After a few busy weeks of training and racing, and acclimatising to life on a beautiful island, here is a little snapshot of the Tagaman 70.3 and Xterra Saipan from the Swiss and the Aussie.
The Tagaman was our first hit out, nothing like a 70.3 to dust out the cob webs in ridiculous heat and humidity. No race start time, just be on the beach at 6am and we will start when the sun comes up! The swim was very enjoyable, any swim that doesn’t require a wetsuit is fine by me. Then we get on our ‘borrowed’ bikes for the 90km ride around the island. Lets just say that they these bikes were lacking a fair amount of carbon fibre, but having these bikes generously loaned to us was all part of the adventure and part of the Tagaman spirit. Grinding away for 90km I was happy to dismount my steel steed and very happy to have not been taken out by the numerous stray dogs that wanted to eat me as I rode by some of the houses. Onto the run course the day was heating up and it was going to be a scorcher for the half marathon. The course was an out and back and each aid station was welcomed relief from the heat. Reaching the finish line was a happy experience and it wasn’t a race to base your best half Ironman time on given the conditions. The Swiss came in 2nd place and the Aussie in 4th place.
The weather leading up to Xterra Saipan had been perfect. The bike course was completely dry on the pre-ride and we were looking forward to race day approaching. Race morning greeted us with torrential rain that would stay for most of the race. And as it goes, any great bike and run course turns into a completely different beast when the course becomes wet, muddy and slippery. The swim was fast with currents assisting us in some sections. Then straight up the long road climb Navy hill before entering the wet and wild sections of the bike course. Some sections were un rideable due to wet rocks and slippery muddy sections. A few technical sections to negotiate and challenging to say the least in the wet. A treat to ride for the Swiss and a matter of staying in one piece for the Aussie. Then onto the run we headed into the jungle, contending with steep climbs, rocks and bamboo on single track marked out the red arrows. But the highlight was running through the cave and abseiling down the rock face and trying to stay upright running through the mossy river bed scaling down rock climbs and then onto the beautiful white sands along the beach to the finish line. The Swiss finished in 4th place and the Aussie in 6th place.
Once again Xterra Saipan provided a unique race full of new challenges like no other race. From all accounts the athletes finished safely and no one was hurt or injured.
Next stop Xterra Guam!