25th August 2019 – Bintan, Indonesia – James Knipe
Winter might be quite short in Perth, but when it hits it feels like it’s no time before we’re craving the sunshine again. With that in mind, several NCTC’ers made the decision to head off to warmer climes for a mixture of sun, sand and strenuous activity by competing in Bintan 70.3 in Indonesia. For those who don’t know, Bintan is a short 50 minute ferry ride from Singapore…it’s kinda like Singaporeans version of Rotto.
Seven of us headed up in total, and whilst we all had our own agenda (e.g. preparation for Kona for Lisa Hitchcock, build for IMWA for myself, Mahesh and possibly others), we all shared a common objective of having fun in the sun and just enjoying the event.
As you can imagine, Bintan is hot and humid – 32-34 degrees with 95% humidity. Even sitting for breakfast in the shade at 6:30 am we were sweating! Race day was going to spent staring at our heart rates, and trying to manage our bodies, rather than focussing on our normal target power output or run pace.
The Bintan course is simply stunning. The swim is held in crystal clear, turquoise water off a gorgeous sandy beach at the resort centre of Lagoi. You can see the bottom the whole way, and even swim over some coral reefs at some points. It’s a non-wetsuit swim (29 degrees water)…which is a good thing because we were all feeling a little warm even without our wetsuits on!
Transition (T1 and T2) is right on the beach front at Lagoi. From there it’s onto the bike for a spectacular meandering course through small villages and townships, along the coast, through the jungle, past the monkeys chattering in the trees, and waving to the kids and their families who seemed to line the entire course. They really seemed to enjoy having us there as much as we enjoyed being there.
After surviving the swim, it was on to a flat two-lap run course which is exposed to the baking sun. Fortunately there are ample aid stations (approx. every 1.5 km) and each competitor seemed to go through gallons of water, ice and sponges in an effort to keep cool. It was a struggle, but it was great crossing paths with the other NCTC athletes as we made our way around the course.
Onto the finish and the after-party. Ice baths were enjoyed by all, along with fresh coconuts, ice-cream, and a few too many Bintangs. Well done to everyone from NCTC who survived and thrived on such a challenging course in a stunning and wonderful destination. I for sure will be back!