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Pro athletes and the media gathered on Thursday evening at the Camayan Beach Resort in Subic Bay for the inaugural Challenge Philippines press conference. The hot topic was the doozy of a bike course, which several of the athletes previewed earlier in the day. Here’s a collection of sound bytes from the event.
About the course and conditions:
Chris McCormack (AUS)
We went for a ride this morning. It was an hour, and I think we went 10K! But if you’re going to suffer anywhere, you may as well suffer in paradise. On a course like this I’m just hoping experience counts!
Greg Bennett (AUS)
I’m hoping the same thing!
Chris McCormack (AUS)
I know how quickly the heat can catch up with you. Living in Thailand now I’m hoping that will pay dividends, but otherwise my experience is all I have to bank on over this amazing pro field. But this is how courses used to look. They use to be tough and then people started making them easy. This is how it should be. You should be crossing the line and hating life, but then later wanting to come back and do it again.
Greg Bennett (AUS)
The heat and humidity will play a huge factor, but also this is old-school racing. It’s going to be really, really hard. Not only does the bike have six or seven big climbs, but also the run course is up and down the whole way. You’ll really have to pace yourself and be careful to hydrate.
This race will become legend. People will say, “I did it, I raced Challenge Philippines and I finished!” I think there’s been a tendency to make fast courses so that people can go for a PB, but this is how a race should be.
Laura Bennett (USA)
It’s our first time to the Philippines. We checked out the course today and yes, it’s going to be hard. But you also have to remember where you are. Even if you end up having a bad day, just look around you and you can’t help but have fun, too!
Till Schramm (GER)
There’s no opportunity to hide–the strongest one will win. This is the most beautiful and also the most challenging course I have ever seen, and I’ve trained many days here so I can say this.
Melissa Hauschildt (AUS)
I really like cross-country and off-road running so I’m looking forward to that [the run is a mix of asphalt and off-road jungle trails]. I’m looking forward to the bike also; I just wish I brought my road bike for these hills!
Emma Pooley (GBR)
(Pooley is a professional cyclist–the 2010 World Time Trial Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist in Beijing–now also competing in triathlon.)
It’s so beautiful here and it really makes a difference in a race to be in a place like this. I rode all the way around the bike course today and it was beautiful–even though I was crawling! It took me a lot longer than I thought.
On why she enjoys triathlon:
In cycling there’s a huge disconnect between the pros and the amateurs. Part of the reason I’m drawn to triathlon is that everyone races together, the same event. It’s a very friendly feel. The amateurs and pros are in transition together, all talking together. Cycling is not like that at all!
Rasmus Petræus (DEN)
On the venue:
The Philippines is an amazing place. I love to be in the sun, not like in Europe were it’s so cold! Everybody speaks perfect English here, even the in the smallest little place where you stop to get something to drink, so it makes it really easy.
Radka Vodickova (CZE)
On what she’s most looking forward to about being here in Subic Bay:
Meeting the dolphins [at the Ocean Adventure park], because they are my favorite and I’ve never had a chance to touch them or see them up close. And I would love to finish this race! I thought: OK, I’ve done Challenge Laguna Phuket, nothing can surprise me. But I am really surprised at how hard it will be on the bike.
On the unusual run course spectators:
I think what will be challenging will be the monkeys in the forest–trying not to lose your energy gels to the monkeys!