First race of the year here in Thailand, the TOA Triathlon 2021 saw some great action on a fast and furious course in Sam Roi Yot Beach.
Team UJAMU went with a new lead athlete for this race, Chris Weeks, as Merrick is out for the next couple of months following a small operation. Chris is a British athlete and has been drinking UJAMU for over 2 years now when he is in Thailand.
Congrats goes to the overall winner and UJAMU customer – Dane Cantwell. Whilst he is the Country Manager for Jetts Fitness Thailand, he at 41 years old also still competes against the elite level athletes in Asia, being on the podium for 4 of his last 5 races, with 2 overall victories in that! One of his secrets of success he says is drinking UJAMU daily, as it helps him bounce back quicker recovery wise, improves sleep and keeps him balanced during the day. He sure proved that his formula for life works against a much younger (and lighter) field this race!
Starting at 6:30am the leading athletes in the field took off on the sand and quickly hit the water. Unfortunately for them the water depth was around knee to hip deep for the first 75m or so into the sea, making people “porpoise” along or burn some leg power attempting to run until it was deep enough to get swimming.
It didn’t take long for Chris to get into the lead and confirm his authority over the swim pack and push the pace. Dane Cantwell, held his feet and was only slightly behind at the end of the first lap, though this grew at the end of the swim leg to see Chris take a comfortable lead into T2.
As this race is unique in the sense that the race categories are done by body weight and not age, means that you could be racing against anyone from 18 – 65yrs+ of age. This had the bulk of the non-elite field racing looking at each other wondering how heavy the person next to you was!
For the rest of the field, there was more of a relief at seeing the 75m or so of water walking to that of the strong swimmers, and Dr Ben was one of those having limited swim training since the last race in December.
The bike was a little more of the same with Chris taking command and Dane bridging the gap, positioning 10m behind and holding that spot for the entire 42km into T2 at an average speed of 40km/h and time of 1hr 3min.
Ben was in a solid spot out of T1 with some strong cyclists still yet to exit the swim and some weaker ones ahead for him to work his way through.
It wasn’t long until 4 athletes got together and worked to settle into a good pace. Unfortunately, that meant having the weaker cyclists draft them a little too much and the inevitable peloton formed around the 25km mark, which resembled more of a Saturday morning session at Skylane. With a 210W average in a 1hr 6min split, he was still in good position to attack the run.
The run course was a 2 lap winding route through the small streets behind the beach. The temperature that was pleasant on the bike quickly soared and it became a hot and steamy run.
Dane took over from Chris in the run and set a solid pace to chase. Meanwhile the 2nd group on the bike which has 2 strong runners in it and taken up chase.
As Chris dropped off from Dane, (another) Chris & Romain caught up with our Chris which had him settle into 4th for the remainder of the run. Dane who was looking like he was starting to fade at the 8-9km mark had Chris (over 10 years junior and 20kg lighter) chasing him at rapid rate.
Dane though in true determination held on for a sprint finish to take the win, with what I was told was a very loud WOOOOOOHOOOO at the line for an overall 2hr 6min time.
Dr Ben though, trialing some new nutrition protocols, took off well, only to have those supplements blow the heat valve at 4km mark. He ran and walked the aid stations for the remainder for a 47min run, though 5min slower than normal, still came in for a respectable 6th place in his category for 2hr 23min overall.