Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Some fascinating stories in the newspapers these days -

The Malaysian Roman Catholic church goes to court to overturn a ban on them using the word "Allah". As far as I know the word "Allah" is an Arab word meaning God, that pre-dates Islam. It is therefore not exclusive to Islam. I am sure that the word God is used in english writings on Islam - shouldn't that be banned? Or alternatively - why doesn't everyone chill-out and think of more important things to argue about. We are talking about the same God after-all!

The Government declines to renew the permit of a Tamil-language newspaper - seen to be sympathetic towards HINDRAF - but then reverses its decision.

A charity run by the wives of the ex-Selangor MB transfers all its funds to prevent the new "opposition" state government getting their hands on it.

Anwar Ibrahim (as the spouse of the opposition leader) is not invited to the opening of Parliament.

Two Israeli members of Chelsea FC will be allowed into Malaysia to play football. A spokesman for the Home Office (?) said "they don't want to get involved in politics" and "they are a good team - everybody wants to see them play". If you are going to ban citizens from a certain country from entering your country then at least treat all of them equally. So Avram Grant & Ben Haim can enter because its a football match i.e. non-political. Do you think that your average Israeli potential tourist has a political agenda? I think not. Also - not everybody likes Chelsea.

"All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others"

Confession - post style copied from Marina Mahathir.

Monday, April 28, 2008

He Would, Wouldn't He?

The point of this post is to boast that before yesterday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege, my tip for victory was Alejandro Valverde. And indeed he won!

But I thought a few readers might think "he would say that, wouldn't he" - which reminded me of the source of this famous quote - Mandy Rice-Davis. Click on her name for the story (a short Wikipedia entry), which - coincidentally enough - includes a rather amusing Malaysian connection.

Klang 21km

Sorry to say it, but this was the least pleasant half-marathon I've done. Partly due to the nature of the route & traffic, and partly due to my well-being.

The first 5km was ok and I felt like I was going quite fast. I don't usually start picking off the runners ahead quite as early in a race as I did in this one. So I was a bit disappointed not to get to the 5km drink station until 33mins+. I then began to tire and slow down a bit, and didn't feel that great. Also, the route consisted of many long straight flat roads with the odd bridge, at some points allowing me to see the route 1-2km ahead. I don't like routes like that - give me Double Hill any day!

Despite 500ml of Isostar before the race my mouth felt dry. The 10km drink station was welcomed, and came after 1h03m. Until then my HR had been a consistent 82%. Downed a rather disgusting "caffe latte" gel. So it would appear that my pace had improved (or km markers were inaccurate). Despite this I was feeling more fatigued and really struggled over the next 5km. HR dropped to 79%.

However this 3rd 5km took me only 23mins (confirming the inaccuracy of the km markers) and my gel began to take effect. Morale was lifted as this meant I'd done 15km in under 1h28m. So from about 16-17km I went into boost mode and managed to pull away from the nearby runners.

As the finish line came into view I pushed a bit harder and "potong sayur-ed" my final victim, but the route kept on going on & on & on and I eventually discovered that my final sprint, supposed to be about 400m, ended up being about 800m and I was "potong sayur-ed" myself by one guy. The last 6km took me 39mins and I finished in 2:07:18 - a very similar time to a couple of 21km's I did last year.

THANKS to Abu for noticing that I left my medal behind!

THANKS to KPAC for the run, and I'm delighted to see they're happy to have foreigners in the race. Shame about the traffic on the route!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Swim Lesson #32

Bukit Jalil, 26/5/08 5-7pm

3 x 100m warm up
2 x 100 (12 kick only 4 strokes)
4 x 100 normal
8 x 50m (fist drill)
4 x 100 normal
8 x 50m (shooter drill)
6 x 100 normal.

Final 100m = 1:50

TOTAL 2,700m

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Perfect Taxi Ride

Does such a thing exist? This post is inspired by Dubai taxi drivers - who treat the accelerator and brake pedals as switches that are either "on" or "off" - with nothing in between!

Let's consider -

1) Cost. 0-4 points
2) Does the driver use the meter without question? 0-2 points
3) Does the driver agree to take you where you want to go? 0-2 points
4) Is the driver familiar with the local area? 0-2 points
5) Does the driver drive in a safe and comfortable manner? 0-4 points

Max score = 14. Here's my scoring...

