Thursday, May 31, 2007
My relationship with training has entered a new phase. Last night I felt so guilty about doing no training for 2 whole days, and being to lazy too leave the comforts of home to travel all the way to a cold Bukit Jalil pool, I moved the sofa and set up my newly-aquired turbo trainer in front of the TV, so that I could take inspiration from the Giro peloton and the tifosi on Monte Zoncolan, and do some interval training. And so I did, an extended 15min warm up followed by a 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 minute pyramid set @ 85% HRmax. Until recently I would have just watched TV and felt bad - now I actually do something - maybe it's addictive!
The Giro stage was great - check out how many people there were at the top of a mountain in the Italian Dolomites!....
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Two weekends of activity, hours spent tavelling and disrupted sleep finally took it's toll and I've come down with a cold. A runny nose on Sunday, swollen throat on Monday, same but worse yesterday. The days when I would go to work whilst ill are over so I stayed at home yesterday and today, although I'm much better today and will be back up and running tomorrow. I'm tempted to go for a swim tonight but we'll see how I feel later.
Now that I've proved to myself that I can swim 1500m front-crawl in a race situation, and having felt the benefits of saving my legs for the run, I am much more confident about doing well in the Desaru and Singapore long-distance races later this year. At least I have a good chance of actually enjoying the last run, which is not how I could describe my recent efforts at A'Famosa and Singapore!
I was already seriously considering not going to Miri for the triathlon on 24 June. Now that I learned so much from the Kenyir Tri, I'm even less inclined to go now. On top of that the cost and hassle of travelling at weekends does build up and I don't think I can be bothered going. I'll still have the PD and OSIM Singapore Tri's as practice before Desaru.
So what to do on 24 June?? Penang 22km or even 42km - not sure if I want to do 42km and not sure of its worth travelling that far for a 21km when I've got a few Half-marathons around that time already (Ipoh, PJ, Seremban). I could take Lucas to the Japan GT again, or I could do nothing. Wow - there's an idea - I could have a lie-in!!
Monday, May 28, 2007
I couldn't face hours behind the wheel so I decided to get the overnight bus. I met Gunter at the bus station and at 11pm+ on Friday night we headed off East. After a reasonably uncomfortable 7 hours we arrived at a cool early morning Kenyir and had a quick Milo and nasi lemak brekkie. I met Raymond, another person I was aquainted with through blogs, but had never actually met.
1 Day To Go
We checked-in and after struggling to sleep for a while I managed to get a few hours rest before lunchtime.
Gunter and I bought ourselves a new 'toy' - elastic laces to save a few more precious seconds!
The Big Day
The bad nights sleep goes without saying although this time it was mainly due to the apartment toilet cistern sounding like someone with a drum kit (and playing it!).
The usual ceremony followed - brekkie - suncream - toilet - recheck transition bag - cycle to start. Here's the start. We had to swim 2 clockwise loops of a triangle.
After setting up I went for a dip and started fretting about my goggles fogging up after a few secs and being blinded by the low sun on the return leg of the triangle. I met Shazly, the proud owner a lovely new Orbea Ordu TT bike.
We started on time and as planned I made a real effort to relax and go at whatever pace my front crawl allowed me to. This worked well and I soon got into a steady rhythm. I swam front-crawl all the way except for a few seconds when colliding with others or at the turns. Amazingly my goggles didn't fog. My navigation recce the day before worked wonders as I knew where to go even with waves and bobbing heads in front of me. My time was 16mins+ at the end of the first loop. So far so good. At the final turn with 300m to go I glanced behind and didn't see too many swimmers but didn't mind - I was going according to plan. I went a bit wide on the last leg of the second loop and finished in just under 37mins.
Jaja snapped me on the way up to transition...
Plan - save legs for the run. The hills started immediately but at least one of the bad ones was right at the start when legs are still fresh. After 2km and just out of the resort I caught my buddy Arif and I thought that he and another 1 or 2 guys picked up my tail.
The road thereon was like a rollercoaster but with no big hills until 3km short of the turn. I watched the leaders pass in the opposite direction - one guy on a red Cannondale on his own 1 or 2 mins ahead of the pack of usual top finishers. Later I managed to pick out Gunter and Bernard - both ahead of me but not by too far. In this outward leg I was passed by a handful of riders but caught a few too so maintained my position whilst still not really pushing hard.
