Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Old Puteras at National Day's Rehearsal

I received these pictures from OP Habib and i couldn't think of any other way than to upload it into my blog and be seen by the Old Puteras themselves due to the sheer size of the picture and my inability to resize them.


OP Azudin briefing the OPs


OP Jagjit Singh " supervising " is OP Mansor Salleh ( Dato )


OP Kamaruddin Jamal on one hand



OP Albert Thong . He did 25 .........and from the looks of the faces of OPs Tan Sri Wahab Nawi and Jagjit Singh they were worried he was going to have a heart attack. OP Albert told us today that he is used to doing 100 !!...and he is 65 years old.


OP Halim (Tan Sri) Having a chat with OP Jagjit


The rain did not stop any of them!


OP Habib having his fair share of fun

Thank you OP Habib for the pics. I felt as if i'm there myself.

The OPs will be gathering at Darby Park tomorrow night for a Teh Tarik Session prior to the 31st August Parade.

I wish all of them good luck with the National Day Parade. History will be made when the 50 OPs make their way down infront of Sultan Abdul Samad building to commemorate our 50th years of Independence!



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Desaru Long Distance Tri 2007 Pics

A few pics worth publishing.

No cycling pics as it was pouring and my support team couldn't be there to see me stroll down the road in aero position...anyhow, here is some selected pics. Enjoy!


With Heckler


With The Monkeys


Out Of Water - love this shot


Goofing with Shazly on the run


And crossing the line with Ryan!


With Jun Shen and Shazly. Ryan was more interested with the ice cold 100+


My best support team and biggest fan


The second biggest fan and inspiration


Finishing time - WOW!

Official time is : 1:05.13 Swim, 2:51.03 Bike and 2:19.45 Run. Total time 6:16.01

More pics to come when i have the opportunity!

It has been a hectic week. I'm still trying to adapt to the new work time and stil looking to see when i could train.

Managed to run 5km in 28minutes in the gym today. My recovery rate has greatly improved, from a high 176bpm after a 500m sprint on 17km/h and it dropped to 125bpm after 1 minute. Perhaps the 1 week hiatus was a good break for the body.

Did not manage to bike on Sunday, decided to stay in bed, as i was up by 7am since i started working! Ya i know, i was a pampered boy before this! :")

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Next Week

Monday - Flight to Penang @ 0735, back @ 1845.

Tuesday - Trip to Melaka for NIOSH training for work in Oil&Gas

Wednesday-Friday - Course work and Occupational Safety & Health for PTW (Permit To Work) in a particular Refinery...

Looks like i will be assigned to this big oil company for the project that the company just secured.

Merdeka holiday will be spent inside some hall learning about safety and things along the line.

Another full week ahead.

Today's menu : 5km run in Gym
Tomorrow's menu : 30km bike around PJ.

Special Thanks : To Zailan for the sets of wheels. TQVM bro. Really appreciate it! I promise to pass all these good things forward when it's my time to do so.

Thank you all for the good wishes on my new job. It's been overwhelmingly overwhelmed. Seems excitement is at every corner with this new job, i just hope it will last.

Thank you all for dropping by, nevermind the fact that my page hits has been reduced by almost 50% since i started the new job. I know who you all are. And i can't say THANK YOU enough.

Keep coming here, i will update from time to time, during lunch hour. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm Back!

My First day of work was mor of administrative task and crash course on Safety and Health issues. It was pretty alright until the manager asked me to go get a safety shoe. King's, no less. And has to be ankle height.

The HR gave me some cash and told me to give back the balance if there is any, and top up if not enough.

So, i went to get my King's Safety Boots.

I'm to go to site, specifically to PD Shell's Refinery until Thursday.

Site work on second day of work?

"Just don't get kicked out of the refinery", my manager told me.

This is my first experience in an O&G sector. I'm to go in there to do some GME or Groundwater Monitoring Exercise. This is more interesting than watching football, really. Then again, i'm no football person.

