Saturday, March 31, 2007

Meet The Robinson Boys

Lucas was feeling creative this morning (while I was feeling like having a lie-in) and insisted on painting part of his bedroom wall...

Lucas & Mihir hip-hoppin' on the way to the cinema...

F1 fever is here in KL! 8 days to go...

Posing with "Tiny"...

But first, ice cream and a driving lesson...

Who'd like to see Lucas' tonsils?...

Post-cinema lunchtime quiz...

Tasty fries and chicken...

Laughing about bums and willies! Not encouraged but unavoidable with 5-yr old boys...

Friday, March 30, 2007

A REAL Century Ride

I've just signed up for the Ipoh Century Ride, sacrificing the Bukit Merah Tri so that I can achieve another of my annual targets - a 100-mile bike ride.

If I stay at my Aunt's house and ride from their to and from the Century ride I might even beat the 179km barrier - my longest ever ride!

The Zax

I read this to Lucas now and again. It's a good kids story and teaches one the importance of compromise. This story always brings the Israel/Palestine situation to my mind...though I doubt if Lucas thinks of that as he nods off...

One day, making tracks
In the prairie of Prax,
Came a North-Going Zax
And a South-Going Zax.
And it happened that both of them came to a place
Where they bumped. There they stood.
Foot to foot. Face to face.
"Look here, now!" the North-Going Zax said, "I say!
You are blocking my path. You are right in my way.
I'm a North-Going Zax and I always go north.
Get out of my way, now, and let me go forth!"

"Who's in whose way?" snapped the South-Going Zax.
"I always go south, making south-going tracks.
So you're in MY way! And I ask you to move
And let me go south in my south-going groove."

Then the North-Going Zax puffed his chest up with pride.
"I never," he said, "take a step to one side.
And I'll prove to you that I won't change my ways
If I have to keep standing here fifty-nine days!"

"And I'll prove to YOU," yelled the South-Going Zax,
"That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax
For fifty-nine years! For I live by a rule
That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School.
Never budge! That's my rule. Never budge in the least!
Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!
I'll stay here, not budging! I can and I will
If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!"

Of course the world didn't stand still. The world grew.
In a couple of years, the new highway came through
And they built it right over those two stubborn Zax
And left them there, standing un-budged in their tracks.

I thoroughly recommend Dr. Seuss stories to anyone, young or old. Lucas and I especially like The Sneetches, Horton Hears A Who (movie coming in 2008!), Cat In The Hat (thanks to little sis Vicky for the book) and What Was I Scared Of?

Most of them have quite serious underlying adult themes such as discrimination (Sneetches) and fear of the unknown (What Was I Scared Of?)

World Track Champs

Team GB are doing well after 1 day of the Champs. Womens Team Sprint winners Victoria Pendleton (right) (who was born in Stotfold, a village a few miles from where I lived in England) and Shanaze Reade (left)...

Bradley Wiggins caught his opponent in the 4km Individual Pursuit..well done Brad!

...and here's the Malaysian boys in the Team Sprint...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hoi An Vietnam Triathlon

Check this out...!
Mmmm very tempting - never been to Vietnam!

The Pixies

My love of The Pixies is in the middle of a revival, with the best of their Doolittle and Surfer Rosa album tracks accompanying me on my journey home each day at very loud volume. My favourite tracks are..

There Goes My Gun
Broken Face
Crackity Jones
River Euphrates
No. 13 Baby
La La Love You
Wave Of Mutilation
Mr Grieves
Where Is My Mind

The Pixies are an alternative rock band from Boston and heavily influenced by punk. I saw them live once on 8 June 1991 at Crystal Palace Bowl in London but didn't appreciate their greatness then. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana said that he was basically trying to rip-off the Pixies when Nirvana did their Nevermind album.

Swim Training

Bukit Jalil
Wed. 6.15-7.15pm
Busy pool

1700m, mainly easy-going breaststroke but with increasing lengths of front crawl. No idea of timing as I forgot my HRM and there's no clocks visible from the pool! I managed several 30m lengths of crawl, and one full length (50m), with reasonable success with breathing and not being too out of breath. If I concentrate on the following I seem to do quite well.

