Nissan Triathlon Festival Dubai 2015

I was not planning to participate in this race. It was a last minute decision as a substitute for Rotterdam Marathon after my leave was not approved. The race was orrigionally scheduled on 3rd April but was postponed to 17th April following a massive sandstorm that engulfed the whole GCC region a day prior to the race. I was supposed to go with Dave Walsh and Alan Sawyer, my buddies from Triclub Doha but they weren't able to join the race on 17th as they all have made prior arrangements. So I was left 'Billy no mates' going to Dubai.

The event was held at The Atlantis resort Palm Jumeirah. I only realized how big the Palm was when I took a taxi ride on Thursday evening to check on the venue.

Swim

I put a lot of time in the last month to practice my swim with my coaches Ben Laferty and Michael Simpson from Hamilton Aquatics knowing it is my weakest sport. I have improved from 2:30/100m to around 2:05/100m average over a 1500m distance in a pool. So I was pretty confident to clock a better swim leg in Dubai.

The water was as calm as lake. It was a deep water start as it was low tide and the beach was full of sharp rocks. I started off well and managed to stay in the main pack until the second buoy. I thought the swim was longer than it should. I got tired and lost my swimming form. I did not feel supported by the water and by the second lap I was being dropped to the very tail of the swim pack. Only now I'd truly appreciate swimming in a wetsuit. The swim was also longer than it should. It was 1.65 km on my watch and all the people I talked to after the race agreed. 


Almost the last out of the water


Bike

Knowing I had a lot to catch up, I was determined to cycle at full throttle. The bike course was very technical and the most challenging I have ever raced on. The 42 km (again the course was longer) were littered with speed humps, yellow strips and tight corners at roundabouts and underground U-turn. It was also very hilly with tunnel, flyover and ramps. I pedaled hard and was really happy with my effort. Going down the tunnel was an experience when my top speed was 71.7km/h. It's not everyday that my bike was faster than the cars.  But I suffered going up the tunnel and the flyover every time. My bike was even stalled at one point. In the end my average speed was 30.5km/h and I could not have been happier given the circumstances.

Going to T2

Run

The thought of digging deep and mount the last attack in the run was not materialized. I limped and could barely run at all. It was already too hot then and I was already tired when I started the run. Well thanks to my awesome bike leg. I forgot that triathlon is not Swim+Bike+Run but 'Swimbikerun'. I was even being lapped by few Arab girls clad in their head scarf while running fully covered under the hot sun. I was so ashamed of myself. I just cannot wait to cross the finish line. The uninspiring running course certainly did not help. Good thing that they had plenty of volunteers and the support stations were adequate with plenty of cold water. I kept going with the aim just to finish. 

Personal Worst. Just glad it was over

I crossed the line with a time of 3:17:54. Officially my personal worst Olympic Distance triathlon, but I could not care less. I just wanted to go back to the hotel and rest.

Nice way to cool off after the race
I may not have the best of experience in this race, but I was happy that I have made a big improvement on the bike. That is exactly what I am planning to do next, to improve on my bike. Cycling takes the biggest chunk in a triathlon, so that's where I should be focusing on.  I will take up coaching and start riding with the big boys when I go back to Doha.

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