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White Rock Triathlon 2008

Last Saturday Oct 4, I became a half-ironman 🙂 Participating at the White Rock Long Distance Triathlon at Subic, I managed to finish the 2km swim-91km bike-20k run race in 7 hours, 28 min.

The Prep

The Finish Line

The Finish Line

Butch, Anthony and myself arrived at White Rock Resort at around 2pm Friday to register and pick up our racing packets. We also checked in our bikes, had them inspected by Bike Boutique mechanics (yahoo, nandito na cervelo!), and parked them at the bike racks.


Our racing packets contained our racing numbers (my number: 82) and transition bags. The thing about this triathlon is that the transition bags should be checked in before 9pm of Friday. This means that everything must be inside the bags, no last minute additions. We went back briefly to our hotel to sort out our stuff in the bags.

What went into my bike transition bag: helmet, gloves, shades, cycling shoes, socks, race belt with number. What went into my run transition bag: running cap, 9 packets of Gu, running shoes. We were also allowed to deposit special needs items, which could be picked up at the bike and run turn-around stations.

Nutrition Plan

This being a long distance race, nutrition plays a very important part. The plan was to take Gu gels every 30 minutes through the bike and run, and to finish half-a-liter of Powerade every 20km in the bike. During my long bricks, I noticed that I would bonk in the middle of my run, especially on a hot day, even though I was hydrated all throughout. Reading through stuff in the internet, I concluded that this was because of lack of sodium (or salt). 

Looking around for some salty food in the grocery, I discovered anchovies, which packed 6g of sodium per can, enough for 4 small sandwiches. This was to be my salt source. Just to be sure, I also got several salt packets from Jollibee. These went into my special needs bag.


We went back to White Rock to deposit our bags and to attend the pre-race briefing. It was a festive atmosphere as there were more than a hundred triathletes on hand.

Number 82

Number 82

Afterwards, we went out for our carbo-loading dinner at Jollibee, which for me consisted of 2 orders of Spaghetti and one hamburger. Going back to our hotel, I tried sleeping at 10pm, still thinking about the stuff in my transition bags, and some last minute items. 

I was able to doze off, and woke up at 3am, forcing myself to eat some cold Jollibee spaghetti take-out. Knowing that this would be my last meal for the next 8 hours helped put the stuff down my throat. I also ate a peanut butter sandwhich. I made some more anchovy sandwiches to pack in my bike.


Bike prep

Bike prep

We went to White Rock at 5am for body-marking. This was also the time to prep our bikes, pouring drinks in the water bottles, taping gu gels on the bike frame, putting stuff in my bike bento box. And then off to the waters for some warm-up.


The swim

The swim portion started promptly at 6:45am. There was only one wave, and so there were 120 bodies splashing at the waters, like fish going out of the net. Of course, I positioned myself at the back. It was a 3-loop swim. I felt good (but slow) all throughout the swim. At the end of my 2nd loop, several swimmers had already finished their swim, and were exiting. I trudged on and finally emerged from the water after 1 hour 5 minutes, 2nd to the last! At least I was in good company as there was still a female swimmer right behind me. I could hear the announcer saying, “Swimmer no 82 is out of the water, and that concludes the swim portion of this event”. Wow, at least I finished the swim without any special difficulty 🙂


The Bike

Off to the bike transition area, on the way I picked up my T1 bag. The nice thing also here is that there is a covered changing area, where you can sit down while putting on your bike gear (hard to put on socks while standing  up hehe).

As I pulled out my bike out to the mounting area, I could hear the announcer again saying, “Biker no 82 is out, now all the bikes are out”! I then had the distinct(?) honor of having the motorcycle siren right behind me for a couple of kilometers, indicating the tail end of the bikes.

The first 20 kilometers passed through towns with jeepneys and pedestrians. I managed to weave my way through, in the process passing a couple of triathletes. The first aid station was at 20 km, I quickly had my bottle refilled and went on.

It was a smooth ride from then on, very few vehicles, and passing through farmland, with good quality roads. I would say this was one of the best biking routes I’ve been on. It was also fun because it was the first time I was using an aerobar, and boy was I glad I had one. Just being in the aero position added maybe 1kph to my speed, I could see it in my cyclometer. Also the aerodrink was fantastic, no need to fumble through the bottle cages underneath. Plus of course, I felt snug in the aero position, feeling like a mean machine hehe.

I tried to relax on the bike, remembering to take my gels every half hour. I was doing small ring all throughout, trying to maintain a 30 kph average (it turned out to be more like 28 kph). I reached the bike turn around, had my refill, and gobbled my anchovy sandwich. The saltiness relieved the taste of Gu and powerade.

On the way back I met several riders still making their way on the opposite direction, but afterwards it was a lonely ride. The only incident was when my sandwich fell from the bento box as I was grabbing my Gu. Oh no, the sandwhich I had carefully prepared falling off just like that.

The Run

I reached white rock with a bike time of around 3:20, total time of 4:25. Right on schedule. I changed to running shoes, put on some sunblock, and emerged for the run right smack at the 4:30 marker. I was figuring to do the run in 3 hours, just enough time before the cutoff, with 30 min to spare. By this time, it was 11:15 am, almost high noon on a searing hot, cloudless sunny day. In fact, my cyclometer registered 40 degrees Celsius, hotter than a high fever! 

