Ironman 70.3 Bintan for EMpower

Update posted by Ailsa Cheung On Aug 22, 2018

It was a long journey to get there and once there it felt so incredibly good. After months of training (loved it), eating healthy (not that hard), limiting my beer intake (very hard), trying not to catch anything in the final week (strange how all of a sudden I noticed everyone around me sneezing and coughing) and trying to get enough sleep (of course I woke up at 3am every morning in the last week, and as luck would have it we had a party crowd in the room above us in the hotel shouting their hearts out on the balcony until 2am on Friday night) I finally got to the start line on Sunday, 19th August on the beautiful Indonesian island of Bintan. Thank you so much for your support to get me there, through your messages of encouragement and the donations for EMpower. I am really humbled by so much kind support. It means a lot to me, and I am so very grateful that together we have raised close to USD 2000 so far. We are changing lives of at-risk youths in emerging market countries like Indonesia.

On race day everything went well. I got up at 3:30am, had breakfast at 4am (lots of porridge, the perfect energy source!), and got to the race venue just after 5am with plenty of time to set up the transition area, final checks on the bike, put on the strongest sun protection available, and do a quick warm up swim before the professionals kicked off at 6am.

At triathlons like this everyone starts in heats, professionals first, followed by age groups every 5 minutes. I was on at 6:32am, and the gun went off right on time. And so the long journey started. The swim in the clear and calm waters was fantastic, and I managed to avoid the jelly fish. The bike ride was challenging with lots of ups and downs and cross-winds, but the beautiful scenery and lots of support from the locals as we went through small villages with smiling kids waving (they were so happy to get our water bottles) made this part of the race very enjoyable. Less enjoyable was the half marathon at the end, in the full mid-day heat, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be easy. The last bit was pure torture. My heroes were the volunteers at the water stops, especially the guys pouring ice cold water over my head, and the dancers along the way that somehow got me smiling again despite the agony. And of course my wife Akiko, and daughters Hana and Nina, who were cheering me on. Mentally, it made a huge difference, particularly towards the end when my brain fought with my body to keep going. Thank you! After 6 hours 35 mins I finally crossed that finish line that I had been thinking about for so long (in case you are wondering why the picture shows 7h7min, that’s from the start of the pro heat).

On the bike course, we went past kids with the biggest smiles you will ever see, sitting in front of their very basic homes. I couldn’t help thinking that they were exactly the kind of youth that we are supporting with your generous donations for EMpower. I have chosen to support EMpower because I feel that providing youth with a foundation to make their dreams a reality is incredibly meaningful, and will allow them to build their own future, release the talents they all have, become self-sustained and eventually will pass on their skills to future generations. Thank you so much! I am proud that together we are making a difference.

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Update posted by Ailsa Cheung On Jul 31, 2018

Hi everyone, I have been back in Singapore for over a week now and am getting used to the heat again, or so I thought. Last Sunday was my final warm up race before the Ironman in Bintan in 3 weeks. It was hot, sooooooo hot.

First of all, I have to say, I am pretty happy with how it went. It was long, but not quite as long as the big race on 19th August. The swim was actually a bit longer than the half Ironman swim with 2.3k in East Coast Park in Singapore, followed by 42k cycling (much shorter than the real deal) and finally a 15k run (not that far off the half marathon part of the Ironman). I felt pretty good, but by the time I got to the run it was already 11am so it was starting to get really hot. The organisers did a fantastic job planting lots of water stops along the route, so I constantly splashed lots of ice cold water over my head.

My legs felt ok, so all the training is paying off. I have two more weeks of proper training to get through before I slow down in the final week leading up to the race. The slightly worrying part is that I will be out in the heat for at least 2 additional hours from what I had to do this Sunday, but I did it before so know I can do it again.

Oh, and if you would like to support my chosen charity EMpower there is a big fat donation button on the site, so don't let anyone stop you from helping at risk youth in emerging market economies fulfil their dreams of building a better future for themselves and their families. It will mean a lot to them.

