Kenyir Lake Triathlon 2013

Posting a title like that in my blog makes me feel so “super”… hehehe.. cause it’s like a first up there you see. A level of pride which you get with every first time for anything.. but then…

…it wasn’t really my triathlon debut. Well, at least not a full one in this case. We had formed a set of triplet to get this task done… a relay team that had no prior experience whatsoever with triathlon, but nevertheless a bunch of misfits out of the stables of Dutamas Runners that was gonna get the task done.

The whole thing actually started way back, perhaps 4 months ago when I was asked if I wanted to try out a tri.  Wong Yi Bin’s cousin, Mak, a happy-go-lucky-try-it-all type of guy decided that it would be fun to have a go at it. And he had swimming covered. Cycling and running were another story altogether. Yvonne, DR’s running queen was naturally our runner and I, the running-handicapper got to be on two wheels. 😉

And so, the so-called Kenyir dream team was born. (…was more like a dream to just finish it and finish it well… :P…)

Four months flew by like a Sunday brunch at McDonald’s with extra fries. (Don’t ask where the reference with food came from…) …and me barely having survived Brooks Half Marathon last week was once again thrown into another pit.  This time perhaps, it was a bit more reassuring to know I had speedy teammates (who could ensure this debut would not end in utter shambles…)

Anyway, before I knew it, we were making final trip plans and I had my bags packed.

The journey to Kenyir was quite an experience. The running queen, myself and Andrew Choa, our designated cheerleader, photographer, support person, crying shoulder (if needed) started from KL and picked up our swimmer, Mak from Ipoh.  The journey to Kenyir is easily summed up by the words; cowboy town, potholes, truckers, jaw-shaking AND loooong… Yup, that’s it.

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Lake Kenyir Resort was the official site for the event. Race pack collection was quite decent (I was comparing of course to my own out of town experience at Tour de Bintan.)  The evening programme was a carbo-loading buffet experience at the resort (do you actually need to carbo load the night before? – but it makes a damn bloody good excuse to indulge.. :P…)

Anyway, we ended with a briefing session by the esteemed Uncle Chan, the triathlon guru (literarily) That session was an equal and excellent combintion of wit, humour and detailed explanations.

The next morning, we started bright and early. Waking up in the boathouse (oh yes, we stayed in one but it ain’t no cruise!) we got ready and made our way by foot and wheels to the race site. I certainly felt a level of calmness which I never expected, but then again it’s perhaps due to the fact that I wasn’t alone in this.

Split into starting waves, we were the last starting wave to be starting. Mak was up and once the horn blew,it was an immediate focus on race-mode…Mak was surely a fish with an unofficial timing of 30 mins blasted out of the water and ran right for me at the transition point.

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As soon as I was given the timing chip, I knew I had to work fast… Getting on my wheels with my adrenaline rushing and having to make very steeep drops right out of the start of the race was nerve-wrecking!  Gosh, I prayed for a safe descent with no incident. But as my nerve cleared I began to realise one clear fact… “What goes down, must come up”… Yup, I had to come back via the same route.

Apart from the start and end, the rest of the route was fairly tame, but boy did my legs spin to try and keep up with the fast groups on wheels and for all the idea for wishing for a speedy and uneventful race, I had to be faced with a technical glitch with my gearing system. I had problem shifting within the mid range gears which meant I was stuck with the high and low gears on my bike. I had to make do!  I had to play with a combination of high and low gear along the route to maintain the speed I needed. But coincidentally, the route itself was a combination of high and lows, which I worked on with my gear cautiously.

Having to suffer the final climbs which I had flew down on just 1hour and 45mins ago, I made my way back to the transition point where Yvonne took over to get started on the running event.  I also realised at that point that we didn’t do half badly and seeing as we where in no slouched position of being in the bottom half.  (Lol, that competitive feeling in me was tingling a bit… but that was all, I had to be sure)..

Anyway it took our DR queen a blistering 11k run within a speedy hour to make it back to the finish line and we took the finishing line at 3 hour and 46 min sealing the time for our very first triathlon event, relay style.

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At the end of it, I just had to love the whole new experience. It was something new for us and for me especially and I think the start of a new discovery in this sport. Well, I gotta work at it if I am to even try an attempt at the next triathlon event.

