Tuesday, July 19, 2005

PD International Triathlon 2005 - Report

We reached PD at about 3pm. Went straight to the Marina and register ourselves. RM80 per participant, not exactly cheap to begin with, furthermore, we felt that we should be paid to take part, as we are suffering, for the general public/sponsors/media to see.

After collecting the race kit, which consist of swimming cap in bright yellow colour(just in case some of us drown, it will be easier to locate our body at the bottom of the marina. PD water is murky...as we all know it), sticker for your bike, one notebook, one Negeri Sembilan Tourism CD and tonnes of brochures which were meant more for tourist, than local like us. Steve got a book on Malaysia, published in Chinese, how is that for making some Mat Salleh confuse? Oh ya, also, the T-shirt. Part of the thrill in entering races like this is to be able to collect those t-shirt, we know we won't win anything, so, those Tees are like prized possesion to some. Imagine our agony, when we noticed that the grammar was wrong.(refer to previous posting for the pic).

Doc and Steve sizing up their competition...

...While i goof around...

Zabil and family showed up soon after we registered. He has his triathlon Bikini and is out to make sure his route to the Iron Man race next year will be easier. I salute his passion, i for one, is actually still hesitant if i should even enter the race tomorrow.

We decided to hang around to watch the sprint event. This event was made to introduce this sport to beginners. It is a 800m swim, 10km bike and 3km run. Enough to pump up some sweat for hardcore triathlete that will compete in the full event, and hard enough for first timer, to get a feel of what to expect should they graduate to the full distance in the next race.

We were surprised to see a few familiar faces. El, for one, entered the sprint event. There were 4 RMC boys, all 4th formers, accompanied by their teacher that entered the age group sprint. Well done to them. They all finished the race in respectable time, and it was a bit funny to see kids, as young as 10 beating competitors double, or thrice their age. Some of these kids has bicycle that might very well be three times my paycheck. I'm not kidding (ok, it helps saying that because i'm earning peanuts).

One of the RMC boys

Starting them young

No problem for El...

We checked into the PD Golf and Country Club just 400 meters away from the Marina. Thtough some connection that we got from Mat Gan, we managed to secure a 2 room apartment for RM139. Not too bad, as most of the accomodation in PD that weekend was full, due to some reasons which we do not know why.

Once in the room, Azman and Doc begin to tweak their aerobars. Some aide that will help them cruise the road at obscene speed, i was told. Meanwhile, i stick the number 52 sticker to my bike and lube them, while Steve does the same. Doc Hisyam managed to fix his aerobar in record time and sat on it to adjust the tilting angle. Azman was also done by then. I was told that Bean will compete as well, and he was on his way with Azam, the other MAS Pilot Athelete Extraordinaire.

If i tilt the aerobars a few more degree lower, i might achieve a coefficient of drag less than 0.4Cd...

By 7pm, we cleaned up and got our asses to the Marina again for the Carbo Loading dinner. yeah, there should be tonnes of rice, spagetti, potatos and such for these hungry atheletes to eat. I think to carbo load a day before is too late, carbo loading should be done in stage like 4 days before any races. But then again, where food is concerned, Malaysian, or pseudo-Malaysian like Steve wouldn't complain and we all would just gobble down whatever there is on the table.

From Left to Right: Sleepy, Hungry and Confused.

Dinner was served buffet style and most of us managed to take in at least 2000 calories each. Rice, fish, spagetti, mashed potatos, salad, more rice, fish, spagetti, mashed potatos and salad.

"Doc, your sure eat a lot", Steve said, looking surprised.

"But not as much as Stupe!!!", Doc defended...

By 8.30, the organiser has asked everyone to be in the briefing room, which the few idle us, choosed to forgo and visit the pasar malam to hunt for durians. We ended up foraging through the Petrol Station for Ribena and bread for breakfast the next morning. Pasar malam was not really what we thought it was, and durian was put off the menu for fear that we might produce enough hydrogen sulfide in the room to create another bomb scare.

you didn't see us...

neither did you see us...but want to join us and skip the race briefing?

We were in bed by 10.30pm.

As if.

I can't sleep, while Doc, next to me, begin to snore. I'm not sure how Man and Steve fare though, as they were in the next room, on their own bed. I was sharing a bed with doc.

