70.3 IRONMAN Cebu, Philippines 2022

"Don't forget to look up."

I found myself saying that to another participant as he overtook me on the time trial position. He was facing down, focusing on his effort and I couldn't help but think, "You are missing it, dude."

This is my first time to participate in the Cebu Philippines 70.3 IRONMAN. I did the bike portion of the relay. My teammates were Franco Soberano and Charles Ting. Of course, the team wouldn't be complete without a huge shout-out to our wives, Steph Alana and Maan, for literally forcing us to join. Lol

I have to say that initially I wasn't too excited to join the IRONMAN. But this year, I started doing more races and one of the things that really makes racing fun is the atmosphere. And from previous experience, I know that the Cebu IRONMAN atmosphere couldn't be beat.

As soon as I started the bike leg, I found my wife and kids screaming at the start line. Then from then on, there were crowds of people cheering. I couldn't help but smile and laugh. It's a great feeling.

Then the star of the course, the CCLEX - the longest bridge in the Philippines, loomed nearer. The crowds were replaced with wonderful views and a smooth road.

This was when I was overtaken by someone putting his head down, practically staring at the pavement. This was my first time on the bridge. I didn't want to miss it.

Actually, I didn't want to miss anything about the experience. Everything from the wonderful views, the feeling of having so many cyclists around, the competitive spirit, the cheering friends on, and even the feeling of fumbling a bottle feed.

Even if it was more aero to put my head down, for the most part, I was looking up and soaking it in.

I finished the bike course in 2:52:46 with an average speed of 31.37kmph. According to my more experienced friends, this course was more difficult compared to previous Cebu IRONMANs. Along with the usual headwind, the climb really slowed down the pace of the effort.

The team finished in 6:32:38. Good effort all around!

Lastly thank you again to Franco and Cebu Landmasters Inc. for sponsoring the whole thing. Super fun! Till next time!

- Carlo Villarica

*Photo by IShootSports PH




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