After a long 2.5km climb there was one final downhill blast to the u-turn. I was on my own for the entire return leg but the time was nicely broken by passing another 1 or 2 riders before I thought I could see Shazly ahead in the distance.
Back into the resort for one final climb which I just about managed without falling off. On the way up I passed a couple of guys walking their bikes up! Down into transition I broke the rule of never trying something new in a race by taking my feet out of my cycling shoes before dismounting (so I could run faster in transition and save shoe removal time!). It worked ok but it took me longer to get off my bike! 2 seconds saved though! A slow-ish 1h27m on the bike this time.
My socks did not co-operate much but my new elastic laces were wonderful as I slipped my runners on in no time at all.
Now the benefits of a front-crawl swim and an easy bike ride kicked-in. Right from the start I had "running" legs. No sign of cramp at all and no uncomfortable bike-run feeling. Although running pretty slowly my legs felt good and I didn't feel the need to stop...until the first hill back up to the resort entrance after about 1-1.5km. At this point I decided my strategy for the rest of the run - walk up the steep bits!
I kept plugging away and there were plenty of flat or downhill sections to recover on. After putting it off for a few km I answered the call of nature after 5km or so and felt better after that. I felt good all the rest of the run and only walked on the steepest hills. This was my first run where I actually overtook a few people! I saw Bernard, still not too far ahead, which spurred me on a bit. With 2km to go I got a bit worried about dehydration as I didn't seem to sweating that much anymore, so I had a bit extra water and 100+ at the penultimate aid station.
One more killer hill to go and I targetted overtaking Canadian Steve as my final piece of personal glory. It was not to be though as he started running earlier than I did as the final rise levelled out near the top. Over the top I let gravity take control all the way to the finish line and I crossed in a very pleasing 3:10:43.
Swim - 36:46
T1 - 1:48
Bike - 1:27:43
T2 - 1:27
Run - 1:02:59
TOTAL - 3:10:43
Stats: (I love my stats I do!)
Max speed: 75kph
Transition Hill (out): 26m over 300m @ 1:12
Transition Hill (in): 45m over 800m @ 1:18
Bike U-turn Hill: 110m over 2600m @ 1:24
Bike Ascent: 511m (same as HOA to Genting Sempah!)
Run Ascent: 220m!
Brekkie: Banana + Triple Threat + Coffee @ 6.30am
Bike: The usual 300ml water + 500ml ORS on the bike. PowerGel @ 1:00:00 and 2:00:00
Run: Water at 2km and every 1-2km thereafter. 100+ & water @ 8km.
Thanks to Jaja for the action photos. I am so tempted to call her Jaja Binks but that would be cruel!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Swim - as long as it takes using front crawl. If that means 45 minutes, so be it!
Bike - enjoy my favourite bit as much as poss, and save legs for a good 10k run. Time under 1:30:00.
Run - run the 10km in a decent time (say 1:05:00) and only stop for drinks.
Overall - allow 4 mins for T1+T2 = finish inside 3:24:00.
I'm off for a 5k KLCC run tonight and plan on some leisurely exercise on Saturday.
Monday, May 21, 2007
After a fairly poor nights sleep (as usual before a race) i woke at 5.45am. My two main tasks were to...eat and drink a bit of brekkie and plaster myself with suncream. I did also put on some clothes, and headed out complete with bike and rucksack at 6.05am. 50 minutes and 20km later I arrived at the start with an hour to spare.
It was a clear and warm morning. This is the transition area, with the Singapore Flyer (to the left) and an amazing field of cranes and piling rigs at the site of the soon-to-be Sands Casino (on the right). I have never seen a site like that before!
I spent some time setting up my transition spot...
.. and studying the rather complicated in/out routes...
I made sure I knew where my bike was and taped a couple of Hammer Gels to my top tube. All sorted. I bumped into Shahrom and Ah Wei, and saw Cort Prois (2nd in recent PCC Time Trial) and his wife Sandy. The queue for the toilets was long...
