Conquering Ironman 70.3: The Thrilling Race Day in Goa
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 09, 2023
This is the exciting finale of a captivating four-part series documenting SuYin’s triumphant journey at the Ironman 70.3 in Goa in 2019.
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The thrills of the world’s biggest triathlon event came to India for the first time with the Ironman 70.3 held in the picturesque destination of Goa on October 21, 2019. Tickets to the race were sold out months in advance, but both my husband and I were fortunate enough to secure a spot.
Two Days to Race Day
The nerves kicked in as we checked in our bikes for the flight. From the anxious moments at the airport counter, hoping our bikes wouldn’t exceed the weight limit, to the relief of seeing them safely assembled at the Goa airport, the excitement filled the air. As we made our way to the hotel, the town buzzed with anticipation. Banners adorned the streets, and athletes arriving with their bike cases, sleek TT bikes whizzing by, and runners jogging in packs created an atmosphere of eagerness and admiration.
One Day to Race Day
The pre-race jitters intensified as we headed to Miramar Beach for a swim trial. The water was slightly choppy near the shore, and we discovered that swimmers had to wade out about 200 meters before the water was deep enough to swim. Overhearing conversations about the reduced swim distance due to the current, we gained a valuable advantage. Familiarizing ourselves with the swim course, noting the current drifts, and sighting buoys boosted our confidence.
With less than 24 hours to go, we took it easy, meticulously checking and rechecking all the items needed for the race. From energy gels and bars to bike computers and spare tubes, we made sure nothing was overlooked. Satisfied with our preparations, we bid adieu to a peaceful night’s sleep.
Finally, Race Day!
Even before the alarm clock buzzed at 4 am, the excitement had already stirred us awake. Bleary-eyed, we applied our number decals on arms and legs, cautiously chewing our breakfast, and double-checking our gear. The restroom had an unusually high number of visitors during that hour, as everyone aimed to empty their bladders before the race rather than during.
At the transition zone, the upbeat music pumped up the atmosphere, calming some nerves. With an hour remaining until the race, we set up our equipment and nutrition for smooth transitions.
Swim, 1.9 KM
The swim section can be chaotic, with flailing arms, unintentional kicks, and moments of being pushed underwater. The course involved two loops, and finding the right balance between distance and avoiding the crowds became crucial. Swimming further from the inner loop meant escaping the chaos but swimming a longer distance. Swimming closer to the loop was more efficient, but risked encountering more swimmers. It was an exhilarating challenge, and after completing the swim (which turned out to be a few hundred meters longer than expected), we made our way to the transition zone with precision and speed.
The bike leg of the triathlon offered a chance to savor the scenery and the wind caressing our faces. The course took us on a scenic route along the river, surrounded by lush trees. The closed roads ensured a safe ride, allowing us to focus solely on the race rather than traffic. With constant fluid replenishment from aid stations, we consumed nutrition and gels, maintaining our energy levels throughout the approximately three-hour ride. The cycling portion easily became my favorite, reminiscent of the joy of dogs on car rides.
Run, 21.1 KM
As we embarked on the run, the heat gradually made its presence known. Shaded trails provided brief relief, but the humidity seemed to seep through. The growing crowd and their enthusiastic cheering became a source of strength for our tired legs. Aid stations lined the route, offering athletes water, cola, energy gels, crisps, and even iced sponges. The last few kilometers tested our mental fortitude as our legs protested. It took immense willpower to overcome the fatigue and keep pushing forward.
Crossing the finish line triggered a whirlwind of emotions, primarily relief and a determination to never attempt something like this again (although that sentiment quickly changed!). The Ironman 70.3 Goa race was superbly organized, with meticulous planning ensuring a smooth experience. As a first-time half-Iron distance participant, I was elated to finish within my target time. To top it off, winning my age group meant qualifying for the 2020 World Championships in Lake Taupō, New Zealand. The prospect of further training and competing with some of the world’s best athletes beckoned.
In conclusion, the unforgettable Ironman 70.3 Goa race was a test of strength, endurance, and determination. It showcased the incredible spirit of triathletes and the thrill of pushing oneself to the limit. With each stroke, pedal, and step, I discovered newfound resilience within myself. The world of triathlon has forever changed my perspective on what is possible, and I can’t wait for the next challenge on my journey.