Thursday, November 29, 2007

Big Weekend Ahead

There's the Ride for Life, the Singapore Marathon, the Phuket Triathlon and, of course, Adzim's recovery ride to Bagan Lalang.

To all those taking part in any of these, have fun and stay safe.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How Weird is This?

For the past month or so, the camera and navigator function on my phone hasn't been working. I've brought it back to Nokia (still under warranty) and they said they could fix it but I'll lose all my data. They said they had no facilities to back up my data. So i said thanks, but no thanks. Then I went to another shop, and they said they'd back up my data and reset the phone for 100 bucks. I said I'd think about it.

Tonight, while out riding, I try to answer an SMS and the phone drops and hits the tarmac. Battery cover and battery flies off upon impact. I stopped, picked up the pieces, check to see if the phone is working and go off on my merry way. Got back to the mamak shop and check the phone properly. And guess what...

The camera and the navigator function are both working properly.

Guess all the phone needed was a hard knock.

Isn't it wonderful how technology works?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What the hell...

... is this world coming to?

First, a friend of mine gets mugged by rempits while cycling.

Then, this very friend's friend gets harrased by rempits while out running.

Something is seriously fucked up when a person can't even feel safe when they're out exercising.

And what are the cops doing? Arresting and fining jaywalkers.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Broga Debate... Still Unresolved

Saturday, November 17, 2007. The day the Broga debate will finally be resolved. For on this day, Senn was to ride the Broga Classic loop, then decide which of the two loops, Classic or Reverse, is tougher.

But it wasn't to be.

We started the ride as usual at Batu 14. Present to settle the debate was Senn, Azmar, Adzim, Bacin, Faaisal, Sofian and Dicky the domestique. At Batu 18, we picked up Stupe and Shazly and we happily made our way towards Tekala. A quick stop there to regroup and we were off to Broga for the first refilling stop.

That's when disaster struck.

We pulled into Broga, had our drinks and food, and were happily chit-chatting away. Senn, however, had not arrived yet. Getting worried, I got on my bike and backtracked. I didn't have to go far, maybe about 500m, when I saw the familiar pink jersey. "Whew!" I thought, "She's alright." As she passed she yelled out that she had got lost along the way.

"Ok, it's all good," I thought as made a u-turn to head back to Broga behind her. Then it happened. Right before my very eyes, she flipped over her bike, flew a couple of metres, hit the ground and slid for a couple more metres. In that moment, rider and bike became one, a tangled mess of flesh, lycra and carbon. She looked like a ragdoll being flung across the road.

I was horrified. She lay still, lying on her front, as I rode up to her. As I got off my bike, she wasn't moving.

"Omigod! The impact knocked her out!"

As I turned her around, she yelled, "OW! Don't touch me! Leave me alone for a while! How's the Diva?"

WTF!!! You just had a serious crash, you could have broken something and you're asking about the bike?

Anyway, I lied and told her the Diva was fine (upon inspection later on, it only suffered from torn bar tapes) but she wasn't. Blood was dripping from her elbow, and that seriously needed to be looked at. Slowly, she got up. By now, the rest of the gang had arrived at the scene.

As luck would have it, she crashed right in front of a clinic. She got up and casually crossed the road to the clinic, unaided, as if nothing happened, while the rest of us were fussing with her bike.

At the clinic, we found that she had severe road rash on her left elbow, torn skin on her right pinkie, as well as minor grazing on her knees and thighs. Fortunately, nothing was broken. As she was being treated, we asked the rest of the gang to continue, it was getting late and we didn't want them to be climbing Perez when it was too hot.

Then came the issue of getting back to the car. Senn, being Senn, wanted to continue the ride. But I didn't think it was a good idea. If we did, we'd have about 100km to ride with four climbs to contend with, including the daunting Bukit Tangga and Perez. I volunteered to ride back the way we came and get the car. But she wouldn't have it. She reckoned it would take at least three hours and she didn't want to wait at the clinic by herself.

So we decided to ride back slowly. Along the way, she analyzed the accident. She was riding along and was about to get onto the aerobars. At the precise moment she eased off her handlebars, she hit a bump which caused her arms to slip off the elbow pads. This, in turn, caused the balance to shift, which then threw her off the bike.

