When Iron Meets Man and Man Becomes The Victor (Part 1).

Aug 17, 2011 by

IRON is defined as a silver-white malleable ductile magnetic heavy metallic element and is the most-used of metals. It also means of great strength, hardness, or determination. Such is true when this word is attached to form a compound called IRONMAN. A title that in itself imposes what the holder is made of and it is not anything close to the shiny garb worn by Robert Downey, Jr in the movies. This is real life.

I was a privileged spectator of Cobra Ironman 70.3 held in Camarines Sur. I came with Ilonggo triathletes who have trained in preparation for this international event. Some were competing as relay teams, while some signed up for the individual category. We came to Camsur with a mixed feeling of excitement and anxiety, not knowing exactly how to handle the pressure and at the same time looking forward to the fun that awaited us. The planning stage for this trip was done with extreme care. Transportation glitch is not an option because the event cannot be postponed for anyone, not even under the beating of a storm. Our team, Team Freska 1, had a unanimously appointed road manager in the person of Pauline Banusing. And because of her, the journey to Camsur glided smoothly as planned. Photo-finish, so to speak. With me as part of the cheering squad were Moniq Muyargas and Joyce Certeza. The combination of our company was mind-blowing. We had this bubble called danger-do-not-enter-or-you’re-doomed-zone among the people around us which I thought was cool. Cooler than that of course, were our athletes; Kevin Piamonte, Gus Banusing and Jay Certeza, all three were destined to be the embodiment of the Ironman concept – Prepare, Compete and Achieve.

L-R: Jay Certeza, wife Joyce, Kevin Piamonte, Pauline Banusing, and Moniq Muyargas arriving at Naga Airport with our hotel shuttle welcoming us.

The almost-complete Team Iloilo Triathletes for Cobra Ironman 70.3 Camsur

Team Freska 1 (without the photographer on the picture: me)

Team Freska 1 for Relay Category: Jay Certeza, Gus Banusing and Kevin Piamonte

In Camsur, we were all amazed at how their local government have put together their efforts in hosting Ironman 70.3. We felt the solidarity of the people in all levels—from airport welcome committee, drivers, hotel personnel, marshals, grade school pupils, police enforcers, to the government officials who were ‘physically’ present at the event, in making everything convenient for the athletes and guests. It’s an admirable community of people who are fully aware of the ‘returns’ this hospitality and cooperation will bring to its province. I am not sure if Iloilo can handle something like this. Politically speaking, we are kind of a messed up lot. Bravo, Camsur. Your organization, your discipline, your system and your world-class attitude was fantastic. I promise I will come back soon. This time I will hit the famous Caramoan.

The welcome band at the airport was truly a heart-warming way to meet the arriving guests

The super-organized marhals and personnel everywhere Camsur all for Ironman Athletes and Guests convenience. Amazing job, Camsur.

The pre-event itinerary involved a welcome dinner for Team Iloilo from a local businessman, Mr. Abella. There, we met some other athletes from Manila and the local personalities of Bicol Region. Aside from regulated meals for the athletes, we also attended the official Ironman functions (registration, seminar and orientation, pre-event tracking of routes, checking-in of the bike, etc), meet-and-greet with Camsur Governor, L-Ray Villafuerte, and the man behind Cobra Ironman 70.3, Fred Uytengsu. The Ironman expo was populated by sponsors’ kiosks and gave away lots of free goodies: from tuna, to Gatorade, to Alaska milk. Excitement was building up and we had to tame ourselves with shopping for Ironman goodies in US dollars at the Ironman Store.

The welcome dinner hosted by Mr. Abella of Camsur. On the photo are Team Iloilo members.

Gus attending to his registration and getting his wristband that indicates he is officially enlisted for Ironman 2011

The log cabins looking posh on view at the Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC) housing athletes and guests from 28 countries.

Merchandise! Merchandise! Advertise! Advertise!

The exciting CWC cable skateboard lake

Team Freska 1 courtesy call with Camsur Governor L-Ray Villafuerte (4th from left)

On the day of the event, we headed out of our hotel at 4 AM. Local police were all over the city and the atmosphere was reeking with adrenaline rush as people moved around in their compression suits and tri attire. Bikes were being carried everywhere. Everyone was up and warm and all geared up. We knew that the race was on. Our logistics from our hotel to Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC) was absolutely organized, thanks to Pauline – the megatronic road manager who handled all sorts of decepticons effortlessly.

The Ironman fever heating up. Excitement was building faster than the bullet train.

The organized chaos at the body marking station. Jay getting himself inked!

Upon arriving at the complex, I could just feel the pulses of our team athletes racing through time in absolute anticipation, thrill and excitement. The surge of people going towards the CWC was overwhelming because it felt like the Olympics. I have never been to any Olympics and I was a complete moron for assuming the feeling – but for lack of any other way to describe it, my feelings are based on music videos shown on ESPN. After the body marking, we took our spot near the swim area and we saw the breaking of dawn together with thousands of other people all prepped for the big event. Everything is carefully planned and mapped out. No one seemed to be asking anybody about anything. Even the dumbest in directions would not get lost in CWC for Ironman.

Media crew prepping up for the big event at Lago del Ray.

Hordes of people building up for the first event: the swimming leg.

Story continued on When Iron Meets Man and Man Becomes Victor (Part 2)

1 Comment

  1. yen

    amazing gd! …btw ang bana ko nagbapakal pa souvenir..feeling ironman ganon hahaha!

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