Thursday, May 31, 2007


haven't done jack since kenyir.

not a thing.

no swim. no bike. no run.

dunno if it was the race that tired me out or the drive back to kl, which took close to 12 hours.

that's right, 12 hours. we decided to go the scenic route and went via the coastal road. stopped in marang for some sotong celup tepung, then in kampung kemaman to look for keropok lekor. then it rained gila babi punya hujan at kuantan. visibility was zero and water was starting to rise. finally got home at 3am. some more had to work the next day. penat...

but i digress... i have been lazy these past few days. have been pigging out like a pig (?) every night at dinner since then. monday night, we had shaqeel's birthday dinner with extended family; tuesday night shaqeel's birthday dinner with immediate family, wednesday night, post-race celebration dinner. tonight another pig out session with the PCC tuesday night riders (most of whom don't ride regularly anymore).

meantime, training kosong. yesterday, i was a my mom's house, brother went out for a swim, sister went out for a run. i was supposed to take my cousin swimming (he is planning to do PD sprint). but what did i do instead? i stayed home and vegetated. told my cousin i had a late metting. now i'm feeling guilt.

two days ago, i signed up for the penang marathon. full marathon.


guess i felt that since i never made it to the run leg of the ironman, i had to redeem myself by doing a 42km run somehow.

what did i get myself into?

oh well, better get off my arse soon. think i'll run before tonight's pig out session.

tapi... malas lah...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Champion lah!

she crossed the line almost an hour after the cutoff time. she walked almost the entire run leg, acting like it was a sunday morning stroll. before the race, she said she'd never race in kenyir again.

and despite all that, she still came home with some prize money. she finished sixth in her age group. never mind that there were only seven in her category, she's still in the money nonetheless. hey, money talks, bullshit walks.

here she is crossing the line with willie:

babe, i'm proud of you...

picture courtesy of jaja

wonky stopwatch

i have a feeling my stopwatch failed me during the kenyir tri. some of my mates who finished before me recorded unofficial times slower than mine. that can't be right.

i suspect my watch might have stopped and started again sometime during the swim. no way was i able to do the swim in under 30 mins.

oh well, i'll just have to wait and see the official results when it gets posted. meanwhile the joy of turning in a time 3 minutes faster than last year is disappearing fast...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Thank God for the 25t aka the Kenyir Tri Race Report

In the week prior to the Kenyir Lake tri, i had some decisions to make. Road bike or tri bike? Zipps or Ksyriums? 12-23 cassette or 12-25 cassette?

Final decision: tri bike, zipps and 12-25.

As it turned out, i only got 1 out of 3 correct.

The Kenyir Lake International Triathlon was tough. No wonder it's billed as the toughest tri in Malaysia. The trademark of the race was the hills. Lots of hills. Really steep hills. Hills that we had to conquer throughout the bike and run.

The swim was good. The water was clear, smooth, without any currents. I had a good swim, coming out of the water in around 27 minutes, according to my watch. That really surprised me as I felt no improvement in my swim these past few weeks, yet I was around 6 minutes faster than last year.

From there it was all downhill (if only the bike course was all downhill!) That first hill coming out of T1 was a lot tougher this year than last for some reason. That was the first indication that i got one of my decisions wrong. I was huffing and puffing my way up that hill and used up most of my energy before even getting to the top. At that point, I knew it was going to be a looooong ride. I caught on to a train led by Adrian , and tried to follow it, but lost it within minutes. My legs were spent climbing up that first hill, and I felt like puking.

14km (and many hurls) later, the bike course took us up this hill. It wasn't too steep but damn, it felt long. i knew then that I made the right decision in switching to the 25t for the race. That was one tough hill. I was glad to finally get over it and arrive at the u-turn. The way back was much quicker than the way out, but i was still being overtaken left, right and centre. Not good. I was convinced my bike split was going to be slower than last year and started ruing the fact that I had brought the tri bike and the Zipps. Should have listened to Edwin and taken the road bike and Ksyriums.