It was a long and painful 50k ride back to the car. Because of the torn skin on her right hand, she couldn't hold on to the handlebars so she was riding one-handed most of the way. We stopped at Tekala for some nasi lemak and burgers, then took the shortcut through Bukit Hantu back to Batu 14.

When I asked her how she felt when we got home she said she felt cheated that she didn't get to finish the ride. A true cyclist she is. As of writing, she's feeling much better now, she says most of the aches and pains are gone, except for the one on the elbow.Having said that, i think she'll be off the saddle for a week or so, at least till the wound starts to dry up.

As for feeling cheated, well, there will be other rides and I'm sure these guys will be doing the Broga Classic loop again soon.

And maybe then, we'll finally get the debate resolved.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Powerman 2007 in Pictures

The pictures tell the story. For detailed race report, scroll down some more.

Race start. All still smiling.

Senn's new running technique. She's actually running!

Adrian, my race companion for the day.

Having a laugh during the first run.

Still looking strong. But not for long.

Time to kick ass on the bike.

Trick photography makes me look superfast!

Senn, still smiling, as she launches her attack on the bike.

Sneaking up on Adrian at T2.

Getting out of T2 ahead of Adrian. The look of shock on his face when I passed him was priceless!

Shit! Left Powergels in T2! Oh well, let's make do with a banana...

The return of the cramps!

Cramps gone, it's time to run! Was soon back to walking though.

Not smiling anymore. The face says it all. It was a painful race...

Thanks to Ivie and PM Tey for the pics.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Powerman 2007

I have mixed feelings about this race. I don't know whether i can classify it as a good race or a bad one. It was kinda of a bit of both.

The good: Despite it being a longer course than last year, I recorded a faster time this year.

The bad: Cramps. Really slowed me down, especially on the bike.

The story: The 1st run started out good for me. Target time was around 1h10m, just the right pace to save my legs for the 64km bike and the 10km run after.

The gun went off, and I was going along at an easy pace. The run route was flat. Flatter than flat. As the run progressed, I saw Azmar and Laif pulling away. I could never match those guys running. I soon caught up with Adrian, and we started running together. Edwin and the rest of the guys then caught up with us and it became a social run.

As we got close to T1, I started to pull away from them. Hit the timing beam at around 1h03m, seven minutes faster than the target time.

Had a super quick T1 and was out in 51s.

The bike started out good enough. I left transition with Azmar and Laif and we were basically cruising for a bit, enjoying the flat bike course.

Then I started to feel it. The ever so slight tightening up of the left calf. "No," I thought. "Not now. We're just starting to have fun."

At 10km, it hit. My left leg just cramped up. I was doing real well at the time, keeping up with Azmar. I had no choice but to slow down. Unclipped the left foot and started stretching it. Poured water on it. Did everything I can to get rid of it. And as quickly as it came, it went away.

But this wasn't the last I was going to see of this nasty cramp. It kept coming back for more. And each time I'd do the same thing. Pour water, stretch, spin. Then it would go away again.

By now, Adrian had caught up with me, Edwin was catching up, so was Adeline. Meantime Azmar and Laif had pulled out a huge gap. I rode along with Adrian for a while finishing off the first loop with him. Then , the cramps got really bad. I had to pull off the road, stop the bike and give it a good stretch. This was when Adrian pulled away, and Edwin whizzed past me. Got back on the bike and Adeline then overtook me. I dunno where she came from, but dayem... she was fast on the bike.

The cramps came on and off for the rest of the bike leg. Despite all this, I managed to finish in 2h07m which was four minutes faster than last year's, ran on a shorter course. But in hindsight, if it wasn't for the cramps, I could have gone under two hours. It was a nice flat course, perfect for blasting.

Took my time in T2, so that I could rest the legs a bit before the final run. Saw Adrian at his rack still putting on his shoes so I grabbed the opportunity to overtake him in transition. Sure surprised him!

But it didn't last long. As soon as I left the stadium, it was the return of the cramps. Stopped, stretched and was soon off again at a very sloooow pace. Meanwhile Adrian was pulling away. In my efforts to blast out of T2 ahead of him, I had left my Powergels on the bike. As I was already delpleted of energy, I had given up on trying to run the whole way and was now just picking points where i can stop running and start walking. Caught up with Edwin who had completely given up running and walked with him for a while. Sockless running didn't help either, I had developed three blisters on my left foot.

