Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bukit Merah Tri 2007 : Report

Firstly, apologies for updating the blog a bit late. I know some regulars are wondering when i will update it. I was caught in a whole day meeting on Monday, which started at 10am till 1pm, then rushed off to anohter one at 2.30 till 5pm. Yesterday i was also in meeting from 9.30am at Sri Kembangan, then to Teluk Panglima Garang and then back to Sri Kembangan again whole day...

Yes, contarary to everyone's belief, i do have a job, just it's not paying me, that is all.

Now to the report.

The last that a tri was organised in Bukti Merah was in 2004. This time around, it was a-calling to those that had done Bukit Merah before to come back to pay pilgramage and for newbies like me, which has not tasted Bukit Merah, to be initiated.

I drove down (or rahter up) to Bukit Merah with Shazly. The journey took us about 3hours 30minutes toll to toll from Damansara exit to Bukit Merah exit. Unlike someone we all know, he did it in 2hours 10 minutes. For someone like this other chap, it took them almost 5 hours (with 3 food stop included).

All arrived safe and sound at Bukit Merah. First thing anyone would notice from the highway is an almost vertical road on the right side of the highway, which leads into Bukit Merah. I bet you that most triathletes and wannabes (like me) will start freaking out thinking that we will have to climb that hill TWICE in the race (once out of transition and once back to transition).

Taken from Ishsal's Lifelog

Bukit Merah, essentially is a water reservoir. That meant the water quality would be better compared to A'Famosa

The saturday started with the Biathlon race. It consist of 1km swim and 5km run. Steve brought his canoe along for some action in the water. Aiman, Zabil's eldest daughter will take part in the Biathlon.

Now, if the name Zabil rings a bell, he is one of the people that went to Aconcagua, along with Stephanie Chok of course.

With such fit IronMan father, it is only natural that daughter Aiman will win the age category of the biathlon (she is 8 and she won the under 12 category)

From Ishsal's Lifelog

Well done Aiman, for her effort, she won RM300. Enough to buy anohter Kuota Kalibur like her dad's (but of course, Dad had to chip in the rest).

That night, as usual, was the carbo loading dinner. The food was great and was in abundance, compared to A'Famosa where some triathelete has to go back to their rooom hungry, this time was a welcomed change.


After dinner, Azwar, Azmar, Bacin, Shazly and me was busy discussing things totally not in context of Triathlon...

yes ah?

Later that night, me, Bacin and Shazly went out for some cost us only RM1.70 for a simple burger need to pay RM2.20 in KL for this! We went to sleep happy. Who won't when there is so much food?

Priceless pic of Bacin in Sarong and Frog

The next morning, Bacin's chicken call alarm woke us all up by 5.45am. We took turn to take shower and donned on our tri suit.

I had my breakkie, which consist of some pastries which wifey bought for me. Got a vegetarian breakkie to power me on. I did not eat any powerbar for this race!

I ate all except one last kaya puff, which i kept for post race recovery....

That day, Shazly and Bacin were dressed in the same tri suit. They never felt closer in their life before.

Separated at Birth

Then, as we wanted to leave the room to the transition area, the rain poured heavily down. Azah came to the room and laughed at us. We waited for a while for the rain to slow down and then we walked to the transition. We saw Ishsal near the transition area, obviously more charged up than the rest of us, which seems to be more interested to go back to bed and sleep.

Together with us was actually 2 relay team from RMC and one individual participant, all of them doing their first Tri. Shazly brought along his Louis Garnaeu bike for the OD chap. He is RMC's Hockey Captain which has just won the MSSKL U-18 tournamanet, beating Setapak High just last week. So, with the boys all highly charged up and at their fittest physical state, older chap like me and Shazly just have to hope we won't be duly embarassed by them at the end of the day.

As we parked out bikes at the transition area, the rain started to ease off. We walked to the jetty to get our body marked. The fun has just begun.

Check out my man boobs

We then moved to the jetty and got into the water for some warm up. The water was warm and it was nice. Shrugging the fact that Bukit Merah is a reservoir and the water might be as deep as 25 meters, i'm just happy that the visibility was only up to a meter...what you don't know won't hurt you!

and that was why i sat at the pontoon while others swam to warm up...

Race started at 8am sharp and took everyone by surprise. I managed to start the watch and slipped into the water as the pontoon was unstable with so many people launching themselves into the water.

The first lap was supposed to be 750meters and we are supposed to climb up the pontoon and dive into the water again. At 750meters/lap 1, i checked my time and it was a slow 25 minutes! Something is wrong here! It seems like it's a timing for 1km swim instead!!!!

Beached whale!

I came out from the first lap right behind Steve. The second lap seems like it took forever to finish and at the second pontoon, Zabil turned around and saw me.

"Fuh, laju nampak", he jested

Only thing he did not know is how much i'm struggling even with breast stroke...

I swam and swam and saw Shazly right infront of me. By then, Steve was out of sight with his Total Immersion Freestyle.

I got out of the water, slipped and knocked my right shin on the stairs. Ouch.