So, on Tuesday, i drove down to PD with a new colleague, met up with 3 other engineers at site, took a crash induction safety course with Shell and by 9.30am, we were busy purging groundwater well so that we could take water samples and take in-situ readings on a few parameters.

And we were each checked into one apartment. Each. I have a 2 rooms apartment all by myself. All by myself. I'm certainly not used to this.

In my 6 years of working with the previous company, everything i spend and use has to be with due consideration if i get reimbursed at the end of the month. This time, i had to get used to just get anything i need to do my work. That include the food and drink i took. No compromise. Just Do It (or rather, claim it).

It's hard work, really, to get used to this new culture.

Also, in my 6 years of working in the constrution line, i had nothing more than my safety boots and hardhat as PPE (or Personal Protective Equipments), but now, i'm required to wear the boots, the hat, the glasses, the earplugs, the coveralls. I looked like some pit crew in F1 races if not for the hardhat and safety boots.

The remaining of the day was spent purging more wells (some up to 26 times using a 1meter long tube of 40mm, which esentially will take out about 1 liter of water).

There were 116 wells. The refinery is big. I did so much walking i think my plan to run in PD was at the brim of being cancelled. And it did. I was just too exhausted, and burned to be running after 5.30pm.

That night, i had seafood dinner. Remind me again to get used to this. And i really had to watch what i eat because i will put on weight before i know it. I ate only 1/4 of the rice serving, limiting my carb intake as energy expenditure is not as high. SO, got to keep an eye on the intake.

First day alone, i finished almost 6 liters of water. More than what i usually does in races. Being in the fire retardant coverall is hot hot hot...being under the hard hat is even hotter...and i had to find ways to de-fog those safety glasses (should i lick it like how Kim thought me to do on the swim goggles?)

Second day at site, we were taught to take samples and readings for lab and reports. While purging one well takes us almost 15minutes at time, taking samples and reading takes us about 10minutes max each. There were 5 of us there, and all work loads were shared equally. No senior-junior shit.

By the third day, we finished off the job. It was almost a 12 hours day each day as work doesn't stop after we leave the refinery. The compilation of datas, the preparation for the next day work and loads of other things.

The work is a-ok, the condition is bearable. Safety is utmost importance. Benefits are simply unbelieveable (sunblocks are considered a must, so, just go get it).

The workload and new culture, i had to get used to it.

And did i say i will be in Penang on Monday? And instead of the usual "Stupe you drive to where ever"..it's by flight, Business class if there is no more seats in economy...and it's not Air Asia.

Hard work, really.






Monday, August 20, 2007

Desaru - Personal Best Timing

I survived yet anohter round of Desaru Long Distance.

Suffice to say that i clocked 6 hours 15 minutes. I'm estatic. As i crossed the line carrying Ryan in my arms. Shazly finish just ahead of me.

That is a good 1hour 30 minutes minimum from my last 2 outing in Desaru which i happily clocked 7 Hours 45 Mins.

Swim 2K
The water was ultra choppy. "washing machine" as some would actually call it. My hope of doing the full 2km in freestyle was shortlived as it was almost a 60-40 affair (60 Breast stroke and 40 Freestyle).

The waves must had been almost 1.5meters at some point as i recall i could see everyone from the top of the wave at those intances.

Not helping with th fact that Zabil was stung by jellyfish a day before, with his whole right arm still showing sign of the stings. Obviously i was afraid! I did feel some minor burns all over the body from time to time. Thinking it was actually my sensitive skin which were reacting to the salty sea water. But i was wrong as Heckler told me those are jellyfish stings...abeit the smaller baby jellyfishes la!

I got out from the water in 1:04. Running to transition was a slow stroll as i was really worn off from the swim! I swear i still had motion sickness when the cycling finished!

Bike 90K
Feeling really really sick from being thrown around in the water, i drank a full 500ml of water to replace the fluid lost in the sea. It was easily one of the harder swim i had.

Bike 281, which was parked next to be (Kuota Kalibur) already left the transition. Lonely was my Colnago.

