Monday, December 31, 2007

Test Day

I dusted off Planet X and went for a whizz along the new KL-Putrajaya Highway this morning.

The entrance at Kg. Pandan roundabout is a perfect 20-min warmup away from my front door so once I hit the new tarmac I started my planned 3 x 15min intervals at max. effort. This is a (lactate) threshold test supposed to be done on a turbo trainer for accuracy.

Interval 1 - 35.23kph. Ave HR=152
Interval 2 - 32.40kph. Ave HR=155
Interval 3 - 32.75kph. Ave HR=151 (could have pushed a bit harder)

I cycled at a speed where I could just feel the lactic acid welling up in my legs. So it looks like my lactate threshold HR is about 153bpm (83% HRmax).

I was expecting a flat elevated highway but it turned out to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride...

Start = Kg. Pandan ramp, End = Plaza Tol Putrajaya, approx. 30.5km

Night Of The Living...

In about 1991, a friend lent me a generic music cassette with "Mundo Musique" handwritten on the label. It contained a number of wonderful early techno/acid tracks - a genre of music completely unfamiliar to me at the time. I was hooked and have been a big fan of techno ever since (amongst many other styles).

The tape is long gone, and I had no idea of any of the artists or titles. The handwritten title gave me a clue that led me to discover one track a few years ago...

but another favourite track remained elusive - a complete mystery - until yesterday!!! With a little help from the internet - YouTube (which I only "discovered" this year) - and some educated guesswork - I managed to find this little minimalistic gem from 1991.

Embedding is disabled, so you have to click here to sample the wonderful "Night Of The Living E-Heads" by The Hypnotist.

I must finish by saying that I am quite embarrassed that I love a track with a title like that!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Years Training

Hooray - I've got 3 days off from Sunday! My plans are...

Sunday 30th @ 6-6.30am: 20km run, Bukit Aman-Hartamas
Monday 31st - not sure, but probably a morning ride, and a swim squeezed in somewhere
Tuesday 1st @6.30am: 100km-10km brick, Masjid Putrajaya

anyone care to join me?


I've been unusually quiet on the blog front this week, so here's a quick review of my week...

Worked on Monday, but without much motivation as the Xmas spirit grew. Didn't go to church.

On Xmas Day I was out early for a few laps around the KLCC track, with 9 x 100m sprints for good measure. Then back home to help Lucas open his pressies. I collected our extremely expensive turkey and then - whizzing between the kitchen and the recipes on the computer - produced what I must say were a rather fine set of roast potatoes to go with our Xmas lunch (photo coming!). I started cracking open the beers mid-afternoon and we had about 20 or so friends and neighbours round for a party in the evening, where we opened all pressies. I got a nice pair of pewter cufflinks from Jackie. Lucas' favourite pressie was Connect 4. Despite the party I managed to get to bed reasonably early and didn't drink much.

On Boxing Day.....can't remember!...oh yes...lie-in.......went for a quick afternoon 67km spin up to Genting Sempah.

27th - worked. cycled home then off to cousin Leslie's Xmas get-together. Again I left early as I had to leave home at 6am the next day.

28th - ran 14km to work. worked. Took both my steeds to the Joo Ngan Bicycle hospital. Planet X was an outpatient and is now ok, but Shogun is in a bad way - suffering from head (set) and bottom (bracket) problems. So it looks like Planet X will be coming out to play in Putrajaya on Tuesday morning.

29th - work again. Pressed the wrong button on my alarm and so slept in until it was too late for my planned speed sesh on the Planet X on the NPE. Never mind - I'm 7 hours "up" in terms of bike training and I'll go for a swim later.

If you've no idea what on earth the title of this post is - click here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Yet another Sunday filled to the brim with activity - making the most of my 24hr escape from my company's work-every-hour-God-sends culture.


I started a 20km run at 6.05am and appeared to be one of the first runners off, but as I approached Sri Hartamas I saw that there were a few early-risers ahead of me, including Shazly (with Stupe?), both of whom I didn't recognise at first in the dawn light.

On the way back I passed a procession of buddies still on their outward journey - Ray HKK, Ong Siok Bee, Shahrom, Jaja, Abu & Saiful, Ronnie pm1, Randy T, Simon X, Carmen. My HR was low (80% HR max) and I came home in 2:04:58 (33:01 - 33:10 - 26:41 - 32:07)....