A quick check shows i've been swimming for 51minutes...damn, this is a 2KM swim!

The run to the transition was a pretty long one, took the oppurtunity to recover and raced to the transition.

Stop cam whoring Stupe!

As per usual, i can't help but to check if my buddies' bike are still on the rack. This time, i was out of the water first. Shazly came soon after, Steve and Zabil followed suit. I felt i must had done my fastest transition in my Tri Racing history. I was out within a minute and was cycling as i passed the line.

"Bukit Merah is flat", I tell myself.

"You have to go fast, irregardless of anything, you just swam a slow 51minutes, got to recover if you want to do a sub 3hours this time", I told myself.

Azwar shows how it was done...

I got onto aero position right after i clipped the shoe onto the pedal. Right in front of me was the RMC boys...obviously all swam faster than me. I overtook them and asked them to draft with me, but being new to the sport, they do not know what i meant.

The bike route was flat on most spot, except one or two portion where a bit of effort needs to be exerted to climb. A quick check on the meter says i'm doing almost 36km/h consistently. No one to draft with and only aero position as the saving grace, i powered on, overtaking a couple of other bikers.

Already on their journey back were the front triatheltes. I merely covered 8km and they are on their way back to transition.

When will i become like them?

I checked my average and it was a good 34km/h until i reached the U-Turn at the end of the Bukit Merah Dam road. By then, i saw Steve, Zabil, Shazly and the RMC boys. Not letting the pace down, i powered on, hoping they will catch me so i could draft with them.

At the U turn, the distance showed was 18km, meaning it's already 2km short. I have a feeling that the bike course will be shorter.

On my return journey, i saw Doc, Kam, Ishsal, Bacin, Azmar(which i found out later had a punture as he exited transition), Jaja, Karen, Abu, Dicky and the rest of the buddies.

A short climb before the last 2 junction and my average dropped to 32km/h.

I finished the biking route in 1hour 2minute 22 seconds (incl transition) with a fast 31.9km/h average. Got to be my personal best for a distance of 33km!

Alex manning the transition, got a good kncok on the head form him for being slow!

Jaja crashed into Karen at transition...only minor injury la...

Again, i did not spend too long in transition. Zabil came in right after i parked my bike. Did not waste any more time that i should, i grabbed my half hat and botttle and ran for it.

The run will be 2 loops of 5km each. All triatheltes has to grab 4 ribbons to signify that they ran to all end of the loop.

Completing the first 5km...half dead...

The run was ok. It might had been less than 10km or more, i don't know. Legs felt fine and found second wind after collecting the second ribbon. Could run faster.

I recalled Eugene shouting this to me...

"Oi...enough water station la, don't need take bottle", when i see him the first time on the run

Which, i then left the bottle at the last water station before the U turn...

"Oi..this is not a simulation race, run faster!", he shouted again as i see him for the second time...

I swore i picked up the pace after that.

As i collected my third ribbon from the marshall, i know i only have less than 3km to go. Throughout the race, i make it a point to shout out to all i know. SO, if i ever make any of you felt uncomfy with my shout outs, i'm really sorry!

I ran into transition area, knowing i got less than 500 meters to go before ending the race. Clock shows i've race for 2hours 59minutes. Looked like i'll missed the sub 3 hours mark yet again. It's impossible to run the final 500meters in les than a minute. Even if i'm a world class 400meters sprinter, it will take 40 seconds at least (wow...consistently 10seconds/100meters) to create that miracle...

I finished the race in yet another slow 3hours plus. Not entirely sure what exactly it was as my HRM refused to STOP after i pressed it and i failed to note the timing. It finally stopped at 3Hours 4 Minutes and 37 seconds.

Lenggang-lenggang kangkung...

It must had taken me about 1hour 5minutes to complete the 10km run. Which was pretty standard for me. Got to put in more effort to do faster 10km race if i seriously want to improve on my timing.

Aiya....damn char la...

Post race notes:
1. I stayed in aero position 95% throughout the race and felt great about it. Guessed i found the sweetspot with the aerobar and Colnago

2. If the swim was 1.5km, which i could complete in maximum of 35minutes, i stand to cut off 16 minutes from my total time. Given the deficit of 7km on the bike, it might had taken an extra 12 minutes to cover that distance (at 32km/h average, 7km is about 0.2 or almost 1/5 of the distance, meaning 60minutesx0.2 = 12 minutes) of 7km and my run time to be the same, i would had shaven 4 minutes off and come in at a flat 3hours!

Wishful thinking will be easier to just TRAIN HARD and TRAIN SMART for the next race.

3. Thank you to Abu and his brother for the pics above. Also to Ishsal and also Azhar(pls email me the pics) for being so kind to let me share all the pics.

I will give Kenyir a miss as it's 1001000km back and forth (with 6-8 hours of driving one way) and will concentrate on PD Tri instead!

To all of you that did Bukit Merah, well done! You guys are ready for Desaru Long Distance Triathlon with the 2km swim!!! Woo Hoo!!!

Thank you! Sorry la...was really tired in the pic above!

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