Monday, June 23, 2008

Way Out of My League

My exact thoughts when I rolled up to the start line of the Malaysian National Road Race Championship.

Here I was, an average rider at best, lining up against the state riders from all over the country! At that moment, I knew I was in over my head. What the hell did I get myself into?

The race started and I had trouble clipping in my left foot. I looked down for a split second to get my foot in, looked up and the peloton was gone. Just like that.

I chased them down and managed to catch them before the first corner. Shifted into the big ring and tailed them comfortably at 40km/h.

Then came this short, sharp hill. And the peloton was still traveling at the same speed. I held on for dear life till we reached the top, then it was down the highway off-ramp towards Sepang. The peloton made the right turn, then everyone got up and sprinted away. I was following them, my legs turning the pedals furiously. I looked at my speedo: 56km/h! Holy shit!

And yet, the pack was pulling away from me. I was doing more than 50km/h and these guys were still pulling away! What the hell?!

At this point, I looked around me and saw some familiar faces: PK and Mong among others. We decided to dial it down a bit. At this intensity, we would not survive the 140km race distance.

So there we were, dropped at 3km!

PK, Mong, two others (sorry forgot your names) and I started working together in a paceline. We were pulling each other at a steady 35km/h. The race course took us through some really scenic countryside but we weren't able to really enjoy the scenery. We went from Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, through Sepang, Kg Sg. Pelek, Bagan Lalang then back towards Salak Tinggi.

When we realised that we were doubling back, we decided to just head back to Salak Tinggi and call it quits. We weren't tired or anything, just decided that we've had enough. At this point, we had also lost our support car, Senn had apparently missed a turn and was headed to Morib! Very poor marshalling and route marking by the organisers, which happened to be the MNCF.

When we got back to Salak Tinggi, we found that a lot of other riders had the same idea we had. They were all sitting nicely at the coffee shop waiting for their teammates to finish the race.

About an hour after we stopped, the first of the riders arrived. It was a bit of an anti-climax to be honest. There was no bunch sprint. The three leading riders rode past the finish line side-by-side.

Apparently, there was absolutely no strategy invloved in this race. The peloton simply chased down every breakaway. Didn't even look like there was any teamwork, it was each man for himself. While I'm impressed by these rider's speed, their race management and tactics need to be worked on. Their tactic seemed to be attack from the start.

So that's how my first bike race ended, with a DNF. Having said that, I did record some personal bests, including:
Fastest ever speed on flats: 56.3km/h
Fastest 40k: 1h11m
Fastest average speed: 34km/h

Plus I had a good workout and a good ride. In all we covered 63km, which is pretty decent for a Sunday ride.

For sure it was a new experience for me, a humbling one at that. But I'm not sure it's an experience I'd like to repeat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My 15 Minutes of Fame

I was in the papers on Sunday. Have a look

Monday, June 9, 2008

Climb Every Mountain...

Three different climbs over four weeks.

Genting, Cameron, Frasers.

That's what you get for hanging out on For those who don't know, that's a website where you can buy and sell used bike parts. The webmaster, Kevin, is a mountain goat who simply loves it when the road points upwards. Forget King of the Mountains, this guy is the God of Mountains!

Anyway, my legs are tired.

Can we go somewhere flat next? Please?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


To punish myself for skipping two 21km runs two Sundays in a row, I went out on a 16km run on Monday.

Man, that was painful.

The first 12km or so was okay, but stupidly, I didn't bring any water or money so I could buy drinks along the way. The last 4km, I was knocking on the doors of Bonk City. Throat was dry, muscles aching. So desperate was I to quench my thirst, I had actually considered drinking from a puddle. But refrained I did and finally made it back to the car for some much needed refreshment.

Part two of the punishment came last night. Tuesday night ride was rained out so I headed to Bike Boutique. They were having an indoor training session so I joined them. I have never ever gone for spin or RPM classes so this was a new experience for me. And boy, was it a painful one.

Hooked my bike up to the indoor trainer and off we went, with Terry, Lim, and Chin Hoe yelling instructions. Every once in a while, they would yell out the cadence we were supposed to spin, and which gear we were supposed to be in: 70rpm, 90rpm, 80rpm, 100rpm, big ring, 70rpm, shift down two gears, 110rpm. The session lasted 45 minutes. 45 minutes of pain.

Today, I can barely walk. But I still went to the gym for an easy 15 minute treadmill run at a 6:00 pace and am contemplating a 10k run this evening.

I think maybe I've punished myself enough.