Monday, August 14, 2006

Bukit Gasing Green Challenge 06

This race was organised by Core Zone and it was really nicely organised with minimal people! Well Done and Kudos to you babes there!

Me, Amir, Ming and Dirk from LnE was sponsored by Nomad Adventure for the last weekend race, together with a few hardcore more experienced-always-winning-team that we usualy see in any other Adventure Races. On behalf of the rest of the guys and girls sponsored by Nomad, We thank you for your generosity!

Sponsored runners were: Amir & Stupe, Ming & Dirk, Nasdani & Suet Fong, Li-Ann & Kyeuong Koo

Steph and Chiah was there too, doing the mixed relay. The usual babes like Ashley, Zeus and their band of merry babes were there as we all felt threatened....

Nomad's Booth, promoting a lot of activities

And so, on Saturday, at 6.30am, we left Amir's house for La Salle PJ and was told by Wye Yim that only 6 male teams signed up for the Relay and there are prices for 5 teams in each category. Now, all we need to do is break one of the other team's leg.

Before the race was flagged off, there were some warming up session done by last season's Explorace babe, Lyn. Me and Amir decided to stay behind and see the other babes move their butts (actually, we can't coordinate for shit when it comes to moving legs and arms together).

And There goes STUPE!
At 7.30am, the race was flagged off and the runners all ran in frenzy. I tried pacing with Dirk on the tarmac but this chap has the advantage of leg length. I was trailing behind him and i was over taken by youth 15 years younger over and over again.

My break finally came when the trail lead to the off road trail of Gasing.

I ran and ran..and ran. Everyone was slowing down. Nevermind the roots catching hold of my legs a couple of time and almost running into rubber trees on those high speed downhill trail, it was fun to overtake less experienced runners.

Only thing i could be happy about is the other stronger runners were mostly second runners. I'm talking about strong Ashley and Nasdani.

I did tried stopping Suet Fong (which partnered Nasdani) from going to the wrong course right after the wooden bridge, but she did not hear my shouts and turned left, instead of right at one of the junction.

Soon after that, it was the steep climb like Eco-X Hulu Langat PLUS Kinabalu like steps(nature made staircases) after 8,000 feet. I aptly name this section Batu Caves.

I saw Dirk right infront, about 15 meters away, placing both my hands on my quads to help myself climb those trails, i found my heart rate was running past maximum. The adrenalin and the thoughts that i might be in contention for placing was very very good! (At the check point i was told i was 11th Overall! and was later upped to 4th because teams were getting lost in Gasing at the meeting point)

As i exit the trail, i could see runners running in the opposite direction, those were the second runners and i know that i was doing pretty well as i only saw 5 or 6 runners passing me. Last i saw was Ming, signifying Dirk was back at meeting point.

I entered La Salle and passed the rubberband to Amir and off he went!

it was a good 32 minutes that i ran and i couldn't be happier.

I ran the blue trail, Amir ran the yelow trail...

Amir Kiasu King - His side of story...
It started off well. Dirk, Ming and Stupes were at my place at 6.30am. We then did a slow jog/ warm-up to La Salle school which was only 1km away. Met Wye Yim from Nomad who gave me a Nomad T-shirt to wear for this race. Special mention to Nomad for kindly sponsoring the 4 of us for the race. Thank you again!

Hung around the stalls which were selling/ promoting all sorts of adventure stuff as well as a few others from the various nature societies e.g. WWF, Nature Something Something, etc.Stef, Chiah, Ashley, Zeus and a few other familiar faces were there as well.

So too was the Kiasu girl who Azmar and I met while on the rescue boat at the Raja Melewar Challenge. (Her team gave up on the kayaking section due to exhaustion but they ended-up getting 3rd because they were penalised only 4hrs when most who actually finished the kayaking did so in more than 4hrs).

Later came a warm-up led by some Fitness First instructors. Stupes and I chose to be at the back (typical RMC attitude) and watch/ laugh at the rest. It also gave me the opportunity to check-out the better-looking runners.