...so I decided not to bother and went for a 5-10min easy jog warm up. Was feeling quite relaxed and raring to go!
The first thing to report is that my HRM went crazy after only a few minutes and kept automatically stopping - this was extremely annoying so I began to lose track of my time for the run. Eventually I gave up re-starting it. The first 15mins of the run were great - quite fast - and I was feeling pretty good. We had to do 2 x 5km loops across Esplanade bridge, along the river, then back across along Boat Quay. When I finished the first loop the timer at the finish line was on 31mins+ so I was already 1min behing schedule. After another 10 minutes I began to feel a pain in my upper abdomen, under my ribs. Not a stitch, but possibly my diaphragm. Anyway it became quite bad and I had to stop and walk for a while. This might have been due to my fast start. I started running again but quite slowly to keep the pain at bay. I was sure that it would go away for the bike ride. As I finished the ride I was pleasantly surprised that the finish timer was only on 1h02m+, so I was only 2 mins down.
1 x gulp of water, 1 x gulp of H2O energy drink. I jogged out with my bike but lots of others were walking. Abdomen pain gone - I always stop for a few secs in transition to concentrate on breathing and tell myself to relax.
I soon got into my stride on the bike and managed to keep pushing on the big ring in 11th gear, a pace that I felt I could maintain for 4 x 10km laps. My legs were spinning nicely and I thought my speed was good, perhaps a shade over 30kph. Early on in the ride I wolfed down a Banana Hammer Gel - a truly disgusting experience I must say! The taste was awful!
The course was as flat as a pancake with a couple of tiny bumps. This was great as it meant that I only needed to change gear once a lap and for the first time ever I managed to stay in the aero position for almost the entire leg. My bar position was fine and my legs were good.
This was a great ride. Apart from a few leading men lapping me, hardly anyone passed me and I was cruising past people continuously - a great feeling! That feeling is even better when passing people with expensive carbon aero frames and aero wheels!
There were some tight corners towards the end of each lap and it was a good buzz whizzing around them with other riders around me - like being in a proper bike race! On one corner the guy in front of me took the inside line but swept very wide on the exit and I had to slow down. I instinctively tutted in annoyance and he said "Sorry!" - I also said sorry as losing 0.2sec of time shouldn't really bother me.
In the 2nd or 3rd lap Shahrom overtook me and shouted some words of support - at that time I thought he was in the top few places, possibly behind Dan Plews.
I managed to keep up my pace into the 4th lap but took it a bit easy in the last 1km to prepare for the final 5km run. I was beginning to feel my quads tire a bit by then. Time for another horrible-tasting Gel.
Having lovingly studied the HRM readings for the ride I've worked out my lap times as...
Lap 1 - 10.7km in 20:15
Lap 2 - 10.0km in 18:30
Lap 3 - 10.0km in 18:40
Lap 4 - 10.7km in 20:50
TOTAL - 41.4km in 1:18:15 @ 31.44kph - WOW!
Shoes off, helmet off, other shoes on, turn race number to front, hat on. Legs feeling OK jogging out of transition. Thats it!
As I left transition the finish timer showed 2h28m so I knew I'd gained a fair bit of time on the bike and had 32minutes to do 5km - no problem on its own but a bit more difficult on top of 2.5hrs of racing!
By the time I'd done 500m I'd passed about 3 guys who'd stopped due to leg cramps. My legs felt odd as they always do at this stage, with my quads threatening to cramp-up. However I'm beginning to know my legs better now in these conditions and as I hoped, they'd settled down into run-mode after 5-10mins.
But now I was tired, and it was hot. After only 1.5km I really struggled to keep going and ended up walking a few times. I was sure I'd miss my target, but still managed to run the last 1km. As I crossed the line the timer showed 3:04:20.
I was a bit disappointed to miss my 3h target but as it was partly due to my 10k run pains I'm not too sad! Also, the day after the race I realised that the finish timer only shows one time - and we started in waves. I was in the 2nd wave, 5 minutes after the first, in which case my time could be 5 minutes less (2:59:20). I'll have to wait for the official results to see if I'm correct.
STOP PRESS! - Results are out!
