You will see that even high level triathletes try to wade and run through the water, which I think is better to lounge in and swim.
RELAX RELAX RELAX…keep calm ..this is the craziest part of the race, you will feel racers behind you try to grab your feet. Just do your thing. Focus on your own stroke. DRAFT.  Thats why in my classes, for those tri-ing, we simulate gun starts, feeling comfortable during swim roughing up and balyahan and drafting on the swim.  There are optimum placement on where you should be where you draft and there are worst areas as well. Make sure youre on the right area.

At about 50 meters, you notice the water is deep, and if clarity is good you can see how deep you are and see the bottom sea floor. At the start, that really scared the shit out of me. Visions of sharks and jaws coming out of nowhere begin to fill your head. Here is a comforting thought when that image flashes, just think that the sharks are after the rest of the participants and not you. At about 200 meters, the swimmers have must be in their swim equilibrium. That is, relaxed swim, good pace, good rhythm and you have found your pace place. Pace place is the term i use where youre in your optimum pace an stroke and no longer overtaking or being a nuisance to faster swimmers. You are with your fellow swimmers of the same pace.

I hope you breath on your left and right, as this helps in stroke symmetry and swim stroke path. This is open water, not a pool, waves and bouyancy come into play.  Be sure to SIGHT and Navigate. By SIGHT, meaning you should learn to quickly peep and see where you are going. If you depend on the person you may be drafting with , youll be dependent on his navigation which sometimes is just ofcourse.


Bouy turns are exciting as well. Be careful not to be caught in the rope. Most do a breaststroke at this point, mind the effective indiscriminate kicking. Get back to your pace place and swim rhythm soonest.


After loop 1

After loop 1 in the swim.  This TYR Goggles is a good investment and more than 7 years old. I try to clear the fog out


There are no worse assholes in world to me, worse than triathletes who try to overtake you on the swim, realizing that overtaking took toll on the energy used, he is now tired and slows down, worse, does a breastroke with frog kicks, indiscriminate kicking follows. Assholes , you know who you are.
After the 1st loop, take in some water and gargle, then hydrate a shot. Get back  into the water.

Make sure you do your required number of loops, depending on the race distance. Some have 2, 3 or four loops. Make sure you count yours

When youre done make sue youve accomplished the required number of loops. Press lap split on your watch once you step on timing mat. Get on with the parked slip on and run to T1 Transition 1

SWIM SPLIT: 27:10 Im quite happy But I know I can do better

Run from swim to T1. For a biggie like me, its a great feeling your not last.. yet

Run from swim to T1. For a biggie like me, its a great feeling your not last.. yet. I made it a point I had shoes/ slippers after the swim on the way to T1.

Flashing a smile. Happy that Im not the last on the swim

Flashing a smile. Happy that Im not the last on the swim


Some races have shower spray on the way to T1, if there is, try to get the salt and sand of your body, and pass by the shower spray. If there is none. Thats where the gallon wash water gets handy. Wash sand off your feet. I personally do a gel shot, hydrate and off to the bike. You dont ride immediately, There are permissable bike mount areas.

Transition split: 2:48 Im quite happy with my transition time, its not like before that It takes me around 4:00


For some, they hit it hard at the start to build  momentum immediately. For me, I dont really expect to place, but I started off with an easy spin and build my way up. True to my prediction, no surprises, never do anything new on the race, the bike fit of the newly installed seat post is okay. The problem is that the angle makes you literally sit and bring your weight down on your balls. I havent gotten an ADAMO seat yet (which has comfy betlog perforations and shutes) so it was really uncomfotable for me during my ride.

581085_2046006885205_209427328_n 318290_371085329599734_1083549425_n

This is near the turnaround loop, every U turn I make it a point to uncleat

This is near the turnaround loop, every U turn I make it a point to uncleat

Be sure to count the loops you have accomplished and check your cyclo comuputer against the mileage.  No one can discount the fact that knowing your bike course ahead of time is an advantage. You can already map out your plan of attack as regard to gearing, etc.  The bike course in laiya is great, straight all the way with rolling hills. There are some false gradation meaning you think its going down but its actually going up. Be careful during turn around points as the momentum you get from the straights may lead you to overshoot or lose control, the turn was just as wide as the street. Careful for those specially on cleats.

BIKE SPLIT: 1:14 for a 30km bike ride. Not too happy with the timeI was gunning for sub 1:00 but the seat was just killing me. Its a good thing I already have 2 kids. I dont mind shooting blanks after this.


Arriving from bike leg.. Oh no! theres so many bikes on the rack! Lagging behind on my run

Arriving from bike leg.. Oh no! theres so many bikes on the rack! Lagging behind on my run

Being a safety freak, I  couldnt careless about time but I do make it a point that during transitions and turns, I slow down and look all around. I witness a horrific accident in one of the tri races and its usually dangerous in intersections, transitions and turnaround points. When I arrive at T2, I realize Im lagging behind to my run and I see so many bikes on the bike racks.. most participants are already on the run. Whatever lead I got from the others on my swim was lost on my slow bike ride.

I make it a point I get a shot of power gel and hydrate again prior to the run

Transition 2 Split: 3:06 dismount area is far from my rack and I took some time changing into my running shoes. Chill Chill pa sa T2.

This is where push comes to shove. By this time, I could still conjure up some strength on my run, but im really exhausted. Its demotivating to know that you are just about to start your run and people are finishing already.  The bad thing about the Laiya run route for slow guys like me , is that its a straight course, and I get to see everyone about to finish on their second loop while im still starting on my first.  Thanks for those that cheered me on the run, elite tri athlete, Rayzon Galdonez, my swim coach in high school Polo Tri Albert Altura, and several teams.

Thanks to coach Roel Ambao Ano for taking care of me at hydration, the ice really helped me cool off.

Thanks to Team Crystal Clear hydration for a refrshing hydration pit stop

Thanks to Team Crystal Clear hydration for a refrshing hydration pit stop

It does help getting to know the marshals! I enjoy my hydration stops with friends / marshals.

There are local spectators at Laiya, some cheer you, some give cat calls, kids run with you, all in all its a great experience.

I know I could have ran faster, the heat was just getting to me.

RUN SPLIT : 1:00:00 I was targetting at most 50 for a 7km run.

And I run to the finish!!! finally!

My final time 2:47:19 1km swim 30km bike 7km run

My final time 2:47:19 1km swim 30km bike 7km run