Samed Baan Phe challenge triathlon December 2013

December 10, 2013

Ever since not being able to complete the Hua Hin triathlon in August I have been working hard on recovering from a running injury with weekly visits to the local hospital for Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy which not only sounds painful; it is painful. Luckily I was still able to swim and bike since that did not burden my Achilles tendon, and last week, after a full recovery earlier, it was time to compete in the Samed Baan Phe challenge triathlon.

Free t-shirt for all athletes.

Free t-shirt for all athletes.

This challenge triathlon is best comparable with a normal sprint triathlon with as only difference an extremely long swim. Instead of doing 750 meters we now started on Koh Samed from where we had to swim to the coast; a distance of about 5.5 km.

The swimming route from Koh Samed to the coast for the challenge triahlon and the shorter route for the sprint triathlon.

The swimming route from Koh Samed to the coast for the challenge triahlon and the shorter route for the sprint triathlon.

Around 7:30AM we were ready to start when a load of small fishing boats came to shore to transport all athletes to Koh Samed. A total of about 50 people joined the long swim but not everybody did the total triathlon as the organization had several distances and sports on offer like only a swim, a swim and a run, and a triathlon. Besides that there was also the possibility to do a normal sprint triathlon where you would start near the transition area, swam around a few buoys, and came back to where you started.

At 9AM we started from Koh Samed and it took a good 15 minutes before I settled in a comfortable speed without people swimming close by kicking me in the face. Orientation was pretty difficult from time to time with large distances between the buoys but luckily everybody got a swimming cap in a bright color making it easy to spot someone in front of you who you could follow.

The actual route for the swim, bike and run.

The actual route for the swim, bike and run. The swim was 5km in total, the biking 20km, and the run 4.64km.

The swim took me a good 100 minutes and while the sea was relatively calm and clean (clean as in no garbage floating around) it was surprising that at some points, even though the water was not clear, I was able to see the bottom of the sea meaning it was not deeper than 1.5 meters. Actually, for the people doing the sprint triathlon it was even possible to do the whole swimming route walking without getting your chin wet.

Expensive looking bikes in the transition area.

Expensive looking bikes in the transition area.

As soon as I got out of the water I realized how much energy the swim had cost as I almost toppled over when flushing the salty water of me and as soon as I got on the bike my legs felt like pudding. The biking route was relatively flat and as usual staff stopped traffic on crossings and at the turning points to guarantee the athletes safety.

The biking was followed by a 5 km run. After checking my watch I figured I was doing a decent 10-11 km/h even though it felt I was almost standing still. The run only had one turning point with a water station and again some police officers and staff made sure traffic was stopped whenever an athlete needed to cross the road.

Finishing times; the transition times seem a bit odd though since I am pretty sure they took longer and were not negative.

Finishing times; the transition times seem a bit odd though since I am pretty sure they took longer and were not negative.

Right after finishing there were cooled drinks, bananas, and other food for all athletes and you could get your finishing times right away. Here it was that I realized I had finished second in my age category, and second overall, meaning I had to stay longer for the ceremony and prizes.

Receiving my second place prize. Maybe they also got a prize for me since I became second overall but we were already back to Bangkok in a hurry by then,

Receiving my second place prize. Maybe they also got a prize for me since I became second overall but we were already back to Bangkok in a hurry by then.

Looking back I am pretty happy about how the swim went given that I have never swum this far in one go: even in training I normally never went further than 4km in the pool. After re-checking all data from my watch the total distance of the swim was “only” 5 kilometers though. The biking distance was very accurate but it seems the turning point for the run was misplaced a bit as the run was only 4.64km in total.

All together I am pretty happy with the race as it was well organized and the swim made it an experience to remember!

Happy with my second place prize for the challenge triathlon in the 30-39 years age category.

Happy with my second place prize for the challenge triathlon in the 30-39 years age category.

For questions/remarks you can contact me at: eric@stuckinthailand.com

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