As i reached the first U Turn point, i saw Zabil, Steve, Puzi, Jun Shen, Shazly, Saiful and Heckler. I'm a good 2km to 5km behind them. Stronger swimmer will sure have the advantage in the sea that day.

Then, rain started falling. Sorry, not rain, storm came. The rain was so heavy that some of us has to pedal while going downhill. I pushed really hard on the bike.

Then, the knee started acting up.

MY average dropped from 32km/h to 31km/h and by the time i finished the cycling in 2:46, it was a low 30.3km/h. The cycling course wasn't exactly 90km, more of 85km at best. Maybe due to some course alignment where the second U Turn was.

At the first U turn, i saw Dickie, Azmar, Bacin and Mejar Kalam.

The rain finally slowed down towards the end of the cycling league. I entered transition, limping slightly due to the knee pain.

Run 21KM
My greatest fear happened on the bike, with the knee hurting, i know it won't be a pleasant 21km. I tried to put a straight face and keep looking out for wifey and Ryan. They are my source of energy.

I completed the first 10.5km run in about 1:10. Wifey ran to me and snapped a few pics while Lizi's friends offered me some jelly beans, which i took without feeling any shame.

As i completed my 13km, i caught up with Shazly. I decided to run with him. His fitness level has been about the same as mine, only mine is sightly lower than his. SO, running with him should, technically, pull me through.

At the 15km mark, i know i will be in for more hard time as my knee started to ache badly and my calf started to scream for some relief. Maintaining a low 145bpm average heart rate, which was less than 70% effort but my left knee was killing me.

Anyhow, i completed the 21km with Shazly in 2:25max.

While he surge forward with his son, i looked for mine, and ran with Ryan in my arms to the finish line.

It was a great finish.

Plus, complains about knees aside, i managed my Personal Best timing.

It would had been better if the sun was scorching down and tearing up the road instead of it raining the whole race.

Official results were posted up the day after.

Am i ready for IronMan? Not quite yet. But slowly, i hope i'm getting there.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Moving On

This is my desk at work.

It has been this way since 2001.

2 break ins. 6 Major projects, loads of trading and reports writing and lets not forget the 637 blog entries (incl this one) posted to this blog alone.

All done here.



Time has come. I will be starting work in a new place on Monday.

I don't think there will be any updates for Desaru Race until i'm settled in the new place.

Changes is good. It's scary. But it's good.

Ryan - 9 Months

With 2 teeth fully grown on the bottom gum and 2 more coming out from the bottom and top gum, it makes you wonder how time did really flew.

Come this Saturday, Ryan will be 9 months old (on calendar) and he is simply adorable, well, to me and wifey at least (i mean, i don't want to impose our view to you readers la...all babies are cute what...)


Devil In Disguise

I call him Pai Kin Na - hokkien for naughty child. His maternal granma call him Rayu - Portugese for Naughty Boy. She sometimes call him ku fede as well (this, i leve you all to speculate what it is).

This kiddo loves to play. He love the water, he can't swim as yet, but he is not afraid of the water. Which is good.

He is a dirty sleeper too, you can put him in position A and he will end up in position V an hour later. Ferocious eater and we do feel bad controlling his food intake.

He can stand on his own when he feels like it. He can clap his hand if you ask him to (or bribe him with food) and he can wave "bye bye" too (yes, bribe, pls). He can also give you "five" if he thinks you are as cute as him.

No wonder why he always FIVE his parents. LOL.

Just like his father, this boy is a natural cam whore.


More!

I sure hope the new job will give me some time to play with Ryan before he goes to sleep at night, for i bet, that would be and always be, the highlight of my day.




New Old Crank

Here is a picture and see this piece of metal debut in Desaru Long Distance triathlon this weekend in Johor.


Ultegra 6500 : 39-53t

I finally managed to find the ever elusive bottom bracket to fit into my Colnago's BB frame. It's a size 68 and it's ahrd to find because most bike shop do not store older BB anymore as the new BB from Shimano are the cup type (Or HollowTech II variant).