- a whopping 11mins faster than 5 weeks ago - (35:17 - 34:45 - 30:24 - 36:06 = 2:16:32), with little difference in perceived effort...

My 3h20m target for 30km in January is looking more realistic now.

Aesops Fables

I chained Jackie to the kitchen, to ensure she'd get
everything ready for our Xmas party on time, and Lucas & I headed off to The Actors Studio in Bangsar to catch the penultimate Aesops Fables puppet show by Jim West.

We also had the obligatory Scalextric races, one of which Lucas won by merit (my car was defective of course - otherwise I would surely have prevailed!)

After a trip home to pick up some wedding pressies I left behind in my mad dash to the puppet show, we headed back out, to Puchong, to attend...

Laily's wedding

My former secretary's big day was upon us. We had some makan and then attended the bersanding.

Big - Faizal, Laily n Me
Small - Lucas n Sarah

Back at home I went for a swim with the little fella and then settled down to watch Man U v Everton. I have a funny feeling that sly old veteran Giggs knew EXACTLY what he was doing with his little run inside the box with a few minutes left. What looked like a dead-end turned into a penalty which earned the old Devil 3-points.

And so to bed.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Why Oh Why Oh Why... people buy squeaking shoes for toddlers?

Shoes like that surely must be way up there in the list of incredibly pointless and annoying things in life!!

Is it some kind of tracking device?


I love the way that some people put small emblems on their car number plates (with a bit of gold of course) as if to say "I've got wads of money and influential friends so think twice before you flag me down Mr Polis". Of course the cars should be black (it's a very official colour - don't you think so?)

On close inspection, some of these emblems say something wonderfully impressive such as Ahli Majlis (MP) or the Bar Council, but some just mention the State of origin.

I feel like making a line of pure gold emblems that look particularly intricate and impressive, but on closer observation have an embossed picture of a black-and-white mouse and the title "Kelab Mickey Mouse" or something like that!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2007 Swim Times

My 2007 swim times...

(0:00) = current PB


0:54 (26 Apr)
0:53 (12 May)
0:50 (16 May)
0:47 (14 Nov)


2:45 (13 Apr)
2:18 (21 Apr)
2:15 (16 May)
2:05 (6 Jun)
1:49 (27 Jun)
1:41 (19 Dec)


5:55 (5 Apr)
5:02 (21 Apr)
4:56 (16 May)
4:04 (22 Aug)
3:54 (19 Dec)


6:27 (22 Aug)
6:06 (28 Nov)
6:05 (19 Dec)


11:36 (13 Apr)
10:17 (16 May)
8:40 (22 Aug)
8:08 (28 Nov)


10:24 (14 Nov)
10:20 (28 Nov)


28:50 (16 May)
23:45 (25 Jun)

Coach Peh reckons that Azwar and Simon had better watch out! I'm getting faster!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Swim Lesson #20

Bukit Jalil, 19/12/07
Coach Peh, Jasmine, Michelle, Christopher n me

9 x 100m warm -up [varied 1:54 with effort, to 2:01 easy] = 900m

2 x 100m 12KOS/rotate drills (alternate 25m drill 25m normal) = 200m

3 x 100m (25m drill-75m normal) -100m normal -100m normal, = 900m

100m-200m-200m-300m [6:05=PB by 1sec] = 800m

1 x 100m cool-down.

TOTAL 2,900m

This session included a 100m in 1:41 - a PB by 8 seconds at less than 100% and a 200m in 3:54, a new PB by over 6 secs.

NOTE: 12KOS/rotate drill = on side with arms by side, use kick to rotate body every 12 kicks for 25m, then 25 normal...repeat until 100m reached. Try to rotate using one full kick.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I just noticed that KC (the 2nd Penguin) has posted the photo of me, Eugene and Chen on his blog with the caption "Three of the fast participants"!

"fast" - !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KC - I am truly honoured!

TdL Route Announced

The Tour De Langkawi route has been announced (see my last post). The good news for me and most other road cycling fans near KL is that for two Sundays in a row the race will be heading up big climbs nearby.

The riders will be heading up to Genting (from Ulu Yam I reckon) on 10th Feb, and then up Bukit Tangga and Genting Peres (in that order) the following Sunday.

I will not be training for Langkawi the following weekend so it looks like my Sunday rides have been planned for me for those 2 weeks.

10 Feb: KL-Ulu Yam-Genting. watch the race. then home via Jln Gombak.
17 Feb: Broga loop perhaps? or a ride to Klawang or Titi and back?