Then came the mother of all hills, that last hill before T2. I gathered momentum then got out of the saddle to hammer it up the hill. Didn't last long before my legs felt like cramping, so i quickly sat down and tried to spin up in my 25t. That didn't last long either and before i knew it, i was clipping out of my pedals and stopping to rest about 50m from the top. There was no way i was going to push the bike, however, so i caught my breath and started spinning up the last few metres. Glad that hill was over and done with.

Got into T2 and looked at my watch: 1hr34m, 2 minutes up from last year. Another pleasant surprise. Took my time putting on my shoes and slowly shuffled out of T2 to begin the run. The shuffle became a run when I passed the crowds at the finish area, but as sson as i passed that, i started to walk. My legs just didn't have it. I pretty mus=ched walked up the hills and ran during the downhills and flats. After the u-turn of my second loop, I caught up with Senn and Willy, who were still on their first loop. They looked like they were out on a Sunday morning walk, chit-chatting as they went along. At the top of the big hill, i looked at my time: 3h20m, 10 minutes to cutoff. That's when I got my second wind. I pushed all the way down and broke into a sprint at about 200m from the line. I wanted to make that cutoff dammit!

Turns out, I not only made the cutoff, but I managed to better last year's time by almost 3 minutes! A 3h25m06s compared to last year's 3h27m55s. According to my watch, anyway. We'll have to wait for the official results to see if I did.

Overall, swim was faster, bike was a bit faster, run was a lot slower. Lessons learned: 1) hilly terrain like this, not much advantage going with a tri bike. I was in aero position maybe about 30% of the bike, so a road bike geometry might have worked better. 2) Ksyriums climb better than Zipps, at least i think they do. Zipps give an advantage once you've spun it up to speed. On hills, it's difficult to get to the speed where they become useful.

So of the three decisions I made, I only got one right, using the 25t cassette instead of the 23t. But then again, i would have gotten it more right had I used a 27t!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NB 15k Run

did the new balance 15k run on sunday. since i'm planning on doing the penang marathon and have not run more than 10k this year (except for the tunnel run), i thought it might be a good idea to get some mileage in. so i took this as more of a training run with water stations (who am i kidding? they're all training runs since i'm not really racing, am i?).

the start was a bit sudden. here we were all just chatting away, when all of a sudden, the klaxons go off. we were a bit dazed and confused, but eventually figured out that the race had started when we saw the crowd moving down jalan parlimen.

so away we went. my weakness at the start of these types of events has always been starting off faster than i'm able to. you know, you get caught up in the moment and you see people running and you try to keep up with them even though they're going faster than what you can normally do. well, this time, i kept reminding myself to take it easy, don't kan-chong, relax. it's a long run.

so i settled into my pace and found that i was moving up through the pack without much effort. eventually caught up with edwin and the others from, so ran with them for a bit. it's always fun to run with these guys because they never take anything seriously. they'd be laughing, yelling, heckling the other runners but it's all good clean fun. running with them is never boring.

by the time i'd got to double hill though, i had left them behind. at the end of double hill, i started getting the usual pain in my left knee. it wasn't so bad so i just kept on running. apart from the knee pain, i was actually enjoying the run.

at the 10k mark, i checked my watch, 58mins. i thought maybe i could meet my target of 1h 30m. however, the knee pain started acting up again. it gets worse on downhills so now i actually prefer running uphills. i had to slow down during the downhill parts and try to make up that time going uphill.

at the 2km to go mark, i was at 1h 28m so a 1:30 was out of the question. this was when the pain got really bad. all form was lost as i tried to make it to the finish line.

but somehow, as i approached the finish line, i got my second wind. with less than 300m to go, i picked up speed (had to look good for the finsh line mah).

eventually crossed the line in 1h41m02s. 11 minutes beyond my target but i was still pretty happy with the result. so what if i missed my target time, i ran the entire distance and only walked the water stations to drink, something i wasn't able to do 6 months ago. that, to me is an achievement in itself.

post-race, the knee is not as sore anymore so hopefully it'll be all good for this weekend: kenyir triathlon. i'll see y'all there.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

99 steps of a typical ironman trip

i found this on the slowtwitch forums. thought i'd share it here. enjoys...

