Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bike Love

"My boss is offering 1k to spray the whole car, usually it cost RM2k." It's an offer made by the workshop guy, perhaps to increase their revenue. My car's condition is not fancy, with the paint almost worn off some parts, from years of usage, and minor scratches. The seats cushioning really needs a makeover. In fact the car wind screen cracked and stayed that way for a good number of years. I would get an F for car maintenance, for the only thing I am only willing to change are batterries, oil change, and the usual repair cost.

I declined the offer. There's more alternative things I could buy with 1k. Perhaps a nice compact crank for my red polygon bike. I had been checking the weight, and it was awesomely light. That would certainly improve my bike speed while cranking up hills. Or maybe a new gear shifter because mine is still Shimano Sora (the lowest range).

The car is in fact ready for me to take. But somehow, I didn't know if I want to drive it. I haven't gone to a petrol station in weeks, and the last time I pumped petrol was for the chartered van we had in Langkawi. The last 2nd time was in January when I pumped Rm10 bucks for my mum's car. I haven't check if I had the car keys each time I went out. I hardly knew what petrol and diesel cost. I barely remember the car tyre pressure, but I remembered I had to pump 110 psi for my bike tyres. I haven't listen to the car radio in ages. I haven't got stuck in traffic jam, and wonders how it feels like to be in there, because most of the time, I just whizzed by.

Now, what will I do with the car? Oh yeah, drive. How many gears does a car has ? Was it 4 or 5? I do remember I have 10 gear speed for my bike though.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Copenhagenize Cycling Video

Copenhagen Cycle Moods [from Copenhagenize.com] from Colville Andersen on Vimeo.

If only Malaysia roads are like this, with cycling path.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ironman Langkawi 2009: Becoming the Ironman

Excellent pictures by pmTey2.multiply.com

Why am I still wearing googles outta of the water?

Now, I wished I could swim faster than this...

Up those pesky hills again...arrghh..

Chasing Randy...and guess what, we both rode the same TT bike (argon 18 mercury, and mine was first owned by him)

After 12 hours and 39 minutes...

...all they gave was a medal and towel :) We must be pretty vain to do this...but we'll never stop.


At the start of the bike...

Climbing the hills after chenang...

Just out for a marathon...

Out on the running course...trying to run as much as possible...

Finishing the world's toughest show on earth...

Roger & me in the shower room...

There's only 2 medals that's worth so much pain. Sundown 84 and this one. (pic from michelle's)

* thanks to aini & jen for pics...will upload more later.

The ironman. The distance itself the human body has to travel to earn that accolade is swimming 3.8km, bike 180km, and then run a marathon (42km). To even click on the submit button on the ironman website, one has to think 10 times. Then comes the training preparation, heat acclimatization, mental hardening, which will take at least 3 months.

I salute my new buddies who had even dared to attempt it, and finally earning themselves that title. You know who you are. Some were nervous, some tried to take it calmly. It's perfectly understandable that anything can happen during the race. And there's doubts that you have to confront. Will I finish the swim? Will the tyres puncture? How much to eat or not to eat? And could I still run after the bike 180km?

Personally, looking back, the ironman training had actually brought myself to realize it's not really that easy. I wasn't a strong cyclist. So I have to make up for it by riding the fraser loop 192km, kuantan-kl (270km) and back, broga both directions and putrajaya in the heat. It brought invaluable lessons and how to pace during the bike. I also did more running intervals rather than pure distance. I've managed to clock better timing, and yet did lesser distance.

But the most important lesson was nutrition. After running 3 times up and down genting during the fasting month, and then having painful plantar feet pain, I knew something was wrong. What you eat is very important, especially for active sports people. Neglect this, and you can have negative results.


Frankly, I didn't have the butterflies for the race. I knew the distance was doable. The only worries was the bike, as I didn't want to get any punctures. It's all a matter of pushing it at a leisure pace for 13-14 hours. I've done more than that, being the hardest 26 hours on the road. Mentally I was prepared, but being the first race, I didn't know what to expect.

Race day came. And I find myself among the hundreds bobbing in the water before the buoys for that start at 7.45am. I noticed the current was pushing us in the opposite direction, which means going for the first part out to the ocean, will be slower than coming in. As the horn blew, the stopwatch started, I knew the race has started. Soon, I find myself plowing into the water, touching feet, or mine being touched.

At the start of the swim, my heart rate went up a bit, so I slowed down and tried to find a good rythm. Push too hard, and you'll have a hard time going on the bike. Soon, I reached the turning back to the jetty after 40 minutes. And then tried to swim stronger back. However I did knock into buoys a few times. Managed to clock 1:16 on my watch.

Then it was taking the Bike Bag, and heading into the tent. Made sure everything thing is in order before taking the bike out. The bike route is made up of 1 big loop and 3 smaller ones (38km) each. Both my ears was still stuck with sea water, but I couldn't stop to just get it out.

For the bike course, I didn't push it. I set my cruising speed 30km/h, and if possible 35km/h, to compensate for hills. Many went pass me, but I have to keep it that way. I went pass Raymond Hee a few times, and sometimes he went in front. His strong cycling is suprising. Then came Bobby and the gang to cheer things up. There were also roadside spectators cheering for us, and the kids wanting our power bar bottles, as we went pass villages.

Perhaps the best scenic route is after Pantai Chenang as we went up and down hills while overlooking the sea and islands eastwards. But the hardest part was the climb up a slope equal to Genting Sempah climb at McD. Some have to dismount to walk their bikes up. And we have to do this 3 times!

As I went into the last 3rd small loop, I stopped for 6 minutes McD burger for special needs, then went blazing back. But as I went into the junction at the traffic lights, I almost crashed into a few runners. Carmen Leong was just right at my back (I could have spoiled her race). As I reached the end of the bike course, Raymond Hee has just arrived (surprised again). Meet steve as well in the tent, who said he's just going to walk the course :)

Got the running shoes on, and left running without any sunnies because the clouds have set in. We would be running into the night anyway. Surprisingly, I could run.

For the marathon, we have to do 8km x 5 loops, with the 2km remainder for the run home. With so many supporters cheering us and with aid & water station each km, it was hard not to run. And I had the most coke drinks in my life (I don't fancy coke before this). Kids were helping the stations passing sponges, drinks and food. And the roads were just littered with everything possible leftovers you can find.

The first 4 loops was pretty bearable. I tried to take off the boredom of running by thinking of other things, such as work. Sometimes I thought about whether it's possible to run 10 loops and see if I could survive it. I didn't run too fast, and my main goal was just to finish it regardless of time.

The last 5km was the hardest. Cramps set in, but my mind was still strong. Chatted with Steve to stave off the cramps and somehow it worked. Reached the end of the first loop, proudly showing the marshalls I've got 4 bands on my hand, and they let me off from this everlasting torturing loop run. I sped off, somehow managed to run faster than before, and as I turn into the road to the finishing line, I knew this was it. People were cheering from the sides, and I felt like I won a million bucks.

Finally nailed the whole thing in 12:39.


A big thanks to all the supporters who came and cheered for us. Without you guys, we couldn't have pushed so hard. And I think the organisers, volunteers deserved the recognition as well for doing a good job. And they have to work until 3am (longer than any of us).

Would I do it again next year? Most likely yes. Congratulations to all Ironman!

Guys, you can get your detail timing here: