This past weekend a veritable blitzkrieg of triathletes from all parts of Asia descended on the sleepy island of Bangka. The provincial airport facilities were overwhelmed by a panzer division of bike boxes with names such as Alan and Scion. The participants themselves were in high spirits despite the persistent rain over the previous days, however race day would prove to be a scorcher.
Some came with the aim of a podium finish, while others were hoping to best their previous year’s finishing times. Despite their differing goals a common thread uniting all participants was a desire to defeat the choppy swim, undulating bike leg, and punishing run so that for a few short, painful but glory full hours they could prove their right to call themselves triathletes.
The vibe in transition on race morning was alive. Familiar faces hurried to and fro with pumps in hand, swim caps tucked into tri-suits, and last minute nutrition and hydration being downed. At the beach swim start the atmosphere was electrifying. Here, for the first time you could see throngs of triathletes all together like warrior ants from different tribes posing for photos and warming up for the swim. Tribuds, WCC, Canitri, PL3ers, Bintaro Trojans, ID Selap, all the major clubs and communities from Jakarta were represented in full-force.
I won’t go in to too much detail about the race but I will say that as the morning grew late the sun would come out in full effect to beat down mercilessly on the triathletes scattered throughout the bike and run course. A lack of water stations and ice baths made the heat even more punishing for the run leg, but it was inspiring to see each and every participant giving it their all.
Some honorable shout-outs:
- Edison from Jakarta– who at kilometer 20 of the bike leg would suffer a flat and then blown tire. It would seem that Edison’s race was over until the owner of the warung where he stopped offered to lend him a bike, a behemoth of a mountain bike. Edison would go on to complete the remaining 70k of the bike leg and go on to conquer the run.
Edison poses with his saviour and steed
- Luwung from Bali – a crash on the bike leg left her with significant road rash on her back and right shoulder. For many this would have been an easy decision to pull out of the race and no one would think her less for it. Against the pain and fatigue Luwung got back on her bike, finished the bike leg, and would go on to claim 3rd podium for the long distance class in her age group. That’s what determination and mental grit get you.
Overall, it was a truly inspiring experience to be a spectator at Sungli last weekend. Some people might not understand the attraction of being a spectator, but when you’ve been in the depths of suffering and doubt, battling the fatigue and exhaustion just to motivate your body to take that next step, and you are there on the sidelines watching hundreds of athletes go through that same experience it moves and inspires you deeply.
An awesome comeback for our man Reza Puspo
Here is a big congratulations to everyone who had the courage to race Sungli last weekend. The course was challenging and the heat was stifling. But through it all you could see the spirit of triathlon in each and every contestant giving it there all in their own individual battles.
From transition all the way through to the finish line I took almost 1,000 photos. Below is a link to some of the better shots. Don’t blame me for how you look, I gave you plenty of warning before I took the shot.
Link to photos: readyformycloseup
Link to results: http://indorace.com/results/sungailiattriathlon2016.html