(sorry for the poor picture quality but just listen if you dare).
Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
It took me 1½ hours to get home tonight. RAIN, RAIN and more RAIN brought floods and stranded cars – I expect many of you were in the same boat (excuse the pun). Once home after taking care of my rumbling stomach I set about looking for something to lighten my mood, this is what I found. ENJOY!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Just to give you a heads-up of what is being planned for the ride, the start will be close to Batu Caves and on the slip road to Ulu Yam. There is ample car parking space on the right hand side of the road just after crossing the railway line, next to a 7 Eleven. The plan is to start from there at 0730 sharp on the 1st October.
The next water station is a further 17.9km at the Gohtong Jaya roundabout. By the time riders reach this point, the elevation climbed so far is more than 1000m. And the good news is, there is further 1000m of climbing to go! Yeepie!
The finish line will be adjacent to the Resort Hotel immediately on the left where the road levels off at the top. The total distance covered is 56.3km. Arrangements will be made to allow the riders to take a shower and to change in one of the hotel rooms (one for the guys and one of the gals) and once everyone has finished and showered, all support crew and riders will go for a well earned buffet lunch at the hotel. The return to KL will be at around 2pm by means of the support cars. The bikes will be loaded onto the sweeper lorry for the return journey to Batu Caves.
As I mentioned in my earlier notice, there will be a nominal charge to cover the cost for the hotel room, the sweeper lorry, the fuel for the support cars, lunch, etc and I will endeavour to keep the cost to a minimum.
More updates again soon.
It looks set to be a great event S.Sam shall blog up some more details and pictures in the coming week until then I leave you with a couple of snaps I took.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Our normal routine Saturday ride nearly turned tragedy at the tail end of the ride this morning. Nobody’s fault it was just a nasty accident that could have been oh so much worse. But it is the actions of those people involved in the accident that made me so angry. I am still seething as I type this so I shall try to limit the use of expletives.
We (Sergeant Sam, Kona Carmen, Emma Pull-ME, Julie, KK, Chris & Li-sar) were on route back to BK via the Federal Highway. Just going up the Kerinchi link slip road I was having a tiring day and dropped to the small chain ring. Wouldn’t you know it – the chain dropped and I was on an elevation spinning thin air with the knowledge that there was a stream of traffic behind me.
What to do in this situation?
#1. Don’t Panic – check
#2. Don’t fall in the link of traffic – check
#3. Unclip ASAP – check
#4. Try to limit damage to self and George – Double Check
All was going to plan; I had unclipped and was trying to hurl myself against the hard shoulder wall. I saw the barrier bar and thought if I can grab that I will be safe from harm’s way. I caught the bar, kind of fell and the bike slipped out from under me, I think, (it all happened so fast). Li-sar was coming up behind me and clipped my wheel and then I had to look away. I thought it was curtains for the poor girl.
She skidded across the other side of the road into the line of an oncoming car. Amazingly Li-sar escaped very shaken and with a swollen knee but relatively unscathed. LUCKY ESCAPE.
Now is where the fun begins. The two people in the car, middle-aged man and lady then proceeded with the following actions:
1. Stopped – this is the correct thing to do ladies and gentleman.
2. Got out of car – correct again.
3. Accused me of playing the FOOL??? She said I was steering all over the place and kicking my leg out. When I tried to explain while admittedly shouting that my chain came off and that I was trying to balance and unclip hence the obscure movements she put her fingers in her ears! I was shouting a lot I know. I was VERY angry, and would like to have popped her one. Luckily my teammates stepped in and she and her husband moved on to poor Li-sar who was understandably shaking like a leaf.
4. Crazy Lady to Li-sar: What’s your name?
5. Crazy Lady to Li-sar: What’s your IC?
6. Crazy Lady to Li-sar: What’s your insurance number
7. Crazy Lady to Li-sar: I want compensation for my car what are you going to do?
8. Crazy Lady to Li-sar: You’re lucky we stopped, we could have killed you.
9. Crazy Lady to Li-sar: You should be thanking me for stopping.
Are you getting the gist of this ladies and gentleman?
What crazy lady failed to say:
1. Are you ok?
2. Do you need to go to the hospital, can we help?
3. I AM SO SORRY I RUN YOU OVER! (we know they could not have avoided it but still)
They wanted to make a police report to claim insurance and followed Li-sar and the team to BK. They found a policeman and he just laughed. Not at Li-sar, but at the Crazy lady. Because the long and short of it is there IS NO DAMAGE to their damn bloody crappy CAR!
When we got back to the car park and collected our thoughts it occurred to me that although they did stop the driver of the car made no effort at all to swerve! Me thinks they would rather hit a cyclist than swerve and risk hitting the wall and really damaging their SHITTY car.
SO to sum up:
Casualties: Li-sar has a swollen knee, I really hope that is all and that you will be right as rain for the interstate ride next week.
Li-Sar’s bike: The left side of her drop bars completely snapped – only the tape was holding them together, and the latest is the top tube is cracked through - so not good news.
Emma: Escaped with bruises and a headache for getting so bloody fired up
George: A miraculous escape – not a scratch.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
So imagine my wonderment on Monday morning when it suddenly all went away. I was/still am in a bit of pain from Saturday. I don’t think I have ever pushed my body to put up with such limits ever before. It is now Wednesday and I didn’t ride this morning. No big deal, but I did set the alarm and when I woke up thought, “No need to ride, so why get up”. Work is pretty hectic which doesn’t help matters but however busy, I am usually keener than ever to train. I know I need to rest and that is fine. I am resting. But I don’t like losing Mr Focus. Something that is with me night and day, I want it back. I feel I have entered no-man’s land and it's not nice.
It’s only been a couple of days and hope he will come back when my body is good and ready to start the final 6months of my journey. Last time I gave IM a silly 2 months to train and I know I was lucky to achieve what I did. This round I want to do it properly. The goal posts keep moving and to keep up with them I know some expert guidance and more blood, sweat and tears is needed.
So if anyway has seen Mr Focus idling around in places he should not be, ie: pubs and clubs! Can you please give him a stern talking too and promptly send him back to me, preferably by Saturday! Cheers.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Well, there was a resounding 'yes' to the poll with 89% voting in favour of taking on the Genting Challenge. Good on you guys! So, please consider the monkey is now on my back to get this event organized. As a reminder, the ride will take place on 1st October starting from somewhere close to Batu Caves where we can safely park some of our cars. The route will be from Batu Caves to Ulu Yam, Batang Kali, Gohtong Jaya and finishing in Genting. I will try and arrange changing and shower facilities at Genting so that the riders and the support crew can freshen up before we have a slap up late breakfast. I will also arrange a small lorry to act as a sweeper vehicle and to transport the bikes back to the cars in Batu Caves. There may be a nominal cost involved and spaces will be limited. So, I will be looking for riders to confirm their interest by paying in advance. I will get back to you in early Sept when hopefully all will be sorted. In the meantime, enjoy those hills!
Monday, August 18, 2008
We arrived late Friday afternoon in time to register, put the bikes together and pop out for a spin with the rest of the team for a 30minute there and back. I couldn’t help myself, George just likes to go fast, I kept my legs loose and span and everything seemed to be in GWO (Good Working Order). An early dinner with everyone was followed by early bed. The race didn’t start until 10am but there really is not much to do in Desaru so bed and one English Channel on the TV would have to suffice.
RACE MORNING: Breakfast was fixed for 6.30am, rather early I know but Sergeant Sam had spoken. I stumbled down a little after 6.30 expecting to see Sam and Carmen already champing at the bit. So imagine my surprise when they were nowhere in sight. Buggar this I thought and back off to my room I went. Funnily enough their room was next to mine and when I called Sam to see where they were I heard a phone ringing through the paper thin walls. A sleepy voice answered:
Emma: “Hi Sam, you did say breakfast at 6.30 right?”
Sam: “Yes. What time is it then?”