BB6500 - Octalink


BB6600 - HollowTech II

With a 53 large crank config, i could technically go faster if i can pedal this setup and with the smaller 39 smaller crank, i could climb easier. This also meant my granny has since moved from 42-23 setup to a 39-23 setup. More forgiving i would say, and that is what i would need or possibly need in Langkawi IronMan next year.



My old Tracer crank, which was a 42-52t setup is up for sale. Going for RM35 if anyone wants it.


Tracer - 42-52 crank

And if anyone wants the Bottom Bracket that comes with this crank, grab the whole combo (crank + BB) for RM40 or just give me RM10 for the BB as i've changed the bearings. Just want to cover some cost of changing the BB for the Ultegra 6500 crank above.


Square BB with new bearings.

The two items above are pre-loved and well taken care off. Should be road-worthy for the next couple of years.

I've not tried the bicycle setup as yet. I've prep-ed the bike for Desaru and packed all my race stuff into the bag. That means there won't be any training from today, until race day.

Time to take it easy, and hope the legs will be fine on race day.


Save Taman Melawati Hill - Part Duex

Remember the Save Taman Melawati Hill posting?

This is a Satelite Picture taken from Google Earth.

As this is a free software, the image you see isn't the most up to date. Infact, i can safely say that this is at least 2 years old, or more.



Green Green Grass (and trees) of Home.

The software also tells me that the hill elevation from Dato' Yusoff Haslam's house to the top of the hill, where the old Dunhill Chinese New Year Lion Dance commercial was taken is about 120meters. The Hill stands at a tall 203meters above sea level.

From the top of this hill, you can actually see the Limestone Ridge, which is the oldest and youngeest limestone ridge in the world, which is also incidently, the backbone of Titiwangsa Ridge.

On one other side, you will see the whole of KL City, the view here at night is breathtaking, provided no haze blocks the KL City Centre view, of course.

On the other side, you will see Klang Gate Dam. Come early in the morning as the sun rise and you will see the majestic sight of the dam with morning mist hovering over it.

And this hill is a bloody good workout should you choose to run or cycle or even walk up it. It is steep enough to break generous amount of sweat and long enough to get your heart pumping.

So, can someone enlighten me as to why this beautiful hill should be reserved for some rich people wanting to build ban-gang-low and deprieve people staying in Taman Melawati and it's surrounding area of it's charm and benefits?

Say NO to the development of this hill!

Post note: I just received and email from a friend and he told me that MPAJ has fast tracked the project approval and since the news came out in Bulletin Utama on the 12th August 2007. As of now, MPAJ has approved the project within 2 days!

Any of you have any idea how long it took them to rectify the nightmarish traffic flow in Melawati Town centre? Well, lets just say that it ain't in their agenda yet!

This is clearly bullying from the local authorities which we all pay taxes to!


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So, head on over to Farreys.com, and have a lamp of a time!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Signed Offer Letter, New Crank And Training

Yesterday, i went over to the office and signed the offer letter.

Excited as this is the second time since i started working in 2001 that i've done it. The first time was when i was working in Naga DDB. Second time is was yesterday.

I've not signed any offer letter from this current company (or should i say, my ex company, since my soul belongs to the new one already).

Spoke to the HR person. Was told that the office hour starts at 8.30am.

8.30am

That is the time i usually wakes up.

I've been trying to wake myself up by 7.30am every day this week. I've only succeeded TWICE. And both time, i went for a quick 30minutes swim before pretending to prepare for the new job.

On Monday, i took the usual LDP-U turn at Underpass-Goes through Damansara Utama route. It took me a good 30 minutes.

On Tuesday, i took the Pencala-TTDI-Damansara Utama route. It took me 35 minutes.

Today, i took a secret route. It took me 15minutes. (got to keep this a secret, or else this place will be filled with cars and it will take me the same 30minutes). :P

Needless to say, this will be my route to work from 20th August.