1. Arrive in town.
2. Find over-priced accommodations you are staying a minimum of four nights at
3. Unpack bicycle, spread gear around room randomly.
4. Attempt to reassemble bicycle, realize you forgot to mark your seat and handlebar position before disassembly. Guess position and tell yourself it won’t make a big difference.
5. Drive bike course at slow speeds while making wrong turns. Annoy locals.
6. Find swim venue. Put wetsuit on, stand around for 15 minutes. Swim 10 minutes, take wetsuit off. Look around to see if you impressed anyone.
7. Walk around expo looking for free stuff.
8. Go to registration tent, stand in line, get bag, check bag for goodies.
9. Go back to hotel, arrange energy products into different piles. Stare at piles.
10. Spend 2 hours preparing for bike ride with race wheels and drink systems. Go for 30 minute ride. Go back to hotel.
11. Decide that this would be a great opportunity to learn how to rebuild your rear hub to fix the play in it. Disassemble hub.
12. Drive to house where your club mate, the bicycle mechanic, is staying. Show him the pieces of your rear wheel. Beg for help.
13. Go to swim start Friday morning. Look for tell-tale wrist-bands on other competitors; look condescendingly at all those swimming who aren’t participating in the race.
14. Go back to hotel, spend 4 hours attaching numbers to your bicycle, helmet, and race outfit. Panic that you don’t have 8 pieces of reflective tape for your run outfit, even though IMNA has never been known to enforce the rule.
15. Drive down to expo at the last minute, stand in line, pay $10 for a strip of reflective tape.
16. Drive back to hotel, place energy products into various bags.
17. Pack transition bags.
18. Unpack transition bags.
19. Repack transition bags.
20. Drive to Carbo-dinner. Stand in line, proceed through buffet with poor food selection, sit at crowded table, remember you paid an extra $20 each so your family could enjoy this food. Listen to IMNA personnel tell same jokes as last year. Realize that Dave Scott has apparently discovered the fountain of youth. Stand in line to leave.
21. Prep bike to drop off on Saturday, discover your tire has a slow leak. Drive to expo, stand in line, pay $80 for tubular tire. Get back to hotel, realize you don’t know how to glue on a tubular, drive back to expo and have them do it for you.
22. Drop bike off, spend time covering bike with various plastic bags because everyone else is doing it.
23. Drop off your transition bags, realize you forgot your salt tablets, drive back to hotel to get them.
24. Drive back to hotel again, arrange race gear for tomorrow morning.
25. Pack special needs bags.
26. Unpack special needs bags.
27. Repack special needs bags.
28. Realize there is nothing more you can do to get ready. Sit down and relax.
29. Panic.
30. Eat early dinner
31. Go to bed, lie there in a cold sweat.
32. Wake up at 2:00 am for 1000 calorie bottle of nasty-tasting concoction, “because Gordo does it”.
33. Lie awake listening to horrible weather move into town.
34. Wake up at 4:00 am, listen to spouse complain.
35. Get in car, drive to start. Stand in line to enter the transition area.
36. Check transition bags.
37. Stand in line to get body marked.
38. Check bike, stand in line to get tires pumped up.
39. Stand in line for porta-john.
40. Realize you left your water bottles with special nutrition needs in the fridge at the hotel. Drive back madly to get them.
41. Get back to start, wait in line for parking spot.
42. Stand in line for porta-john.
43. Get wetsuit on, stand in line to enter swim area.
44. Realize it’s too late for a warm up. Stand in line to enter water.
45. Stand in water with 2000 other people while sun comes up and national anthem is sung by local high school girl. Realize that few moments of your life have been this beautiful.
46. Gun goes off, 2000 people attempt to swim on top of you, realize that you are in mortal danger or drowning and few moments of your life have been this dangerous.
47. Get kicked in face, goggles come off, panic and tread water trying to get them back on while people hit you. Remember you paid good money to do this.
48. Exit swim, stand in line to get into transition.
49. Stand in line to get out of change tent. Get bike, stand in line to get out of transition.
50. Start bike, realize that there is no way 1000 people can pack onto a course within 20 minutes without massive drafting problems. Hope that poor bike handlers don’t crash in front of you.
51. Ride bike.
52. Panic that you’ve already fallen off your nutrition plan that your coach gave you.
53. Make up for lost calories and fluids in the next 15 minutes. Feel ill.
54. Ride bike.
55. Get saddle-sore.
56. Ride bike