Sam (and this is a classic), “SHIT! Carmen forgot to set the alarm,”
So it’s true people, even Sergeant Sam can be late once in a while, although on this occasion it really didn’t matter.
POST BREAKFAST: I walked down to the water to collect my thoughts. It looked choppy. Oh well never mind, if I can get out in under an hour I will be happy (previously I was hoping for 45min). Bumped into Steph at transition; she wished me luck telling me it was my race – HA! I told her I had to get out the bloody water first. She then replied with a grin on her face, yes it’s like a washing machine out there today. Cheers I needed that. It was like a washing machine and it seemed I was in for the long cycle rather than a quick wash!
THE SWIM: I just could not get going, a bit of breaststroke, and bit freestyle and then a bit of treading water and trying to sight with swimmers coming at me from everywhere. Kicked in the stomach, back, arms and kidneys, luckily my head stayed on and together. Like a ride at Alton towers if it wasn’t a race it was fun swimming in such manic conditions. The one BIG plus I took from it is I didn’t panic. And that for me is a HUGE improvement, if you remember my fiasco at the A formosa sprint all the way back in May.
T1: Out in one piece with my watch saying 54min, I sprinted off to transition. This is where I was going to play with fire. 90k is no short distance, I knew I shouldn’t red line so was aiming at keeping my heart rate in the young 150’s but also I am rather competitive and had to yet again to play catch up. So with no prior experience of the distance I thought let’s just welly it and learn for next year should it (excuse the saying, but I like this one) go TITS up!
T2: This is where 2.45 happened. I was 5 minutes in transition because Mr Cramp came to haunt me again. Racked my bike and bent down to put my socks on. I needed them for a 21. As I bent down my right leg started cramping in the quad, knee and groin. Ok I thought. No sitting down and no bending legs, let’s try and put socks on with straight legs shall we? Meanwhile I noticed Steph come into transition. I only got out just in front of her – that’s how bad it went.
THE RUN: Out onto the run and not even a K into it and BANG full blown cramps. Run through it, run through it, rather difficult but I kept telling myself don’t stop. Common sense prevailed and I stopped for a few seconds and punched my leg (don’t know why but it seems to work better than massage). I then stood up and carried on. Slowly I got into a rhythm, it wasn’t quick but at least I was running. I took the thimbles of water on offer at most stops and put a sponge on the nape of my neck each time. My fault for staying aero (mat rampet) style in the saddle so long! The heat wore off and the heavens opened on the second loop bringing a welcome reprieve. I started feeling slightly better but knew if I upped the pace cramp would come back meaner and harder and probably not give me a second chance. So basically the run was a fine line balancing what my mind would get my body to do and put up with.
I passed Randy Tan just after he was pelted at with sponges from a very jovial KK. I had seen Carmen, Chris, RH Bee, Li-Sar, Cecil, Gnae and Sam, basically everyone on route and as I passed the Tan Man I saw in front a girl. When I came in off the bike two girls where in front of me and I had yet to catch either one (usually my strong-ish run would allow me to at least run down one girl). The shape my body was in it was highly unlikely I could, but the carrot was there so I thought let’s give it a whirl.
To cut a long story short because this report is already waaaay over written, I didn’t catch her. I had to decide between turning it up a notch and getting totally body cramp and not finishing or just save my ego for another day. She finished 20 or so seconds in front. BUGGAR! I was 3rd and 3rd overall so still happy.
After doing the silly but normal thing of sitting down at the finish I tried to stand and realised I couldn’t and promptly fell over. Off to the medic tent eventually. My body temperature dropped so badly, my hands, lips and feet where turning a nice shade of blue. It didn’t help matters much that the medics left a bag of ice in the bed next to me under the blankets!
With no hot Milo to warm me up that’s all I really needed. I asked them to find my teammates and with the help of Chris, Randy, Sam, Ivie and Carmen they escorted me to my room in the pouring rain and collected my bike and kit from transition. I had left the air-con on so I ended up sitting outside the room in the corridor chatting whilst Ivie held down the on button on my crappy kettle that didn’t work, to make Milo. And since I had no hot water, my neighbours, Sam and Carmen ran a hot bath for me. After that I was finally able to stand and we went for dinner and some well earned beers.
