Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Frasers Hill Ride

At Kuala Kubu Baru....

The best view of the dam.

Frasers hill map at the Gap

Amid the watch tower

The smoke house

Another view of the dam. It's bigger than semenyih...

Frasers Hill Ride

I was pretty undecided which ride I was going to choose. Up Genting Highlands again or Fraser hill.
But some after thoughts brought my sanity back. Going up genting is gritty, and is hell. So I opt for Fraser.

I set up to drive from Cheras to KKB to meetup with the others (Raymond Ng, Raymond Hee, Michelle, Heng & wife, Siok Bee). On the car mileage, it showed 72km (Cheras-batu caves-ulu yam-batang kali-kkb).

Departed from KKB around 8:30am. Then I was soon pushing hard towards the dam. In fact I was pushing hard up till the Gap. Scenery was awesome, along the dam, up towards the never ending winding road to the Gap. Cycling training time is pretty limited, so if I cycled, it means pushing above comfort level. I was doing consistently 19km to 20km/h, until I met Herman who was cycling alone towards the top of Fraser on a mountain bike. We chatted and soon reached the Gap.

Soon after a few minutes, the rest of the gang came. But we had to wait till 11:00am before they let upgoing traffic the right to use the road. Apparently there's 2 ways to go up, but only this one was open. The other one 12km is a newer road but was closed due to land slide.

And, once it was open. I was pushing like mad up as well. The gradient was pretty manageable, and I guess the distance is around 8km to the top.

At the top, we had lunch, but due to a miss timing, had to wait for 2pm for the next turn down. So all of us, stopped at the Smokehouse, which is a colonial times house. The interior was pretty charming, and so was the price for drinks. We felt kinda odd wearing sportswear while doing english fine dining.

Going down was a fast affair, except being drenched the rain while just reaching KKB.


Just for some profile. The climb up from KKB to Fraser hill is 1100 meters up with the distance of 40km. It's a good place for cycling compared to Genting Sempah (lesser traffic), but due to the distance from KL coupled with price of fuel, it'll be a non regular affair.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Registered for Langkawi Ironman 2009

I have finally confirmed registration for Ironman Langkawi 2009.

The office was hard too find, and there was no hint on being a center for Ironman races. Later I found out, there's other branches as well. A poster of Faris al Sultan would had been more convincing.

I met with a lady called Miss Lyn. We chatted awhile, and I had the chance to glance at the participation list. Notably, Siok Bee, opstupe, and michelle looi was there.

And oh yeah, if anyone aiming for KONA Hawaii, there's 35 slots available, excluding two for Malaysians. But the man to beat would be Wong Ah Thiam.


To be an ironman, you have to complete 3.8km swim, bike 180km, and then run a marathon. It's definitely going to be tough just to finish.

Now it's time to an ironman would.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

4 hill climbs and conquering Genting Highlands

I didn't knew if I could pull this off. That's the reason I just kept mum on the idea of cycling from Hospital Orang Asli to the peak of Genting Highlands. The day before, I had cycled 90km going up 4 major hill climbs (Ampang hill from both directions, bukit hantu, and Perez).

The next morning, when I woke up, I thought, why not give it a try. The only thing sore is my palms, from gripping too much on the brakes going downhill.

After parking at HOA, I started cycling at 8:50am. At the start, there was a convoy of cyclist with mixtures of mountain bikes and road, followed by a black 4wd. After some exchanges of 'hi', the leader asked me to proceed.

I was cycling at the average speed of 17km/h, which was pretty slow. I kept it that way, so I could reserve it for the monstrous climb ahead.

I also did met with 2 other cyclist who were fixing the tyres, but I didn't knew them (sorry), but somehow they knew me from the blog.

After exactly an hour, I reached Genting Sempah with total distance of almost 16km.

Riding from HOA to Genting Sempah was easy.

The next part, with a constant steep climb of around 4km is so tough, I was sweating over my bike. Legs were slowly mashing the pedals. And this was just the start. The difference between cycling and running uphill, for cycling, you can't stop. Your feet are clipped to the pedals. And to unclip, you have to use some force to turn your feet sideways. Sometimes it work, sometimes it doesn't. So the best bet, is just keep on pedalling.

