Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ride: Simpang Pulai - Kg Raja

Breathtaking mountains...

The valley below...you can see the road going up from miles away.

Some serious erosion..

After having done Tapah-Brinchang, I hunger for another ride, but this time Sg Pulai (near Ipoh), to Kg Raja. I've heard this route is safer than the one from Tapah, but with the recent bus crash with 27 fatalities, I have doubts to how safe it was.

I departed quite late from KL (8am), which was caused by lousy sleeping the night before. Drove all the way to Sg Pulai, and started the ride around 10:45am. Yea, it was late morning, and my head was still in a state of drowsiness. Partly from lack of sleep, partly from driving 2 hours on the road.

As I unpacked the bike, to my horror, I forgotten the bike pump. Now the rule to riding is always self sufficiency. You've got to make sure you have everything spares just in case. And I don't really like the feeling of riding far crippled by the lack of tools. But I took a gamble anyway, hoping for the best.

As the ride started from the main crossroads into the blasted quarry hills and beyond, it was soon obvious there won't be much shades covering. And it was getting hot.

After 8km, I passed the corner where the bus had crashed. Debris is still visible on the left side of the road, and black patches were around there as well. The divided has been repaired. As I move on, I find it hard to imagine so many perished at the same spot.

As the elevation gains, the view changed as well. What struck me was the tall mountains towering just beside the road. It was almost vertical up, and I can't help to slow down just to appreciate.

But I was getting hungrier on the way, and tired as well. It's mostly climbs and frankly too much of it, is draining my energy. By 40km, I stopped to rest and have some snacks, which wasn't really enough. Luckily a lone food shop provided some coffee, and fried bananas, which I desperately needed.

And it was getting cold as well, almost to the point of drizzling but not raining. As it was the monsoon season, the easternly winds were blowing hard and dumping rain as I headed downwards towards Kg raja.

Finally reaching Kg Raja, which looks like a small town, and less exciting than Brinchang. Had lunch there as well. It was in my earlier plan to cycle to Brinchang, but time wasn't enough, so it's back to Sg Pulai again.

After the initial climb up to the top from Kg raja, the downhill is perhaps the most exciting part of the ride. Since traffic is sparse, you could have the whole road by yourself.

I didn't really took note of the time reaching back, but it's probably 4 something. Anyway, I was thankful I had no punctures, or else I've got to try to hitch a ride back.

This route is really recommended for its' scenic mountain view and valleys. The next ride is going to cover one big loop from Sg pulai-kg Raja-Brinchang-Tapah and back.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

MR25 Ultra Marathon 2010: Another Gut Distress

This year more Malaysians participated. And the route had some changes as well. Rather than having one big loop around the lake, now a detour is set at the 5km mark.

I stayed with Frank this year, same hotel as last year. Had a pleasant get together for dinner with the whole gang. I guessed most of us ate more than usual for the next day.

At the start, I was trying to set a pace which was not that fast, and not too slow. Soon, I was passed by one indian runner and eventually the winner (wearing red, and lightweight shoes). I tried tailing them for some time, but guessed their pace was too fast. Soon, I settled on just setting my own pace.

I think the first loop was done in 50minutes. The next was around 55, and third loop is around an hour. I could remember I did 4 loops in 3:45.

Soon, things began to go downhill from there. I was too hungry. Bought some food from the cafetaria nearby, and had iced coffee.

5th loop was ok, but after then end of sixth, I knew that things were coming to a halt. Senses of gut discomfort soon came. I just sat at the chair and sort of waiting for things to turn around. But, it didn't came.

I knew my race stops once I vomitted. So that's that. I reported back to the time keeper that I'll just do 6 loops (in 6:32).

There's some goals that I have set which is doing 5 loops in less than 6 hours, which was achieved. Overall, I am happy with the timing, but non too happy with things crashing down from my gut.

I would also like to say that in 2011, I'll do less long distance. Heck, I think I am too lazy to do a marathon now, or ultra. I'll just focus on my weakness which is speed. Another reason is also, I think I've done and been there, so I don't really miss doing long distance.

Year 2011 has a few major ultras on the calendar. I wish those joining the best of luck. It's not going to be easy, but with training and patience, I think most can make it.

Thanks to Tey for the photos.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Malakoff 12km run: Not So Killer Hills

I don't recall where was this...

I've heard this run was hilly. But after KRI 12km run in Bkt Kinding, it was pretty tame by comparison.

Before the race, was glad to meet Kevin Siah and his family. He had just finish Ironman Busselton (IMWA) and was there to support.

Now the odd thing is they let the women go first, and men 10min later. I stood just behind a few guys before the starting line. When the horn went, it was a mad dash off. I noticed one guy in white went very quickly up, and it took awhile to realize it was Shahrom.

Somehow, I manged to bumped into 2nd. As the uphills came, Casey went pass. Soon, I find Don Khor and I believe Kevin, came pass.

I was already going almost maximum intensity, so I just hope I could trail these guys. I passed Don at one point, but I think a few KM afterwards, he passed me. This old man is not to be reckoned with.

Now, the one thing I realized running at high speed is the relative speed between yours and others. We were passing the women's runners and catching from behind. They seemed so stationary.

But then, an african runner came blasting from behind. And that makes me look comparatively stationary. I soon found out that he started 3 minutes late.

As the 2nd loop ends on the uphill, I was beginning to sense cramps coming in. Blasted all the way down hill to the end, and I was just happy to make it below 48 min (47min 42).

Also found myself in 5th in my category as well, which was a pleasant surprise.