Lopez stamps his mark in 1st Ironman-A A +A
Monday, August 6, 2012
SOMETIMES the first attempt can be hardest but can also be the most fulfilling, and that proved true for Cebuano runner turned triathlete Mendel Lopez, who surprised himself with a podium finish in the Cobra Ironman 70.3
In his first attempt as a member of Fish 18, Lopez managed to land in third place in 4:39.24, beating last year’s champion Arland Macasieb and veteran Noy Jopson.
And although he trailed this year’s Filipono elite champion August Benedicto and Frank Peñalosa, his personal achievement in this new sport surpassed his own expectations.
There may be a few people who had doubts about his capacity, but Lopez continued to rely on his strength rather than be weighed down by his weakness.
“Mao gyud target nako karong Ironman na ma podium finisher ko,” said Lopez. (I really aimed for a podium finish in this Ironman).
It didn’t start off well for him after he experienced pain in his shoulders from wearing a suit he just used for the first time.
And the transition to the bike course didn’t come easy as well because of the strong winds that went against them.
But it was a good thing he managed to recover from their bike ride just before the transition to the run discipline.
Lopez emphasized that among the three sports, the bike was the most crucial course that had given him the advantage in the race and that helped him get pass Gerry Calinawan.
“I decided to give it my all just to have an advantage going into the running segment,” he said.
In the run stage, he went past Noy Jopson, Franz Baguio and Neil Catiil.
It was unfortunate for former champion Macasieb, who was slowed down by two flat tires early in the bike course, a delay that cost him around 15 minutes.
“I tried to push as fast as I can but at that point that was too hard to catch up.
These things really happen and I should have been prepared,” said Macasieb.
Coming in at fourth place, Jopson admitted that he was not in full condition in yesterday’s race and had lost the energy in the bike race.
“I was not in my best condition, I had diarrhea the other day and I would have wanted to perform well before the home crowd but I think I gave my best,” said Jopson.
The achievement boosted Lopez’s confidence in competing in future triathlon tournaments now that he can gauge his performance from this third place finish.
And his only advice to runners who plan to shift to triathlon is to take training seriously and prepare for the expenses.
“To those who want to try triathlon, they have to be really prepared because it is really expensive,” said Lopez, whose wife Lorhiz is also a triathlete.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 06, 2012.