Thursday, October 07, 2004

Perhentian Island Challenge : Part 3

... On to the Race day!

Adrenalin Pumping
Most of us woke up at 8am to catch breakfast of toast and scrambled eggs. Some of us swear by coffee to wake up. A few of us was seen cleaning up the plates of whoever that refused to eat the toast and we found Nutella at the cabana where we have our meals. Oh ya, did i mentioned that there was also bananas on the menu?

Yes to both the Docs... better wake up now, you both hear me?

Man, Asry, Bacin and Ziana - well at least they all looked more woken up that 2 docs

DOC!!!!! Wake up!!!!!!

It is the Race Day. D-Day. H-Hour. Whatever.

Then, we have two OP Participants having seconds thoughts about the whole race....

Don't worry guys, it will be over faster than you think it did...

One Hour to Race
After the draggy morning breakfast, where everyone suddenly felt that the whole 2 months of training will now be fully utilised in whatever manner to stay in the race, will be utilised (gosh, i think it must be the sea water...)

First thing we did was to ensure that the OPA flag are put up at the most auspicious position. Thanks to Amerul, that brought the flag all the way from JB, of course.

We met this OP Col retired that operate a restaurant next to Coral Bay (Sorry sir, i totally forgotten your name) He was from intake 1971. He seems to know Nordin Manan though...

Band of Brothers

Swimming - 1.5km
The swimmers was the first to be called to the briefing, body marking are done using those waterproof markers. It is for identification purposes, just in case some of us are unlucky enough to be hit by some speedboat while swimming in the open sea. We were made to hold on to a pastel coloured band as well, as that will be then be passed to the MTB participant, as a form of recognising that the *baton* are properly passed from the swimmer to the bikers.

At 10am, all swimmers were gathered at the beach.

Within minutes, we were flagged off and the usual jostle and fight to get up front amongst the contestant looked more like some Haitian that was attacking the relief trucks that was distributing food to them.

It was a fairly competetive sight. Loads of shoving and pushing around. Fortunately, we decided to let all of them fight it out first, while most of us were seen doing the beach run ala Baywatch (minus those boobs...)

For some of us, swimming in the sea is a first. Some more experience contestant took the water like fish. Where else, some could be clearly seen trying to move by pulling onto the bouy's rope (that's cheating, but no one complained, so how?) Most of us swimmer did breast stroke. maybe 1 or 2 of us did freestyle/front crawl. The sea was scaringly calm during the swimming league, with minor waves that was more of a relief on the return journey back to the beach.

We had to do 2 loops, each circa 750meters (some did 800, because they decided that they were fitter, nola, it was because they lost their sense of direction, and hence has to retrace their steps back).

Fastest contestant did it within 30 minutes. Actually, a good deal of them did it within 30 minutes. In front of me was Blanka. Right behind me was the bugger than say he didn't swim for 6 years (Amir la tuh!), and not far behind was Mat Gan with Asry (cheering each other on) and Upak, crusing down the water.

By the time i am out of the water, i was placed at 22nd Position. Time difference between Blanka and Upak was a mere 9 minutes max. A very small difference where anything goes in these kind of race.

One by one, as the swimmer takes their breather, the cyclist slog it out in the technical trail of 7km (2 loops of 3.5km).

Honey!!! I'm home, now get ur arse up and finish the 7km offroad biking league!!!

Mountain Biking - 7km
Before we know it, the first contestant emerged from the trail. 32 minutes. That's almost impossible (but then again, he showed that it was possible...). The jungle trail has took a few victim. The 3rd team to arrive had his bicycle crank broken at the bottom bracket part. He was running most of the time in the mountain biking trail.

Azman was out of the jungle equally fast, he did a 39 Min ride. Then it was all quite at the OPA camp until when Bean emerged in 46 minutes. He was followed by Bacin in 51 minutes. Then it was an agonising wait for Doc in 56minutes. Bandit did a 57 minute ride and Cheepok didn't complete the trail ride until 63 minutes.

The bikers that came in late all complained about technical error. Doc's derailler refused to perform as it should. Cheepok's brake was binding to the rim, making it extra hard to pedal.

Meanwhile waiting for the bikers to complete their league of the race, the swimmers were seen busy preparing the kayak and waited eagerly for their partner to reach.

Kayaking - 6km
This was when real Kiasu-ness came out. Noticing there isn't any Singaporean competitors, it is a surprise(maybe not) that this diseases has spread to fellow countrymen all the way to Perhentian. Some of them were seen choosing the best kayak( if there was any, the kayak was in pretty bad shape) and some were doing some shopping for the best paddle (and i'm left with one pair that was in the oddest angle). Even the life jacket wasn't spared. Though new, but it all didn't seems to unfaze the competitors to *selectively* choose the jacket, for whatever reason.