The rest of the leg saw me, Edwin and Adrian, yo-yoing from one another. In the end, we all just decided to walk/run together. As we approached the finish line, Adrian picked up the pace a bit, no doubt spurred by the sounds of the celebrations. I tried but I just couldn't keep up. Edwin dropped further back.

But finally, I saw it in all its glory: the finish line. Spurred by the sight of it, I managed a little sprint to cross in 4h40m, 9 minutes faster than last year, but with an oh-so-slow second run of 1h27m.

All in all, I guess I could classify it as a good race. I suffered, yes, but that was due to my lack of disclipline than anything else. I dould have possible gone under 4h30m but again my lack of disclipline got the better of me. I guess I've learnt my lesson:1) no piss-ups the week before a race; 2) hydrate, hydrate hydrate, don't skip the important ritual of ORS every night for three nights before race; 3) salt sticks are you friends.

With these lessons learnt, let's move on to the next race: Ironman 2008.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Took the staff out for a piss-up last night, a bonding session after a long day of brainstorming.

Result: got too pissed to ride this morning's epic 190km Frasers loop.

Now i'm pissed off....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Broga Debate

Senn and I once had this debate: which is tougher, Broga Classic or Broga Reverse?

At that time, she had only done Reverse and I had just finished riding Classic. Neither one of us had ridden the other.

So the debate ended in a stalemate. We talked about starting at Bt 14 one day, and splitting up at the foothills of Peres, she to go on Classic and me Reverse. This was we could decide once and for all which was the tougher loop.

That never happened, of course. And today, as luck would have it, Broga Reverse was on the menu. Finally, I'll be able to see for myself which was the tougher route.

The verdict?

They are both equally tough.

Ya, ya. Cop-out answer, right? But seriously, Broga, either way, is tough. But they both present very different challenges.

On Classic, you're on flat to rolling terrain for the first 60k. Then, you start climbing. Two short but steep hills, followed by the medium-length Bukit Tangga, and then when your legs are spent 110k in them, you get the pleasure of going up Perez, a 14k killer. At this point you're no longer thinking, you're just pedalling. With all the climbing towards the end of the loop, Classic proves to be a very physical challenge.

On Reverse, however, by the time you hit 90k, you're done with all the climbs (unless you want to take a shortcut through to Bt 14 at the dam, like we did today). But what is left after that is 60k of flat to rolling terrain. The stretch between Semenyih to Tekala, however is where it all kills your mind. it's about 12km of straight, flat road and can be mind-numbing. You're pedalling along for what seems like ages, and you seem to never see the Nirvana Memorial, much less the picnic grounds. I was riding today with Bacin and Adeline and we just rode on in complete silence, wondering when the end would come. This is when you start questioning yourself: why are you doing this? are you nuts? etc. So in this respect, Reverse is more a mental challenge.

So it boils down to basically physical vs mental. Sure, it's a cop-out answer, but that's just my opinion lah. Still, for those of you going out to do Ironman next year, Broga, either way is good training ground. Classic because you're going to need the strength to go up that same damn over and over again. And Reverse because once you're out there on the bike, at 130k, under th blazing sun and your legs are cramping, you're going to be questioning your very existence. And you're going to need every ounce of mental strength to pull you through it.

Again, this is just my opinion, I'm sure others have theirs. I'm not sure my debate with Senn is over yet though. She may want to do Classic herself and maybe only then can we settle it once and for all.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Time to get off my arse

Last night went to Putrajaya to do a brick. Powerman loop x 1 followed by a short run from the mosque to Palace of Justice and back.

Verdict: feels good to be back on the bike. Not exactly all that fast: 27km in 1h03m for a 25km/h average. But still push like mad. After that, run approximately 5k in 28 minutes. Legs felt good, no pain, no injury, although there were signs of cramping at the beginning but the cramps never came.

Woke up today, no soreness.

Tomorrow long ride along the Broga reverse loop, followed by double hill + Terry Fox on Sunday.

Talk about last minute training for Powerman!