57. Decide to piss while riding to save time.
58. Spend the next 30 minutes soft-pedaling, coasting, and practicing mental imagery trying to relax enough to let it go.
59. Give up, get off at aid station and spend 30 seconds in porta-john, get back on bike.
60. Ride bike, feel queasy and bloated, take 3 salt tablets at once to make sure you’re not low on electrolytes. Throw up.
61. Get off bike, sit in change tent wondering why you are doing this. Listen in disbelief to volunteer telling you you’re almost done. Proceed to marathon course.
62. Realize that you should have practiced the 1000 calorie drink at 2:00 am before race day.
63. Throw up, walk, jog, repeat for 26 miles.
64. Start gagging at the thought of another energy gel.
65. Sample the variety of food at aid stations. Discover Oreos, the food of the Gods.
66. Invent the form of locomotion called the ‘ironman shuffle’. Feel proud that your 12 minute mile is technically not walking.
67. Pass your spouse. Make them swear to never let you do another one of these.
68. See finishing chute. Sprint madly down the road high-fiving people and cheering while announcer screams your name. Realize it was all worth it.
69. Get to finishing chute, wait in line while a man takes his extended family over it with him.
70. Cross line, collapse into arms of patient voluneteers.
71. Spend next two hours in med tent realizing that you should have drunk more fluids when it got hot.
72. Go to massage tent, eat cold pizza and wander around in a daze while wearing an aluminum foil blanket.
73. Stick around finish line until midnight to share in “the ironman spirit”. Beat off 12-year-old to grab free socks thrown into crowd.
74. Look in disbelief at fresh and bouncy professional athletes dancing at the finish line.
75. Cheer last few athletes into the finish before midnight. Ask your spouse if you looked that bad. Be amazed that they spent 17 hours out there moving the whole time.
76. Go back to hotel, collapse in bed.
77. Wake up, go to bathroom, collapse back into bed. Repeat all night until the 6 IV’s the med tent gave you are through your system.
78. Wake up at 4:00 because your legs hurt so much.
79. Eat first breakfast.
80. Sit around until spouse wakes up, eat second breakfast.
81. Shuffle around town Monday morning wearing finishers T-shirt and medal. Smile knowingly at other fellow shufflers. Graciously accept congratulations from locals thankful you came to their town to spend money.
81. Eat third breakfast at all you can eat buffet.
82. Go to Official Finishers merchandise tent. Stand in line. Pick out $200 worth of clothing with prominent logos on it. Stand in line, pay $600 for clothes. Contemplate getting a tattoo to immortalize your achievement.
84. Fall prey to peer-pressure and marketing techniques. Cough up $450 to sign up for the race next year - since it will sell out today, and this is your only chance to sign up!
85. Proceed to IM Hawaii roll-down. Hold out hope that, even though you finished 80th in your age-group, this will be the year everyone leaves early and you get the last spot.
86. Eat first lunch.
87. Go back to hotel, stare at the disgusting, sticky, smelly mess that is your bicycle and race clothes. Start packing things up to fly home
88. Eat second lunch.
89. Go to awards dinner, stand in line. Get poor food from buffet, remember you spent $20 a head so your family could enjoy this magical moment with you.
90. Watch hastily-produced race video. Closely examine each frame hoping they caught a glimpse of you on the course. Be disappointed.
91. Watch age-group athletes get their awards. Wonder how many of them actually work for a living, and where you can get some of the performance enhancing drugs they appear to be on.
92. Realize that you have to go all the way up to women’s 70+ age group before you find an age-group your time would have won.
93. Listen to long, excruciatingly boring thank-you speeches from various professional athletes.
94. Stand in line to get out of awards dinner.
95. Go to Airport, stand in line. Deliver $5000 bike to Neanderthal-like baggage handler. Pray. Reluctantly take finishers medal off to pass through metal detector. Proudly tell TSA personnel what you did on your weekend.
96. Get home, contemplate unpacking disgusting bicycle, decide to leave it until tomorrow.
97. Eat Bon-Bons and watch TV. Contemplate unpacking your bicycle and training again, decide to leave it until tomorrow.
98. Repeat above step for 2-10 weeks. Step on scale. Look at your fat, disgusting self in a mirror and remember you signed up for next year’s race. Unpack bike, chip mold off of seat tube. Show up at swim practice again.
99. Get ready to do it all again next year…