I was still apprehensive about the race. My swimming sucks, i know that. My Le Run bicyle should belong to the state museum, the largest chainring is the size of any mountainbike middle chainring. Compared to Any Road Bike's chain ring, mine might be mistaken for some gear that will be used to climb steep incline. The day before, i noticed my New Balance shoe's heel was badly worn off. In short, my confident was shaken. Add in the fact that i hate new latex swimming cap, because my skin does not react favourably towards the material used to ensure the cap don't stick together, i had it washed with soap, and the residue still give my nose the itch.

I didn't sleep until about 2am.

We were awake by 6am. After taking shower and having breakfast which were mainly bread and coffee and Milo, we cycled to the Marina.

Slowly, people started trickling in, most with their expensive bike that could be equal to any small african country's GDP. Yes, i think i suffer from gear-phobic. gear wise, i lose out to 75% of the racers, Mountain Bikers included.

We went on to have our body marked with our race number. I'm 52, Doc is 227, Steve 320, bean 321, Man, 12 and i forgot what's Zabil's number was. Our shin and delts were marked with our number. Doc has one written on his belly, just in case, he said.

VIP came at about 8am. She sent the relay swimmer off first. 5 minutes later, the olympic distance racers were in the murky green algae laden water mixed with diesel/petrol residue from the VIP's motorised boat. The horn blasted and it was hilarious to see all the atheletes scurry for position. Some had their face kicked by the swimmer up front, some were slapped from the swimmer beside them, some were even seen crawling over some other slower swimmer. That must be how it is like when the fishermen haul up their fishing net with all the fishes inside. I decided to stay loose from the main crowd and just maintained my rhythm. Water were murky (must be, i lost count how many time i wrote this) and i decided to just aim to swim towards the bouys. I alternated freestyle with breaststroke. Freestyled when i know the coast is clear and i'm sure where i'm heading, and breaststroked when i felt that human presences are near, nothing keep those pesky swimmer away better than those frog style kick and face slapping hand movement.

It was about 10 minutes later than i felt tonnes of swimmers around me, the senior and women category was set off 5 minutes after us men. Some of the women are such good swimmer, they overtook half the men participant by the 700m mark. OK, maybe i'm slow.

I didn't have my watch with me, and i have no idea how long i was in the water. All i knew was that i need to get out of the water soon enough, my goggle are half full with seawater(leaky gears, what else) and i'm starting to get tired from those freestyling. I know i'm not one of the last swimmer, as i could still see tonnes of them behind me as i emerge from the water to the jetty.

Ran through the shower, removed my swimming cap and my goggle, take out my ear plugs, ran to the bike.

As i was running to my bike, i can't help but to notice that no. 320, 321, and 227 is still there. Meaning, i'm out of the water faster than them! I sat down at my bike, dried my feet the best i could, wore my socks and shoes, my helmet and my pink gloves. Managed to take 2 bananas and stick it down my running thighs and grabbed two piece of chocolate for the instant energy much required.

That was then i noticed Steve running with his bike out of the transition. He must be as surprised as me to see each other. Wasting no time, i ran towards the end of the transition and notice No. 12 is still there!!!

The 40km cycle was relatively easy, with easy climb all around and it favoured the road bike better. I could maintain an average speed of 29.8km/h, which let me finish my 40km journey in about 1H22Min. I bet those roadbike, which overtook me at speed in excess of 48km/h. My only advantage is at one of the steep climb, where i easily overtook a few regular triathelete, well, not the same could be applied when going downhill as i find myself running out of cadence as i touched a max of 52.9km/h. I managed to cycle with this Old Putera which is now in ATMA, second year. He took part in the relay race and i found out he was 10 years younger than me. cool.

I saw Zabil in one of the pelothon group. He was cycling fast, perhaps at 50km/h on that stretch. I'm about 10km behind. I then saw Steve, cycling happily and taunting the roadie next to him to cycle faster. he should be about 8km infront.

I reached the U-turn, soon after, i saw Man, which were surprised to see me infront of him. He was 4 km behind me. I caught up with Carmen, the woman that i used as a Pacer in SJ10km run. Oh ya, before that, i did said thank you to her for allowing me to follow her pace at that race. She's a sport, we said hi and i overtook her, for 200 meters, as after that, she blazed the road, leaving me to suck up on her tyre dust.

