Monday, April 19, 2010

Frasers Ride

Happy Earth Day! Yay! :D :D
Last weekend, PCC organized the 170km Frasers ride.

The route: Genting Sempah -> Bentong (downhill, yeeaayy!!) -> Tranum -> Fraser's Gap (climb) -> Tranum -> Bentong (climb) -> Genting Sempah.

I had done the 200km version of this ride in January with Arif, Senn, Adeline, and some others who were training for Ironman 2010. It included two additional climbs - HOA to Genting Sempah and McD Hill. I completed the ride with no major problems, and it gave me a confidence boost that I was able to handle endurance rides. So, feeling pretty confident with myself, I showed up all cheery and ready to rumble on Sunday morning. I had however, the night before, slept on the couch in a not so good position, which caused some minor discomfort in my lower back. Not that I realized it until much later into the ride.

The descend from Genting Sempah to Bentong was fairly uneventful in the beginning. As our second peloton started to pick up speed on the second half of the journey to Bentong, I found myself in front with a couple of others pulling the peloton at about 33-35kmph. Took turns till OJ came out and offered to 41kmph!! :S About 10km to Bentong, OJ and I spotted the first peloton in the distance and started to up the speed to chase them down. Which we did eventually. :D It was all very fun and I felt good and couldn't stop smiling :D :D

After regrouping, the first peloton sped off again towards Tranum. And I was found myself in their smoke. Until Uncle Patrick saved us! :D I've always enjoyed Unc Patrick's draft. Like a nice big tree in front of me :D Hehe. When we reached Tranum, we went further down to have a good breakfast at the local stalls. Time got the better of us, and our group was the last to leave Tranum to climb up Fraser's.

I've never been able to climb Fraser's well. Maybe its just my heavy bum. All in all, every ride I did up to Fraser's Gap was either tiring, painful, or I 'died' halfway up. This was one of them. After the endless climbing and sighing and calculating how many more km's to go, Vong and I reached the Gap. Fuh. Last group to leave Tranum, and the last group to reach the Gap. Oh well. As much as I dont like climbing up to the Gap, I absolutely LOVED the descend. There is a section of the descend where you can soak in the gorgeousness of the lakeview, sky, and greenery while having the wind in your hair! Simply beautiful.

The second part of the ride was not good for me. Somehow, even with my legs still energetic, my core and back was tired. So tired that I had to slow down and adjust my position many times during the ride. Vong taught me how to stretch, and that helped. He was with me all the way, and I really appreciated that. And so, with the most grueling 7kms of my life, I reached the final destination. Yay!! 170kms. With no cramps, strong legs, but achy back and exhausted core. Lessons learned? Well for one, I need to go easy on my core workouts at the gym before a long ride. And I should never ever sleep in a bad position on the couch before such rides!

This is the last long ride before PCC Interstate. This Sunday's ride will be a short one to Ijok and back from Centrepoint, Bandar Utama. And then, Interstate! Yay! Looking forward to a long weekend of fun under the sun!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Broga Ride

The famous Broga ride everybody talks about. One of the most ridden, toughest, hottest, do or die, ride routes in the peninsular. I have friends who have bonked, gone on drip, and hailed support cars back in the middle of this ride. But, I also know a handful of friends who can do Broga like it was any other ride, and then run a half marathon after all that. Then ride Broga again the next morning - in reverse "O.o"

Is it really that tough? Weeks before Broga, I was handling quite a heavy load. Juggling between my full time job chasing in the quarter end sales, training and racing Kenyir Tri, joining MTB challenges, and exploring my MBA options. And in the back of my mind, i was trying to justify how I would be able to finish strong for Broga - Well, if I can complete the 200km ride from Genting Sempah to Fraser's Hill and back in February, Broga shouldnt be a problem - that is, if I dont push it and take care of my nutrition.

The Route (115km)

Tekala -> Semenyih -> Broga (Climb)-> Lenggeng -> Bukit Tangga (Climb)-> Klawang -> Titi -> Perez (Major Climb)-> Semenyih Dam -> Tekala

So what's so tough about a mere 115km? Well for one, as predictable as it sounds, the climbs.

