Monday, July 03, 2006

Kotex 3R Kem Konfiden

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Got back from a weekend of fun with Nomad Crews, Red Communication ppl and 12 participants from age 18 till 22.

I was there to help Nomad out with setting up/marshalling a race that the girls will do to conclude their camp.

On hand to help was me, Songx and wife. All season campaigner of "pain is pleasure", Boss from Nomad welcomed us to help out. Only 4 Nomad babes were at hand to handle the whole 5 days 4 nights camp at Gopeng Nature Park area/ Sg. Itek. Yuen Li, Pip, Michelle and Jules.

The base camp for this was at Adeline's Place at Sg Itek, next to the Nature Park. A good 30 minutes drive from the main road through quiet scenic kampung road.

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The fake waterfall. The pipe broke when the concrete support collapsed and from the look of the pipe and vegetation growing on the pipe, it has been a long long time

We booked our self into 2 tents as all available chalets were already been taken up by the girls and crews.

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Where are the babes???

When we reached, the girls just finished cycling out after a morning of abseiling down the waterfall at the end of the Nature Park. The water was definately more aggresive compared to the EcoX this year in Hulu Langat.

Then they adjourned themselves to Gunung Kandu, where the famed Gua Kandu that housed the then Communist in Gopeng used as their refuge.

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believe it or not, this cave opening was oonce planned as the landing point for the communist helicopter, and that is way before Airwolf came on air!

We weren't allowed to be in the cave for some technical reasons that they were running late for time.

After that, it was dinner time before me and Songx adjourned to the broken pipe for some cool refreshing shower in the nature (no, we were not naked)

That same night, Dato' Sharifah, the lady who ski-sailed on ice to the south pole, was the designated speaker. The girls listen in awe as me and Songx went into the darkness to test see his Lumaray FL6 performance in the jungle darkness. His wife tagged along as she tested her mini torch(Fenix P1 Black) which i nicknamed *The Sun*.

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The yellow beam was from SureFire while the White Beam were of Fenix. These are added on my birthday wishes. LOL. By the way, this pic was taken in total darkness with only the torch lighting up the cave full of bats.

Later that night, we were briefed by Pip, the race director about the surprise race for the girls on Sunday. It is a short race, encompassing all the skills the girls learnt over the past 4 days in Gopeng. Skill such as white water rafting, caving, abseiling and even cycling, which were new to some, will be put to the test. But of course, it won't be completed without a few mystery test.

So, we helped Nomad load up the gears into the vehicles. My small car was used to put in helmets and harnesses only, and it's already packed to the brim. LOL. Maybe putting a bigger car as my birthday wish would be more appropriate.

So, next morning, at 5.30am, we were all ready and woken up. A quick ultra cold shower had me refreshed and raring to go. In my car was me and Mrs. Songx, which will man the first mystery test area. The first mystery test would be of the girls remembering 20 items before they go into Gua Tempurung and then after they come out from the cave, to recall it back to Mrs. Songx.

The second mystery test would be aptly called the swamp where the girls, in team of 4, will have to cross this swamp of about 30meters long with only 4 legs touching the swamp, how they get over the other side is entirely up to them as long as only 4 legs are used. So, it's teamwork, teamwork teamwork! At the end of the swamp, each team will have to retrieve a number to be kept for the finishing line.

the last mystery test is right before the finishing line.

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we had to wear these North Face's Flight Series Vapor Wick shirts as marshalls.

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but these shoes are not on a *borrow on needed basis*. These are Inov8 FlyRoc 310 shoes.

I was detailed to go into Gua Tempurung with Pip and Yuen Li. Together with Angie of Red Comm where she will film the girl's reaction coming down from the big abseil in complete darkness.

Their race will start at 6.30am and the marshalls (that's us!) will have to go out and mark the trail with flour(pronounced as flower ok...lets speak proper engrand from now on right?).

The girls will cycle from Adeline's Place, taking a cool dark 20 minutes journey to Kem Murni where they will white water raft until the bridge at Kampung Sg. Chulek.

From there, it will be on foot to Gua Tempurung, a good 4km away where they will see Mrs. Songx for Mystery Test #1.

While the girl were flagged off, Yuen Li and Pip lead me and Angie to the second level of Gua Tempurung. it was a good 20 minutes climb up and down the stairs in Gua Tempurung, With Altitude gain of almost 100meters, we reached the abseil point. The cave was in total darkness, nothing much our LED and yelllow lights could muster to light up. Pip secured all 4 points of bolts in the cave wall and lowered a 90 meters Dynamic rope with a torchlight tied to the front. That is to make sure the rope will touch the landing point.

Then, Yuen, me and Angie went down 255 steps to the landing point, a good 50 meters below to make sure the rope reaches where it should.