Feeling rather sore today but it is to be expected isn’t it? This weekend for me was really to see how far I have come and improved over a long distance since February. My head is now in IM mode not that I think it has ever been anywhere else, but now it is IM training mode. Borneo Marathon (my first marathon) then Lumut Powerman followed by Phuket for fun (she says) and then the BIGGIE.
Thanks to all my good friends who called out well wishes – I did hear them and they do help. I would like to also pay particular congratulations to someone who is an example and institution of what this sport is all about, Patsy Yap. As we were leaving for dinner at 6.15pm, Patsy at 64years old was still on the run course. I saw her the next morning, post breakfast with a beaming smile on her face. I remember her asking me for advice in A Formosa – ME! I told her you are the one that should be giving me advice. I think it took Patsy around 9hours to complete Desaru. She does it because she can. Not to climb on a podium but just too compete and COMPLETE. Well done Patsy, hats off to you, I am proud to know you, proud of you and if I only match half of all you have achieved in the sport I will be a very happy bunny.
TO SUM UP: A super knackering weekend, with tougher conditions than last year, so I am told. TTH did extremely well which just goes to show how our Tri-hard attitude has helped everyone get stronger, faster and more confident. Here is the rundown of TTH’s achievements this weekend. BTW: No one did the sprint. I signed up but didn’t pay (good foresight). And if I ever think of doing a sprint after a ½ ever again you have permission to well and truly SLAP ME!
Sergeant Sam: 2nd mens over 50. Sam had a phenomenal swim, steady bike and sensible run. I must learn to listen more! Check out his take on the race below. Well done Sam, not setting the alarm obviously helped!
Carmen Leong: 2nd ladies over 34. She didn’t enjoy the swim but Carmen had a strong steady bike (she listens to Sam). Her run was fantastic and she knocked 17minutes off her PB! A great training race, Kona Carmen is right on track for IM Hawaii.
Emma “pull-me” Bishop: 3rd ladies 16-34 and 3rd overall lady. Thanks KK this is one nickname she can live with! Emma dealt with one too many obstacles but held her head and still got to the finish albeit painfully.
Ngae: 5th mens over 50. Ever smiling and cheering, Gnae always puts a smile on my face. We passed on the bike and on the run. He was struggling with a foot problem and thought he might not finish but he did so in true TTH style for a well earned 4th place. Collecting his prize as usual with his favoured sarong replacing the Lycra!
Chris: 5th ladies 16-34. Looking absolutely the business, Chris had an amazing race. On her new P3C, her bike has improved in leaps and bounds and she finished with a really strong run, something that usually bites her. Well done SEXY lady!
Randy “The Tan Man”: 14th. Randy suffered on the swim. Usually his strongest discipline it proves just how tough it was out there in the washing machine. Despite this he had a solid bike, battled the onset of cramps and finished strongly.
Gane: DNF. Not sure what happened to Gane on Saturday. I saw him on the bike looking comfortable (he was smiling, that means comfortable in my book). Better luck next year and more to the point good luck for Bussleton this year.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Ivie, as usual, was wonderful enough to drop me off at race start. She wanted to stay and mingle but it was close to beginning and too early. So, off she went to continue with her snooze. I, on the other hand, burped all the way to the starting line. Few familiar faces were around. Shahrom was meant to run but, unfortunately, was not feeling too well. So, he decided to give the race a skip. Some mates from the Le Tuangers group was also there, namely, Yusran, Fadzil and AJ. And Shiraz too.
Start was on time at 5:30am. Thought it was a bit early, but actually, not bad an idea if the sun or heat is not your cup of tea. The start was together with about 400 runners participating. Not sure how it was at the back, but the start at the front got off without a hitch. Although it was early morning and still dark, the directions were marked well and there were quite a lot of Marshall's around. There were even quite a number of outriders around to handle the traffic.