I heard that there will be 8 new engineer joining the company and i'm one of them. Good to that they will be *freshies* like me. Bad to know that competition will be stiff for the possible promotions. Damn it. Haven't start work and i'm planning some office politics...

Good news is that i will be given a parking space in the office building. Bonus since Damansara Uptown is pretty hard to park and will be expensive on a monthly basis.

Enough about work for now, i'm sure if i get the oppurtunity to blog about it after the 20th, some of you might just shut off and stop coming to this blog.

Needless to say, i'm excited, but scared.

I went to open a bank account as well for the new job. Can't wait to get my first pay cheque after...6 months?

Yesterday i also met Chips. I asked if he wants to let go of his old 2007 Ultegra 53-39 crank with Bottom Bracket for a bargain. I see him in the bike shop and sad to say, the bottom bracket were missing one part. Replacement for that 2007 bottom bracket would be very costly, hence, i did not take the crank offer. Can't spend money i don't have, no?

I bet some of you remember that Geoff gave me an older Ultegra crank (2005/2006) which i desperately need to find a bottom bracket that fits. The bike i have, fits a 68mm (or british) sized bottom bracket and the bottom bracket that Geoff gave me was a 70mm (or Italian) sized. I went to Edwin's place (imcyclist.com) and found the hard to find elusive BB6500...

Got it changed and now, my ride is fitted with a 53-39 crank...this meant my journey in life (where bike upgrades are concerned), ends here. The whole drive train is now a mix of Ultegra and Dura Ace, courtesy of Geoff (Thank You. Thank You. Thank You!) and with the 39 crank, i would have better climbing power (meaning grannies)!

I did not have the chance to try the new crank out, i hope one easy 20km ride would/should suffice before Desaru. Afterall, i'm supposed to be tapering, isn't it?

My most productive day was Monday where i Swam, Bike and Ran. a good 30 minutes pool time in the morning. Another good 1:15 on the stationery bike, covering 45km on high rpm (nothing less than 95rpm over "random hills" program) and a short 2km run.

I still feel the heavy leg on the run. Feeling a bit apprehensive over what will happen in the Desaru 21km run.

Yesterday, i sort of forced myself to clock in at least 5km on the treadmill. Wanted to run outdoor but the sudden shower puts off the mood to do so. In a way, i was pretty reluctant to do so (the outdoor run) as there is a lot of "WHAT IF's" after my Emo King posting last Friday.

I did the 5km in 32 minutes. Running on a slow 9km/h or a 6:40 pace. Legs don't feel as great. I feel the strain and the muscle do not want to cooperate with the heart and mind.

On the bright side, i managed the 5km run without even breathing through my mouth and almost hardly breaking any sweat (because of the easy pace la!). My Heart rate never exceed 132bpm throughout the run...that is less than 60% effort.

I fear Desaru at this point of time. My swim (experimental with freestyle), my bike (new crank) and my run (my legs). I will just go there and have a safe race (as in come back alive - Rest In Peace Zoob) and hope to finish the race within the 8 hours cut off time. I've not dipped below 7:42 in my previous 2 races in Desaru. That is suffering to the maximum for the RM90 entry fee...





Monday, August 13, 2007

Swimming Technique

The most technically difficult of the three disciplines. Efficiency is paramount here and the biggest problem with triathletes is body position. Most triathletes mistakenly believe that their problems are kick related because their legs and feet are dragging on the bottom of the pool. They spend useless sessions flogging themselves though mindless kick sets. The single most important aspect of an athlete's swimming is balance. Most people who are not balanced well in the water will pull like mad with their arms and attempt to kick hard to keep their legs and hips from doing what they do naturally - sink. Let's start by putting the pull and kick on hold for a moment. Without correct balance pull and kick are just going to wear you out very quickly. Not what you need before you even hit the bike. Instead of sessions on the kick board, your problems can be corrected by redistributing your weight. Make the front of your body heavier by pressing your chest into the water towards the floor while swimming. Your hips and legs will float up where they belong. With a balanced body even the weakest of kicks can't drag down a good body position. The best way to train this is to do a drill of say 25 meters arms by side kick up the pool applying pressure to your sternum like someone is pressing between your shoulder blades. Every time you lift your head to breathe you will lose the balance point and sink a bit. But practise pressing again until balanced and continue along. Practise this for a good part of your session before trying to apply it to your stoke. When you think you have it down alternate with this drill and swim lengths concentrating on getting the pressure right. Be careful not to bury your head. After a while, you should get the feeling that you are swimming downhill - chest down hips up - this is what you are after. When you get it right you'll see that you don't need to kick like crazy to get a balanced body and your swimming will become much more relaxed and efficient. As you get better, practise swimming sets applying the force right though the stroke faze. As your body rolls though the stroke keep the pressure on the chest and you'll be riding high. Another drill you can try is to kick lengths while rolling a full 360 applying pressure towards the floor at the level of your chest. For example, when on your side apply pressure to your shoulder. Roll right through the 360 keeping the pressure and maintaining the high back end. When proficient you should be able to roll through without hip or leg drop. It's ok to do these drills with flippers to take the emphasis away from kicking. It is important to note that if you want to learn something well in swimming you have to do it slow and this applies to all your drill sessions. Fast drilling will just ingrain bad habits further.

I did exactly that this morning at 7.45am and was making concious effort to keep the chest/sternum area down.

Needless to say, i enjoyed the swim so much i felt less tired compared to my usual 30minutes swim. I think with enough practice, i would and should be able to swim properly.

5 Days to Desaru, might not be able to do a full 2km swim with freestyle, but i will try.

I figured out the problem with the run last Friday. My legs are tired. I gave both my legs a complete rub down with some ointment and was utterly suprised how much it hurts deep inside the calves and quads.

The lactic acid must had stayed frozen inside the muscle. I pressed and kneaded my legs until the veins in my arms pop out. Needless to say, i got a good upper body workout as well.

Anyone knows where to get a good massage? Sports massage to be specific.

Friday, August 10, 2007

???!!!

Damn frust.

Did a 17km run today. Started at 2pm. Heat was bearable then it turn unbearable.


I almost cried

For the first time since i started training, i STOPPED and WALKED.

KM10 on my 17km run was the mark where i STOPPED.


The stone stopped me

I felt like giving up the sports.

Call me Emo Queen today.


Damn kaw frust

I hope it's the heat, and not because i overtrained.


between the lines - where should i go?

The run took me 2hours 15mins. Lets just skip the stats for today. Enough said that i've ran 17KM. I walked the remaining 4km. Cursing.

You all have a great weekend.

Friday Musing

My sis, Ee-Svun, sms-ed me yesterday when she saw the entry for the mud cake. She say she felt like eating the PC screen.

My other sis, Ee-Von, too, found out that i got a job from his boyfriend, which reads my blog yesterday.

But both of them (my sis) concluded that the ice cream on the cake taste better than the cake itself.

That did not stop them from finishing 4 pieces and brought back a tupperware filled with the cake.

Today is my official last day in the office which i've been working for the past 6 years, 10months and 25 days. I remembered sitting in the then empty office, overlooking the renovation, the installation of the airconds, the arrival of the furnitures and the exhilaration of getting my first pay.

Then the ups and downs life of being a site engineer overseeing waste water and sewage water works, dealing with brainless clients and even more brainless consultants. It is easier to blame others when you are in the lowest level of the food chain.

6 freaking years and all i have in this office is memories and 2 plastic bags of belongings (and 3 bikes behind the office). The office has always been a 2 person operation. Boss plan. I execute. The symbiotic relationship was really well as i have all the time in the world as long as i finish my work.

I remember the trips overseas, most notably to Namibia. Where i learnt to appreciate everything about Malaysia that i used to criticise. It makes me a better and more patriotic person.