LONDON - 0+2+2+2+4 = 10
KL - 4+1+1+1+1 = 8
DUBAI 2+1+2+1+0 = 6
BANGKOK 3+1+1+1+2 = 8
SINGAPORE - 1+1+2+2+3 = 9

Oh dear! My scoring system is no good - London wins but my favourite has to be Singapore!

But no-one got full marks! The search for a perfect taxi is still on!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


My planned number of hours training has been totally screwed up by my recent illness and holiday, but never mind lah, I am there or thereabouts in terms of my performance goals, and it's hardly a crime to miss my 8hrs a week target!

Whilst in Dubai I only managed a single 35min morning run (according to my HRM it was already 27-8 degrees at 7am!), and after returning I did nothing until last night. Earlier this week I was still overcoming the time change, and my mind was occupied by job matters, so training took a back seat.

But I shook off the cobwebs good and proper last night with a "half-pyramid" 1600-1400-1200-1000-800m interval run. I was going for 600-400-200 too but my tanks were empty!


And I was on my bike an hour later, spinning away for an hour while watching Fleche Wallonne. The finale was great! With a few km to go Wegmann pulled away from Grivko just after their breakaway partner fell, but as Wegmann hit the Mur de Huy, Grivko was catching him, only for both of them to be swallowed up by Evans,Rebellin, Cunego etc... with 6-700m to go. In the end it was Kirchen (who was in my 2007 Tour fantasy team) who was strongest. Poor old Wegmann and Grivko lost 0:53 and 1:25 respectively in only the last 500m!

The Mur De Huy is 10% average / 25% max, and Kirchen is still on his big chain ring!


Back to the pool tonight (if I don't feel too tired after watching Man U & Barca draw 0-0 last night). Then hope to get another short fast run in on Fri am. Bike ride Saturday am (a novely for me!) then Klang Pacers 21km on Sunday. Next weekend is a long one, so hope to get a decent run and ride in, and then A'Famosa Tri the following Sunday.


I've signed up for the RMAF 21km on 25 May, and the Bomba 10km on 10 May. On the latter day, I'll be doing the 10km in the morning then the Sprint Tri in the afternoon. Oly Tri the following a.m. A'Famosa is not a "biggie" in my plan for this year, so I feel I can do a 10km run and a slow sprint tri the day before. I should still be able to beat last years time anyway now that I can do front-crawl, have a much faster bike, and have improved my running.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Due to popular demand - here's my 2c on Pierre's Orange Run disqualification...

From what I've read, our French friend was admitted into the race, ran it and won but was then DQ'd following a complaint from a local runner. I also read somewhere that the application form said locals only. Whatever the case, the issue is that the individual runner and/or the organisation wanted to exclude foreigners.

Well my opinion - which appears to be backed up by the vast majority of local runners judging from the many comments on the pacemakers blog, and others - is that limiting events like this to locals is an outrageously short-sighted and quite possibly xenophobic policy that borders on the downright stupid!

What state would Malaysian athletics be in in the future if fools who exclude foreigners were allowed to take the helm? The person who complained is clearly a primitive backward-looking type who's only concern is him/herself. And the person who agreed to disqualify someone who is obviously not local after he'd been allowed to enter and finish the race should be shot! No doubt the official in question is the type who will act to please whoever is standing in front of them at the time, rather than acting in accordance with principles.

I will never enter a BHP event unless Pierre is reinstated and they apologise to him.

Just think of the 5 "best" marathons in the World - London, New York, Berlin (forget the rest!) - where would they be if it was locals only?!?

Where Should I Start?

Jackie, Lucas and I returned to KL on Saturday morning from a wonderful holiday in Dubai. Once I get hold of the cable I need, I'll be uploading some pics and videos for your viewing pleasure. The "report" will come along too. In the meantime...other news -


I received a month's written notice of the termination of my contract yesterday, ironically on the same day that - with the opening of the commercial portion of the Pahang-Selangor Water Transfer Tunnel Project bids - Shimizu found that the JV of which they are a part has the lowest bid by a significant margin. Having already passed the technical requirements, it is almost certain that they will win the job. However exactly when it is awarded is a big "?" - but it could be as fast a 2 months.

