First destination of our Offtime travel tour 2017 was Kanchanaburi in Thailand, which is around three hours drive to the west from Bangkok. Because of our large luggage including my triathlon bike case, it was better and cheaper to hire a car. Nissan Almera was perfekt for that amount of baggage.
Our Accomondation was straight beside the River Kwai, which became famous during the second world war in Asia and sadly their building of its rail way costed hundred thousands of people’s live. Now it’s is called death rail way.
What’s nice in Thailand is the vegetation and for sure the street kitchen with its simple and yummy food! What’s impressive was the national mourning about the king‘s dead which happened one year ago. Everywhere we saw mourning symbols and huge pictures of the king. Also during the race briefing of the triathlon, we were invited to stand up and show respect for the king’s dead.
The clima in this region was tropical around 33 degree and humidity like on Big Island on Hawaii. It means, waking up in the morning and sweating without doing anything.
The race, the Challenge Thailand Kanchanaburi half distance race with 1,9 k swim, 90 k bike with 1.400 metres in height and a hilly Halfmarathon with 400 meters took place at the Srinakarin Dam a big hydroelectric power generation.
Originally I wanted to race again the triathlon in China, as last year. Everything was organized but four weeks prior, Hefei had been canceled for political reasons. Spontanouesly I decided for a start in Thailand. To be honest, without checking every course detail before. While in Hefei in 2016 I finished in 4:20 hours, this time would be good to win that race in Kanchanaburi, that’s what I found out later.
I have never raced a harder middle distance before. Everything was hilly but the swimming :-). But even those conditions were similar to a good temperatured whirlpool. With around 30 degree the wetsuit was not allowed but this was clear before. Start was at six o’clock.
Once done with the swim, we climbed the longest staircase I have ever seen in a triathlon to T1, a very steep stairway with 72 steps to the top of the dam where the transition was located.
The bike course startet with a short downhill and a four kilometer long climb with the average of ten percent, which was the gear limit of my 11-23 cassette. Hills along the complete course and roads with elephant dung and warning signs for elephant crossing! But luckily they didn’t appear during the race.
Because of its turning point course we came back the same way with the same hills – and I finished my bike split in eighteenth position overall – but don’t ask for my legs…
By this time we had temperatures around 34 degree with humidity over 90 percent, which needs all the time to take care about hydration.
For all those are knowing me, I love hilly running, even it wasn’t so fast – but soon I found my rhythm and chased for positions. At kilometer 14 I caught the leader of my age group and tried to extend the distance.
The last lap of three was also the hottest and everyone’s job during running was to cool down his body. With sponges and lots of water it worked, even when plenty of water flooded my shoes, better getting a blister than loosing places.
I rarely was so happy to have reached the finish line, as overall place 13 and age group winner. That was secretly my goal and I am so happy always (ok, almost) set on my running performance. Gisa uses my bike split time for her run unit and before I went to the running course, she knew what me expected.
Next day started also very early with driving back to Bangkok with our rental car in 3,5 hours drive including the chaos traffic on the way to the airport. We reached the gate less than one hour before departure. Less sleep, less food, but in the aircraft. That was Thailand!
Now we arrived at our friends in Beijing, they are living there for eight years, and I had so much fun with them going around with the bicycles through Beijing last year, that this visit was definitely a must on our list. Temperatures are twenty degrees lower, no aircondition is needed and internet allowance is always a challenge.