This part is so tough, it makes bukit hantu so much easier.

Finally, I reached the point where it goes downhill, giving some rest to the legs. Then it was another climb to Gohtong Jaya. The climb at this part was much easier. I haven't refuelled since HOA, so I had roti telur with milo ais. While I waited for food, I ponder at the next killer climb up to Genting. You could clearly see the buildings high up, with clouds swirling.

After eating, it was back to cycling.

I knew this part will be hard, with a constant climb for 9km. Soon i find myself sweating all over the bike, with feet constantly slowly mashing the pedals. I was always on the stand up mode, because I couldn't even push the legs while sitting down.

Then, as I neared the hairpin where the road gradient suddenly went up to 20 percent, I had to grip the bike so hard, and pushing the legs down, to force the bike uphill. If I had lose it, I would have fell. I cycled a few more meters, then stopped for a rest.

This marks the last 4km to the top. And none of it is easy. In fact, this part is the hardest part from HOA.

The only motivation is seeing the km marker set up each 100 meters. At least I could see some progress.

I stopped a few times, notably 0.9km left, to catch some breath. Some drivers cheered, while others just watched. Trust me, 0.9km to the finishing point, is just as steep. I almost wanted to quit at 200 meters left. Then I noticed some people cheering, so I just have to finish this. I didn't hide the hardship from my facial expression, because I was giving everything I could to reach the glorious arch.

After that, and some moments later, I could now feel happy I conquered this $*!#@&$@! mountain.

Time: 3 hr 01 min (excluding resting at goh tong)
Distance up: 35km



I didn't stop long at the peak. Descent was a pretty fast affair, except the part where I had to cycled a few km uphill again after passing gohtong jaya. Then it was a small climb at Genting Sempah back to HOA.


To summarize, I think I do not have the right gear to do the job. The back gear was too high. I am now looking to get a smaller gear, if I ever wanted to go up Genting again. Probably that was why I was struggling all the way up.

That said, it's an experience that cannot be substituted with words. Only those who have done it, knew how physically and demanding it can be. For avid cyclist, try this at least once in your life.



I've just came back from changing to a size 25 for the cassette. I have just found out I was doing it on a size 21. No wonder it was mind boggling hard.

Following the black truck with some riders...

View at HOA to Genting Sempah..

At the start of the climb at Genting Sempah, this marks the next 4km uphill.

View of Genting top...

I was really sweating out....

Descending for the moment.

Refuelling at the Mamak, while pondering at the top of Genting.

After the dramatic incline after the tight hair pin. I had to stopped for some rest.

Just looking at this climb is nerve wreaking...

Stopped before 0.9km. It was so near, yet so high up...

Took a picture of First World hotel before descending.

It's so fun going down...


Sunday, June 8, 2008

BROGA ride

Sunday morning, and it was raining cats & dogs. I've got a ride with veteran Jacky (desaru finisher) to BROGA. But the rain put a drag on my cycling plans. Had to wait till 9:30am, which I then proceed to Cheras Bt 9 to wait for him. We started at around 10am, slowly grinding our way to Hulu Langat Bt 14.

On the way, we encountered 2 parts of the road flooded, causing the road to be submerged under 1 feet of water. Cars & motor bikes were stopping and waiting for the water to subside. We can't ride through it, so we dismounted, and carry our bikes over. Then we continue on to Genting Peres.

Genting Peres climb was hard at first, but then it gradually came into smooth, almost flat uphill, except at the end.

From there, it was 'over the 50km' speed limit as we zoomed up and down the slopes of Titiwangsa range to reach Kelawang. At Kelawang, we had an half hour lunch. My bike meter showed 72km on the mileage. In anticipation of Bukit Tangga, which I heard was the toughest hill climb for this route, I downed 2 plates of rice. And 2 glasses of fruit juice as well.