As soon as I crossed the line I headed for the barrier for some support for my almost-cramping legs. The medal could wait a few seconds! Then I got my medal and slowly wandered off to get some water. Once I'd recovered a bit I sat down on the podium and talked to a few of the guys I knew from KL.
Malaysians Shahrom Abdullah and Kimbeley Yap won the mens and womens races respectively. Marianna Mohammed was 2nd in the womens race. Here's Shahrom & Marianna...
Mens Awards Ceremony #1 - no 3rd place, 2nd place to Mr Singh, 1st place to Dan Plews. Hold on! Shahrom walked over to the MC and said "but I was 1st!". They swiftly moved on the the following categories while they checked the results.
1 x Triple Threat + 1 x banana at 6am
1 x Triple Threat + 200ml energy drink 7.45am
T1 & T2 - gulp of water and energy drink
PowerGel at start of bike ride and after 30km of bike.
Drank bib bottle of ORS and small bottle water on the bike.
Gulps of water at most water stations.
Weight next day - 76kg.
Friday, May 18, 2007
RM30 entry (per 'stage' I think), individual riders set-off at 1 min intervals. Max. distance is 20km. There are off-road and on-road stages - these are the on-road stages:
17 June - Batu 14 Ulu Langat (possibly the Tekali hill)
1 July - Genting Sempah (HOA - Sempah I presume)
5 August - Batang Kali (Ulu Yam towards Genting perhaps?)
This series nicely fills in the 2 remaining gaps in my event calendar, which now has something on every Sunday from now until 9 September!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
ESTATE agents. Please look up the words luxurious, stunning and spacious in a dictionary so as I don't have to spend my weekends being shown around badly-built shoeboxes.
HOSPITAL patients. Arrive for your appointment two hours after the assigned arrival time. That way, you will only have to wait an hour for your doctor to see you.
EXPERIENCE the thrills of a skiing holiday without the expense. Simply sellotape two planks of wood to your feet, sit in your freezer for three hours, then run into a tree as fast as you can.
BASEBALL cap manufacturers. Save the wearer the bother of turning your caps round by putting the peak on the other side.
MOTORISTS Always have a hot curry puff in your hands in heavy traffic. Each time the traffic grinds to a halt, just reach for the puff. The instant you place it to your lips the traffic begins to move. This also works well with the molten lava apple pies from McDonalds.
BOILED EGGS cut in half vertically, and with the yolk removed, make ideal miniature porcelain-style urinals for hamsters and guinea pigs.
LADY drivers. Draw a little diagram on a Post-it note showing the position of the handbrake and gearstick, and stick it to your dashboard. This will save you having to look for them when the lights go green.
SUPERMARKETS. Help promote healthy living by putting your cakes, ice creams, pies etc. in aisles that are too narrow for fat people to fit through.
JAMES BOND. Never show any pain when receiving the beating of a lifetime, but wince when having your wounds tended by a woman.
TEENAGERS. Stop your trousers from falling halfway down your arse by wearing a strip of perforated leather with a buckle around your waist.
TEENAGERS. When buying trousers, choose a pair which stop around about your ankles as opposed to some point about 10 inches further on.
- Warm-up 400m.
- 4 x 50m, 10s rest.
- 2 x 100m, 10s rest.
- 1 x 200m.
- 10 x 100m, 10s rest. (Total 28:50, started at 2:30/100m, increasing to best of 2:15.)
- 6 x 50m hard, 90s rest. (Best 50s - fastest ever, others 53-55s)
- 1 x 100m easy.
- 1 x 400m. (10:17)
I was mighty pleased with this session, especially following my dismal efforts in the Bukit Merah Biathlon, where my desire to swim at my usual pace over-rode my desire to attempt front crawl - which annoyed me very much. Last night I was relaxed and went at my own sustainable pace, which turned out to be quite an improvement. I managed 1000m with strict 10s rests every 100 to finish in 28:50. That's 43:15 pace for 1500m - my aim is to improve this to 35mins.
My body position is still not quite right. Still need to concentrate on keeping the "T" down and not hunching my shoulders.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The Police Federation of England and Wales says government targets lead to "ludicrous" decisions such as arresting a child for throwing a cucumber slice.
The federation has published a dossier of "ludicrous" cases it claims are the result of Home Office targets.