I remember dealing with useless contractors that scam your money and did no work because they "do not have money to put food on the table" and tells you sob stories about their family to gain sympathies. We've been conned more than once. A company still owe us almost half a million, which has caused us to be in this situation where i had to look for a job to survive.

Don't forget those pain in the ass engineers, which demand the sky from you, and goes missing when the site inspection is in progress. But of course, there is a few decent one which we respect until today. Happy to say, they got themselves out of that company and are in better position to execute what they are trained best - join the authority.

Along the way, i've learnt about loyalty. Many says i'm being taken advantage of when i stayed even after not being paid for 2 months. Some say that i should just pack up and leave. After almost 3 months, i start to realise that i have a family to feed, and my savings are so low that the bank might find a term for the balance i have in the account - a NPA perhaps, or Non Performing Account. Heck, make that dead.

Wifey has been the strength in all these months. Giving and supporting the family when i should be the main person to do that. Of course i fell small, but i got over the ego problem as that doesn't solve the whole scenario.

In another word, i grew up a lil wiser.

Friends are mostly surprised that i'm looking for a job. Some went all out to get me one. Some passed my CV everywhere. I can't help but feel like those Ah Longs, plastering their business cards all over for all to see. I couldn't say THANK YOU to them as much as i wanted to. You guys and girls knows who you are, and i love you all for that.

On the family front, dad, which turned 55 this year, tried giving me some cash from his EPF savings. I couldn't possibly take it. They need the money more than me. Mum, on the other hand, are just really concerned, just as any mother should be. I know i've a good son as i should, but i do love both of you from the bottom of my heart.

An Older OP called me, and even persuaded me to take on the job with him. His wise words were to advise me on the "salary you need" and the "salary you want". I never see it that way until that phone call.

Lets face it, i've not went for a single interview in my working life. I impressed the panel enough to get myself a Malaysian Tobacco Scholarship when i was in TAR College, even rejecting the scholarship from Intel when i was offered one. So, when i was put in a position where i have to be in Tie and Long Sleeves shirt on a normal working day, it felt funny.

And scary.

I do not know my market value, because i've been paid the same amount for the past 4 years. I do not know what are good company benefits because i've never made to know of any. I've never taken any leaves, except when love ones passed away and for my Desaru race for 2 consecutive years. I've not claimed any medical, let alone dental. In short, i'm just a very big frog under a very small coconut shell.

Now, this big frog has something to look forward to. The new job promises good learning experience and steep learning curve. I will be something i'm not trained totally but it's possible to catch it on training. I'm just happy with the opportunity given.

I would not have internet access at home and i won't be able to update this blog as much as i wanted to. I'm not sure about internet access at work or the level of permission i'm allowed to. Do drop by to visit this blog, though i know the traffic is nothing to shout about. I know who most of you are that comes here.

Unfortunately, at this point of time, Desaru Race Report seems to be in a "not confirmed" status, as i will be starting work on 20th August, 1 day after Desaru Tri.

Changes is good but very very scary.

Thank you all for sticking with me.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

1996 Training Logs

Can't believe this. I actually found my training log which i misplaced for the longest time.


First of my many rides up Genting Sempah - Complete journey is 65km

Back then, it was my Le Run Vesuvius MTB that kept me company on these rides/training ride. What was i training for? I'm not sure, probably nothing! I still have my ol faithful bike behind at the office, still in working condition!

I usually start my ride from my old house that i grew up in Taman Permata. Will ride along the now busy MRR2 towards Gombak Setia via the back route which was then MRR2 in construction. I would follow all the small route and exit near Gombak Batu 6 before heading to Batu 12, where the then (and now) Mimaland (which ceased operation for the longest time) were.

I remembered cycling through the old route 68 (as what it was called 11 years ago, at least), ride over a Bailey Bridge (essentially an iron temporary bridge) and then the road would be as quiet as the night.

There is no traffic except for a stray timber truck or two. There is also the very smelly mountain goat which some of the orang asli reared and i was chased by them once.

