Wednesday, December 20, 2006

780km in 4 days + 2 Days of Racing (My InterState Journey)


The organising Committee of the Penang Pesta has the Annual Biking event which consist of the Round Island Road Race and the Criterium Race in Padang Kota. This year a few friends of mine had the opportunity of accompanying the LeTua Cycling Team which had participated in the Penang event as part of their training. The only condition set for us is to be able to cycle with the team to Penang and back So, a few of us packed up our bags and got our bikes ready for the journey. The expanded team consist of the PK and family, William Mok, Kimbeley Yap, Valerie and me.

Day 1 - Subang to Ipoh via Tanjung Malim (202 km)

Journey that morning started of from Kampung Subang at 6:30 am and we reached Tanjung Malim at 9:20 am and stop at the restaurant to have Pau.
The LeTua team paced the ride at a slow 30-32km per hour. Had we not accompanied them, they would have paced at a faster 38 to 40km per hour. We had our first break and pushed off for Ipoh at 10:15 am.

Not having the experience of riding more then 100km, i was not drinking enuf nor eating enough at regular frequency to sustain the next leg of the journey. At the 140km mark, I cramped out my legs and stomach and was not able to continue the journey I had to be taken by the support car to Ipoh. We reached Ipoh at 2:20 pm and rested at our hotel to recover. That evening i was really pumping in fluids and carbo so as not to be outdone by the distance again.

Day 2 - Ipoh to Penang via Taiping (170km)

We pushed of from Ipoh to Penang at 6:30 am and the journey was the normal rolling hill type with opportunity of uphill pedalling and recovery in going downhill. The only challenging hill was the 2km climb near Bukit Berapit and we reached Taiping for our normal midway pit stop at 9:00 am.

We pushed of for Penang at 9:5o am after having mee sup and drinks. The journey to Butterworth is a tiring one because of the flat road and construction near Butterworth.
Attacking flat road at a constant 32km/hr means continuous pedalling and very little recovery. The hot midday sun wasn't helping since the road has very little tree cover. We reached Butterworth at 1:00 pm and took the ferry across and reached Penang at 1:50pm. Now time to recover to tackle the Penang Island Road Race which is on Saturday. End of day note to self, when u are tired, be careful of observing which foot u unclip ur pedals and which u wanna put to the ground.

Day 3 - Round Island Bike Race

The race starts at Gurney Drive and the palaethon will then go towards Batu Ferringi and then toward Telok Bahang before attacking the hill climb near the Dam, and circling the Balik Pulau village before ascending the steep hill climb near Jalan Tun Sardon.

The men's open started at 8:30 and went at breakneck speed of 60km/hr and the total distance of 120km. The ladies and veteran started a minute later and has a shorter distance of 60km. Other then the usual state teams, there was also an aggressive team from Singapore.

Although I had registered for the race, I had to stand down and drive the support car for the woman/veteran team. Its quite exciting experience to drive the support car where u have to fight for position for ur rider and provide feeding at opportune moments. The women team were represented by Kimbeley and Valerie and the Shaharin represented the Veteran Team. The team did well, where Kimbeley got second, Valerie got sixth (excellent for first outing) and Shaharin got second.

Exciting end to the day and we set off for our hotels to prepare for the following day criterium race.

Day 4 - Criterium race (Padang Kota)
The scene - almost family day type outing. The atmosphere, exciting and fully charged with adrenalin of many cyclist. The race is broken up into Junior, Senior, veteran and girls and Open. We came in second for Seniors, champion for Veteran and were not that lucky for the girls. The tactics of swarming our riders and drafting them were not exciting to watch. Anyhow, it was good exposure to many of us who participated for first or second time.

Day 5 - Journey Back - Penang to Lumut (172 km)

Left Hotel at 5:45 to catch the 6pm Ferry to Butterworth. Arrived Butterworth side at 6:40 am and push off for Taiping at 6:45 am at the usual 32km/hr pace The journey itself was quite uneventful as we were both familiar with the terrain and pace. Stopped at Taiping for food at about 10;00 am.

Left Taiping heading for Lumut using the road that goes to Beruas. The journey and route was fairly interesting as there are a few climbs and descend. Arrived in Lumut where we decided to stop and eat prior to checking in at the Hotel/Hostels. It was extremely hot day and it is quite a strain on the body and legs. No amount of sun block can help.