Thank you so much for everyone's support. Until the next update....

Cheers

Oliver

Setting up my gear in the transition area. It was still early, around 6:45am, the moon was still shining up there and most people from later heats hadn't arrived yet. My heat was meant to start at 7:20am, but we go delayed by more than an hour as the tide hadn't come in yet (hmmm, I guess someone must have forgotten to do the homework and check what time the tide was meant to come in!!!).

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Update posted by Ailsa Cheung On Jul 24, 2018

Hi All,

thank you very much for all the support so far. I am sincerely grateful and proud that together we are raising money for EMpower, who are on a mission to help at-risk youth in emerging market countries through programs on education, livelihoods, health & education.

With less than four weeks to go until my Ironman 70.3 race on 19th August, I wanted to give a quick update on my training progress. Without putting serious time and effort into my training I am not going to finish this race. I have just come back to Singapore after a week in Tokyo for work and a brilliant two week holiday in Hokkaido, the north island of Japan. I took my bike along and spent plenty of time going up and down the mountains around a town called Niseko, which is better known for its world class powder snow in winter. At the start of my holiday I also competed in the Niseko Classic, an annual cycling race. I finished the 70km 26 mins faster than last year, so I was pretty happy with my progress. It really is black and white, the more you train (at least up to a certain limit), the better you perform - there simply is no substitute for putting in the hours.

As for running, it was quite a tough area to do my runs as there aren't any flat roads around Niseko, but I still managed to do my longest run of the year so far (a half marathon) during a trip to Sapporo, which had a beautiful flat path along the main river that goes through the city. Only my swim training has fallen a bit short in the last few weeks, so I will have to do more now that I am back at home in Singapore. Overall however, I am pleased with my progress. Last week was my peak with 12.5 hours on the bike and running.

I am doing a warm up race next Sunday that should help me prepare further for the big one in August. It's a rather unusual distance, longer than the Olympic distance triathlons but shorter than the Ironman 70.3 and will consist of a 2.3k swim, 42k bike ride and 15k run. I guess I will see how ready I am for the real deal next month.

Thank you again for all the support, and if you haven't donated yet and would like to do so any amount would be hugely appreciated. It will go straight to EMpower to use in their programs to support at-risk youth in emerging market countries like Indonesia, where the Ironman is being held. Not everyone is as fortunate as us in the 1st world countries and providing youth with a foundation to grow and achieve their dreams will give them a better future. Your donation will go to a very meaningful cause.

Until the next update, wishing you all the best.

Cheers,

Oliver

P.S. Here are a few pics from the last couple of weeks in Hokkaido.

The road up Niseko Annupuri, literally climbing into the clouds


After the Niseko Classic race with my Japanese friend, who I meet there once a year. He is as passionate about cycling as I am.

One of the great roads around Niseko to cycle on. More fun to go down than up!


This is how I got my bike home.
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Congraturation!

Maki Suban

Backed with $20.00 On Sep 27, 2018

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Congrats Oliver. Great achievement.

Matt Pocock

Backed with $50.00 On Sep 17, 2018

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Well done! It's great to stay active and empower the youth at the same time.

Eunice Lam

Backed with $50.00 On Sep 14, 2018

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Well done Oliver

Govind Choudhary

Backed On Aug 23, 2018 Amount Hidden

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Just saw that you've complete the race, congrats!

Gennifer Goh

Backed On Aug 23, 2018 Amount Hidden

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Congratulations on completing the race! Well deserved time off coming up I hope?

Colin Carter

Backed with $50.00 On Aug 20, 2018

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Nicholas Stipp

Backed with $50.00 On Aug 20, 2018

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Christopher Capay

Backed On Aug 18, 2018 Amount Hidden

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Goooood luck!

Johanna VL

Backed with $50.00 On Aug 18, 2018

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Wish you the very best for your coming new challenges!!

Yuko Nakajima

Backed On Aug 17, 2018 Amount Hidden

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Ailsa Cheung

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