Route wise. There were fairly big hills for the first 5km, somewhat like doing the double hills. After that it was relatively flat all the way till the end. Finishers got a nice medal and yummies after that.Typical of a pacesetters event. Water stations were spread out every 5km, with water and powerbar drinks given. All in all, quite a well planned and organised race.
How did I do? Didn't win, that's for sure. However, don't think I did that bad either. Unofficially (which means my watch), I finished the race in 2:08.56. Will have to wait for the official result to see my actual time (from the timing chips provided) and position.
And that's it for my report on the race.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Firstly, the good things:
PRIZE MONEY: The open categories doll out RM3000 for 1st place winners, very nice. And all age groups and distances get cash prizes 1-10.
Sorry, can’t think of anything else.
Factors that should be taken into consideration for next year:
VESTS: I ended up with an XXL vest, as did most of the other GIRLS of TTH! We pay good money for a nice Adidas vest and would like the correct size so we can actually wear it. Not everyone can collect their vests on the 1st day because some people have to work!
MARKERS: The first distance marker I noticed said 12k to go. Looking at my watch I thought bloody hell I’m supposed to be taking it easy. The second marker said 12k to go. EH up, what’s going on here? Am I running round in circles, having a touch of De-ja-vu or what? The 3rd and final marker said 500m to go. So I put a little kick in, ya know just for fun. Well I can sprint for 4-500m but not a 1000m!
WATER on run: 100PLUS was available at every station however haphazardly located. BUT there was NO water available. This is NOT safe. Were the organisers trying to give St. Johns ambulance something to do??? It’s so simple WATER=hydration. NO water=dehydration. Too much warm 100PLUS= very unhappy runners.
WATER after run: There was none. Oh but plenty of 100PLUS – the organisers must have got a great deal buying in bulk.
FOOD: There was none. NO food = irritable, tired and cranky runners wanting to go home but having to wait for...
PRIZES: Yes they were good. But should winners be made to wait on an empty fuel tank until 11.30am to cash in? WHY was only one person writing names on cheques? At the least there should be a queue for men and women.
THE RUN: Not the most scenic run I have ever completed, but I did learn a lot about the industrial estates in and around Shah Alam...LOVELY!
Despite the groans it was a good outing for the team:
Julie “Supermum” Foreman (pronounced Julie Foster, they couldn’t even get that right) came 1st in the veteran’s age group. Well done Jules! She received RM1500 for her effort and an Adidas watch. Why the 10k runners received super cool Adidas sunglasses and ½ marathon winners got a watch is another factor I do not understand.
Mariana came 7th in the open. She was also the 2nd Malaysian finisher and qualified for extra cash. Only later we found out she couldn’t have both and had to choose either the open prize money or the Malaysian finisher money and an Adidas watch – what an earth kind of incentive is that???
Emma Bishop stuck to her game plan and started with Bee and Gnae at the back. She did not want to give into temptation and try to run too hard as with the rest of the team her focus is next week. She came 8th so the money made the morning a little easier but she was still grouchy as Emma is not a happy bunny when hungry!
Carmen Leong surprised herself and came in 9th in the veteran’s age group, so the cash made her morning slightly more bearable too. The real target is next week so it was a great solid training run for our Kona bound Carmen.
Congrats also to: Sam (12th men’s senior Vet’s), Bee (13th Women’s Vet’s) & Gnae (14th men’s senior vet’s) for putting in a solid controlled effort in preparation for the scorching (so I am told) asphalt awaiting us on the run next weekend.
Pictures: I hope to blog some, but don’t hold your breath! And please feel free to add your comments about the race; feedback however good or bad can only help to improve the event should it run next year.
Will I run next year? Not on your Nelly, unless there is water on the run and food at the end!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Muscles taut and face locked in concentration, this is Rebecca Romero, who will be representing Britain in the Olympic games later this month. With a carefully placed arm and thigh to protect her modesty, she appears to be in perfect physical condition ahead of what will be a gruelling race in Beijing.