The cases include:
Monday, May 14, 2007
Here's the results of everyone I know (only if I recognise your name from the lists - sorry if i missed you!)
Here's another photo of me that I just found...
Sunday, May 13, 2007
- 10min warm-up @ 110-115bpm
- Pyramid set 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 minutes @ 157-163bpm (85-88% HRmax)
- Rests 1-1.3-2-2.3-2-1.3-1
- 5 min warm down
I will buy the trainer if my offer price is accepted. Not moving is a bit boring, but some good loud techno music and the benefit of a controlled training session keeps me going. Once or twice a week for up to an hour will do me on the trainer.
I then watched the first stage of the Giro on Eurosport...
On Sunday I had an extremely rare lie-in (until 7.10am when Lucas dragged me out of bed). I drank some nice fresh coffee and watched the highlights of last weeks MotoGP (my man Stoner winning again!). My inner demons won the battle of wills with my inner angels and I failed to go for a 5k KLCC morning run as planned.
Then off to Petrosains with Lucas and Mihir. They've both been there many times, but not together, and they had a great time. They wanted to go back in once we'd finished!
Late afternoon I managed to drag myself to KLCC park for a run.
- 10min warm-up (easy jog)
- 4 min recover (walk to start point)
- 4 x 1.3km laps (7:35 - 7:22 - 7:13 - 6:49) = 5.2km in 28:59 NEW PB!
In the evening I watched my favourite Judge John Deed, whilst keeping an eye on Hammo's progress in the F1 on the other channel - he got 2nd and beat Alonso again.
I then watched the final day of the footy season and indulged myself in 2 glasses of wine. The climax of Stage 2 of the Giro co-incided perfectly with half-time in the footy.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
- 400m warm up
- 4 x (50m hard + 150m easy). My 50m hard times were roughly...55s 54s 53s 55s
- 100m cool down
An easy workout, but I'm glad to be back in action after a whole 5 days of complete inactivity!
My plan is for an interval session on my still-under-trial turbo trainer this evening, and a short run tomorrow morning. I'm getting quite excited about the Duathlon next Sunday, and yesterday evening met someone else who's going - so at least I'll know a couple of people there.
I've updated my targets for the year. I officially consider myself to have learned how to swim front crawl now, but to keep me on my toes I've given myself a new target of improving to be able to do 1500m in 35mins. I'm also targetting increasing my bike speed from the usual 27-8kph to 30kph for a 40km distance. This will need some interval work on the turbo trainer!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
And here's the result of the Biathlon...
And finally - today I had the great pleasure of a surprisingly big black plastic endoscope being inserted into my stomach without any sedation (my choice - rather brave I must say!). I also had an ultrasound on my upper abdomen.
Everything is ok - peculiarly enough!?!?!? The doc said my stomach lining is "nice and pink" as it should be. They even gave me a CD of the video. Hey! - I could post it on YouTube!
This is in the hope that the cause can be quickly identified so that I'm ok in time for the Singapore Duathlon on 20 May. At the moment I really don't feel like doing any exercise, although 7-10 days of inactivity shouldn't affect me too much - the last time I was ill I took a break for a while and then did the Double Hill 10k run in record time!
Maybe a rest will do me good.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
And especially for Dennis, photographed at the second water stop on the Century Ride. Nice bike Dennis!
My right little finger is still numb due to compressing the nerves leading to it for 6 hours on Sunday - I hope the feeling comes back some time!
Lucas' first adult tooth is poking through now - I'll post a photo sometime soon.
I've been struck by a mystery stomach ailment since last Wednesday night - after eating some toast with a bit of Marmite on it. Previously doing this at night has given me a bit of heartburn the next day, but this time I've had an almost permanently sore stomach for nearly a week! I've got some Ganaton and Controloc pills that seem to do the trick short-term, but the pain is still there. However I'm pleased that today the pain has subsided. I really hope I'm ok tomorrow as it's swimming day, and I want to get a few runs and rides in before the Duathlon in 11 days, and the Kenyir Tri the following weekend.
