Veteran triathlete Butch Sublemente left for Hawaii yesterday to race in the 2013 XTERRA World Championship that will be held this Sunday (Monday on Saipan) in Maui.
This will be Sublemente’s second time to participate in the annual tournament after debuting in the gathering of the best of the best in the triathlon world in 2011. He qualified for XTERRA World this year after emerging as the top Saipan finisher in the 2013 XTERRA Saipan Championship in March, timing in at 3:46:57.
“I am happy to be given another chance to race alongside world champion triahletes. My target is to beat my time when I first joined XTERRA World,” said Sublemente.
The Pacific Islands Club employee clocked in at 3:41:07 in his XTERRA World debut to finish at No. 43 among 68 finishers in the 35 to 39 age group. Though he failed to land in the Top 10 in his age group, Sublemente still had a notable debut in XTERRA World, as he and former Saipan triathlete Mieko Carey were among the brave ones who completed the new and tougher course in 2011. Four-time XTERRA World champion Conrad Stoltz of South Africa and three-time winner Melanie McQuaid of Canada quit in the last leg of the 2011 race due to asthma and fatigue, respectively, while XTERRA Saipan veteran Carina Wasle also did not make it to the finish. The controversial Lance Armstrong joined XTERRA World, too, two years ago and though he completed the event, he could not do it with ease.
This year, the XTERRA course will still feature the 1.5-kilometer ocean swim at the DT Flemings Beach in Honokahua Bay, the 30.4-kilometer MTB race through West Maui mountains, and 5.9-kilometer roller coaster run along the long dirt trails of Oleander forest and dragging beach sand.
Among the three legs, Sublemente considers the swim as the hardest for him.
“I am not a good swimmer and not use to swimming in deep waters with waves. Add to the equation the more than 800 swimmers competing and you’ll see yourself fighting drowning, as other swimmers push and kick you. It will be the most challenging part of the race for me,” Sublemente said.
“I will take my time in swimming. Safety first,” added Sublemente, who timed in at 36:32 in the swim leg in his XTERRA World debut.
Though it will be his second time to compete in XTERRA World and he will be negotiating the same course, Sublemente said he needs to be ready for any surprises awaiting him on race day.
“You have to take into consideration the weather a few days before the race and on the race day itself, plus the minor changes on the course that organizers might make. It’s hard to master the XTERRA World course even if you’ve been there before,” said Sublemente, who encountered technical problems with his bike (lose handle bar) in 2011 to finish the bike leg (1:58:49 ) several minutes behind his target.
In the run leg, Sublemente submitted 1:05:46 and he is hoping to break the the one-hour barrier this time after getting caught flatfooted by the uphill start of the 2011 race.
Meanwhile, Sublemente would like to thank the following for supporting the fundraising tournaments for his return to XTERRA World: Saipan Bike Pro, IT&E, Taro Sue, Pacific Islands Club, Marianas Visitor Authority, H & R Block, MARPAC, Transamerica, Brabu Pharmacy, Pacific Trading, Co. , Triple J Fresh Market, Saipan Sunset Cruise, Thai Massage, Pacific Islands Club, Romy Lanuza, Joshua Berger, Brad Ruzsala, Roselle Garcia, Joan Salazar, Father Ryan Jimenez, Paul Dujua, Susan Manula, June, Ginesh, Marco, Roland, Raymund, and Vince.