Monday, July 28, 2008

Rancangan Tergendala

So I go to the KL Sports Medicine Centre to have my wrist looked at. Met Dr. Ranjit, a hand specialist, and he recommended an MRI and an X-ray.

I go down to the imaging department to do an MRI. If ever you need to do mental training for an Ironman, get an MRI done. It was the most mental thing in the world. Imagine, you're lying there and you can't move.And they put you in the most uncomfortable position. Then there's the noise, this mind-numbing, throbbing noise. And this goes on for at least half an hour.

It's also good training for your aero position. You have to stay put no matter how uncomfortable it gets.

Anyway, the first scan was no good because i apparently moved. So I had to do a second scan. By the end of it I was begging for it to stop.

After about 50 gruelling minutes, it did stop. Went out for lunch and then back to the doctor for the diagnosis. Bad news. Doc wasn't happy with the MRI and I had to go do it again.

So anyway, after three MRI scans, I was told that, yes, my wrist is swollen and that i tore a tendon. It was a peripheral tear of the triangular fibrocartilage (TFC). It was most likely caused by the hard impact of crashing on the tarmac at 40km/h.

For it to heal properly, I have to limit movement to my wrist. So now my left arm, up to my elbow, is in a splint. That means no swimming, no cycling.

For three months.

So there goes Desaru. And there goes Interstate. Hopefully, I can be back in time for Powerman.

But by then I would have lost three months of training for Ironman. Great. Just when I'm about to start training for it.

And it looks like Josie's new shoes debut will have to wait. Oh ya, here's what they look like:

And to rub more salt into the wound, my team CSC cycling jersey and bibs arrived today.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Deja Vu (The PD Race Report)

The Port Dickson International Triathlon 2008 played out like last year. You can read about that here.

It was like deja vu. Thought I had a bad swim but, like last year, was pleasantly surprised to see a time of 32m36s when I came out of the water. Like last year, I exited the water with Stupe and ran with him into T1.

Coming into T1. Happy at the 32:36 swim. A PB there.

Had a quick T1, then was off on my bike. Again, like last year, I caught on a train at 2km, this time led by Stephanie Chok, and got dropped at 5km. Then rode solo for 10km before a big, big train came by. I caught this one, driven by the illustrious Sam Pritchard, alnd followed it all the way back up until the last km of the bike.

That's when it happened.

We had just gone round the roundabout and everyone was jockeying for position for the final dash to T2. We were going about 40km/h+ when, unsighted by the rider in front, I hit a pothole. Next thing I knew I was flung forward and I felt my hands slip off the bars. At that point, I still thought I could save it but then I felt my torso on my aerobars and my right foot clicking out of the pedals.

Next thing I knew, I was in the air and hit the ground hard. I have no idea what happened to the bike but I was sliding on the tarmac on my belly. I could actually feel my skin being scraped off my elbows and knees.

Once I stopped, I was sitting on the ground right in the path of the other cyclists. Afraid I might get hit, I raised both my arms, trying to warn the other approaching riders. When it was clear, I got up and looked around for Josie.

Surprisingly, my first thought wasn't "How's the bike?" Nor was it "Shit! Am I injured?" Instead it was "Damn! There goes my personal best!" You, see at that point I was on target for a PB. The swim was fast, my bike was going to be under 1h10m and my legs were still fresh enough for a potential 50 minute run. But all that came crashing down along with me and Josie.

I got up. I was a little disoriented by the whole thing. A traffic policeman was talking to me but I couldn't really make out what he was saying. Of all things, I was asking him to get my water bottle which fell off the bike. He said don't worry about the bottle, worry about yourself first.

I calmed down, assessed the damage and decided to continue, at least back to transition. But the cop wouldn't let my bike go. He kept asking if I was sure I wanted to go on. I insisted on continuing and he relented. He went to get my bottle and I was off again.

Got on the bike and started riding. But the bike felt sluggish. I thought, that's it. Josie is terminally damaged. But then I realised it was only a flat tire. I took off my shoes and ran the bike back to T2. By then I had wasted a good 15 minutes.

Running the final kilometre into T2. If you look closely, you can see the exposed skin on my left knee.

Got into T2 and I was furious. Furious at myself for crashing, furious at the time lost running back to T2, furious I lost any chance of getting a PB. But screw it, I was going to get that medal. Threw my bike on the rack, threw my helmet into the basket, got my shoes on and left. All in 35 seconds.

Powered by fury and adrenaline, I ran. By the first kilometre, the wounds were starting to sting. I wanted to wash it with water at the first water station but they ran out. Up the hill at the highway and I was in pain. So I started walking. And that's how it was for the first five kilometres, when the road pointed upward slightly, I walked. When it flattened out or went down, I ran.

At the turnaround, there was an ambulance. I decided to stop there and get my wounds treated. Another 10 minutes gone. But, after that, there was no more stinging pain. I managed to run all the way back to the roundabout and that was it. I had nothing left. It was a slow walk/run slog back.

Finally, I got to the finishing chute. Whatever I had left, I put it into the final dash to the line. I even managed to overtake someone in the final few metres.

I crossed the line in with a 1h13m run for a total time of 3h08m, 28 minutes slower than my target.

Finishing the most painful race I've ever done.