Monday, May 14, 2007

weekend training

did a bit more this time. saturday did a 5k run with intervals at kiara park. sunday did a 1500m swim

was feeling bored so decided to hit the park with my sis and her 1-yr-old daughter. while they went for a stroll, i decided to go for a short run. midway through the first loop, decided to try intervals, so at the final 100m or so, i went all out. whoa... after the first all out effort, i felt like puking! tried it two more times: run the loop, with an all out effort at the end. by the end of the 3rd effort, everything was spinning! anyway, this is supposed to be good for increasing speed so i'll definitely include it at least once a week in my runs.

the boys had their swim lessons, so i decided to jump in the pool with them. he plan was to do a pyramid: 100m - 200m - 300m - 400m - 300m - 200m for a total of 1500m, with 30 sec rest in between. as soon as i started, i knew i was in trouble. my limbs felt like lead. they were so heavy. and somehow the technique didn't feel right. i wanted to give up right there and then. just didn't feel good in the water. but ever since giving up during ironman, i vowed never to give up so easily again. so, stubbornly, i went on. between some sets, my rest period extended to 40s, one rest period was 1min. by the time i finished 1500m, my clock showed 38m55s minutes. minus the rest periods (3m10s)between sets, i ended up with a 35m45s. hmmm... not too bad, i have to say. i just wonder if i was feeling good, whether my times would improve or not. so i tried a quick 50m hard effort. came in at 54s. not bad, but not particularly good either.

one of the most important things i've learned about swimming is to have fun in the water. so after all that swimming, it was playtime with the boys. a lot of splashing around, goofing about, dunking and laughing ensued.

looking on the training i did over the weekend, i wonder if i'll ever get any faster. my swim times and my run times have been more or less the same for about a year now. maybe i'm training wrong or not putting in enough quality miles. is this it? have i reached my limit? i still aim for a sub-30min 1500m swim and a sub-1hr 10k run but i just wonder how i'm going to get it...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

triathletes in the making...

i hope...

Goodbye, my beemer...

it had to be done. i was losing $$$ each day i hung on to it.

so, i've finally sold my m3.

she's served me well, but now it's time to move up to a more practical, family-oriented car. and more importantly, a car that can fit my bikes!

on the last day i had the car, took the boys for a final drive in it. here they are, with the car...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Pics from bukit merah


uncle chan's biathlon briefing

bacin and azmar checking out the race course (macam real!)

my brother, feizal, prepping for the race. it's his first race.

latecomers adrian and ah fook pinning their race numbers

race start

adrian out of the water

senn out of the water

feizal out of the water

feizal starting his run

adrian and ah fook trying to look fast for the camera

senn actually running!

senn finishes


senn after the swim

me out of the water

woo hoo! still a lot of bikes in t1!

randy finishing his race. i'm behind him somewhere, finishing my first loop

starting loop 2 of the run. still looking fresh. guy on the mic reminding me i only have 45 minutes before cutoff

senn finishing her first loop of the run

race over!

