It’s time once again to visit the shores and streets of Subic Bay! With Regent 5150 coming up in a few weeks, we made sure you’ll have the information you need to tackle the course. Since there are quite a few changes to this year’s event, both newbies and veterans alike should read up!
Here is the event schedule:
Take note of the most important points to consider. Registration is only open from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Late registration will merit a hefty fine. Bikes should be checked in by Saturday (10am-5pm); no bike will be allowed into T2 during race morning. Since the bike course is point-to-point, your T2 bags must be deposited by Saturday as well (10am-5pm, Subic Bay Travelers Hotel). Swim course is open from 1pm to 3pm and race briefing has two batches: 5-5:30pm and 5:30-6pm. Attendance is highly recommended. A Catholic mass (6pm) will precede the carbo-loading dinner (7pm).
The Swim will have a “rolling start” wherein each athlete will seed himself according to his swimming ability. Pros and elites will start at 6:27am while the rest of the age groupers will start at 6:35am. We will be grouped into different categories: Below 25mins, 25-30mins, 31-35mins, 36-40mins, and above 40mins.
I must stress that each athlete should honestly choose the slot based on his true abilities. Based on the rules, cut off is based on “chip time” meaning your actual swim time will be derived based on what time you start and finish. Starting earlier would NOT guarantee that you’ll have more leeway or wiggle room with respect to the cutoff times.
The swim course consists of a single loop and it follows a counter-clockwise pattern. Left-side breathers rejoice! For once you’ll have it a bit easier. Those who breathe on their right side, on the other hand, should sight more and pay attention to navigation/sighting.
Looking at tide forecast data, the swim leg will take place midway between high and low tide. This means that we will probably feel a significant current. This will be more obvious as you swim away from the shore and approach the turnaround buoys. The current probably won't be as bad as other courses as this area is generally calm. Because of the orientation of the course, we will have to deal with glare from the rising sun on the way back. This is oftentimes blinding and disorienting; however, if you stay calm, pay attention to markers along the course, and choose the proper equipment, you should be fine.
Remember to pace the swim intelligently. Do NOT go all out at the start; instead, ease your way into your race rhythm. Focus on proper form, breathing, and aim to maintain your highest sustainable work rate. Kick more as you swim back towards the shore; this will allow more blood flow to your legs and will help you run better into T1.
The Regent 5150 course is famous (or infamous?) for its bike course. It consists of 3 main segments: the first one is the high speed stretch along the airport runway. This is a very fast piece of road where most athletes like to hammer; I would advise against it. Your high HR out of the water, the relative freshness of your legs, and your elevated sense of excitement will tempt you to push harder and harder. This will cause you to fade during the more challenging parts of the course. Remember, use this part of the course to recover from the swim. Warm up your legs gradually and rehydrate/refuel properly.
Course Elevation Data
Soon after, you’ll acquaint yourselves with the second part of the course: the treacherous hills of Subic. These climbs range from 4 to 8% and vary in terms of length. Pace yourself properly as you go up. Choose a lighter gear and focus on proper breathing and cadence. Push yourself a bit harder as you climb but stay well within your threshold. Once you go into the IDESS loop, stay alert and cautious. The very fast, winding, and narrow roads will take even a seasoned athlete by surprise. Be very careful if ever you choose to overtake during this segment. Remember to be courteous, and considerate by telling them when and where you intend to pass (no screaming as this tends to rattle other participants).
On the way back towards the direction of the airport, you will have a long series of descents where you could rest and recover. Once again, be careful as you zoom down these hills. The course is not closed to traffic; you will have to deal with cars as well as other cyclists. At the end of the downhill portion, you’ll need to make a right into Zambales road. This is a very long and steep road ranging from 6-11%. This is definitely the most difficult portion of the bike (maybe of the entire race). Fatigue, dehydration, and stress has already accumulated. You will need to suck it up and dig deep. Remember to continue to push the pace once you reach the top. Save the recovery for the last part of the course.