From kelawang, we went through 10km or more, before we hit bukit Tangga. And from there it's all the way up for another 2 or 3km. The climb was tough, but we kept on grinding the pedals. It was not exactly a straight road up, but some parts turns right and left. As we almost reached the top, we were cheered on by guys on bikes. It was definitely a consistent struggle pushing up the %#*@#@# hill.

From there, we made a quick downhill ride and reached the junction to Lenggeng. We stopped by a fruits stall to quench up on coconut drinks and fruits. The owner said, it'll take around 9km to reach Lenggeng. I thought "not far, and should be easy". Little did we know we'll face 2 more major hill climbs, before reaching Lenggeng.

After Lenggeng, there's 2 sections of road which were under construction for like 300 meters. I feared falling or the tire going bust from all the impact of small & larges stones, but luckily we prevailed.

After 110 km, we finally reached BROGA. Quite an small picturesque town, with hills nearby. We stopped for ABC, and some fruits, before continuing to Semenyih. At Semenyih, we continued on to Kajang using the highway, and all the way up to cheras. The real BROGA loop will go to Tekala, but I'll leave that another time, because time was not on our side. Kajang highway was quite a ride as well, going up overpass, underpass, with faster traffic zooming by.

I finally reached home at 6:25pm, with 146km on the meter.


I think running a marathon is so much harder than this. Although legs are a bit sore, but not as bad as marathon.
Now, anyone know some 200km plus road?

The instructions says...not to play with your odometer...

This car was trying to pass through..but stuck halfway....never drive in any flood situation, unless it's 1 inch high.

Water level was really high

climbing genting peres...

After genting peres...

The infamous bukit tangga...

Jacky, this guy is 53 years old, and still can cycle hundreds of km

I was just glad conquer bkt tangga. This is at the top.


Nice broga town view...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ride a bike, or walk

With petrol price now raising towards real market price, a bunch load of malaysians are complaining. RM 2.70 is deemed to expensive. While we can fault the government for all are woes, we ought to realize oil is a finite resource.

It's oil that has been powering our economy for the past 150 years. Oil equals cheap energy. It's oil that has been oiling our transportation, electricity, manufacturing, and food production. When oil price goes up, the baseline cost for economic activity goes up as well.

Daily maximum oil production is hovering at 87 million barrels per day. Not any more. Even if the world demands more of it. There has not been major oil discoveries over the years. And if you look at what Petronas is saying, we'll become a net importer of oil and gas soon.

To make the future worse, the supply of oil, which has reached the peak, will eventually go down drastically. Imagine a bell curve, and now, we are at the top. The future is the curve going down.

If we don't learn to adapt to changes, and searching for alternative energy source, we'll be ill prepared for this.

Lets start by driving less, and getting around by walking or riding the bike. If you don't have a bike, get a cheap one. Malaysians somehow just love to get around in cars, even to nearby places.
It's time to change that. Walk or cycle. You'll pollute less that way, and save on fuel.

Please take a look at Amsterdam. I wished Malaysia is more like this:
Amsterdam Bicycles

There's a reason why we have legs.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sundown Marathon 2008 ultra 84km

Sundown marathon is probably the toughest in terms of mental challenge. Perhaps it's because we haven't ran the route, while the singaporeans had their famillirization run. Or perhaps it's the continuous fighting off the sleepiness feeling creeping at around 2-3am.

A bunch of us travelled into lion city by car. Namely Raymond Hee, Raymond Ng, Siok Bee, Siok leng, and Patma. We stayed at 7th story hotel near bugis.

Victor Loh and I had started our journey from 7th storey hotel. We hitched the ride from Bugis to Tampines, which was followed by a 30 minutes bus ride to the starting line. Was able to meet with Tey and Shine. Nothing much to do except putting my bag which contains some stuff for the halfway point later.

I was able to meet Mohan, Siau Peng at the starting line. All of us were bundled together with the relay runners as well.

As the gun went off, I quickly settled to a normal pace. The first 10km was an interesting one, as we ran side by side airplanes taking off from Changi. One could feel the ferocity of the jet turbines engine roaring off into the dark sky.

Somehow, my pace kicked into a higher gear, and I found myself running faster. I quickly overtook some runners.