Start time was about 7.45. It was a relay race where the 1st runner would run a route (about 5km, but hills) and come back, then the 2nd runner would go a slightly different way. Stupes, Dirk and Chiah went first. Ming, Stef and I stayed back.

The first runner came back about 27-28mins, I think Dirk (he's quiet, but boy can he run!) came in about 30 mins followed by Stupes about 1min behind (apparently, we were 4th in the Mens' category at that point). I had told Ming to go earlier, thinking that with her painful foot (from running 34km last weekend), I could catch up. Wrong assumption no. 1! She was so fast I never got to catch up.My run started off with a gentle tarmac hill climb towards the entry into Bukit Gasing. Then came a medium to hard climb up the slope of Bukit Gasing. It rained the day before but the terrain wasn't slippery. Managed to run till about halfway and then fast walked.

It felt a bit funny as I never passed or was passed by anyone during the run. After about 15mins, came out onto a tarmac road where there was a water station and some MRCS members who were kind with their encouragements. Then followed another climb up to the temple where there was some construction going on. After the temple came a short trail downhill to the massive reservoir. At that time I was still on course but heard later that some people took a right when they were supposed to go left (they also got lost but not miserably so). The correct route led to another stretch of tarmac where the checkpoint was. Got my coloured rubber band and continued on. Next came a right turn into the forest again towards a stream, where my 2nd challenge started..

Saw a Yellow arrow telling me to go up the hill after crossing the stream, which I did. Ran a few metres when I realised that there weren't any markings anymore. Kept on going, wishfully thinking there would be another arrow up ahead. Just ahead I found this 11 year-old boy called Teva who asked "Uncle, where to go?". Told him to follow me. Didn't have a clue but thought if we remained calm we'll find a way out eventually, which we did.. to Pantai Dalam.. which was easily 5km from where we were supposed to be and back over the last hill. Ayo..

Still didn't give up. Asked a few villagers there the way back to PJ, as I definitely didn't want to go back up the hill again. They told me to walk and follow the road which would lead to a main one, which we did. About 200 metres later Teva pointed to a Green arrow which I knew was part of the route for the next day's Individual race. We went up the steep hill thinking it would lead us back to the correct trail. Wrong assumption no.2!

This time the trail looked a bit less well visited. Sharp thorns everywhere and more slippery. Teva was sitting down every 20 steps or so at this point but I forced him up with some `gentle' encouragement each time. We walked another 100m or so when we spotted some rooftops from a clearing. Finally, PJ section 5, I thought! Wrong assumption no.3!

We fast walked down the bushy trail to come to some TNB/ Telecom single-storey buildings, then saw the road signs Kg. Pantai Dalam!! This was Raja Melewar Challenge all over again

So we walked through the village, me cursing myself for packing my IC and some money before the race but then putting them in my camelbak which I left at the start point!

Teva then pointed to a bus and asked "Uncle, can we take the bus?". Good idea boy, but uncle here doesn't have any money, thinking it was only a short run and he would never get lost in PJ!

So, on we walked, passing some drink stalls, none of which we could buy. 5 mins later, lady luck smiled in the form of this Pakcik on his kapcai who I stopped to ask for directions (Teva had decided to sit at a bus stop further back at this point). I can't remember exactly how (but it must have included some made-up story about Teva being ill and all and couldn't get back to PJ walking) but then to my surprise the Pakcik said he would send us back to PJ on his motorbike (he was heading to Old Town, PJ), sweat and all, even though he didn't have any extra helmets! I was so relieved!

You should have seen us on the motorbike. There couldn't have been better evidence of Malaysian `muhibbah'ness Malay pakcik on a motorbike, Chinese (looking) pillion and Indian boy squashed in between. He took us through the kampung roads to avoid the police. It took at least 15 mins on the motorbike before we reached the start point area again. About 100metres from the school, a van stopped us. They were the search party who were looking for us! Apparently, Teva's parents had even gone up Bukit Gasing looking for him when he didn't return after 45 mins. I was just overwhelmed by what the Pakcik had done for us. All I could do was tell him my name and where I worked and that if he ever needed to, to look for me there. Dumbass, me!

