We were in Cebu for this year’s Ironman Race, not because we were in it, but because we had to feed some of the hordes of participants that were swarming the island of Mactan for several days before and after the race. With over 2,500 participants (all slots taken within four hours of registration being posted), this annual event is a display of sheer hormonal determination, incredible training, square meters of lycra and other stretch materials, millions of pesos in paraphernalia like PHP200,000 bikes(!), and this year, incredibly pothole ridden roads that had (I can only wince and imagine) I don’t know what effect on the gonads of male cyclists. In this photo up top, the lead car passed by our Zubuchon Marina branch some 34 minutes into the race, after a 1.9 kilometer swim was completed (in 20 minutes or so by the leaders), a change onto bikes done, and about 5 kilometers into the 90 kilometer bike leg…
The four men at the front of the pack, several minutes ahead of the nearest contenders…
…I kept clicking shots hoping to get a picture of the F-1 racer Jensen Button, on orders of the daughter, but I don’t think I managed to get one. It’s kind of hard to pick out individuals unless you know their race numbers, though Piolo Pascual makes such a ruckus whenever he passes that you can hear the screams from the crowds seconds before he whizzes by, occasionally waving at fans… (seriously? and he finished in the top few hundred despite this, so kudos to him).
The crowds turned out in full force, including thousands of students with flags who lined the route, ostensibly to help with crowd control, but one of them crossed the road and got hit by a cyclist somewhere in Mandaue! On the bridge from Mactan to Cebu, a policeman likewise managed to get hit (and fractured some bones) by a cyclist who continued with the race. But overall, there were no reports of more serious or fatal injuries this time around.
It always amazes me what drive and determination these contestants have to complete a 1.9 kilometer swim, followed by a 90 kilometer bike race, then a 21 kilometer run — and this is just HALF of a full Ironman Race. Yipes. I ONCE biked over 150 kilometers overnight for a high school charity event in my teens, so I have briefly toyed with the idea of training up for the bike leg of this Ironman Race, but visions of fainting at the top of the Mactan bridge have quickly brought me back to reality.
Also, I am not sure I could find an appropriate stretch suit for my 50 year old frame. :)
Mind you, there were several folks who whizzed by that weren’t exactly svelte. A couple of folks (men and women) that looked 50-100 pounds overweight in fact, but they finished the darned leg, so anything is possible I suppose. And extra kudos to them.
This would be the color of my skin if I trained seriously for next year’s event.
Two hours after my first photos, the leaders whizzed back, here the second place cyclist on his way back to the Shangrila Hotel. They looked and pedaled stronger than when they first came by…
Not all Cebuanos are enamored with this race, as it shuts down roads and causes incredible traffic jams while it is on. For an hour or two, the road from the airport is at a complete standstill and solid bumper to bumper cars all the way back to the terminal. Tourists can’t get to beachside hotels for a period of 6 hours. Restaurants along the route are empty until late in the day. So Mrs. MM and Daughter arriving on a PAL flight halfway through the race was not the smartest idea. Instead of a kilometer walk in the hot sun, Chief of Stuff borrowed our bartender’s motorcycle and went to go pick them up at the airport. Mrs. MM in the photo above, game to do her first ever “habal-habal” ride (sans helmet even as there wasn’t an extra one) snaking through traffic and eventually making it minutes later to the Marina Mall branch we were waiting at.
At the sight of their chauffeured motorcycle curbside at the airport (they had not been forewarned and were resigned to walking) the teen said, incredulous, “Seriously??“… but enjoyed her transfer to restaurant nonetheless, even if COS had to use the empty opposing lane (a pet peeve of mine) to get through quicker. :)