Day 6 - Lumut to Subang via Sabak Bernam and Puncak Alam (223 km)

Thinking that it is the last day of the journey, we left Lumut a bit late at 8:00 am. The journey to Sabak Bernam is fairly easy as there is very little hill and many flat road. The only challenge is to keep the cadence going so as to upkeep the speed. We arrived in Sabak Bernam at 11:00 am for brunch near the waterfront.

Left Sabak Bernam at 11:55 am headed for Kuala Lumpur/Subang. The road from Sabak Bernam to Telok Intan and further up onto Tanjung Karang is fairly flat and hence i find it dull. The challenge started to get to me as we turn in nearing Kuala Selangor towards Ijok/Rawang. The road is so rutted that my wrist aches. We then turned into Batu Arang and headed for Puncak Alam.

I was kinda conned by the other riders which told me that there were 3 hills. It seems that they were counting the major ones, Puncak Alam has 7 hill climbs. At this point the group broke out and there were three palaeton.

We arrived exhausted and tired at 4:45 in Subang but a feeling of triumph and excited. It is not the distance that we find challenging but its also the pace in trying to keep it a constant 30-32km/hr.


Finished my full list of checklist of things to do for the year. Began with indoor cycling (RPM), Mountain Biking with PCC/Presidential, Road Riding with PCC Groups, Criterium Race In Shah Alam and Penang and Finally MyInterstate 780 km Journey from KL, Selangor, Perak and Penang.

Look forward to an exciting new year 2007

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Chasing Shadows and Checklist

Don't know how to spend the weekend. Well, how about going around the Shah Alam Lake at about 35 to 40km/hr on a hot midday sun chasing a bunch of oldies on a mountain bike and a racer. Fortunately and unfortunately, that's what i just did that today in the Shah Alam Criterium - what was i thinking of.

Having registered myself in the morning in the Junior Veteran for the Mountain Bike and Racing Bike category, the feeling of regret starts to linger as I watched riders from MSN, Selangor, L2A, Terengganu and many other notable and strong veteran riders around the Klang Valley. Resigning to the fact that I had entered this to gain the experience and also to fulfil my checklist of things I wanted to do as part of my health therapy, I went along.

It was a good outing, and competition in some of the categories were extremely strong, we had a few crash outs. Few familiar guys that i saw crashing out (not of their faults, more caused my amateurs like me) were Adli and Shahrin.

What I found interesting/gratifying is that for a competition that you can register for free without any entrance fee in the morning by any individuals, the prizes and prize money can be extremely satisfactory.

Ah well, that nearly closes my riding calender for the year, having participated in PCC Mountain Biking event and this Road Race. Need to plan for next year though.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ole' to this Girl

Give credit where credit is due. My fren Kimberley Yap, to me has done extremely well for the country and the context of it seems under scored by the media. She not only broke her personal record by more then 10 minutes but is faster then her fastest male counterparts by 3 minutes or more for the same triathlon distance.

I was so proud to see her leading the swimming leg and though she stumbled at the transition point and lost time to the Chinese athlete, she nevertheless had to endure the tactical play by the second Chinese athlete in the bicycle leg to finally finish a commendable 7th position. Knowing that she normally does a 61 minute leg for a 40km ride, she wud have been poise and a shot at the medal had it not been for that glitch.

Till her next Triathlon....well done Kimberley.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Absent-minded and Monkey Tanned

Retirement really wreaks havoc with ones mind. I am not as sharp as I should be and my mind must have been going to sleep most of the time. If it had not been for my buddy Jo***e, i won't be able to recover.

What is it with me and basement car parks?. Firstly, i "accidentally" lost my wallet in the basement parking of Menara Axis, rushing for my bicycle ride in taman Tun, and secondly "accidentally" lost my car in the basement parking of KLCC.

In relation to my lost wallet, my buddy managed to trace it back for me. However, in the case of my car, who would have thought that u can have the same brand of car parked beside u but on different floor and me searching for it on a different floor, panicked upon seeing the car and an empty parking slot, concluding that my car was lost. Ironically this same buddy also managed to calm and bring me to my senses so that I can look for my car ;)

Ah well, that was the week before i left for my Batu Arang ride. Went out with the PCC guys and also accompanying a new fren to road riding. She took the challenge of riding her mountain bike in this 88km run and surprised many seasoned riders. Though we did come back tanned except for the eye area and looked like monkeys after that ride, nevertherless an easy comfortable ride. Nice and beautiful scenery though. What a week............