On the way out, I met the first few athletes making their way to the finish, and I was just starting my run! The run consisted of going 6K from white rock to the SBMA gate, passing through the dreaded Heartbreak hills, then a total of 8k around the treeless sbma area. By then I was starting to cramp, but somehow it would disappear after gulping my Gu. At some point I also felt like throwing up, and this is where I just walked and took it easy. I managed to reach the run turn around at the 1:25 mark of my run, again still on time for my planned 3-hour run.

Again I gobbled up my anchovy sandwich, ate some bananas and sliced oranges, and just sat down a few minutes and chatted with fellow triathletes, generally asking ourselves why the hell we’re doing this 🙂

I felt refreshed after that brief respite. I managed to run/trot up to the gate. Going up the hill, I generally walked, but still mindful of the time. I sort of sped up on the last 2.5 km where I had to hurry if I wanted to finish just under 7:30. I finally made it with a time of 7:28:53 🙂


It was a most satisfying feeling at the end of the race. It took me around half-an-hour to recover, but I generally felt good. Looking forward to the next half-ironman. Ironman Camsur 70.3 perhaps?

Congratulations to the winners, and all the finishers, especially the first timers (Yoohoo, we made it!)

PS Just got my time splits:

[Swim 1:06:17] [T1 0:02:34] [Bike 3:16:20] [T2 0:04:09] [Run 2:59:33] [Total 7:28:53.2]


Photos from Reva.

Race results here.

Ricky Ledesma’s usual detailed and fascinating account here.

Anthony Yu’s video:



15 thoughts on “White Rock Triathlon 2008

  1. Congratulations Participant No. 82!! You are now a rockstar!!

    Hope you feel well enough to do AAV this Sunday. GALING!!!

    Posted by levyang | October 6, 2008, 2:48 pm
  2. u were looking good during the “micro-
    wave” run, ur cadence holding up. dilis
    pala ang secret weapon mo ha 😀

    as rey said, it takes TWO half-Ironmans
    to make u into a straight guy…. so
    dont be gay, joms & anthony, next half-IM
    ulet ok 🙂


    u too le’vi, better be gay by next year 😀

    Posted by butch | October 6, 2008, 3:02 pm
  3. Thanks Levy, we missed you there, I’m sure you would have rocked as well.

    Yeah butch, microwave nga ang feeling ko dun sa run. My cadence was holding up, just because I thought I was going to miss the cut-off! I checked the run course description at the extribe web site, mali nga yung 5K marker dun sa Kalakan Gate, it should have read 6K. Next year I promise to run faster, hehe.

    Posted by groundhogdude | October 6, 2008, 5:49 pm
  4. CHAMPION KAYO!!!!! At naiinggit ako!

    Posted by marga | October 6, 2008, 6:03 pm
  5. Wow, I am green of jealousy after reading your post. Congrats man and glad you enjoyed it as that is the most important thing to do. Are you going to Ayala on Saturday? If so, see you there. At least if I was at Whiterock, then you would have not been the last swimmer out the pool ha ha ha

    Posted by foreignrunner | October 6, 2008, 6:09 pm
  6. Thanks Marga, next year dapat sure ka na, for sure podium finish ka.
    Hi foreignrunner, it sure was an enjoyable experience, and I’m sure you’re raring to go next year, yeah see you in Alabang 🙂

    Posted by groundhogdude | October 7, 2008, 6:40 pm
  7. Congratulations to you D’Great Groundhog, Butch and Anthony and of course the rest of the finishers of the WRT! INVUall!

    Did you take the jollibee salt packs? Pare it didnt work for me early this year.\

    See you at KOTR!


    Posted by Jerome | October 7, 2008, 8:33 pm
  8. it was a red-letter day for the entire tri
    community at White Rock that saturday morning
    …but it was all blue for me (haaaay).

    le’vi marga philip jerome, masaya sa WRT,
    so do i have ur word na mag-WRT (or IM 70.3!)
    na kayo next year ha?! ha?! ha?! 😀

    race w u guys next year ok, 🙂

    Posted by butch | October 8, 2008, 9:40 am
  9. Butch, kung kakayanin, pati o3!

    Posted by marga | October 8, 2008, 4:17 pm
  10. Congrats! Congrats! I’m so jealous. Wish I could do it to. Let’s plan for next year…

    Posted by Jojo | October 9, 2008, 6:22 am
  11. Butchiki, why were you blue?

    Posted by marga | October 9, 2008, 4:51 pm
  12. Butch

    YOu have my word. WRT or IM Ill be there. anything to make you feel RED again! O kaya Green para LaSalle.


    Posted by jerome | October 9, 2008, 5:55 pm
  13. Dude!

    I was with you during the run, I was the guy you asked “why are we doing this?” ha ha ha ha. So pare now you know. Congratulations and job well done.
    First 70.3 mo? did you do sprints tri before this? –
    Caloy Hinolan

    Posted by Caloy Hinolan | October 17, 2008, 6:54 pm
  14. Hey Caloy, haha so you’re the guy. Yeah my first 70.3, definitely not my last 🙂

    Posted by groundhogdude | October 17, 2008, 7:21 pm
  15. Keep it up man! whiterock traithlon again nextyear.
    We might do a dumaguete traithlon long distance, this time roads close, still extribe will organize. Wow if this pushes thru. faster times for everybody right? : )

    Caloy Hinolan

    Posted by Caloy Hinolan | October 29, 2008, 6:36 pm

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