The 28-year-old, who won a sliver medal in rowing at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, only took up cycling seriously in March 2006 after doctors recommended the sport to combat muscle fatigue she was experiencing.
'I am a really sore loser and I probably will be gutted if I get anything less than the gold medal in Beijing,' she said.
Romero also suggested she might be tempted to take up a third sport after the Games. She said: 'I might think about raising the bar a bit more. It might have to be a winter sport as I might not be able to wait for another Olympic cycle.' Only one other Briton has achieved the feat of winning medals in two sports.
Welshman Paul Radmilovic won medals in swimming and water polo in the 1920s, two sports which are arguably more closely related than cycling and rowing.
Above: Triple jumper Phillips Idowu shows off his toned body in all its glory. The images will be used as part of an advertising campaign for Powerade, the official sports drink of the Beijing Games. Idowu, 29, who has been hailed as one of Britain's best hopes of a track and field gold medal, said: 'This is definitely one of the more unusual shoots I've taken part in, but also one of the most enjoyable.
'Nadav made us all feel really comfortable, and we had a lot of fun. The Inner Gear for an athlete - how we train, what we eat, drink and when we sleep - is as important as what we wear, and it's great that a campaign like this brings it to life.'
Above: Swimmer Gregor Tait goes for a skinny dip. Cathryn Sleight, marketing director for Coca-Cola Great Britain which produces Powerade, added: 'Everyone is used to seeing athletes in competition or winning, but we wanted to give people the chance to see the real make-up of an athlete and their muscle and power, celebrating the body and spirit and the hard work that goes into training for all athletes whatever your level.'
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Upon reaching the foot of the first hill having had previous experience of the torture around every bend I decided to use what momentum I could muster to help ease myself up the first little buggar. I must now apologise to the group as I thought we together at this stage and whilst trying not to go into cardiac arrest ascending the hills didn’t realise you guys were regrouping. It was only when Kimbeley caught me up that I saw there was only thin air behind us.
Apparently Gane tried that lovely local “smooching” noise to alert my attention to wait up but he now knows that WHENEVER I hear that noise I ignore it! I suggested next time he actually shout my name as it may work better but he seems to think it takes far less effort to make the smooching noise – whatever!
Had a nice chat with Kim (I did the talking) before she grew tired and probably bored of the pace and went off ahead to the top where we waited for everyone to reassemble before the descent for brekkie. Carmen likened the pace down to a stream of super bikes – it was pretty awesome, heads down bums in the air speeding as fast as you dare.
The first time I did this ride I was forewarned of a monster that was preceded by yet a bigger monster. I was then informed you had to do it all again on the way back. Gosh I miss those naive days – it got me a long way not knowing what was waiting around every corner. That time the return trip was pretty good. Second outing and the return was pure and simple, PAIN. This time round after 5 days of LIGHT exercise my legs were getting nastily lactic, my fault I guess for pushing as usual. At breakfast the legs were pulsating; I kept quiet but was not looking forward to the return AT ALL and would have done anything to prolong the stop.
Last to leave the coffee shop, (I said I wanted to prolong the stop), I was playing my usual game of catch-up, thank you Adzim for waiting and nice chatting with you. The hills came...and they went, they came...and they went. I felt great. I even starting humming to myself at one point, something I have not done since the IM training – the legs suddenly starting working.
I reached back to BK in a ride time of 3.05, pretty happy with that especially as I had promised myself a run afterwards. Randy and I set off and did 9k, whilst Seargent Sam, Carmen, Chris and KK went on a sensible 4k trot. Thanks for that Randy, I know you did not love every minute of it as I did, so cheers.
SO, it’s true. Rest, or in my case light exercise is the ticket – it works. Looking forward to a sadistically heavy week now followed by a taper for Desaru – BRING IT ON! BTW: I am known for my ritual of baking for the Saturday rides and it has been mentioned to actually put an oven on my bike. Maybe not an oven but perhaps this could be fathomed – not sure how it will affect my cool factor though?