Then, the ultimate kiasuness happened. The kayak that i've pulled out to the edge of the water complete with my water bottle and isotonic drinks, were snatched from my nose by some !@&#^ competitor. I got no choice but to repeat what i did again. ie. Look for paddle. Look for kayak. Look for life jacket. Get another bottle of water. Get more isotonic drinks. GRRRRR!!!

This is when it all starts getting chaotic

Doc Amir getting ready for the kayaking...

Bacin and Asry getting jiggy with the jacket

No la Chipok, that's not the correct way to wear that...

Kayaking in the sea was hell. The marker bouy was placed close to the rock face of the island, causing the water that was usually calm to be extremely rough. Thoughts of toppling over was there, but most of us were praying that it won't happen. As Me and doc completed our first round of 3km (full course is 6km of kayaking), we saw Man and Amir...the completed their kayaking. Fast. I guess it all boils down to technique. But being tired after the riding, it was really really difficult to do the kayaking, especially in the heat and the wave conditions. We found ourselves fighting just to keep the kayak going to where it should.

It didn't help with those KLCC in the sea whizzing past in breakneck speed, turning up more turbulence in the sea than it should.

As me and Doc approached the beach, our kayak took a comical tumble. Maybe due to tiredness or whatever it was, we capsized in knee deep water. We were embarassed, but we guessed the organiser were more worried that we both will drown and die, and sent 2 beach boy to help us up. Needless to say, it was both embarassing and memorable.

Kancil and Gajah getting out of their capsized kayak in the background while the beach boys check if it was the Marlin that did it

Trail Running - 7km
When we reached the beach, we were told that Amir/Azman, Bean/Blanka and Bacin/Asry has already left for their trail run. Time diff between all of them was about 5 minutes from each other. After taking off the life jacket, (which by now, has bruised both sides of my underarms) we ran to the watering station and took off with a can of isotonic drinks and a bottle each of mineral water. Dousing the heat off our head using the mineral water that was chilled in ice box brought renewed energy. The isotonic drink was way too gassy by now to be consumed while running.

The trail run was thecharous. It should be called a nature trail walk. There is no way for us normal denizen to run up 70 degree slope and descent 80 degree slope. I've no comments about the winner though, they might be aliens for all i know (LOL..that is a very nice way of being spiteful of them LOL)

By then, me and doc was already in postion 26th overall. Not much to be proud off anyway, but i guess completing the whole race is more important that to break the legs of whoever that we meet up front to better our positions.

The trail run took us from one end of the island to the other end. Perhentian kecil is only 5km max in length. So, contestant could proudly claim that they traverse through the jungle, up at least 2 hills and down numerous number of cliffs, just to finish the race.

There was this particular rock surface at one of the trail climb. It open up to a lagoon below, where the water was crystal clear and a school (BIG school) of achovies (Ikan Bilis la tuh!) was swimming. Their colour was reflected by the sun and they appear to be a big patch of silver object moving under the surface of the water. Add it in with the sea breeze, what was missing was a set of lazy chair and some mocktail to enjoy. SORRY! we are in a race here! So, we took off before anything gets to serious like what Bandit and Mat Gan claimed that they almost kissed while enjoying the view (that, ladies,gentlemen, i leave it to your imagination)

The 3.5km mark came sooner than expected, especially when the walk seems to be at a more leisure pace than at racing pace. Not wanting or risking injuries should we slip and fall (there was a section that requires the contestant to climb up the cliff using rope), we decided that to be safe is better than to be sorry. We quicken our pace fast enough only to ensure that our heartbeat are maintained at 60% max. We ran on flat ground and clear downhill (which was scarce) and we crawl up on cliffs.

After nearly an hour of walking, running and tumbling over roots, we came out to the clearing, which marks the last 500 meters of running to do to reach the finishing line.

The first team already finished the race like 90 minutes ago. He was seen sitting under the umbrella, acting as the race marshall himself. Now, that is some sort of encouragement, isnt' it? NOT!

As we approach the finising line. Cheers could be heard. Wives and compatriots cheered us on. The first 3 team of Azman/Amir, Bean/Blanka and Asry/Bacin was cheering us on.

On a count of 3, me and doc gave our signature finishing (just like wrestling, we have to have gimmick too you know), we crawled to the finishing line. To the delight of the crowd at the Bubu resort. Maybe we've just proven that they are as sadist as we thought they were...

Upak/Chipok was not very far behind and Bandit/Mat Gan completed the whole OP Adventure team race in this Perhentian Island Challenge.

Here is the full result : Result

Best finisher amongst all of us in OP Adventure - Azman and Dr. Amir

Bend overrrr Boy!!!

To Be continued.... Part 4 coming soon!

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