Climb 1 - Broga

Climb 2 - Bukit Tangga

Climb 3 - Perez

Now, match those climbs to that on the elevation & distance chart above respectively. Add in the time factor, where its about 8am during Climb 1, 10am during Climb 2, and 12pm during Climb 3 and what do you get? Insanely scorching heat from the sun above u, from the ground below you, and from the wind around you.

Upon reaching the Petronas before Broga climb, I wasn't happy. I didn't take care of my food intake at the previous regroup at Semenyih. My tummy was growling and I felt the energy waning away and we were still 10km from the regroup point. And most athletes do know, that when your tummy is growling for food, its too late. If you dont fill up quick, you bonk. So when I found out that the regroup is at Petronas, it didnt do much to lift my mood. Yuck, Petronas! No real food. Hungry. Grumpy. Hmph. Settled for peanut butter & strawberry waffle, soymilk, and a pizza bun. Beggars can't be choosers. Or rather, Hungry Cyclists cant be Choosers. So off we went after a very long break at Petronas. We were the last group to leave in fact.

The Broga & Bukit Tangga climbs came and went. Not too bad. Then came the Perez Climb. OMG. Hot. Long. Steep. Hotter. Longer. Steeper. Argh! No choice. Vong and I stopped midway for a break for me, and Dennis happened to be driving by and swung us a bottle of water! Ah, bliss! Dunked some water over myself, just in time for a cool breeze! :D :D Once Kwan, Per-Li, Chin and Thiru arrived, we went on. Climb climb climb. Neverending. Until...Finally! The peak of Perez - the border between Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

And so, we silly masochistic sadistic amateur cyclists who crave pain and suffering, descend back down towards Tekala. Over yet? No. One toasty Semenyih Dam coming right up! Dayem~~the dam!

Now, at this point, you do a sanity check : 4 hours ago, you climbed Broga in the mid-morning sun. THEN got a hunger attack on the way to Lenggeng. THEN climbed Bukit Tangga in the insane 11am heat. THEN zombied through Klawang and Titi, which can't even be recalled in the process of writing this blog entry. THEN climb Perez that mother **** of all climbs, THEN Semenyih Dam. And you realize, you are bloomin' blimey MAD! And you throw a temper tantrum at your boyfriend (or it could have been anyone unfortunate enough to be riding with you at this point in time) and keep asking "Are we there yet?".

Yes. We are not only a determined and disciplined bunch, but also mad. Get to know us, you'll love us :D

The return to Tekala was what I can only recall as 'pristine'. Yes, I know pristine is actually an adjective and you can't really use that as a noun to describe a feeling. But I'm crazy, remember, so I felt 'pristinely' upon reaching Tekala. So fresh was the sudden feeling in my body, that I had the strongest desire to put on my running shoes and run right after getting off the bike. And I would have, had I not left my running shoes at home :(

Would I do it again? Oh yes. Give it to me. Broga reverse, broga pondan, or broga classic! Bring it on - but after interstate only lah, ok?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Port Dickson Ride

4 April 2010
Here we go. The 3rd last long ride before Interstate 2010! The heat and excitement is building up, with about 60 cyclists showing up at MTDC Bangi on an early Sunday morning. Destination: Port Dickson with 138 clicks!

I felt very tired in the morning and it took forever for me to get out of bed. When I finally did and got ready to go, it was already 6.45am. With the ride starting at 7.30am, I had less than 45 minutes to drive to Bangi from Kota Damansara.
7.20am. Reached MTDC Bangi just in time to unload the bike and get ready. And walaaa!!! What greeted me that morning was a pleasant surprise! Debbie had got herself a Lux Dream COLNAGO!! Woot! That makes us the two rare Colnago babes in town baybeh!! The Cycling Asia Magazine crew were also there, they probably decided to show up and take some photos of the ride in prep for Interstate?

It was great to see some faces I haven't seen for a while. It was good to see my trail running friends Shakhir and Bacin on the bike. I haven't met with them since the Salomon run last December! :D

I have such a bad habit of not writing a post-ride write up while its still fresh in my mind. Now that its almost a week since the ride, I find that I can't remember most of how it went. What I DO recall is that this ride to Port Dickson is one that I found myself fit enough to enjoy without bonking/suffering on the way back. I actually did feel very strong even climbing De Palma Hill and had more than sufficient energy in the legs to have some fun sprinting here and there upon reaching MTDC. Vong and I also accidentally dropped the fellows in our little peloton on one of the steep climbs back. Ooops.