Keep "T" low
Rotate properly to enable full inhalation
Don't forget to breathe out!
High elbows on pull greatly improves forward motion

Must try to find most comfortable breathing pattern (inhaling and exhaling) for long swims.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

PCC Time Trial

No posts from me for the last few days as I was v busy organising the PCC 15km Time Trial last Sunday a.m. It was a great event with 62 riders. Everything went smoothly despite a bit more traffic than expected. Here's a few photos...


Fastest lady Wendy Wong with her stunning Cervelo P3 Carbon bike with Hed Jet wheels and Hed aero bars.
Danny Feng on his way to victory...

Danny gets his certificate from Seth while MC Adrian does the announcements...

Aini wins a prize!

All the photos can be found here -

Thursday, March 22, 2007

KLIM Character

This is the guy running near me in the first 10k of the KLIM 21k...

He's obviously not one for wearing "proper" running gear - you should have seen his boots!

A'Famosa Triathlon

My target:

Swim (1.5km) 0:35:00
T1 01:00
Bike (40km) 1:35:00
T2 01:00
Run (10km) 1:15:00
TOTAL: 3:26:00

Post-resignation Syndrome

Post-resignation syndrome is a common medical condition only affecting employees who have resigned from their current position. Around 80% of all adults suffer from this condition.

The virus causing the condition develops quickly after the person has commenced full-time adult employment, through contact with other sufferers, but symptoms only appear after resignation.

Symptoms vary widely, but normally include headaches, stomach pains and other symptoms typical of the common cold. One interesting fact is that the symptoms usually appear for only 24 hours. The patient therfore only needs to be absent from work for one day.

The symptoms appear suddenly, most commonly in the evening of the penultimate day of the working week, or a Sunday - resulting in the sufferer being unable to work on Fridays, Saturdays or Mondays. Symptoms are rarely evident until the employee has left the office, and disapperance is sudden and complete. One unusual symptom is a sudden forgetfulness, or disrespect towards seniors, which explains why some sufferers do not report their illness.

It should also be noted that this illness only occurs in those who have missed less than 14 days of work through sickness in the previous year. Interestingly enough, 14 days is the number of days for which employees are entitled to paid sick leave.

For such persons, the symptoms of the illness only last until the 14-day mark has been reached. The medical world is still unable to explain this unusually strong (alomost total) correlation between the duration of symptoms, and the entitlement of the employee to paid sick leave. It could be some kind of 21st Century "Smart" virus.

Many thanks to Dr's Ive Resignedso, Imgoingto Makethemostof, Myentitlementto Paidsickleave, Eventhough Imnotsick, Andtheresnothingyou Candoaboutit and Sothere Hahhaha for the above report.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Swim Lesson #3

With Peh @ Chin Woo.

We worked on.....

1. Improving the push phase of the arm stroke i.e. as arm pushes back. Need to keep elbow high and wrist cocked-back to make path of hand as close to horizontal as possible while keeping the palm of the hand facing back as much as poss - thrust should be back not down. Drill = nose down, elbows at side, push back.
2. One-arm drill. Work on shoulder movement. Rotate bodyfrom shoulder/core not arm. Really reach forward with arm and rotate shoulder.
3. As arm pulls back the body should be rotated such that hip is almost out of the water. Hip should move here before arm passes. At end of stroke arm therefore moves sideways parallel to stomach and doesn't actually pass the side of hips.
4. Path of arms is s-shaped but combined with rotation is effectively in a straight line backwards.

Don't forget previous lessons - keep head/shoulders "T" low in the water. Ear against shoulder. Rotate body from core. Relaxed recovery with high elbow.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Wobbly Teeth

A few days ago I noticed that one of Lucas' two lower central incisor teeth (I only know they're called that 'cos I looked it up on Wikipedia about 20s ago) had moved but thought nothing more of it - after all these teeth will fall out one day.

Yesterday he happily declared to me that his tooth was loose! And indeed it is. He will soon have that lovely (not!) sensation I remember of the taste of blood and the sharp feel of the underside of a tooth at the end of his tongue.

Rather him than me!

Swim Training

This post is for my own benefit folks so it might not be too interesting. I'm going to start keeping a record of my swimming training.