At 10km, my time was 51 minutes.

The scenery changed to be a pleasant one as well, as we ran near the coastline. Lots of happy campers, and groups, just relaxing for the weekend.

At 21km point, I crossed the line, and was soon heading back from the u-turn. On the way, I met Sukaimi (, and he was happilly running with another friend.

Things turn bizzare as I found out that we had to run across pedestrian bridges, and behind houses, and park connectors.

Soon, I reached Bedok reservoir, which we had to run a good 2km plus, and at the end of it, was the 30km mark.

After this point, I slowed down considerably. The fast pace proves to be a bad strategy. And soon, other runners were overtaking me, sukaimi included. As I came near the last few kms, I put myself into a relaxing pace, sometimes even walking to relax the joints, because the next half would certainly be another hurdle.

I crossed the 1st half of the ultra clocking 4:24hr. Then I proceeded to take a banana, and drinks from the pit stop. I even had an ice-cream, which was given free at the event, before running off into the night. The time which I took off was 4:53, so it's like half an hour rest.

Now for the next marathon.

Running at a straight road for 9km, with a sleepy head is tough. It's mental torture. It's so boring, I kept on counting 1 to 10 to put some ryhthm to the legs. And for the record, I've ran the route mostly by myself. You don't get the feeling of running in a race, like side by side with another person, because i could hardly see anyone beyond me, or behind me.

As I ran the coastline again and nearing the 21km, I caught up with some back pack marathon runners, and this is where I felt that I was running with others. The cold sea breeze was so soothing, that at one point, I just slept for a few minutes at the park bench. I didn't cared much about timing, as long as I can finish it without brain damage.

After the 21km mark, Siau Peng was running the other way. I was pretty amazed by her speed, and told myself to get it over quickly. So many had passed me, so I've got to do something. To hell with this sleepiness feeling! I quickly bought a can of red bull and orange juice, and downed them both. Then I had the phone mp3 cranking up power songs, on speaker mode, just to beat the drowsy head. And guess what, it work.

I've had some cramps, but I didn't care anymore. With the music blasting away, I ran the next few kms at a blistering pace. The runners in front would be surprised at what was coming. (Sorry folks for the rudeness...)

I met Raihan, who was manning the sgrunners station for their group. He was kind of nice to offer a cup of black coffee. It tasted great. This ought to be the drink at all the station for the race. He mentioned not many from his gang doing the ultras had reached the station, and somehow I did agree, because at this time, most would have settled for a slow running/walking pace.

At 30km mark, I thought it would be a good idea to sit down at the curb, but that proves to be a big mistake. I had both quads locked up in a major leg cramp. It took a few minutes, before I could stand up, and walk again.

And after this, it was really running and walking with cramps. I tried to suck some salt, and it somehow worked a bit.

Then had quite a downpour, and some station workers were telling us to get shelter. It was kind of nice of them saying that, but I have no inclination to stop. I just have to go on.

Night slowly turns into day, and I found myself running among the sea of back pack marathon runners.

I tried to follow another ultra runner with the "North face" back pack for a few km, but could not matched his pace. There goes one placing down, I thought to myself.

As I reached the last 2km uphill, it was a painful walking affair. But I did manage to crank up the legs to push for a fast run for the next 1.5km, which I also did manage to overtake the runner I was gunning for. And that is probably, the best part of the whole ultra race.

I finished at 11:07, which is now my fastest 84km.


If you guys have read other runner's reports, it sounds pretty tough and not a good experience. I could not agree more. The KM markers were not properly placed. Some parts felt longer than it was supposed to be.

And there's the issue of overdistance. I could safely guess it's 43km.

Lesson learnt here is, every route is different. You've just got to adapt to it. The challenge here was more mental than physical. It's not about leg cramps, but it's facing the same monotony feeling running at the pavements. The first 21km is alright, but the next 21km is tougher due to all the pedestrian crossing, some stairs, running on wet sand in the dark.

To sum up, sundown is a tough nut to crack. And those who had done it, you've just made history doing it the first time.