And great news for us cycling fans - Astro (Malaysia's cable TV people) have added Eurosport!! That means extensive live coverage of all the big bike races including the Giro D'Italia next week and the Tour De France!! And due to the time difference here - it'll be live when I've just got home from work! Hooray!
Monday, May 07, 2007
In order to beat my 1997 record of 179km in one day (Kelana Jaya - Ulu Yam - Genting Pagoda & back again) I decided to cycle to the start from my Aunt's house, about 13km. I arrived at the start point in Tambun at 6.20am and soon bumped into a big crowd of PCC riders. There was Bernard, Ashley, PK and family, James, William, Dennis, Wong C C, Ivan & Annie, Laif, Jeffrey, Wong Wai Lam, the Bike Pro mechanics and more. Here's Ashley & Bernard looking cheerful at the start...
Me looking cheerful at the start...
And they're off!...
In the first hour I did my usual of going at my own pace, not at all bothered at being overtaken by almost everyone. The main PCC group went off ahead into the distance. Still my 1st hour average was 28kph.
km30(ish) - an action shot of my ear, with Ah Fook on my shoulder...
km52 - we stopped for a few minutes at first station to refill our water bottles and I had my 1st powergel. Was pleased to get off the rather uninspiring Ipoh-Lumut highway at this point!
km65 - we turned right at a junction with "95km to go" sprayed on the road. Soon after this point the road became quite hilly and we started to come across riders suffering from cramps. From here on Ah Fook and I slowly began overtaking people and were hardly passed by anyone except when we stopped.
km83 - 2nd water station. Refilled again, wolfed down an apple and a pear and was interviewed by the KRI media lady.
km90 - we stopped again for a few minutes for Ah Fook to tighten his loose shoe cleat.
km109 - just after Kuala Kangsar, I swallowed my 2nd PowerGel and then we stopped at this roadside stall for a well earned cold 100+ drink. 4h05m of riding so far...
This is our second crossing of the river a few km later...
km124 - This was the 2nd last stop. PK and William were there - I had been wondering where all the orange PCC jerseys were as I had expected to catch them by now - and then some of them arrived here just behind us - ?!?!?!?
km134 - We stopped in a well placed rest stop under the shade of oil palm trees, just after a rather exposed and hot stretch of road. More refilling, 100+ and a banana! This guy was having a lie-down!...
Ah Fook with a good view of the best legs I saw all day...
In the last 25km I cycled alone but close to Wendy and a couple drafting behind their yellow support car. After 5h51m my HRM told me "MEMORY FULL" - sh*t!! Never mind. In the last 5km I managed to shake off the guy who'd been enjoying my draft for the previous 5-10km and even managed to overtake another rider in the last 500m.
I finished the 160km in 6:09:06 @ 26kph. This was 15 minutes faster that what I'd imagined so I was pretty chuffed. I did too little drafting to mention. Here's my seat post number, with all the checkpoint stickers in place...
After the race I immediately downed a Red Bull and a Soya milk drink and went around congratulating a few friends on their achievements. I then went to look at a couple of bikes that a small group were admiring intently. Both had US$3,000 Campag Bora Ultra wheels. One was William's Time bike and the other was a Limited Edition Colnago President LDV (Leonardo Da Vinci) frame, with a Record groupset and an integrated bar/stem. Check out the fantastic paint-job - you can see Leo's head beside the head tube...
This bike even had a Campagnolo computer and a Garmin GPS system. I estimate this bike to be worth over US$10,000 (RM34,500) without the electronics. The frame is worth US$4,600 (almost RM16,000). Here's a shot of the Colnago bar/stem and the gadgets...
Apart from ridiculously expensive new bikes, there were a few nice oldies too. I was admiring an nice old aluminium Alan frame from the '80's, which had nice big polished chrome lugs and a fluted Campag seat post. It also had an old Campag Record chainset - the best looking chainset ever if you ask me - here it is...
I didn't want to get back to KL too late so I made my way back to my Aunt Malar's house - another 12km!
My total mileage for the day was 185.6km (13.1+160+12.5), beating my 1997 record of 179km by 6.6km. I suppose now I have to do a double metric century = 200km!
I thought I'd record how red, sweaty and grimy I looked after all those kilometres...
The sun-cream did a good job today - only my nose was a bit red.