Dukhan Triathlon Series 2016/2017 (Race 1)

(Super Sprint)

Dukhan Triathlon has traditionally been a season opener for triathlon in Qatar. Every triathletes in the land will converge to Dukhan on Qatar's west coast to see how they fare against their peers after a long summer (off season for us here desert dwellings). With just about everyone turn up you bet it will be very competitive.

The swim was really fun. The water was quite choppy for Qatar's standard but was really clean and crystal clear. Having used to rolling start in triathlon races, the mass start for this short 570m swim provided us with a rare opportunity of the chaos associated with the swim start of the good old days in triathlon.

The beach was quite shallow for good 50m. I started with running high knees then did a good 6-7 dolphin dives and managed to latched on Francis's (one of my QA_TRI's team mate) feet. I knew if I can draft on him then I will have a good chance to clock a good swim. I did exactly just that! The swim was so crowded. There were hands and feet every where. Add that excitement with the choppy water, we had a our adrenaline all pumped up. I never let Francis's feet off (sometimes calves or thighs, sorry mate) for what ever happened until the last turn back to the beach when I lost him after failing to catch the surf. Less than 100m later, a few dolphin dives and high knees run, I was back on the dry land. I pressed the lap button, unzip my Huub Swimskin and ran quickly to T1.  My swim was still very slow considering I came 31st in my category but 1:48/100m pace was the best I ever did in open water, couldn't be happier and thank you Franco!

QA_TRI squad is eager to stamp our mark in local triathlon scene (Picture by: Sukarun Official)
With my buddy Aizal before the swim (Picture by Sukarun Official)

Transition 1
I had a poor transition. I am always proud of my transition skills and really hope it could help to make up for my swim and bike weaknesses. I knew with the short swim, the swim skin wont help me much, but I chose to wear them nevertheless so I can practice my transition skills. The suit came off quick but I probably already lost 3-4 secs there alone. Then I wasted more time when I decided to rinse my feet from the sand (don't want to get blisters again) and a helmet malfunction where the clasp was tangled. I had probably lost 30 sec at the end.

I thought I had pushed hard on the bike with my HR constantly on Z5, but I was surprised to see there were a lot of cyclists flying past me including some I could easily beat in trainings and duathlons. I looked at my power, 140-150W not that far off from my FTP. The bike was too short for my liking but then I wont be too far from those uber cyclists when we arrive at T2. I was 21st on the bike with an average speed of 33.4 kmh, average power of 144W and average HR of 181bpm. Nothing too peculiar. Perhaps I should improve my aerobic fitness and increase my poor power to weight ratio if I were to become more competitive and set up for a good run.

Transition 2
T2 was just routine, but I could have saved some precious seconds if I don't wear a cap and run with the bike a bit quicker

I was out for words to describe my poor run today. My legs just didn't turn up to the party. My average heart rate was 187 bpm with a max of 190. Cadence was 184 ave, but the pace was really slow at 4:42 min/km. Maybe I have not fully recovered from the race I did last week in Oman or I simply have lost my running speed. I don't know. 18th in the run is something I cannot be proud of and certainly did not help me clawing back up the ladderboard. I finished the race 18 of 48 in my category, far from where I wanted to be.

Though I did not have the race I wanted to usher the new season, I still had a lot of fun meeting almost everyone I know in the local triathlon circuits. Well done to the organisers for a near perfect race. This race has becoming so popular we even had a participant flew all the way from Malaysia to join the race. QA_TRI squad was dominant in every category and we were so stand out in our awesome kits. Thank you Coach Ryan and Coach Isora (they both won their categories).
QA_TRI the dream team (Picture by Sukarun Official)

With a special guest; Knut Haug a Norwegian guy married to a Malaysian Triathlon icon, Harum Delima from Malaysia who happened to be here for business joining the race (he was the 1st Norwegian finisher of the day) (Picture by Sukarun Official)

What a way to conclude the day. My wife cooked my favourite Nasi Lemak as our post race meal (Picture by Lolyta Poniman). 
I am now have to focus on my training and forget this little disappointment for my next race, IM 70.3 Bahrain.



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