Stupes, Ming and Dirk were at the finish line, waiting. I had taken off my race number at Pantai Dalam earlier as I didn't really want the added attention. Finally signed in at the finish about 10 o'clock. Must have been more than an hour off the expected time. Most had gone home by then. Stupes had collected my goodie bag for me which included a nice t-shirt and a Powerbar. Embarrassingly, Wye Yim was also there and I had to explain how I had come in last when sponsored by them.

All the L+E people then went to Raju's for some well-earned thosai breakfast (and banana leaf rice lunch later on as well!). Ming and Dirk got 3rd in the mixed category and went home with medals and lots of Nestle stuff, well done! All said and done, it was a good race and I'll definitely do it again (I wish I could blame the organisers for poor signage, but since no-one else got lost..).

Oh, and look out for the boy called Teva, I bet he'll be winning races soon.

Lessons learned:
1. always carry money (at the very least, if not also IC and HP) during a race you never know when you might need a ride back/ ring someone/ give token of appreciation.

2. there are still some very kind and unselfish people out there. Be kind, because every now and then something happens to make you realise why you need to. Pakcik, I am very grateful.

3. choose your partner well some people (even in L+E) get all too competitive during events and forget that we're all in it (most importantly) for fun. Do not be patronising if things don't go your way. Thanks for not being any of the above, Stupes! (Stupe say: My pleasure, don't make me blush

4. shit happens. If things could have gone better, they could also have gone a lot worse. We'll have a better race next time.

5. not all routes up Bukit Gasing lead you back to where you started.


What Stupe, Ming and Dirk Was Thinking
The 3 of us LnE thought Amir might had fell somewhere and most probably left to die/rot. But me, knowing how careful Amir are, knows better that he won't be jumping over ravine Cliffhanger style or attempt some abseiling MINUS the ropes.

Amir Stallone

Dirk was asking me to go with him for a search party and Ming was getting worried. Steph and Chiah was getting worried as well when the oldest participant, Uncle Foo came back and Amir wasn't in sight.

Then, came the announcement from the Organisers that A002 was missing. I went over and say A001 was missing too.

At that point, i could only laugh at how/what happen, or might had happened.

Dee Lu was calling the marshalls to search the area for fear that the Big Foot in Johor might had made Gasing their home and kidnapped A001 and A002 as stepkids...(Dee Lu handled the situation really well - sign of an experienced adventurer herself!)

Everyone, literally, was waiting for A001 and A002 to come back.

And they did after more than an hour of the expected time.

All i know was, i was glad he was safely back...and he was such a hero, for bringing the boy, Teva back to his parent's as well. Cayala Amir!

Apparently, Dee Lu said one of the youth runner took BACK with him, ONE OF THE ROUTE MARKER!!!

Dumbass. (and that's a capital D)

And that was how Amir and Teva Got lost!

The next day, Dee Lu briefed the extreme runners NOT TO REMOVE ANY MARKINGS. I sure hope no one did that...but one thing for sure, the lil boy and the man that got lost was on everyone's lips yesterday....

Nasdani & Suet Fong had placing in the Mixed Relay and Ming & Dirk was placed 3rd in Mixed. Li-Ann & Kyeuong Koo did pretty well as well. Only casualty was me and Amir. We maintained the standard of Light And Easy by ensuring we DNF.

The next day, the Extreme race was on. I would like to congrats Suet Fong for coming out second, after Ashley(yay!!!) in the women extreme race.

I saw Karen as well.

So, here are the compulsory picture spread la!

Wye Yim signing up a participant for Perhentian Island Challenge

Me and Doc raced in this one in 2004. One of our first race actually. Results could be viewed : HERE

And my Report is in October 2004 archive(in 3 freaking parts...), pics were missing because i used to load my pics onto a friend's server...sigh...but now i found won't happen again, ever!

Click Here for INFO!

Sharon of CoreZone demostrating a water filter device...*pump pump pump*...

...and SMILE!!!!

Numie and Saiful - two of the people i know because of adventure racing!!!

Mrs. Stupe, Stupe Jr and Ashley - congrats Ash for winning the women's extreme race! (Got rub Mrs tummy to give Jr some of you racing strength or not?)

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