It was the most painful medal I've ever earned.

After the race I went to the medical tent and found out that a lot of people had crashed in the same spot, including Randy. Randy's injury looked a lot worse than mine and his bike sustained far more damage than Josie. And he still finished in 2h31m. I'm telling you, that guy is from a different planet.

Well, that about sums up my PD tri. Looks like the PB is going to have to wait another year.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Following my crash at the Port Dickson International Triathlon, here are the damages done to me and Josie.

To me:
My left knee.

My left elbow.

My right elbow.

To Josie:

Saddle on the left.


Saddle on the right.

Rear Derailleur.

Apart from that my left wrist is a little swollen, and there are scratches on both my palms and left thigh.

What can I say? Shit happens during races. Anyway, stay tuned for full race report to find out what happened.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Allow me to introduce you...

... to Josie.

She'll be making her debut in PD. Do say "hello" when you see her.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Three Hours... Almost (The Kenyir Tri Race Report)

The Kenyir Lake International Triathlon or KLIT (I dare you to read out that acronym) has been around for four years now and I've participated in all of them except for the inaugural one in 2005. Billed as the toughest Olympic Distance Triathlon in Malaysia, it certainly lives up to its name with its undulating bike and run course.

My results there have been less than stellar, clocking in times on the high side of three hours. In 2006, I came in at 3h27m, 2007 I recorded a pathetic 3h33m. In 2008, I again didn't manage to break three hours, but I was a lot closer this time around.

For some reason, the bouys looked further apart than in previous years, which led most of us into thinking that maybe the course is slightly longer this year. Whatever it is, all 150 or so of the participants had to do the same course so might as well just get on with it.

Normally, my slow swim means that I'll be in the battles at the beginning of the swim leg, then as the faster swimmers get ahead, I'll be left all by my lonesome. Not this time though. I got kicked, shoved, pushed throughout the 1.5km, which meant that I was keeping pace with the pack. Good news.

Then I got out and saw my time. Bad news. 37 minutes. Two slower than last year. And I thought I had a good swim. Never mind. Forget the swim, concentrate on the rest of the race. This is when I hit the stop button instead of the Lap button on my stopwatch. I only realized it later, which means that about 3-4 minutes of my race weren't recorded.

As I entered T1, I saw the likes of Shazly, Adzim and Michelle, fast swimmers as far as I'm concerned. They were leaving T1 as I got to my bike. Which meant my swim wasn't all that bad at all.

Off on the bike, and the first thing we had to do was climb this massive hill. I normally leave my shoes on the bike but because of that hill, I decided to put them on in T1. I may lose some time in T1 but at least I didn't have to pedal on top of my shoes up that hill.

By the time I got to the top, my thighs were burning. Not a good way to start a 40km bike, followed by a 10km run. Got onto the main road and Zabil zipped by me, inviting me to draft his wheel. I immediately jumped on and followed him for about a kilometre before my legs said, "Wei! What are you trying to do?! Still got to run after this you know!" So I eased off.

Played cat and mouse with an elderly Thai guy. Riding a tri bike, he naturally got dropped when the road pointed upwards, but when the road was flat or downhill, he would promptly overtake me again. Finally managed to drop him on that long, sustained climb before the turnaround.

Hit the turnaround at 46 minutes. The trip back was definitely quicker. Got back in about 36 minutes. Somehow, somewhere I hit a max speed of 72.2km/h. Must be going down one of those steep hills.

The journey back was without incident, and I finally got to that final hill before T2. Man, was I glad I brought the American Classic wheels with the 27t cog. Even with that, it was still a grind up that hill. Got to the top, took my shoes off and coasted into T2 with a 1h22m bike split, a whopping 20 minute savings from last year.

Ran into T2, racked up the bike, took off the helmet, put on my Zoot Ultra Race shoes and ran out. The whole thing played out in a mere 35 seconds. Thank you Zoot for making such a wonderful shoe.

The plan was to run the entire first loop, then maybe allow myself to walk up some of the steep slopes on the second. Plan was going good for a while.

Saw Shazly just ahead of me approaching the first water station then overtook him as we passed the entrance to the resort. I thought to myself if I keep this up, I might finally finish ahead of him. The I got to the final hill on the loop and as much as I wanted to run up it, my legs just couldn't do it. I saw people ahead of me walking and I still couldn't catch up to them while running so I decided to just walk/run up it. Finished the first loop in about 29 minutes.

On the second loop, Shazly passed me at almost the same spot I passed him earlier. There goes my chance of beating him in an Olympic Distance race. By now I was forced to walk up the hills because my legs just couldn't take it anymore. The mind was willing but the legs just said "stop!" Anyway, the second loop took me about 31 minutes to finish. I was a good 16 minutes ahead of my time last year.

I crossed the line and my watch said 2h59m. Add to that the extra 3-4 minutes that wasn't recorded means I did the race in about a 3h03m. Just three minutes over the golden three hour mark. Arrrrghhh...

All in all, it was a massive improvement from last year. And i didn't feel as beat up. I'm very happy with my performance but a little disappointed that I didn't manage to run the entire run leg. And I'm also a little disappointed that I didn't manage to break three hours. So close yet so far. Oh well, at least I have an excuse to come back next year. I need to beat this run course.