Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Because if I don't do it, I am not a happy person

Yes, it's scientifically proven that you can get high after running.
But with base jumping, this brings it to a higher level.

Why would we run 10, 20km or more?

It's because we don't need other "drugs" to make us happy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gunung Bunga Buah, not a walk in the park

Never underestimate a mountain, no matter how easy you think it will be, until you have really conquered it.

Looking for something to do for the weekend, I rallied my brother to climb Gunung Bukit Buah, nearby Genting. From the route map, it should look pretty easy with a distance of 6.45km from start to top. Yup, that's what the map spells out, but it just ain't so.

First, I don't know where to start. So I called Tony, who has climbed most mountains in Malaysia, for the route. Eventually, we did find the route, although it's a bit hidden. They had closed the main gate for the road leading to the rock quarry, so we had to climb a steep slope up to the abandoned tar road.

And from there, it's a one hour walk to the main jungle path. Along the way, we had difficulties walking through bushes, undergrowth. That made us skeptical on which path to follow. Luckily, some paper trail left by someone else, helped. We also have to contend with invasion of the leeches. Once in awhile, we'll stop to do a body check, and get rid of them. They were notoriously hard to kill too.

Along the route, we noticed wild beautiful orchids, with a big purple splattered with white. There's also numerous small cute colorful flowers. If I were into gardening, I would have brought back some.

The jungle path is where the real climb starts. We took a good 1.5 hours down, and up the muddy trail, so many times, that I've lost count.

We finally reached a rocky outcrop, and also meeting with a group of climbers who had started yesterday night. They had camped at the peak. I asked how long is needed to reach the peak, and they answered around 1 hour to 45 minutes.

But those guys were carrying bags with equipments. We carry nothing except water and some bread.

There's a feeling of remoteness and eeriness hanging in the air. Maybe it's because of the mist, or because of the millitary helicopter incident, which crashed nearby here years ago. Or maybe it's Lim Goh Tong spirit overlooking his property.

We finally reached the top after 35 minutes. The surrounding was enshrouded in thick mist, but not cold. At this point, I was regretting bringing only bread and water. It would be nice if we could have nasi lemak.

Soon, we hurriedly left the peak to go back. The rain came, and made the muddy trail muddier. No amount of shoe technology can beat the muds. I slipped a few times, so we really have to slow down.

On the way, we met with the previous climbers, who was suprised we made it back so fast. They had actually started the climb from goh tong roundabout, which I reckoned is shorter.

When reaching Awana, we gladly feasted on some mamak rice, bananas, and chestnuts.

Gunung Bukit Buah route is certainly harder than Nuang, although it stands at 1430 meters only. I think the hard part is all the bushes growing above the old tar road, because we were wearing shorts. Besides the path snakes up and down. So, folks, it's a good idea to wear full length pants or those body hugging ones. It's a good protection against leeches as well.

Start: Awana, that's not the peak. The start is a small farm, just behind Hotel Seri Malaysia.

Genting Highland...just climb another 700 meters

Notice we were walking on tar road...

It says....explosives...

And this is the hill they blew up....

My mum would have loved this...

It gets bushier...with roads crawling with leeches.

The start of the jungle path...

My brother checking out for leeches.

Proof that we reached the peak.

The view from the top is pretty misty.

Rocky garden..

Monday, April 21, 2008

84km at Bukit Aman

*** updates ***
I'll be starting 12 midnite with Ngae. Lets sleep run......ZZZZZZZz

Hi, I am planning to run 84km as a prepration for sundown in singapore.
Anyone interested in running 84km (4 loops 21 km bkt aman-sri hartamas) can join me:

Time: 12 midnite
Estimated time to finish: 10 hours (hopefully...)
Date: 3th May 2008 Sunday
Support: self support.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pulau Kapas Swimathon 2008

Truth be said, I was mentally prepared for the race, but was looking at it from a holiday point of view.
The trip is just meant to chill out from the hustle and bustle of KL. As for timing, I was aiming for sub 3 hours.

This time the bus trip was way better than last years smoke filled air. Most of us were able to sleep while on the trip to Merang jetty. At arrival, we did the usual registration (rm 50) a tad more expensive than last year. While waiting for our boat, it was great to chat with usual and new friends found. The ones I have met include Yeoh, Phyllis, Wai wai, Vincent and gf, Joe and family, the S guy (you know who you are), Asmov (Dr Ray's fren), Ngae, Jacky, Leonard (finally met in person), Mejar Kalam, Leong, Fredie, Sue and Andy, Han, and Zulhassan. The new comers were anxious for sure.

We were bunched up in Makcik Gemuk resort. It's a bit walking distance to the jetty, but has quite a bit to offer in terms of beach, and beauty. Remarkably, the sea surrounding the area has some nice fishes, and some corals. Not as nice as Redang, but the usual Parrot fish, damsels, green chromis, Nemo, anemones, sea urchins are to be found. The sun was scorching hot, but Vincent, Asmov, and I headed for some exploration on the northern side of the island. Across the tip was another resort build on a smaller island, which I think it's within swimmable distance. I did have a thought of crossing over, but didn't have the guts to do so.