Unfortunately it didn't, the ropes and torchlights landed on a small landing 30 meters above us. To make all of you appreciate the situation of this abseil. Imagine the starting point is between your eyes, where your nose starts. So, you will have to lower yoruself down the ridge of your nose and you will reach one big pimple (landing) before abseiling down from the tip of your nose to your chin (ground zero). Only difference is that the nose is not of any Asian Nose, but some angmoh's nose where the gradient are sharper and not so forgiving.

So, the rope and lights were on the landing (remember the pimple i mentioned above??) and guess who has the first privy to test the rope out and lower the rest of the rope? ME!

And there goes the journey up the 255 steps to 110meter again. Geared myself up, strapped in and with an assuring smile from Pip that the rope is anchored on 4 points....i lowered myself down the cold soft guano laced rock face...

Yeap, the rope and light were landed on the small landing. I then lowered the rest of the rope and the lights and then proceed to the overhang. Exciting as from there, it was a good 30 meters of slow abseiling as i was coming down with a top prusik (i now appreciate prusik setup on the leg loop better).

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The lights are actually from the participant headlight at the small landing (pimple on nose)

Touched ground zero and it was a good 50 meters desent down.

I found what i first thought was a hole dugged up to act as a dumping hole for rubbish in the cave. Apaprently, the guide told me that it was a hole made so many suns ago when even gua Tempurung was a haven for Tin Miner. Yeap, this place still has tin in her and the state government has did all they could and prevented current Tin Miners from turning gua Tempurung into a tin mine. Such heritage should be kept and treasured!

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a good 5 meters deep....

The first girls' team came in at about 8.30am, right on Yuen's schedule. Second team came in 30 minutes later and the final team reached a good 45 minutes after the first team checked in. Such are the competetive spirit of the girls.

The last participants cleared the abseiling rope by 11am. Most of them, this is a first big abseil, which will boost their own personal confidence.

After all 4 members of the team arrived at Ground Zero, they will be shown direction to the "slide". It is aptly called that because it is a slide in a cave. an almost 50 degree inclination of a 8 meter drop, the girl will slide down this rock face and find their way through an opening big enough for one person, slide down and reach the underground river where they will walk, crawl, navigate downstream on the river to exit the cave.

From there, they will go to Mrs. Songx to tell her all the 20 items they need to remember. Each forgotten items will result in them having to stand on one leg for 10 seconds.

From there, they will take their bicycle (On loan from Proton Bike) and cycle to Mystery test #2 where Swamp Thing Songx will have the pleasure to put them into shin deep soggy smelly swamp....

From there, they will cycle to The Land (a piece of land where Yuen Li has her name on) where they will do the final mystery test before being allowed to open their box. (sounded like Explorace already)

After the last girl came down from the abseil, me and angie decided to hike up the 255 steps back to Yuen and Pip. The reason was Hadi, anohter cameraman from Red Comm was already in the underground river with the girl and one guide (en. Manan, 14 years of experience in Gua Tempurung and spent his whole life caving as a teen and adult).

From there, the marshalls clean up and packed up and headed to The Land where the 3R hostess, Celina, Rafidah and Kartini were waiting for them girls.

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Rafidah, Celina and Kartini of the 3R and Gol&Gincu fame

There, Jules were having a time of her life, torturing, mentally the participants on the answer to the final mystery challenge. Before the race start, it was already made known that it's not important that who came in first, or who came in last. Again, at the Land, they were told that teamwork is important.

The last mystery test requires them to solve a maths problem. At the Swamp, each girls' team were given a number. At the Land, they are all supposed to work as a big team as opposed to individual team to solve it. The first girl team plucked figure from the sky and solve the puzzle, but couldn't tell the marshalls the reason for the numbers. Hence, can't be declared the winner.

It was until the last team that came to the landing was anohter clue revealed. The 3R hosts told them that in the last 4 days, they are all individuals, and now they are a unit, and nothing could be done if there is no teamwork and sharing!

And so...the girls, looked like they had an enlightenment solved the puzzle.

Apparently, the first girl team wanted to share their number with the second team, the second team refused the offer... looked like kiasu spirit still rules in our daily life!

Upon completing the puzzle, the girl opened a box and they are given 2 boxes of matches to build a torch from bamboo, rug and kerosene. They have to take the torch and walk into the cave, traversing through the *darkness* and come out triumph at the finish line.

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I bestow to thee, Gua Yuen Li!

It is truly a race where the winner are everyone, not just an individual team. That's what esprit de corp is all about.

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Pip, Jules and Yuen discussing way to torture the girls next time around.

It was truly an enjoyable experience where a pseudo racer like me has a chance to marshall and see the action behind the races. It might be a small race which i volunteered to marshall, now, i got more options in the future; for races which i can't race in, i'll volunteer to marshall!

:)

A truly Win-Win situation. Thank you all at Nomad Adventure for giving me this chance!

Post note:
Watch this 2 episode in the Season Finale of 3R Season 12, should be on air end of this year and see me face in full night vision setup. See how Mrs. Songx torture the participant's mind and How Songx became the Swamp Thing...

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