Revamped route for Tour de Langkawi

By Shane Stokes

The 1,381.5 kilometre event begins in the north of the mainland on February 9. The opening stage takes the riders along mainly flat roads from Alor Star to Kulim, venue for the second stage finish in 2007.

A bunch finish is the most likely outcome but if a sprinter holds the first yellow jersey of the race, he will know that his time at the top of the leaderboard is limited. Stage two is the shortest of the 2.HC ranked tour but arguably the hardest; the 125.4 kilometre stage begins near the guava orchards of Tapah and passes the World War II battlefield at Slim River before heading for the high mountains.

The Hors Categorie climb of Genting Highlands will be on view from a long way out and once onto the steep ramps near the bottom, the peloton will fragment into many pieces as the lightweight climbers do their thing. Time gaps at the top will be considerable, upending the general classification and ruling many out of contention for the final victory.

A number of stages then follow which seem destined for sprint finishes or, perhaps, a small breakaway. Day three is the longest, taking the riders 195 kilometres from Lanchang to Cukai and passing over some undulating terrain en route to the finish.

Stage four is the second-shortest at 128 kilometres and skirts the coastal roads in the east en route to the finish at Kuala Rompin. The roads are mainly flat and a bunch gallop is once again the most likely outcome. Day five extends further along the coast, the 185.7 kilometre route from Kuala Rompin to Bandar Penawar being the first of three located in the province of Johor, and passing tropical forest reserves en route to the finish near Singapore.

The 183.2 kilometre sixth stage starts in Bandar Penawar, home to one of Malaysia's elite sports schools, and later crosses a Category Four climb just before Ulu Tiram. The mixture of flat and hilly terrain will take the riders towards a finish in Johor Baru, which last appeared in the race in 2004.

The same city is also the venue for the start of stage seven, a 128 kilometre leg to Batu Pahat. This features just one category four climb but the short distance is likely to result in some very fast racing en route to the finish.

A transfer then follows to Melaka, the start venue for the penultimate stage of the race. The route crosses a second category climb during the 150 kilometre distance to the finish in Seremban, providing a springboard for attacks on the yellow jersey.

However the final day seems a tougher prospect, with two third category and one second cat climbs dotted along the 153.8 kilometre ride to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The race will conclude with three circuits in Kuala Lumpur before the final gallop to the line at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Building in Dataran Merdeka.

A record total of 25 teams have been forecast for the 2008 tour. Five of these will be ProTour outfits, while 10 others will come from Asia. The identities of the teams and riders will be revealed closer to the race.

13th Tour de Langkawi (2.HC), Malaysia, February 9-17, 2008

Stage 1 - February 9: Alor Star - Kulim, 132.4 km
Stage 2 - February 10: Tapah - Genting Highlands, 125.4km
Stage 3 - February 11: Lanchang - Cukai, 195 km
Stage 4 - February 12: Kuantan - Kuala Rompin, 128 km
Stage 5 - February 13: Kuala Rompin - Bandar Penawar, 185.7 km
Stage 6 - February 14: Bandar Penawar - Johor Baru, 183.2 km
Stage 7 - February 15: Johor Baru - Batu Pahat, 128 km
Stage 8 - February 16: Melaka - Seremban, 150 km
Stage 9 - February 17: Seremban - Kuala Lumpur, 153.8 km

Monday, December 17, 2007

My 2007 Finishes

Well, that's it folks, my 2007 races have all come and gone. Time to look forward to 2008 and the next race - Pacesetters GE 30km in 5 weeks time - my first ever run more than 21km. I'll have to get at least 2 or 3 Sunday morning Sri Hartamas runs in before that.

This is the list of all my 2007 event times (in reverse order). 26 events, many great memories - and times to be beaten in 2008!

