Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cobra Ironman 70.3 2012: Godspeed, Ramie

Aug. 5, 2012: Cobra Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. It was to be the biggest sporting spectacle in Cebu's history, and TTB was going to be a part of it with 10 individual entries and 3 relay teams. It was going to be our biggest triumph of the year, and we were all well-prepared and ready to go. I was doing the bike leg for TTB Cebu relay team, and I was going to enjoy the experience.
Watching the swim leg with Ramie, Doc Mitty & Mai-Mai
True enough the Cobra Ironman kicked off with a blast and a frenzy! All the hype and anticipation exploded with the more than 1,700 athletes registered ready to endure punishment and claim their medals. When it was my turn to go out on the bike course, I was just amazed at the people lining up the route. It was something new for a Cebuano since these are the same roads that you occasionally do training rides but with vehicular traffic. It was going to be the first time to ride along the SRP, and I was going to enjoy every minute of it.

Water station at KM65, Talisay area, with Ramie
I passed by teammate and regular bike buddy Ramie Igaña a few meters past the water station at the Talisay area, approximately 25 kilometers to go. We both acknowledged each other and I sped up with the tailwind heading home. I saw an ambulance just before entering the tunnel and thought, "who could that be?". I got back to the transition area after a 3 hour 18 minute ride and stayed on to watch the other athletes coming back from their bike rides. After all my other teammates came back from their rides, I was still surprised why Ramie wasn't back yet. I could tell that Doc Mitty, his wife and relay runner, was really worried. As the bike cut-off was announced and still no Ramie in sight with no word whatsoever from the marshals & organizers, I had this bad feeling that something was wrong.

I left the transition area to join Siobe as we waited for Mommy Sheila at the finish line. When she arrived, we got our medals and finisher shirts and then headed down the lunch area. That's when Doc Benj told us the news: that Ramie was pronounced dead after he suffered an Acute Pulmonary Embolism on the bike course at the Talisay area. I was really in shock since that was the area that I overtook him. I was probably the last person he saw and my name was probably the last thing he uttered. Celebration turned to devastation as we were all speechless and in disbelief.

Doc Mitty said Ramie died doing what he enjoyed best: biking. He was an avid biker ever since his college days. Ramie was a good friend, a loving husband & supportive father to NIña, and a true TTB adik. TTB was going to celebrate it's 2nd year anniversary on Aug. 7. For the past 2 years, we have been through so many bike rides, runs, gathering & parties and that is how I want to remember Ramie. 
My photo tribute to Ramie (some of our bike rides)

Gone too soon, my friend. But godspeed on your next journey, we will ride again someday...