30 minutes in condo pool. Stretched shoulders at start & finish.
  1. Concentrating on keeping head against leading arm i.e. ear touching shoulder. Stretching the arm forward after entry helps do this. Arm doesn't need to be horizontal and near surface - it should actually point down slightly - hand maybe 6-8" below the surface. Doing this seems to make balance better & breathing easier.
  2. Kick-on-side (KOS) drills with one arm leading/one on thigh making me feel more confident re: breathing. Even at slow speed my body floats near horizontally and requires only a little rotation for mouth to be out of the water to enable breathing.
  3. KOS drills with stroke encourages rotation. Good rotation seems to bring mouth into breathing position more easily. Also feels like arm stroke is stronger. Rotation should be lead by the shoulders not arms.
  4. Must keep remembering to keep head/torso (centre of gravity) down to maintain horizontal body.
  5. Push drills (elbows locked against side, head down, kicking and push for propulsion) give good sense of power/importance of the push phase of the arm movement.
  6. Must work out a comfortable breathing pattern!
Towards the end of the session I did a few laps at a reasonable speed but with a slow stroke and seemingly little effort - this must be a good sign! Rotating well, remembering to "push" with arms, keeping head down/body straight and breathing in & out comfotably seems to result in fairly quick relatively affortless laps!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

KL Half Marathon Race Report

I'm quite a happy bunny right now as I managed to finish my first ever Half-Marathon in 2:14:42 - a mere 18s inside my target for the day - but inside nonetheless. I did however have to put in a fair bit of effort in the final 1km to make sure I dipped below 2:15:00. My heart rate was higher than desirable, but only for 3 or 4 minutes at the end.

I don't have to compare this run to last weeks shambles (SMART Tunnel Run) to say that it was well organised. We started 1-2 mins early, the water stops were great, and they had 5 and 10km markers. All finishers got a medal and the chip timing system is a bonus - the results are online about 10 hours after the first finishers!...21st century stuff eh? Here I am (a British Virgin Islander apparently)...265th out of 655 - a respectable place if I may say so myself...

Here's the HR and Altitude profile for this run.

I took the first 5km fairly easily. It was quite dark, and I was surprised at the number of runners around us. There was one person (of questionable gender) wearing tight jeans and beige boots, with long frizzy dyed hair, running along near me, making quite a noise with their boots, and sprinting along at a fair old pace. They disappeared for a while but reappeared again after 8 or 9km still running along!

The 5km water stop came up in 31minutes. This was surprisingly fast so I suspect it was a bit less than 5km. The hill on the highway past Taman Desa (biggest hill on the profile above) wasn't too bad and I made it onto the long flat stretch alongside the TUDM airfield. Here I bumped into Edwin Ng, who snapped me on his camera ...

By this time (1 hr or so) my body had settled into the exertion as it usually does after 30-40 minutes. The 10km water stop came up in 1:05:32. This suggested that my second 5km was 4 minutes slower than the first, which i think isn't right - reinforcing my idea that the 1st 5km marker was early. I swallowed half a PowerGel. There were several empty packets on the road so it seems many others had the same idea as me.

As we headed back into KL we joined the 10km and 7km runners. Fortunately this didn't slow me down really - there was plenty of space. Past Times Square and up the last "hill" past the posh hotels I was feeling quite good - certainly able to finish, and my time looked ok (no 15 or 20km markers). On the approach to the final loop I could feel my muscles tiring and my HR was firmly stuck in the 160's (I like to keep below 165bpm).

Although I was expecting it, having to do another 1km loop after getting to within a few hundred metres of the finish is a bit depressing! Any way I managed it. I was keeping a close eye on time as I passed runners finishing the loop, to see what time I had to exit to be able to reach my target. I worked out there was about 1 minute in it either way and was beginning to think I might miss it. As I came out of the loop I was still unsure and with 500m to go my time was past 2:12 - I needed to do 500m in 3 mins!

I pushed on a bit and came in with 18s to spare. I could have sprinted harder but there was no point and my HR was almost at 180!

After stretching and drinking lots of fluids I milled around for a while. I hoped to see Ah Fook finishing his 42km but must have missed him. I did however see Azwar on his final sprint.

I have a huge but thankfully painless (unless I pop it!) blister on one of my left toes - the same place where I always get one - would you like me to post a photo of it here??

At home I watched the Aussie F1 GP and just played footy and "learn how to ride a bike without stabilisers" with Lucas. Already my mind is wandering back to training.....a hour in the condo pool would be nice.....PD Half Marathon in 2 weeks.....

