in Health

I, Satyajeet, working as an Electro-Technical Officer with Anglo Eastern would like to share my experience of completing Half Ironman held in Bintan, Indonesia on 19th August 2018.

Last year (2017) I started training to accomplish my teen age dream of completing an Ironman on good vessel M.V. Delphis Gdansk and finished half Ironman triathlon held in New Delhi on 05th
Nov 2017 with a timing of 5 hrs and 17 mins. After few days I joined vessel M.V. Cisnes and continued with my training.

I am thankful to all the crew, especially CE Mr Vikram Thakuri, for all the help and support without which it would have been impossible for me to finish.

As mentioned previously Half Ironman is a Triathlon which consists 1.9 km swim, 90Km Cycle and 21.1 Km Run in mentioned order. As per kind advice of Mr Rajeev Sarang, I decided to go for Half Ironman distance Triathlon to have some exposure towards open water swimming and cycling in rolling hills.

I registed for participation in Ironman Bintan, Indonesia on 19th August 2018 aiming to book a slot in Ironman World championship 2019 to be held in Nice, France by registering a podium finish( under 5hour time). I reached Indonesia 2 days in advance with my parents as my support team. Bintan is a beautiful tourist spot near Singapore. I took complete rest for 2 days except for warm up and race check-in.

On the day of event I reached Ironman Expo at 5:00 AM with many other participants and made all pre-race preparations. It was a sunny day regardless of previous 2 days, when it was drizzling in there. Expo was festive with over 1000 well rigged athletes ready to compete. I was bit nervous as I never had an experience of open water swimming and competing with athletes having vast experience yet I was happy as it was a dream come true for me to step on the start line with professionals.

The much awaited event started at 6 AM in the morning with open water swimming in sea which was my weakest link. I lost my track immediately after swim start due to crowd and started inexperience but recovered well in 2nd half. After coming out of water, I ran towards the bike station where all the bikes (bicycles) were parked. As soon as I reached to my bike slot I saw my parents cheering for me from spectator area and they were very happy being there. That was one proud moment, a moment everybody in this world wants to have. I checked for time and it was below 45 min which made me comfortable as I was in very good position to achieve my target. I rigged myself with bike gears and started cycling which was 2nd leg of event.

For cycling I am using BTWIN 500 road bike as most Triathlon bikes are not affordable for me at this stage. I lost a few minutes in transition while clipping BIB number at my back but once I started cycling it was like a roller coaster due to hills. I started overtaking rider soon and was moving towards my targets comfortably till 17km mark.

No race is complete without twists. At 17.3 km mark I met with an accident while going down of a slope with speed exceeding 55 km/h. I was overtaking two competitors and came too close to turn which was just after the slope. I thought of turning from extreme outer edge of road for higher turning radius but saw a vehicle coming from same side. Now I knew I cannot shift back to my side of road and will collide with the vehicle with above 40 kmph speed. I decided to go off road to save myself from collision and jumped off the bike as soon as it went off road to land in 2-3 meter clean cordon and rolled twice taking hit on my left upper back and shoulder, right thigh, right palm and both wrists. I got up immediately and felt my leg is inserious pain. I tried to wipe my cycling goggles and saw my hand bleeding. I appreciate quick response of official who were there within 1-2 minutes. One of the representative asked me if I am ok . I rubbed some soil on my hand to stop bleeding, something we used to do during childhood, and replied immediately, “I am fit n fine and want to continue”. I ran toward my bike which went further 20-30 mtrs into the bushes, picked it up and by seeing it my first thought was I am out of race. Race officials thought in same way and asked me to sit down, have some water, relax and wait for sag wagon for medical aid and bike shifting. I was down and dusted as my bike was in real bad shape with Aerodynamic Crossbars took major hit and is bent, one side of steering handle (Handle bars) with rear gears i bent inside by about 50 degrees, chain was out of front chairing and have good amount of soil and dust over it, saddle was point towards sky, and few more small damages. For a moment I agreed with official’s decision but I thought of my parents who were cheering for me and waiting for me on finish line, I bought them along to see their happy smiling faces which was something off the picture if I let it go at this point. I left behind all negativity decided to give it a try. Put back chain in drive track and rolled both wheels. Front wheel somewhat lost its shape but manged to rotate freely after opening brakes little bit more. Tried shifting gears and found out front gearshift is in operational. Rear gear shift is working but derailleur touching the chain. I adjusted it to keep clear on high speed gears and tightened the saddle slightly. I was lucky as both wheels and brakes were fine. Now the major issue was to keep steering, I tried straightening drop bars(steering handle) unsuccessfully but manged to straighten and adjust cross bars up to some extent. It was not pointing right in front and no more aerodynamic but was good enough to give it a try. Now only thing was to convince the race official who was unhappy with condition of the bike due to safety reasons. I asked him to give me a try as brakes were working fine. He agreed and i was back on track. It was hard to go without proper steering and low speed gear while going on ascending hills but I somehow completed my remaining of 73 km bike leg. I racked my bike back in transition area and started final part of race which was 21.1 km of running. I started off slowly to keep the pain in control so that to cross the finish line. I picked up the pace slowly by final lap and bettered my position. While in last 5-6 km remaining my injured leg started cramping and I decided to slow it down. The crowd in there was real motivator for everybody in there. It was a dream comes true while I crossed the finish line and my parents smiling in front of me. After receiving medal and goodies I went on to meet them. I can never forget those happy faces with smile and bright eyes. I know, 6 hour finish is not something I was training for but looking at them, my pain was healed. I went on for medical aid and recovery soon after finishing where I checked my statics. I was way behind podium and missed qualifying slot but was quite satisfied for finishing it from a position where I almost gave up.

My final timing was 06:02:23 which includes 43 minutes for swimming 1900 meters, 3hrs 4 min for cycling 90kms and 2 hrs 7min for running 21.1 km finishing 14th in my category.

I was way behind my personal best of 5:17 but with this experience I am sure to give my best next time to have a better chance of qualification.

Now I am looking forward for IRONMAN 140.3 Philippines after recovering from injuries and securing funds for it by sponsorship. If everything works well will share my experience from there this November.