Sunday, February 14, 2016

Habana Triathalon

We were lucky enough to be able to watch the Havan Triathalon which started on the Marina Hemingway grounds. There were two days of racing, Day 1 was a half ironman, I don't think there was a full and Day 2 was the elite sprint Triathalon. The swimming took place in the canals the boats are tied up on. They swam down canal 1 closest to the ocean and then up canal 3, missing our canal all together. 
This is the start of Day 1, not a particularly fair start in my opinion!! The woman who started the race had a non functioning megaphone to start and could not be heard. Day 2 start was much fairer, they had a line in the water and it was lifted after a command of on your mark! Well done. 
This poor competitor was not much of a swimmer and just after the start,I told Barry he was going to have trouble. 20 meters into the race he gave up and kind of panicked, looking for a way out. The tide was out and the barnacles on the wall as well as it's height made  it impossible for him to lever himself up out of the water.  The spectators had to haul him out. I saw him get on his bike however so at least he was able to continue on in the race in some fashion. 
The athletes getting out of the water by the yacht club and transistioning to their bikes. 
Just after the first transistion, notice his bare feet, his shoes are underneath his feet!
They race left the Marina grounds at this point and it finished on the Malelcon in downtown Havana. 
The start of the men's race on Day 2, on Day 1 both sexes raced together. There was a mad sprint for the lead and a fellow from Venezuela came out of the water an astounding 30 seconds ahead, he held his own in the bike but two fellows passed him in the run and he finished in third place.
In the woman's race the lone Canadian athlete came in second, here she is about 75 meters from the finish line valiantly trying to catch the leader.  I spoke with her afterwards and she said she was pleased with her early season effort.  She has two races in Florida, then one on the Gold Coast in Australia which will count for points in her Olympic bid, the best of luck to her.  A male counterpart from the same training team in Guelf, ON did not finish as highly but was close to the top ten. 

The sprint race on Day 2 was almost entirely run on the Marina Hemingway property, there was about an 800m section of the bicycle course that was out on the main road.  The transistion areas were very interesting to watch. On Day 1 I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of time lost in the changeover from the swim to the bikes. They swam further and quite a few wore wet suits on Day 1 but no one on Day 2 had a wet suit on. What killed me was the guys trying to stuff their gel packs in the back of their jersey's as they were running towards their bikes.  It must be the fatigue and the cold from the swimming portion, the water was only 20 degrees, but my gosh the mucking about trying to get those packs into those tight pockets was ridiculous!!  
It was great to watch the highly conditioned bodies and minds attack a sport. There were lots of officials, helpers and coaches to make sure the event went off well, on the second day they had volunteers in the water with paddle boards in case something went wrong. It was fun to watch, I had not seen athletes of this caliber compete in the flesh. We were so lucky it was held in this locations because we probably would not have even known it was on. 
Our new passports should be in soon, so we will watch the weather and head out once things look good.  We will head around the western end of the island and laze around the south side for awhile. I have been suffering from a nasty cold for the last few days and have been keeping my head down somewhat.