Maybe its the triathlon training (ie: brick runs, swim, intervals)? Or the mountain biking (torque and power thingy)? Or maybe the RPM/Rapid Abs classes I attend once a week? Whatever it is, i better try to maintain this level of fitness and not peak too soon before Interstate.

Oh! And here is the Cycling Malaysia magazine interview article. Yay.

In conjunction with Women's Day in March, they decided to interview female cyclists/athletes who ride.

Imcyclist (Joo Ngan Son's group) 2010 Calendar with TDF 2010 Route on the flip side (not shown) came with the March issue.

Jennifer, Michelle, Debbie

Me, Lydia, Elaine

Yay. The weekend's finally here. With BROGA ride on Sunday. Woo....scary.. My first Broga. I've heard SO SO SO much about it. After all those missed chances to ride it in the past, I'm definitely not gonna miss this Sunday's!!

Kenyir International Triathlon

28 March 2010
There were no timing chips this year, just manual recording by organizers. Nevertheless, it made the race more enjoyable without the ankle band for me, cos I dread the chafing and possibility of accidentally getting it caught in the buoy strings during the swim.

As always, the scenery at Kenyir Lake never ceases to amaze me when I am there. At the hotel lobby, looking out at the vastness and beauty of the lake, I felt as if I were transported to "The Land Before Time". It's that beautiful to me!

And now, on to the race report.. in pictures. :)

Swim (1.5km) - 00:33:36

According to my watch, actual swim time was roughly 32 minutes.

Bike (40km) - 01:26:39

This should be accurate cos the transition exit/enter is at the bike start/stop lines..

Run (10km) - 01:05:51

According to my watch, actual run time was 1 hour 1 minutes 50 seconds. That means i spent about 4 minutes getting off the bike and putting my socks and shoes on.

Total - 03:06:06

Position - 8th Place (Women's Open 16-34 yrs)

Overall, the race was fun and exciting! It's one of the supposedly more challenging terrains for an Olympic Distance triathlon in Malaysia. Well, maybe X-Terra may be tougher this year, we'll see come June.

We supported and were supported a lot! It was Debbie's third try at a tri, and she did well! We were all so proud of her. She made it out of the water within 45 minutes and not only that, came out 5th place in her category (Women Veteran)! Lydia also did well, with 7th place (just in front of me), and Disco made 3rd place. Thus, everyone in our carpool troop got placings and earned a total of RM1,900. Not bad, for people like us who don't race professionally.

Looking forward to Kenyir Triathlon 2011! :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sg Lembing MTB Challenge 2010

20-21 March 2010

Yay~ My first Mountainbike Race! I had so much fun with the usual gang - Disco Dave, Lydia Cicak, Debbie, Kenny Say Lou Yeh and Yong!

Contrary to what was told by the organizers, the 2km loop was damn technical ok (see pics below)! I had not been practicing at Kiara or Putrajaya's technical trails, so when we test rode the route on the day before, I was getting worried. But then Dave said something that made real sense - If you can't ride it, get off and push the bike! That's what M.T.B. stands for - Mari Tolak Basikal! Yeahhh.. so we gals in the women's open were supposed to do 10 laps, and men's veteran (the two say lou yeh's Dave and Kenny) had to do only 6!
Come race day, Dave and Kenny both got podium finishes (3rd and 4th respectively! Yay!), while Lydia and I just did as many loops as we wanted (no hopes la, so many girl state riders joined..). I managed to do 5. Not easy ya.. It took me 5 loops to finally do as many downhills that I daren't do in the first 4.. My most memorable moment at Sg Lembing this time was the last downhill I attempted! Whippeee!! Small achievement, nonetheless!
Something funny happened to Dave during the men's veteran race. He actually tore a hole in his pants right at the buttcrack! I kid you not!! LOL. He's the butt of jokes now, literally! Hahahaha
Chilling out in Kuantan that weekend was so rejuvenating! Great fun, great food, and most of all, great company! Looking forward to the next round. In the meantime, I need to practice and learn more on the MTB.
Next MTB event: Singapore 12 hr MTB challenge!