Ironman organizer 'gets lucky' with new Cebu course
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The sudden scramble for a new bike route turned out to be a blessing in disguise for head organizer Wilfred "Fred" Uytengsu as many of the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships participants had nothing else but heaps of praise.
With all of the positive feedback, the Cebu's premier race might just stick to its newfound course.
"You know sometimes you get lucky and you find a new course, so we may just stay with the course we have," said Sunrise Events Inc (SEI) founder Uytengsu.
"There are many good things with the course, a lot of things that we would like to change, so we would like to do our homework, and find out what we can do we the course we have now to make it even better, but feedback I get is very positive."
Four-time Cebu Ironman champion Caroline Steffen from Switzerland was one of the triathletes who enjoyed this race compared to previous years due to the new course.
"Awesome course, very technical," praised Steffen who placed 2nd to Radka Kahledfeldt in this year's edition. "I would prefer doing (this) course than the one years before and the bridge was cool."
Steffen and the other pros also had their own suggestions to change the bike course to two loops instead of 3 loops in the following races in Cebu.
"I hope that there would be less people on the road especially the 3rd lap but we can’t change that. So maybe the same sort of course but two laps so that would be probably the best," added Steffen.
"I think if they can do it in two laps, that just creates less congestion so if that’s an option, I’ll take that option," agreed 3-time Cebu men's pro champion Tim Reed of Australia.
Unlike the other pros, it was actually the two champions Mauricio Mendez and Kahlefedlt felt that the new route can become dangerous especially in the 3rd loop.
"I think last year was a little bit better. In the 3rd loop, it was really crowded and it was a little bit tactical and a little bit dangerous even," said Mendez. (WATCH: How Ironman darling Mendez fell in love with PH)
"(I would prefer) last year’s bike. It’s safer," said Kahlefeldt when asked about her bike route preference. "It was perfectly organized but it’s better to have longer stretches on the bike. This is very technical but it suited me, so I don’t complain."
Uytengsu already had his initial answers that were leaning towards keeping the 3-loop bike course, but his team will continue to evaluate and study other options with the cooperation of the Cebu City officials.
"There are pros and cons to the two-loop bike course, right now, the pros get 60km of good riding ability because there’s no traffic, but if we go to a two-loop bike course, they are only get 45km," explained Uytengsu.
"We have to do a time and motion study to find out what really works best. I think you can argue in favor of both, but in the end we’re going to have to make that decision, don’t have the answer right now."
The changes to the race course were caused by the ongoing construction along South Coastal Road (SCR), which was the route used in previous years. A month before the Asia-Pacific championships, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña turned down SEI's request to use SCR due to the inconvenience it would cause the public.
The organizing team's back-up plan to shift up north was also declined by Liloan mayor Cristina Gracia-Frasco, before Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue eventually poured in their support for the 90-km bike race.
The hosting rights of 2019 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific championships will be turned over to Vietnam. – Rappler.com
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