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My First Official Group Cycling Event – LeTua 100

Since I started my fitness regime last May, I have sought after little mini achievements just to see where I am in my quest to be totally fit and healthy.  Having run my first 10k Marathon in June 2010, I was elated and just this weekend, was another first. 🙂

I participated in the LE TUA 100 – Over The Hills and Far Away Ride (I should have read more into the tagline, cause it only really dawned on me during the ride… yes, through much huffing, puffing and sweat pouring)

IMG00062-20110115-1431This was my very first official group ride event.  Since cycling in August 2010 when I started cycling a lot, most of my rides were solos and lately with a couple of cycling enthusiast groups namely PCC (Pedalholics Cycling Club) the crazy bunch of speedsters and climbers on weekend through Taman Tun & Bukit Damansara; and Team IR (Independent Racers) on some of their long training rides on weekends. :)  So, despite that, entering into an official cycling event was new to me!

Thanks to a new cycling friend, Poh Seng from Team IR I got my registration in place a month before the event.  After that, I kept the thoughts about the event at the back of my head, away while I busied myself with work and family.  It only became a bit surreal for me as we got closer to the date and the fact that I was actually going to be doing it!  Thanks to much discussion and sharing with Fazli, we just went as prepared as we could ever be for a couple of group riding novices and decided to just enjoy the whole experience.

IMG00066-20110116-0802I was worried that I was not going to be able to sleep the night before, but thanks to a couple shots of tequila with, coincidently a couple of cycling mates as well, I dozed off as soon as my head hit the pillow.  The next day, fresh and raring to go, I was out the doors to join the carpool towards the event in Shah Alam.

We were told to expect 700 riders at the event and the numbers did not dissappoint.  For me, it was my first experience and definately the biggest event of "men-in-tights-with-padding-on crotch" that I have ever attended.  I myself was with my new cycling jersey covering my none too ideal physique (soon… soon I will get to were I want to be).

IMG00067-20110116-0803Oh ya, they wanted to keep reminding us that this was "NOT A RACE", to ensure the heroes and gung-hos among us do not go speed-crazy. Not like that message was gonna faze me in anyway whatsoever (I’d just feel great finishing without the help of the support car).  Well, I was also kind of glad that this was so, as my first ride should be.

Anyway, meeting a couple more friends there was very pleasant and comforting.  It didn’t feel so foreign and having everyone at such ease, I myself found my own comfort zone… Ride for FUN.

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IMG00071-20110116-0805The ride (not race), started at 8:15am and everyone went nice and calm, jokes, laughter and all.  We had a pace vehicle keeping us company at the start of the route for almost about 20km (I guess, cause I was never fast enough to have ridden in front).

The route took us from Shah Alam towards the direction of Kuala Selangor and the Sime Darby plantations.  The start of the route was very much big roads and highways, which gradually became smaller routes through kampungs on the Bukit Jelutong route.

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My favourite section of the ride was a gradual accent up the first KOM (King of Mountain) stretch with a scenic view of the palm oil plantations as we climbed. As we twisted and turned uphill, we could just see riders ahead of us riding up the incline and as I got to that point, I in turn, saw riders below.  Those were great moments where you catch a brief experience of what seasoned riders go through.  Absolutely breathtaking.

162599_501600997056_697637056_6524258_138473_nThe start of the ride through the kampungs didn’t require a lot of effort, so I did most of my overtaking manoeuvres here, err… perhaps they were more like practices (but was overtaken later at the climbs… I admit, I not on par yet… :P…) Also, applied some drafting, which was interesting to try out as well.

Did I mention that I was not really aware of the extent of the number of climbs we had to endure at the start of the race?  Well, some of the climbs were very, very steep, but fortunately they were as short as they were steep, so I held it there and climbed without getting off the bike.

I especially enjoyed one point where we were riding up and over Bukit Jelutong’s rolling hills and we could see the wavy roads from a distance!  Intimidating to the sight, I guess this is what they meant by breaking the "phsychological barrier".  Interestingly enough, as soon as we hit the incline, it wasn’t that bad.  With momentum, I realised I could hit the middle of the climb before I had to really depend on pure leg power!

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Anyway, about 30km away from the end, I starting feeling low on fuel.  Popped my first Power Gel at that point and did another 15km before I realised I needed another one cause all the climbs had me spent!  Though the hunger pangs didn’t go away, I had the energy for the rest of the route.

Towards the end of the ride, I was just cruising to the end, not even thinking if I had a good time or I didn’t.  All I knew is that I pushed as much as I had and I rode proud till the finishing line.  Elated and happy to have done my first official group riding event.

I was given a medal which showed I was in 375 placing, not too shabby considering there were about 700++ riders that day! :)  Well, I shall be looking forward to more events like this, and at least now I have an event to benchmark with (if I ever have to ask how hard the ride would be)… 😀

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IMG00075-20110116-1301My trusty bike… Delilah :D