Race Report: winners of AsiaTRI lucky draw at Challenge Camsur

AsiaTRI and Challenge Camsur gave away via a lucky draw free slots for our readers to compete at the inaugural Challenge Camsur on June 14th. Check the race report of the lucky winners below. If you missed this promotion, make sure you sign up for our newsletter and stay updated on the next ones.

From Retzel Orquiza (winner of the Philippines category)

Retzel Orquiza (winner of the Philippines category)
Retzel Orquiza (winner of the Philippines category)

Challenge CamSur was indeed a CHALLENGE. It was one HOT race. As for FAST, I will let other people be the judge of that. I wasn’t very optimistic before the race started because I didn’t prepare for this race. But racing for free is a very hard opportunity to pass.

Retzel Orquiza (winner of the Philippines category)

As for the course, it was very different from the 3 half iron distance races that I’ve done in CamSur. The swim was 2 loops in the big lake. As always, it was a heavy swim. But the water quality has improved. The bike leads to the town of Iriga, which had nice asphalt roads. There were a number of rollers on that portion of the bike leg. The last segment of the bike lead us to the town of Ocampo, which was part of an old half iron distance bike course. All concrete, false flat and windy roads that made it very interesting. The run is always the exciting part. It was HOT HOT HOT! The ice and water baths in the aid stations helped alot to dissipate the heat.

CamSur is never an easy race even with a FLATTISH profile. But it is festive with people and school kids cheering along the bike and run courses.

It was nice to be back racing in CamSur. Thank you, AsiaTri!

Retzel Orquiza (winner of the Philippines category)

From Hugo Babin (winner of the Asia category, based in Thailand)

Challenge Camsur was a special event for me being my first half-distance race. Even though I was not prepared for the distance, I was excited at the prospect of testing myself on the bike and run course. The event was nicely organised with a team of volunteers welcoming me and a few other triathletes at the airport and transferring us to our hotel.

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The event was hosted by the Camsur Water Sport complex which seems to have very nice facilities to accommodate a triathlon.The festivities started on Friday night with the pre-race dinner and performance by local dancers. During the whole weekend, I was impressed by the nice atmosphere and all the help I received from my fellow triathletes whenever I encountered small problems. I have made new friends there and will gladly race again in the Philippines.

Hugo Babin (winner of the Asia category)
Hugo Babin (winner of the Asia category)

On race day I discovered the course in real-time. The swim was an out and back straight line to complete twice. It was a very easy swim course and even though the water was not crystal-clear, it required very little sighting with ample space to take over slower athletes. I decided to swim at a very comfortable pace to save my energy for later. A short run to the transition area and I was on my bike.

The first part of the bike course was the best part of the race with well paved wide roads lined with trees. The locals were out in numbers and actively cheering! In every village, kids in school uniforms singing, dancing or playing instruments made the atmosphere truly unique.

The second half of the course, however, was made of long straights on a surface that wasn’t quite as good and exposed to the wind. With turnaround points in two locations, we had a chance of looking at the pros and feel the top 3 were really going all out at this point. This part of the race allowed me to improve my standings in the overall ranking while still keeping energy in store for the half-marathon to come.

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Running under the heat is challenging. Early on the course, the roads were partially shaded, but only for a short while. After this, it was long straights through rice fields. There again, local kids were cheering all the way, raising their hands for a high-five. Making it to the turnaround in 44 minutes made me feel confident about my performance.


Hugo Babin (winner of the Asia category)
Hugo Babin (winner of the Asia category)

The return proved to be more difficult than expected after twisting my foot and suffering from GI distress. The last few kilometers were very difficult, I had to stop to walk on many occasions. However, to my surprise, no one overtook me during this part of the race.

Crossing the finishing line was a relief and for a minute I was wondering if I would race this distance again. I was later informed that I was 1st in my age-group which was nice. I could not help feeling a bit disappointed about my running split though. Overall I had a great time racing Challenge Camsur. I have learned a lot and I am now looking forward to my next half-distance race later this year to see if I can raise my performance level with the appropriate preparation. Now will be the time for me to recover from my foot injury which could keep me off competitions for the next few weeks.

Thanks to Asiatri for the chance of racing my first Challenge race and to my girlfriend and family always supporting me in my preparation

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