Veteran Manny Sitchon debuted in the Tour of Guam and finished third in last Saturday’s bike race.
The 60-year-old timed in at 4:51:58.15 in the 105-kilometer race that started and ended in Hagatna with riders passing through more than 10 villages in Guam. Sitchon finished third in the 60 and over age group and received a medal during the awards presentation, joining Japan’s Yoshio Isobe (4:04:55.97) and Guam’s Gordon Paquette (4:09:20.11) in the podium.
Though Sitchon managed to place in his age group, he rued at playing down the Tour of Guam course.
“I underestimated the Tour of Guam course. I used to hear stories that the Hell of Marianas has more difficult race course. Maybe yes, as HOM has more steeper climbs, but TOG has more mountain climbs to deal with—maybe more than double than the number of climbs at HOM,” Sitchon said.
Because of the extra challenge in the Guam race, the sexagenarian said it was difficult navigating the course, especially the latter part of it.
“If you’ve been riding for more than three hours or around 50-plus kilometer, even a gradual mountain slope becomes difficult to navigate, especially this is the first time I joined the TOG race and I am not familiar with the race terrain,” said Sitchon, adding that the wind made the race tougher.
“Headwind was strong, about 30 percent of the race. Surprisingly, Saipan has better road condition because of some ongoing road constructions in Guam,” he said.
Philippine pro and 2017 Hell of Marianas winner Mark John Lexer Galedo ruled the 2018 edition of Tour of Guam after clocking in at 2:54:52.59, more than 15 minutes ahead of Guam’s Dan Aponik (3:11.48.61). In the women’s division, Guam’s Laura Nadeau was the top finisher after checking in at 3:12:40.01, while former Saipan resident Mieko Carey submitted 3:38:47.97 to place second.
Meanwhile, Sitchon is eyeing three races next year. First up for him is the 30th Tagaman Triathlon on March 30 and then the Guam Marathon on April 14. He is also hoping to compete in the Korea/Gurye Full Ironman in September.