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A month training in Bali at the Four Seasons pool and gym may not have been an ideal regiment to satisfy the needs of a half Ironman, but it was the best I could manage at the time. Building on a maintenance base that had been holding steady for months helped, but I was not able to ride my bike or race in my chair until the morning of September 3 when the gun went off. Fortunately, the swim in the sea was painless and besides colliding with a styrofoam cooler at the half way point, the swim was uneventful and I exited the sea five minutes after the professionals who had started at the same time as the ten PC athletes.

Change channels and it was onto the bike and down the East Coast Road, my usual training ground. With none of the usual Sunday drivers to dodge, the openness greeted me like a cool wind and I peddled towards the City. Over the bridge and through the woods to the first of four loops around town I cruised. The sun hadn’t begun to scorch us and the temperature was not yet sweltering so things progressed well. Other athletes pasted me on their bikes as we all criss-crossed town. A fitting 30km per hour ride had me finishing the 90kms in just over three hours and it was time to slip into my racing wheelchair.

A bit light headed when transferring into my chair I pondered pausing. But recalling the mistake of sitting around for too long between legs of the Korea Ironman, I opted to push on immediately and let my head clear on the course. But after just two minutes I flipped over backwards while making a turn and smacked my cranium on the pavement. Fortunately, the cement and I suffered no injury and I pushed on. The course was windy and bumpy so my time suffered. But I completed the 21km distance in 1:40 which had me over the finish line in a total time of around 5:40 since I managed to miss the finishers’ shoot and over shot the ribbon on my first approach.

No sooner had I crossed the tape than the sky opened up and showered all of us with gentle rain and a reminder that the day had given us everything we needed to put in a good performance. Certainly not first, but rather somewhere near the front half of the pack, this respectable time made me consider if training in Bali at the Four Seasons should remain my game plan for future races…

Text by Gregory Burns, Photographs by Angie Tan Burns, All Rights Reserved.
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