Chin Woo Biathlon - 0:56:49

Phuket Triathlon - 4:03:31
Powerman M'sia - 4:40:06

S'pore Ironman 70.3 Tri - 6:08:55

Subang 10km - 0:53:30
Desaru Long-Distance Tri - 6:07:09
Adidas K.O.R (20km) - 1:52:53
OSIM S'pore Tri (O) - 1:43:02
Port Dickson Tri (O) - 2:45:15
Seremban Half M'thon (21k) - 2:07:55
Ipoh Int'l Run (21km) - 2:08:05
Ballbreaker Hash (25km) - 5:24:57
Kenyir Lake Tri (O) - 3:10:43
S'pore Duathlon (10/40/5) - 3:00:29
KRI Century Ride (160km) - 6:09:06
B. Merah Biathlon (1k/6k) - 1:03:47
Power Run (10.8km) - 1:01:31
A'Famosa Tri (O) - 3:02:04
A'Famosa Tri (Sprint) - 1:03:57
PD Half M'thon (21km) - 2:01:09
KLIM (21km) - 2:14:42
SMART Tunnel Run (13.3km) - 1:22:20
KLIM Circuit Run 3 (18.4km) - 1:54:26
FTAAA X-Country (8.2km) - 0:58:16
KLIM Circuit Run 2 (15km) - 1:32:56
Pacesetters GE (20km) - 2:11:42

Sunday, December 16, 2007

2007 Finale - Chin Woo Biathlon

A rare swim photo!

Looking quite happy on the run.

Final push up the steep uphill finish.

(L-R) Panjang, tengah and pendik finishers
(pls excuse any bahasa errors!)

Swim (800m) - 0:15:18 (1:55/100m)
T1 - 0:00:41
Run (6.9km) - 0:40:50 (5:55/km)
TOTAL - 0:56:49

(21/1/2008) - Official Result

Swim - 3rd/18,
Run - 11th/18,
Overall - 16:20-40:20 = 56:40, 8th/18.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Final Phuket Snaps

Out of the saddle and not looking where I'm going, and a rather tired finishing salute!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

All Quiet

Not much to report recently. My end-of week training plan was disrupted by 2 punctures, but I still managed to go out with PCC on Sunday for a ride to Puncak Alam. Just 70km and I was home well before lunch. Jackie wasn't feeling great so I spent much of the day indoors doing some long overdue chores (building shelves, tidying cables, fixing Lucas' scooter). In the evening I went to KLCC pick up some shirts for work, then went home and watched Middlesborough beat Arsenal quite soundly.

My planned Monday and Tuesday a.m. runs were both lost to lie-in's, but I made up for it this morning with a 7.8km run around a short version of the Double Hill route.

On Monday night I found myself in the now unusual position of being in a pub after work, nursing a few pints of Kilkenny with colleague James, while watching England struggle to take any Sri-Lankan wickets.

Last night I planned a dinner out with Jackie to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary, but she was still crook so that's off until Friday.

My social life will continue to disrupt my training as tonight I'm off to the wonderful Kamimura Japanese restaruant in Menara Weld with big boss Matsui San, so no swimming for me! Yesterday he told me that we (Shimizu Corp) had pre-qualified for the (RM2 billion?) tunnel portion of the Pahang-Selangor Water Transfer project.

In other news...I bought a new pair of shoes last week, to replace my tired and very smelly 755's...New Balance 1061's...

My final event of the year - the Chin Woo biathlon - is this weekend. It's a short 750 or 800m swim and a 7km run. I'm seriously thinking of running there and back to give me a 23km run for the day. I need to catch up with run training.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Phuket Bike Course Profile

Here's the profile of the hilly bit of the Phuket Triathlon bike course. The only hills worthy of note are these ones from km6.5 to km13....

1. km6.6:- 1.1km @ ave 1:12, max 1:8
2. km9.4:- 200m @ 1:13
3. km10.4:- 330m @ ave 1:14, max 1:8
4. km 12.6:- 640m @ ave 1:12, max 1:10


My second wet Thurday evening KLCC run in a row.

The plan - 4 laps of the 1.3km KLCC loop, at or above race pace, rest, then home, total 11km.

The result...5.2km in 7:36-7:00-6:57-6:51 = 28:24 @5:28/km - new PB by 0:30!

then home.

ta ta for now!

Poo-ket Pics

Big thanks to Ivie & Randy T - here's a couple of snaps from my weekend...

At the race briefing with Randy

Swim Start - I am directly below the "d" of "Thailand"
printed on the start gate - putting my goggles on.

On km1 of the run and looking more athletic than usual!

Swim Lesson #19

Bukit Jalil, 5/12/07
Coach Peh + me, Jasmine, Michelle, Jeffrey

Warm-up: 4 x 100m

Main Set:
8 x 50m (25m fist drill - 25m normal)
8 x 100m (with ascending rest, 10s-15s-20s....-40s, must maintain technique & speed)
8 x 100m (same as above). Times varied 2:00 to fastest 1:53 (final 100m)
1 x 100 easy
4 x 50 hard (with paddles & pool buoy). 0:43 fastest.