KL Half Marathon Photos

The Sultan Abdul Samad clocktower looking good...

The FINISH! - my e.t.a = 8.15am...

The "Recovery" tent at 5.30am (it was a bit busier later!)...

The S.A.S. building again...

The Finish - post-race...

Lots of people!...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Swim Lesson #2

I had my second weekly swimming lesson with (ex-Malaysian national team coach) Peh Gin Hai at Chin Woo last night.

In my first lesson last week my main step forward was learning to keep my leading arm in front of me longer to keep my body balanced while I breathed.

This week the main things I learned were to rotate my body more and to lead with my shoulders for the rotation rather than making my arms lead my shoulders. I also began to work on the "pull" which is the part of the arm stroke that gives most propulsion, but also the bit that I don't use enough of. I am also learning to keep my head/torso lower in the water (the corrrect position feels like I am actually leaning down into the pool).

During all of this I am becoming more confident with the breathing. I doubt if I'll be doing crawl in the A-Famosa tri in 3 weeks though - although as I type I could try front crawl in the Sprint event (only 400m swim).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Stormin' Norman

I had a speedy swim session last night at Bukit Jalil - shattering all my previous breaststroke PB's...

Here's my 750/1000/1500 split times for the last 3 sessions (last night is the last time (bold) = fastest by a mile)

750m - 20:10, 19:42, 17:37
1000m - 27:17, 26:14, 23:31
1500m - 41:14, 38:58, 35:12 WOW! 6 mins faster than 2 weeks ago

I put my increased speed down to slightly harder effort but mainly due to improved technique - head lower, stretching arms and legs fully on the glide. Shame I'm hopeless at front crawl still!

Modern Socialising

I think that it is odd that all the adverts one sees these days for mobile phones and web-based social networks etc..., which basically encourage people to socialise with electronic gadgets rather than real people face-to-face, all show photos of wonderfully diverse, beautiful and deliriously happy people socialising with each other face-to-face (see photo) - almost the exact opposite of what the product they are advertising encourages.

This photo is from Windows Live Spaces website...

"Vegemite Sandwich" of course!!

After 26 years of wondering I have finally found out what the Men At Work are really saying when the man in Brazil offers them some food. (I am talking about the lyrics to "Down Under")

I always thought it sounded like "...a bitch of my sandwich." but that didn't make much sense. Today I found out it is "...a Vegemite sandwich"!

My life is now complete!!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

KLIM Build-Up

My number for this Sunday's Half Marathon (my first ever!) is F2001 - a good sounding and good-looking number - hope it brings me luck! I must have been the first to register as the numbers start at 2001.

Here's the recent Circuit Run 3 result - I was 10th!

Monday, March 12, 2007

There Is A Corner Far Away...

This is what I have next to my bed, for your viewing pleasure!

  • A selection of finest dance and techno 12" records from the '90s
  • A box containing aero cycling helmets (prizes for the time trial I'm organising)
  • My triathlon singlet, which I am selling on eBay
  • A learn triathlon swimming book and a 220 Triathlon magazine
  • A box of PowerBars (a freebie from Nestle for the TT)
  • Numbers for the riders
  • A big yellow u-turn warning sign for the TT

I am getting quite excited about the TT now! I have 63 riders registered.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bubbles & Knees

Here's young Lucas, who can now read, blowing bubbles on the balcony...

Lucas' face beautifully frames by a flash-lit bubble-blowing thingy...

I remember looking at the perfect skin on Lucas' knees when he was younger, and making a point of remembering what they looked like as I knew that, as a small boy, his knees would undoubtedly endure some rough 'n' tumble in future, and never be the same again - and sure enough Daddy was's one of his knees a few days ago (the scab has since been carefully removed by it's owner)...

Isn't the Web great?! - you can see your grandsons' knees halfway or even all the way round the World!

Qatar MotoGP

Hooray!! MotoGP is back!

I watched the Qatar GP with Ravi last night and what a great race!(I support the Ducati pair of Capirossi and Stoner)

Capirossi fell off in the first few laps, but except for a couple of short periods in the middle Stoner stayed in the lead and beat Rossi. The Ducati's were sooooooooooo much faster than the rest on the straights.

Stoner is only 21 and spent much of last season in the gravel so his victory over Rossi was a jolly good show!

F1 starts next weekend and I'll be off to Sepang with Lucas in a few weeks for the Malaysian GP.

