Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jacobs defends Ironman Philippines title in record fashion

This appears in the Monday August 15, 2011 edition of the Business Mirror.

Jacobs defends Ironman Philippines title in record fashion
by rick olivares photo by brosi gonzales

CAMARINES SUR -- Australian Pete Jacobs was concerned that his closest pursuers were gaining ground on him in the bike stage of the 2011 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines. When he turned around, he didn’t see anyone. Reaching deep into his energy reserves, Jacobs turned on the jets to finish the race in 3:51:43 to successfully defend his title and snag a precious slot to the Kona World Championships in Hawaii in October this year.

Heading into the third staging of Ironman Philippines, there was much concern about the heat that scorched the province of Camarines Sur for the past several days. On Saturday, temperatures were at 30° Celsius. American Jesse Thomas, in his first triathlon in the Philippines was praying for some rain. But on race day, the rain came pouring down and making the race course all the more treacherous.

Jacobs, still on the mend following a stress fracture in his left foot, felt good as he got out of the water with only American Amanda Stevens close behind. “I was concerned that it was Jesse,” said Jacobs who correctly pegged the San Diego, California native as a top contender for the title. “I don’t think the rain worked in Jesse’s favor.”

And the Australian went on to win the race in spectacular fashion as he beat his time of 3:58:41 from last year.

It was the second straight year where Jacobs finished first in all three legs of the race. He finished the swim leg in 24:17, the bike leg at 2:05:55, and the run leg at 1:18:40 to better his previous mark. In the inaugural Ironman Philippines, Jacobs finished fourth with a time of 3:56:51. Terenzo Bozzone, who won the initial edition of the event with a time of 3:51:25, set the record for the Ironman Philippines.

Yet the extremes in weather hardly seemed to bother Jacobs who ran a phenomenal race in a more demanding and challenging course from the previous stagings.

The 90km bike route differed slightly from the previous two years at the halfway point. Instead of Nato Port as the turnaround, bikers will head to the town of Goa, which is exactly 45km away from Camarines Sur Water Complex.

The 21km run route was also different as it offered a full 21k loop versus the two 10.5k laps of 2009 and 2010. More significantly, a 9km stretch of this route was billed as “the Rice Cooker” because it had nothing but rice paddies to either side with no shade from the sun anywhere.

But the rain made the race conditions somewhat easier. “I didn’t have to stop at every water of Gatorade station to stay hydrated,” said Jacobs. “And my foot felt fine. I even had time to give my wife Jamie (who was part of a relay team) a kiss as she began her run.”

The top male and female pros each received $3,000 each but Jacobs and Stevens received a $300 bonus for topping their respective groups in the swim stage.

The top three Filipino male and female finishers will each receive Php50,000, Php30,000, and Php20,000 respectively.

While the prize money is good, the huge attraction or prize that the competitors were vying for were the 25 slots to the Las Vegas half-Ironman on September 11 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the 30 slots for the full Ironman on October 8 in Kona, Hawaii.

Jacobs had a 20-minute lead over his closest competitors who waged a title battle for second place. Thomas finished with the time of 4:12:30 while New Zealander Cameron Brown came in at third place at 4:12:54. Said Thomas, “I could have done better out there in the bike but I’m just happy to finish at second.”

Belinda Granger outsprinted early women’s leader Amanda Stevens in the homestretch to finish at 4:26:23 while the latter crossed the finish line a little over two seconds later at 4:28:34. It was a heartbreaking loss for Stevens topped the swim and bike legs. Fellow American Bree Wee also came in a few seconds later at 4:39:37.

Granger’s husband, Justin, was penalized four minutes for drafting during the bike stage. And it was a costly penalty as he was close behind the race leaders. Those four minutes docked from him would have allowed him to move into at the very least sixth place ahead of non-pro Dane Cantell who finished with the time of 04:24:25.

Arland Macasieb, the Fil-American from New Jersey, was the top Filipino finisher (and ninth overall) with the time of 4:26:31. Macasieb was the third different top Filipino finisher following Noy Jopson in 2009 and Neil Catiil in 2010.

August Benedicto finished second for the locals with the time of 4:35:04 while Catiil placed third at 4:38:10.

Monica Torres won a third consecutive Ironman Philippines title in the Filipino elite women’s category with a time of 4:55:15.

In the best-participated Ironman Philippines, a total of 1,108 participants and 11 professional athletes from 28 countries (with over 814 individuals and 99 relay teams) registered for the third and possibly last Ironman competition. A private equity firm has acquired the World Triathlon Council and the franchise is up for evaluation. “Hopefully, they like what we’ve been doing here and we can host it again,” said Alaska Milk Corporation CEO Wilfred Uytengsu who acquired the triathlon franchise for local hosting. “Whatever happens, we put the Philippines on the sports tourism map and more importantly on the world triathlon map.”


Note: Vincent Erik Bangayan crossed the finish line after 5:39:24 and immediately snatched a streamer with the sign "Will you marry me?" to his girlfriend who said yes. photo by Jun M.

1 comment:

  1. aaa,kuyawa ninyo frnd ui.....saludo q nimu erik bangayan,,,hahhahaha