Cool-down: 1 x 100m

TOTAL - 2,800m

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Phuket Report

The results are out and I'm pretty happy with my experimental race strategy, and the result.

I finished in 4:03:31 (my target was 4:12:00) thanks to a good swim and my super-easy ride leaving enough energy in me to do a good run.


Fantastic pasta party / buffet at the Sheraton Grande the night before. Great food, and a table of Pro's were introduced. The whole "Celebrity" thing does't really turn me on that much but I do get a wee bit excited to be in the same race as the big names. Faris Al-Sultan, Chrissie Wellington, Mirinda Carfrae and Belinda Granger were all there. (btw Faris' bike had the most outrageous looking aero bars - they looked like he'd attached a model X-wing fighter to his stem!)

On the big day, on the way to the swim start, there was an old wrinkly unshaven guy with long tied-back grey hair, wearing a bright pink 2-piece "Growing Old Disgracefully" tri-suit - puffing on one last fag before the start. Have you ever seen anyone smoking on the way to a Tri start!! amazing!!


37:49. Beat my target by 7 minutes! This was by far my best ever swim, and I therefore moved up from my usual fairly quiet spot towards the tail end of the field, to be what felt like right in the middle of a big thrashing pack the whole way! Navigation was tough due to the rising sun. I got my left goggle lens whacked by someones arm and pushed my lens onto my eye as hard as it could be. The run across the beach into the lagoon messed up my ryhthm and drive, but I got back into it and was overtaking people towards the end.


On my trusty old road bike (I didn't trust AirAsia handlers with my Planet X in a soft bag) I stuck to my plan and took a leisurly Sunday-style ride around the 55km course. A few short sharp climbs from 8-12km. A few people walked. I didn't - I consider walking a bike up a hill to be failure. The number of very Pro looking competitors on P3C's, Zipps 'n disc wheels etc... passing me until quite a way into the ride made me think I'd dome a good swim, (or there's lots of poor swimmers with very "bling" bike gear!).

The local support was fantastic - the best I've experienced - lots of young kids excited by the spectacle of hundred's of crazy farangs (only 80 Thais out of 750 individual competitors in this race) riding by. There was some organised fanatical cheering too. I slapped palms at 30kph with numerous groups of kids. I love that - I'm having fun and at the same time giving a few secs of excitement to the local (and to be frank - generally under-privileged) kids.

At one point I came across a Thai policeman (in one of their rather militaristic uniforms) standing at the road side holding a TT bike with deep-section HED wheels. A great photo opportunity, but the time was not right. I caught a glimpse of the actual bike owner returning from behind a tree to get his bike.

Towards the end of the 55km, with the help of a gel and a headwind, and spurred on by being 5min or so down on my target bike time, I pushed on a bit, overtook the guy with the yellow and blue curly wig who'd passed me earlier, and headed into T2.


I started my run just as Liz Blatchford won for the Pro women - hooray! - another Brit success!

I had a good run. Legs were fresh, no sign of cramps, and I was doing km's in a little over 6:00, which amazed me. This was the first run where I've found myself overtaking people, and I managed to average 6:21 per km to finish 12km in 1h 15mins, 9 mins inside my target.

The course was great. 2 x 6km loops, with music at the start and at 3km. About 1km on fairly narrow undulating tracks through wooded areas, a couple of km around a golf course (even on the fairways), and the rest on roads or within the resorts. With accurate km markers every 1km.


My strategy worked, although I reckon I could have gone a bit harder on the bike.

Post race

Free Thai massage, without having to wait too long - wonderful! Nice food to re-fuel with too.


I was only in Phuket for 26 hours! It was a great race. A kind of party/resort atmosphere. Well organised, great location - lovely water and good run course - but shame about the pretty awful road surfaces. Next year I'll be back with the family and for at least a few days.

That's it - nor more Triathlon this year. Next race - A'Famosa 2008?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Phuket Report

I'm not sure of my swim time, and therefore overall time, as my stopwatch stopped during the swim, but I reckon I finished in about 4h05m...

Swim (1.8k) - 39:11 (guesstimate)
T1 - 0:2:11
Bike (55k) - 2:05:23 @ 26.5kph (sunday ride stylee!)
T2 - 0:02:04
Run (12k) - 1:16:11
TOTAL - 4:05:00

1km splits
Lap 1:
Lap 2:

full report to follow!