SMART Tunnel Run Race Report

An "interesting" run today.

As Joel is an old veteran he couldn't start with us cat. "A"'s so I waited and started with all the oldies. And I mean waited. The run started late (no doubt due to the late arrival of "VIP"s. Then the second group had to wait almost forever to start - there was endless inaudible chatting by the announcers, then lots of photographers buzzing around like flies around s**t. The start officials were pretty grumpy. It seems to me that when anyone with a position of any authority is remotely pressured, they become miserable and rude. Anyway, enough grumbling for now!...

Here I am at the start (thanks as always to Tey for the photos)...little n large together...

Eventually we got underway. A fairly easy pace for the first 2km or so before entering the tunnel.

No water at the first water stop (an unusually early one, being after only 3km or so) - not a good sign! Running in the tunnel was a bit odd and I felt a bit uncomfortable with breathing in an enclosed space. Joel even more so and he was slower than usual. Many other people felt the same, and I saw one poor guy on a stretcher being put into an ambulance. I'm not sure if the feeling was actually physical or just mental.

Halfway into the tunnel I had a 17s break to wait for Joel. The leading women started to pass us and that made the run much more enjoyable. At the u-turn, by which time Joel was some distance behind me, I noticed my project consultant's PM just ahead, like a carrot dangling in front of me. I passed him and headed back into the tunnel. The return leg in the smaller tunnel section was quite boring. I had to stop for a while to get water, and partly walked up the tunnel exit. Having all my known chums behind me ( or 15 minutes ahead!) hardly inspired me to go faster.

After the late start and poor water stops came the next annoyance - having to wait for a minute at the tunnel exit for traffic!! The police were as rude as usual. They don't seem to have any middle-ground emotion between apathy and rudeness.

'Twas nice to be back above ground, and I finished...13.3km in 1:22:20 @ 6:11/km.

Out of 10, I give this run a lowly 3 due to (A) uncertain distance (B) late start (C) very poor water stops (D) obstruction by traffic.


Here I come!! (at tunnel entrance)...

Here I am!...

Dodgy photo alert!...

My goodness! looking very serious at the end!!...

KL Half Marathon next Sunday - I've never run 21km before! My targets are - no stopping except for water and finish in...2:15:00.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Busy Week

I've not done any posts for a while as during my free time I've been busy organising the PCC Time Trial. Looks like we'll have 70 riders - wow!

I missed out on the Tuesday night PCC ride due to a severe bout of food poisoning. I woke on Tuesday morning feeling ok, but something was clearly wrong downstairs! As the morning wore on I felt worse and worse (tired, dehydrated, stomach cramps). A trip to the doc sorted me out with medication and I reluctantly called my boss to declare the afternoon "MC" (Medical Certificate) aka Monday Certificate. That was a good move as I felt worse in the afternoon. It didn't stop me lying down and watching Gandhi and True Romance on DVD.

I felt ok again on Wednesday and was back to work. In the evening was a PCC meeting.

On Thursday night I was supposed to do the Double Hill 10km run but I preferred to go home as I didn't spend any time there the night before. I did however make it to the pool for 30mins to try some front crawl. I was fairly useless as usual, but I did identify my major technique flaw - I am pushing down with my pulling arm to enable me to lift my head to breathe. So instead of keeping straight and rotating, I am bobbing up and down.

Friday evening I had a lesson at Chin Woo pool with Mr Peh, ex-Malaysia swim coach. He taught me more in 10 minutes than my previous lessons had achieved. Next lesson next week.

Today I rode to work, with aero bars, on a route chosen for length (29km) and lack of junctions so I can maintain the aero position more consistently. I need to lower my bars and get a more padded saddle. Average speed 30kph (could have gone faster but too lazy!)

Lunchtime - 1500m swim (breaststroke) in 38mins+.

Tomorrow - SMART Tunnel Run (16.1km). Target time = 1:38:00 (6:05 per km)

Monday, March 05, 2007

USA Handmade Bike Show

I've recently discovered the fantastic website. These are some photos from the North American Hand Built Bicycle Show 2007.

Bamboo frame and real bull horn handlebars!...

Nice Roark track bike with metallic painted Zipp wheels, lots of chrome and copper bits....

This reminds me of a late '80's Cinelli pursuit bike I used to drool over...