my trusty race steed served me well in bukit merah

now on to tasik kenyir!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Bukit Merah Tri


left kl for bukit merah around 10am. got there about 1.30. the first thing we saw as we arrived was that mother of a hill coming in to bukit merah laketown resort. our immediate thought was, "oh f**k! if we have to take this route tomorrow, we're royally screwed!"

we drove in and went to register. i managed to con my brother (signed him up without him knowing it) into doing the biathlon so went to watch the race that afternoon. for a first timer, he did pretty good. out if the water in 29 minutes and did the run in about 35. post-race, the dude was feeling happy. said his main problem during the swim was navigation. he kept going off course. but despite all that, he still finished with a good time and was ahead of many other swimmers. now, to get him on a bike.

senn ran a pretty decent race as well. she finished the swin in about 25 minutes, bu as usual, suffered on the run. her run (more like walk) was about 50 minutes. she really needs to work on her run.

at the carbo load dinner, mr chan briefed us on the bike course. when he mentioned the big hill at the resort entrance, you could hear a loud groan from everyone in the hall. fortunately, he said we'd be riding past that hill on not up that hill. there was a collective sigh of relief.


woke up to the sounds of pouring rain. uh-oh. does this mean race cancelled? or postponed? hope not. didn't quite fancy doing the run later when it's hotter.

at about 7am the rain eased off and we made our way to transition. when i got to my spot i saw a brand spanking new orbea ordu in the spot next to mine. drool. got everything set up and it was off for body marking and swim start.


the klaxons went off and away we went. it was a pontoon start so we had to dive off the pontoon into the water. swim one loop, climb onto the pontoon and dive in again for another loop.

i was worried about the diving in part, afraid that as soon as i hit the water, i would dislodge my goggles. luckily, nothing like that happened.

halfway through the first loop i looked at my time. it was slow. which had me puzzled. i'm swimming ok, no difficulties, rhythm was good. why so slow. at the end of the first loop i looked at my watch again. 27 minutes.

27 minutes? at my normal pace i would have been about 13 minutes away from the end. i'm only at the halfway point. something was seriously wrong here. there's no way i could finish the next loop in 27 minutes.

rounding the final bouy, i was passed by senn. which was even more puzzling. was she having a bad swim too? how could she have been behind me all this while? something was not right.

at the end of the swim, i looked at my watch. 56 minutes! either the swim was longer than 1.5k or my swim really sucked! i hoped it was he former.

all hopes of doing a sub 3-hour race disappeared at this point. to make things worse, it was a loooooong run to T1. arriving in T1 i started feeling cramps in my calves. "ignore it," i thought. let's just get on the bike.


this has got to be the flattest and easiest bike course i've ever done in a tri. it was fast too. leaving the resort two guys passed me and asked me to hop on. so away we went, like a bullet train, taking turns at the front. it was a nice paceline while it lasted. after about 10k, my legs couldn't take it anymore and the other two guys pulled away.

got to the u-turn, and saw that we had only covered 16 and a half kilometres. it was going to be a short bike course. it was then that i realised why the first half of the course was easy, we had a nice tailwind pushing us along. as soon as i made the u-turn, i went smack into a headwind. did the return leg mostly solo. at one point a relay cyclist passed me and asked me to hop on but my legs just couldn't push the pedals hard enough to keep up.

got to T2 satisfied. it was the fastest bike leg i've ever done: 1hr, 05m. think if i had managed to hang on to the paceline earlier, i could have broken 1 hour. oh well, on to the run.


got to T2, and had a little trouble putting my shoes on: i couldn't bend down far enough to slip my socks on. i tried it standing, cannot; kneeling, cannot. finally had to sit down to put on my socks and shoes. so much for using lace locks to speed up my T2 time.

the run started off very slowly. it was only after i puked (yes, again), that i got comfortable. becuase of the rain earlier this morning, the first loop was nice and shady. the sun started peeking out on the second loop though, making it very, very hot.

apart from the puking, there run went without any incident. crossed the line in 3:19. not quite the time i was hoping for but it'll do.