Alright, as for the briefing, we were told, there was 2 starting buoys, and a police marine ship will be stationed midway. There was also going to be another buoy 200 meters from the finishing line. And there's a big red balloon hanged high up above the area. Now, this year, I tried to set my own strategy on direction, and not blindly following others. From the island, one can almost find the location of the balloon. But that's not enough. I remembered where the slope of the background mountain was, just in case I can't find the balloon. It would serve invaluable later. There was also the issue of water current going southwards. I concluded that it's best to angle 10 degrees north from the finishing area, to compensate for current.

Dinner, however was a dissappointment. I think it could have been better. While eating, they had a video on TV, showing last years kapas event. You could see the waves were really crashing on last years swim.

D-day. 5.00 sharp, and we were out heading for carbo loading breakfast. I had some eggs, rice, but didn't really eat too much. There was much fanfare as swimmers were branded with black marker numbers, like a bunch of cows for slaughter. I did a few dips in the ocean to acclimatise with the water temperature. It was not really that cold. As usual Mr Chan introduced a few popular swimmers (Kimberley Yap, Mr Han for veteran, and an Austrian guy pro ironman Elmar Schuberth).

As the gun went pop, 196 swimmers embraced the ocean for a long journey across. I started slow. The sea was rough, and kept pushing back. I tried to find a right consistent pace in the midst of swimmers and high waves. As I reached the 1st buoy in around 20 minutes, I was a bit elated. That means 1.2km covered. But instead of gunning for the second buoy, I set my sight on the tiny red balloon. I knew where it was, so the rest of the buoys were not that important.

I did some lookup for direction correction, and true enough, I was drifting southwards. So, I tried to make sure I swam while aiming higher up the landing.

As I reached the second buoy, I tried to scout for other swimmers, but the most I could see was 1 or 2 swimmers. Where was the others? Rather than panic, I keep on doing strokes. Once in awhile, I would bump into another swimmer.

Now we were told the marine police boat is stationed midway. However, I found out that this would be terribly misleading. It was actually moving. If you were targeting the boat, you would have been tricked. It would be like shooting a moving target. And yes, knowing where you need to land is the best bet. So I ignore the moving boat.

As I swam, beneath me, the sea offers quite a spectacular view. There were numerous bright blue dots, flashing from beneath. It look as though the sea was filled with blue dust floating all around. There was the occasional cloud of annoying sea bugs. Nothing much I could do except cursing.

Funny, at this point, I was feeling strong. And the sea calmed down. I was able to swim strongly and kept on pushing. As the balloon got bigger, I could hear the announcer spoke. It means I was really close. It was so close, I could see the sandy beach 1 meter deep, but I kept on stroking hard, as the guy next to me was doing breaststroke. When I couldn't paddle anymore, I jumped and hopped across the water to finish. It was great, as I did it in 2 hr 21 minutes, so much better than 3:42 last year.

Vincent Tiong did a superb 2:04, while Ngae did 2:26 if I am not mistaken. As I scanned the horizon, I could see how far to the south some swimmers had drifted, from the outline of kayaks surrounding the swimmers.

This year swimathon proved to be the most finishers, 191 out of 196. It had been a blast.


Sunrise at Merang jetty..

Vincent Tiong, and myself...he's one damn fast runner.

yy...who just practically "slept" through the course...

No turning back....

Welcome to pulau kapas....

This is where we swim....and the landing area lies left of the triangle shaped mountain.


the calm before the swim....

It's far...really...

Sue..who won 3rd prize....

Elmar Schuberth from Austria winning his category.

Mr Jacky...

Kimberley Yap...the fastest swimmer overall.

Mr Han winning the mens veteran..

This is how the sea looks at the beach...quite calm.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The longest swim

6km non stop. I wanted to do 6.5 in the pool yesterday, but time was running out. 6.5km is exactly the distacnce for the Pulau Kapas Swimathon on 13th April.

I could swim fast and strong in the first 2km, but was reduced after that. Muscle fatigue set in, and I was just cruising along. Tried to stave boredom off by playing the Duffy Mercy song in my head. Hey, if you could synch with the "yeah yeah yea" part, with the swinging of your hands, you could actually swim faster.

After 4km, it's uncharted territory. There's one dude, at the end of the pool, who seemed to have a disbelief look at this face. I could only guess "does this guy runs on energizer batteries?". I used to have that thinking 2 years ago, when I could hardly swim a few laps continously. There was this 50+ year old man, who kept on belting lap after lap, with hardly a difficulty, and I was thinking, here I am, years younger, and gasping for air every few strokes.

Now, I could properly stroke the water strongly in the early laps, but after 4km, it's a good idea to paddle slower, because with fatigue, you can't really properly place every stroke efficiently.

With 50 meters to go, I thought to myself, that I can now confidently challenge pulau kapas. Nevermind the fact there's rolling waves, side currents, salt water, sea lice, jelly fishes. It would be fun.

I hope.

Time: 2:13:20