The final part of the bike leg starts with a long descent along Aparri road. This is famous for its long sweeping turns. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart as you’ll need to confidently maneuver blind corners and jackknife turns. Remember to feather the brakes, lift your inner foot up, and find the smoothest possible line into the turn. This will allow you to minimize any accidents yet still maintain a fast, controlled effort. The rest of the course consists mostly of downhill or fast segments. Use this time to prepare for the grueling run by rehydrating and refueling properly. Get those run legs firing by switching to a lighter gear and spinning at a higher cadence.
The run course starts at Remy field and moves towards the direction of The Subic Bay Yacht Club. The first turnaround is located slightly past Puregold near the Malawaan Wharf. This is a very flat yet windy stretch of road. Since there is almost no shade, make sure you use proper protection from the sun (e.g. a cap or visor). As you run back towards Remy field, you’ll need to go into the backroads of boardwalk near Segara Villas and Meat Plus. There’s a bit more shade here but heat will still be extremely challenging. Rehydrate as often as you can in each aid station. Take small gulps and don't chug several cups down. As you run towards the final turnaround point near the Lighthouse, focus on maintaining a fast leg turnover rate and proper run form. This will allow you to maintain a fast pace despite enduring high levels of fatigue. The stretch back towards Remy field will probably be the one of the most challenging parts of the race. Instead of focusing on how much it hurts or how much you want to quit, think positively! Focus on the fact that this will be all over in a few minutes and that it will be all worth the effort! The last 2-3km of the run should be the hardest! Pour it all out as you make your way towards the finish line! Take pride in knowing that you’ve finished one of the hardest Olympic distance courses in the country!
1. Photochromic Goggles (TYR Special Ops 2.0 Transition)
With summer practically over, weather will be very unpredictable. I usually bring two goggles to transition: one with polarized lens, the other with clear lens. The pros and cons of each are pretty obvious. If you don’t choose the right one, you’ll have a hard time navigating the course! Luckily, newer technology enables us to have the best of both worlds. Photochromic or “Transition” lenses adapt to the current light conditions. It’s technology often used for sunglasses and now makes its way to high performance goggles. They have a special material embedded in them that react to UV light. This allows them to turn darker when it’s very sunny and lighten when conditions are cloudy.
2. Compact Crank
A compact crank has less teeth than a standard one. A standard crank with 53 and 39 teeth, a compact crank has 50 and 34 teeth. This means that each turn of the crank turns the wheels less. Compared to a standard crank, you will need more crank rotations to move your wheels the same distance. While this might seem disadvantageous, it is very useful for hilly courses since it allows work to be distributed over a longer distance. In a practical sense, instead of mashing up a particular hill at 40-50rpm, you will be able to spin up the hill at an easier 60-70rpm. Yes there will be more pedal strokes but at least it won’t kill your legs as much!
3. 12-28t Cassette
If you aren’t able to buy or borrow a compact crank, a larger cassette is your best option. It applies the same principle as the one mentioned above. By distributing work over a longer duration. Remember that work is defined as force times distance (W=Fd)? By increasing the distance, you can apply less force and perform the same amount of work! Cassettes are a more convenient and cheaper alternative. You won’t get the same effect as a compact crank but it’s good enough for most. Choose a 12-28t cassette over an 11-28t as it will allow you to have closer gear combinations in the middle of the range. This is essential for the flatter portions of the course.
4. Race Tires
The course has a lot of fast and winding turns and descents. Make sure your tires are up to the job! I don’t necessarily advise you to splurge on the most expensive pair of tires you can get your hands on, what’s more important is you choose a “proven” pair that isn’t worn out! Make sure to use a relatively new pair instead of your actual training tires. This will ensure that your tires have more grip and are less prone to flats. (Tip: break in your tires before the race. Brand new tires still have a coating that can be a bit slippery during wet conditions). I personally prefer the Vittoria Corsa CX (Clincher or Tubular) series, It has a high thread count that makes the ride more supple. This contributes to a lower rolling resistance and better terrain deflection (i.e. better grip).
If it doesn’t rain, the run course will be very hot! There are no trees during the first part of the race and only a small portion of the run is shaded for the second half. Wearing a cap or visor will allow you to block out the sun and keep your core temperature low. I personally like wearing either one because I won’t have to squint and helps keep the sweat out of my eyes.