s - 56m
t1 - 3m
b - 1h05m
t2 - 2m
r - 1h11m


got on the bike to see how senn was doing. she was just after the water station on her second loop. escorted her all the way back to the finish line. she finished in 3h58m. again, she needs to work on her run.

overall, i had a pretty decent race. it could have been better had the swim not been so long. it was twice the biathlon length (which was 1k) and even then, there were people saying the biathlon swim loop was more than 1k. so it could have been more than 2k! if it was, then my 2k time has definitely improved.

anyway, now it's off to kenyir.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

hard labour on labour day.

while the rest of malaysia slept in on this day that celebrates workers, a bunch of sick cyclists decide to put in some hard labour and ride to the top of fraser's hill.

now i have to admit, i had the idea to do a labour day ride the week before. i figured since we had two days off, might as well ride on the first so we can relax on the second. now, i could have easily chosen an easy, long route (bagan lalang, for instance) but nooooo, it had to be a climb, hadn't it? so frasers it is. if you're going to work on labour day, you may as well work hard.

so that is how we found ourselves at the kkb stadium, bright and early tuesday morning. it was quite a big turnout. it would have been bigger but most of the other riders were still recovering from the cameron's MUDD.

of course, this was the day that senn's diva made its debut. there were the usual ooohs and ahhhs when the diva was pulled out of the car for the first time.

there was also bernard's new carbon aero wheels to get excited about.

after a quick photo session we were off! we picked up PK and family on the way to the dam and that's when the climb started. almost immediately there was a breakaway, with some of the faster guys (bernard, gunter and the dutch guys, and a few others)setting a quick pace. i settled into the next group, riding with laif and azmar. we caught up with kenny as we approached the dam and the four of us held a steady pace through the dam.

at the bridge after the dam, i remembered i had my smll digital camera with me, so i decided to stop after the bridge and take some pictures of the riders behind me. also i wanted to see how senn was doing on the diva.

after taking the pictures, i caught up with senn and PK. then went ahead, picking of the riders i took pctures of one by one on my way to the gap. first, william and chin hoe, then a long lonely ride before catching up with kenny's friend, then another long lonely ride before catching up with big mac. the last person i caught up with was PK's wife and we rode into the gap together.

disapointment greeted us at the gap as the regular coffee shop was closed. that means i couldn't have the fried noodles that had kept me going those last few kilometres before the gap. which means no fuel for the long burn up to the clock tower.

we carried on.

the first hill was always going to be the toughest. once through the first 3 kilometres, the climb settles in a bit and the gradient is not so bad.

by the end of the first hill, my legs were spent. looked down and relised that i was on the wrong gear. i could have been two gears lower. no wonder it was so tough. the five of us (adzim, laif, gunter, kenny and me) got through that first hill together. then adzim broke away and disappeared. so gunter, laif, kenny and me laboured on. no point getting a pace line here, at the speed we were climbing there would be no benefit.

soon, it was just me and gunter, the italian cursing under his breath. i kept telling him the worse was over. he just muttered, "bastardo!" and kept on pushing.

finally, after 12 long kilometres, we reached the top. luckily, the warungs were opened and we refueled with nasi lemak, and roti canai. bert, one of the europeans, had three roti canais!

all this while, senn still hadn't shown up yet, and i was getting worried. the other riders were all about set to make their descent back to kkb, and she was still a no show.

i decided i was going to go and look for her. at that moment, she rolls in. apparently, the new saddle on the diva hadn't been positioned right. it had cut off blood circulation in her legs, giving her pins and needles. she was pedalling numb!she didn't even know if she was pedalling! and to make things worse, she had run out of water.

as the other riders made their way back to kkb, senn recovered from her hellish climb with an order of nasi lemak. we topped of our water bottles and took a slow ride back, even stopping at the waterfall to take pictures. by the time we reached the dam it was hot and very, very windy. when we finally got back to the stadium, the car park was empty except for our car.

the verdict on the diva: very responsive bike. the saddle needs some adjusting but other than that, a bike that rides beautifully.

the verdict on the ride: fraser's is and always will be my favourite climb. it's always a good ride here and today's was no exception.