Chacin gets an ‘ironman’ lesson-Shernice Thomas

Local triathlete Ricardo Chacin

Triathlete Ricardo Chacin has accomplished the formidable feat of becoming the first national to complete two Ironman events in the space of one week. Chacin participated in Ironman Zurich, Switzerland, on July 15 and Ironman Bolton, England, on July 22. The Ironman competition is a gruelling triathlon in which participants complete an arduous course consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. The 43-year-old clocked times of 14:46:03 in Zurich and 15:22:51 in Bolton. Although he has achieved the local historical feat, Chacin told the T&T Guardian that he was not happy with his performances. Chacin entered his first Ironman events last year in the 70.3-mile Ironman Racine half race in Wisconsin, and Ironman Cozumel (full race) in Mexico where he posted respectable times of 6:03:00 and 13:31:21 respectively. “I went in thinking that my finish times would have been better than they were. I am disappointed with my overall times and I expected to beat the time I did in my first IM (Ironman) in Mexico,” Chacin expressed. The St Anthony’s College Spanish teacher shared some of the physical and mental challenges he had to overcome, “Although I was in Switzerland- home of the Alps, I thought the bike course would have been a flat one, only to realise that there were a few hills thrown in. However, the main obstacle…was the weather, it was cold and rainy.

Even on the run, the winds were coming off Lake Zurich and made me think of giving up. Many participants sought out friends, relatives and medics to get windbreakers, raincoats and emergency blankets. The low temperatures affected me mentally and physically. It would have been very helpful to have someone accompany me for moral and race support. I think also that some part of me was holding back knowing that I had another event in seven days.” Asked if he felt that he might not finish the Bolton race because of the exhaustion from his first race, the Rainbow Warriors club member stated: “I know I’ve done it before so the doubt was not there about that particular question. Actually three days after Zurich I felt quite good. In Bolton, just being around all the other participants and their entourage gives one a positive ‘I will conquer’ attitude.” Chacin summarised his entire experience by saying: “I would like to say that the experience was fun and that I enjoyed it entirely but that would be untrue. The fact is that when one puts one’s body through such an ordeal, it is uncomfortable. Getting into 17 degree Celsius water, sitting on a bike for more than six hours, and running 26.2 miles on foot is not fun. But there were many times in there when things were not so heavy on the mind. The scenery, a helpful comment or gesture from a fellow athlete, shouts of encouragement from spectators (went a long way). In the end…I am happy I did it. I have accomplished much and I am proud of myself.” “I would like to thank all those who assisted me: Jason Gooding and Rainbow Warriors Triathlon Club, T&T Aquatics, Minister Jack Warner, Buzz Concepts, Neal & Massy, The Sport and Cultural Fund, Tang Yuk Electrical, Island Pools, Fitness Centre, Messrs Partap, Ragoonanan, Ali, McCarthy, Noel and A De Freitas.