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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rating this year’s 2011 Ironman Philippines

Rating this year’s 2011 Ironman Philippines
by rick olivares

More participants + more booths + more attendees + a superb performance from Pete Jacobs = winner.
The 2010 race went down to the wire between Jacobs and Terenzo Bozzone but seeing how the former blew away the field was worth the price of admission. Having more pros to my mind validates the competition because it means that they aren’t simply going to travel here to scratch the Philippines off their bucket list because the money isn’t huge compared to other triathlons. It’s everything from the organization of the race to the hospitality of the people and to the race itself. The more challenging the race the better the feedback. Because of the rain, "The Rice Cooker" wasn't that big a problem early in the day and because of the rain but it remained challenging according to the participants.

The Ironman Store was such a terrific idea! Loved that. Wish I loads of cash to spend though. I totally loved the K-Swiss booth. Since I was in school, K-Swiss shoes have been a favorite. And seeing the new models out, I just have to get me a pair.

And the Cobra Energy Drink promo girls were hot.

Special mentions:
Fred Uytengsu for putting this together.

L-Ray Villafuerte for being a gracious host.

Whit Raymond for being such an excellent host and emcee. I left the post-race press con at 230pm (it wasn’t over as it went on for another 30 minutes) and on my way to my cabin, I passed the finish line (the race started at 615am) and there was Whit still egging on the last finisher of the race as if it were the break of dawn! Whatta guy!

Pete Jacobs for a masterful performance and being so down to earth with everything.

Amanda Stevens for being such a cheerful person. Here’s someone who led the women’s category almost the entire but faltered in the final stretch that saw Belinda Granger pass her for the finish yet still smiled and waved and posed for pics. Stevens, a cancer survivor, crossed the finish line looking dejected. She sat down for a minute and the pain was evident on her face but she stood up and acknowledged the crowd and began to smile. Everywhere after that she was back to her buoyant self. What a trooper!

I honestly wish I went around Bicol and all the outlying towns (Caramoan in particular). I’m such a sucker for historical sites and because of a tight sked I wasn’t able to go anywhere. I was so excited to get down to the CWC and hope for a chance to wakeboard (alas when you are working how do you get time to do that). For a Php165 bucks you get to wakeboard for an hour! That’s not bad at all.

And the CWC being 10 minutes away from the airport is not bad. You don’t have to really rush to the airport (as long as you’re there 45 minutes before boarding time because they close the gates). The facilities have free wifi so you can upload pics and tell everyone what a great time you’re having in Camsur.

However, I was surprised that in the midst of the expansion of the CWC (the cabanas), some things were not up to snuff (a far cry from last year). The grass around the cabins wasn’t even mowed. Weeds were growing everywhere and cabins had puddles of water underneath the steps or right in front of the porch. Last Friday you could see insects on the water. With concerns about dengue you cannot be too careful.

I heard from some people who checked in the CWC that some cabins had defective air conditioning units. The front desk could not even offer a solution! And bath towels last Friday were not distributed until 8pm!

Speaking of cabins, in terms of security, how could all these loitering folk enter the grounds? You couldn’t differentiate who was a participant, guest, worker, concessionaire, or what. Furthermore, those loitering folk -- you can never tell if they are up to no good. There weren’t enough security guards posted at entry points.

The front of the convention center was muddy and filled with junk.

What I am trying to say is that if we are bent on hosting world-class events then our facilities should be in world-class form.

Media Center
Loved it there except… what happened to all the breakfast cereal that we had in 2010? Overgrown kids like me gotta have their Wheaties and Fruit Loops! Seriously, thanks Alaska! The periodic updates, managing the press cons and meet the pros, individual interviews, and the halo halo meriendas were wonderful.

The Gator Crew, Sunday, August 14 at the Alaska Media Center.

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