Unfortunately the end of my current project is not seamlessly leading into the tunnel project, so I will have to fill the gap with something. I fully expect to be offered a role with Shimizu in Singapore within a week or 2, but there are no guarantee's, so I'm looking at other options in Singapore, Dubai and possibly Abu Dhabi.


I was rather disappointed that Eurosport didn't show Paris-Roubaix a few weeks ago, but to make up for it, they're showing Fleche Wallone tonight, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Saturday night.

more to follow - just been distracted by some interesting job news!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Swim Lesson #30, 31 & 33

@ Bukit Jalil

#30: Sat 5 April - Coach Alvin. Drills Session

2 x 100m warm-up.
1600m of drills.

#31: Wed 9 April - Coach Peh

about 2.8km.

#33: Wed 30 April - Peh & Victoria

3 x 100m warm-up
1 x 100m KOS drill
2 x 100m holding lane rope, focus on completing pull.
6 x 50m long strokes. My stroke count was 39 on 1st 50m, then varied 37-8 on rest.
15 x 100m with 10s rest. Finished in 34:39. less rests = 32:19.
6 x 50m (25 hard with paddle & buoy, 25 easy)
TOTAL 2,700m

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Still in Dubai but have managed to sneak into an internet cafe a couple of times to catch up on emails...and the outrageous news that a French athlete who won (?) the Orange Run in KL last Sunday was disqualified after - AFTER (!) - finishing the race and after a complaint by another runner. This story has stoked up some strong feelings inside me and they will burst out onto this blog once I get back!


Monday, April 07, 2008


My post-KLIM recovery was good. My legs were tired on the Monday but otherwise ok, and the same on Tuesday - no stiffness or strains to be felt!


Later in the week I managed a quick turbo-sesh, but only managed the one-legged drills. My planned interval set was put to bed by have to... put Lucas to bed! I had long wondered what the point of one-legged drill was, but having done it a few times and made an effort to increase my pedalling speed at the same time, I can perceive some benefit. I now tend to pedal at a higher cadence and in a smoother manner - with a less dramatic difference in power applications as my legs move round each cycle. This is necessary to prevent "bouncing" at high revs.

This is the drill I do after a minimum 10min warm-up...(5x 30s left leg only=30s right only-1min both)


I gave swimming a miss on Wednesday. Partly due to laziness, but partly because I had the opportunity to go on Saturday. This is because (a) the swim coaches are now available on 4 days a week (Mon, Wed and Thu 7-9pm and Sat 5-7pm) and (b) following the application of some group pressure on the Project Director during our company dinner a couple of weeks ago, he's decided to do away with full day Saturdays - hoo-bloody-ray for that! Now I do 1/2 day every other week.


With no run planned for Sunday, I ran the 15km to work on Thursday morning - and cycled home. Friday was another lazy day but after a quick 4hrs at work in the a.m. I did manage to get my weekly swim in later in the afternoon.

..and yesterday, despite getting up late, I managed to join PCC for the first time in ages for a 100km ride to Ijok-Batang Berjuntai-Batu Arang. Today I can feel my recent lack of cycle mileage in my more tired than usual thighs.


Last night I attended my cousin's wedding at the Hindu Temple (don't know the name) in Brickfields - and it can be best described as...noisy, smoky, colourful and highly ceremonial...and I mean the former descriptions literally - I'm not complaining - it was noisy and smoky! Photos on the way.

And it's not over...we've a dinner to attend in the Istana Hotel tonight.


Finally, for today, we're flying off to sunny Dubai on Thursday afternoon for 9 days. We hope to go to...the beach, the Wild Wadi water park, Ski Dubai, the desert, some souks...and whatever else takes our fancy. I'm looking forward to a snowball fight with Lucas in a city surrounded by desert. Weird concept huh?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Mr Blue Sky

One of my fave tunes of all time, Mr Blue Sky by ELO. I think I was 7 years old - watching this on Top Of The Pops - absolutely amazed at how they got the guitars to say "Mr Blue Sky" (go to 2:14 to see what I mean!) -

KLIM Photo

Tey missed me, but KC & gang managed to get a snap of me in full flight (not!) with 200m to go!

Thanks for the photo!