As i approached the 30km mark, i saw Bean, cycling happily on his Dual Suspension bike. Not far behind, doc was aerobar-ing at good speed. Right before the junction to PD highway, Azman overtook me, sticking out his tongue to cheer me on. Sigh, the wonder of having a better bike...

I crossed the transition line and proceed to remove my helmet and glove. Man was just about 10 meters infront of me.

I grabbed hold of the snicker bar that i brought along for the race and ran. Beside me was Mariana, the winner in both Lumut and Dataran Duathlon for the women's category. I, again, asked her permission to pace with her, which she allowed me to do so. The sky was darkening up by the time we passed by Bayu Beach resort. The slight uphill was a chore to run up. Indian women in the temple by the road side cheered us on. Mariana picked up her pace. Azman was 20meters infront of me.

I saw Zabil again at my 4km mark, meaning i'm about 2 km behind him. I then saw Steve, we high fived and cheered each other on. I told him Zabil was just infront. At the 5km mark at Avilion, we were given coloured ribbon as a way to signify that we passed the check point. Man was just 5 meters infront of me, i'm closing the gap on him.

Mariana picked up more speed as she leave me behind. Man started to drift further away as i felt my inner thigh muscle tightening up. Must be the cycling. It's only 10km, i told myself, the very same distance i ace in SJ10km run. I tried maintaining my pace, without a pacer, it was a lil hard to judge how fast i'm going. I decided to look for target to pace with. Most of the people were unfriendly, perhaps it was because they were tired. At my 7km mark, i saw Doc, ahead of Bean. Both asked me the same question "how far more?" i told them 2km to the U turn, which, i actually ain't too sure even. Man was still in sight, this time, a good 100meters away.

I tried to shut the pain out and pick up my pace. I reached the last junction to the Marina and that was when i saw Steve.

"One more minute dude, run for it!!!" he said.

Dude, i ran for it for sure, i overtook 4 person, of which one of them, which i alter found out was one of the ATMA boys, decided to race with me to the finish. The announcer didn't have a chance to read my name out, but rahter just said something like the two of us racing to the finish.

For a moment, i felt like a fool, then i knew i couldn't lose to this chap (sorry, a bit singapore here) and i managed to edge him at the finish. Adrenalin still pumping, i went over and congrats that chap for making my hear rate touch perhaps it's 90% capacity. Not many things can get me that excited except a good race to the finish.

I was given a bottle of water, a can of 100Plus Power, a big towel and a finisher medal. I'm not sure of the time i finish the race. But the ATMA boy with his stop watch said it was 2hours 45 minutes. Official results to be out tomorrow, i was told.

I saw Azwar at the finish line, perhaps, finished his lunch as i cross the line. He did it in 2h11min perhaps. That's fast. The winner did it in 2H1min. He snapped a pic of me and him. His ever supportive wife was there, as usual.

About 28 minutes later, doc came in, followed by bean, 2 minutes behind. it was a good outing for me. My first triathlon, which i just wanted to finish in 3 hours and i again, outdid my own expectation. It will be a hard record to maintain, unless i keep up my average joes' training.

Final results to be known later, but as per record, Zabil did it in 2H33min, Steve a fraction of seconds behind. This is followed by Man at 2H40min, with me, perhaps a good 5 minutes back, then Doc at 3H12min and bean at 3h15min.

Doc had an asthma attack after swimming, which explained his less than average finishing this time around...but perhaps, it was the aerobar putting on extra weight on his bike...who knows?

I know, with those numbers, we did looked like some beached tuna at the port...

Man LiveStrong, EatStrong and SleepStrong.

yeah, i know, we all look a bit sad here, can't help it as Doc was leading us using the trunk road back to KL from Seremban...


  1. Good job dude! i wish i can join u guys. One of the things i wanna do before i reach 30 is taking part in Triathlon. Guess what... i'm 31 this year. Sucks!!

  2. ape ni...cam-whoring! teehee..

  3. kam -it's still not too late, join the KL Marathon next year. ;-)

    Reta - once in a while, it is good to be vain. ;-)