The UM Research centre was already there back then. Avid bird watchers congregate there as well as this route serves as a great look out spot for birds of all kind (no pun intended).


5 days later...and i cycled there, again...

This Genting Sempah ride was a staple ride for me once every 2 weeks. My mum thought i went crazy and back then, there wasn't any handphone (or that affordable yet) and i brought along a few ringgit and bananas for the ride.

I usually ride alone. Crazy as i realised it is not that safe to do so.

My other usual route is doing laps in and around Melawati. Up and down the hills which was great training.


Memories

I used to cycle to the National Library as well as i do not have a car to drive. Usually i take the Setiawangsa route towards Jalan Gurney and turn off to Jalan Tun Razak.

I used to cycle to MINDEF's swimming pool to swim too, and remembering seeing Surin's dad's picture on the Sport's Committee board.


:-) :-) :-)

Fast forward 11 years, i'm still glad i'm still doing this.

I just booked the ticket to Langkawi and room as well. Cost me(or at this point, wifey) below RM500 all in. This IronMan Dreams proved to be an expensive affair. I'm just glad i'm gonna start a new job soon, and get some money to pay for all these dreams.

Today's menu : Run 17km, lets set the target a bit higher at 24km, shall we? This might be my last long run as i might not have the luxury to do so when i start working on the 20th.


Mississippi Mud Cake

I went to Babe Jie's blog and i saw the cake staring at me.

Couldn't resist it as she say the cake is easy peasy to make and i wanted to celebrate my job offer with something not usually done.

The Ingredient:

250g cold unsalted butter, chopped
150g dark chocolate, chopped
440g (2 cups) caster sugar
250ml (1 cup) hot water
80ml (1/3 cup) whisky
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
225g (1½ cups) plain flour
35g (¼ cup) self-raising flour
25g (¼ cup) cocoa powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten

The Method:

Grease 23cm square slab pan, line base with baking paper. Combine butter, chocolate, sugar, water, whisky and coffee powder in medium pan; stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Transfer mixture to large bowl; cool. Stir in sifted flours and cocoa, then eggs; pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake at 160°C for 1¼ hours. Stand cake 30 minutes; turn onto wire rack to cool. Serve dusted with sifted icing sugar.

I have a convection microwave at home given to us by my sister in law. I have most of the items above, with exception of dark chocolate, caster sugar, self raising flour and cocoa powder.

So, i quickly rushed to Taman Tun Market after my afternoon swim (what better excuse to indulge, more so after exercise) and got the stuff.

No dark chocolate, so i substitute with cooking chocolate(RM4.00 for 500 grams). Bought the cocoa powder (RM4.20 for 500grams), unsalted butter(Anchor - RM3.48) and self raising flour (RM2.20/KG).

Along the way, i bought 2 packs of bread flour and 1kg of black raisins. Supply at home running out, to date, we've made more than 35 loaves (last was just this Monday).

Went home, decided to save cost and just use normal sugar as a subsitute for caster sugar.

Boiled the water, put in the stuff, let it cool, put in flour and cocoa butter and eggs, stir until the flour sort of blends into the liquid.

Set the Microwave to 160 degree C and to 1hour 15minutes.


At this point, i was praying it will turn out as it should.

Wifey came back and was surprised that i'm baking a cake for her.

we took Ryan and Cousin to the pool for a swim while the cake was baking. Secretly hoping that it will turn out as it should (keeping finger crossed).

Then, we got back from the pool an hour later and this is how it looked like after i turn it over and let it cool on the rack. Poured some chocolate syrup on top to cover some cracks on the cake...


yummy?

I let the cake sit for an hour before wifey cut it...and here is how it looked like...





The taste? Well, just lets say that my mum and wife is impressed!

But i bet Babe Jie's Mud Cake looked and taste more delicious!


Babe Jie


Save Taman Melawati Hills

I grew up in Ulu Kelang. I used to stay in Taman Permata. Back then, i recalled, when i was only 5 years old (that is a good 25 years ago!), i could hear the tiger roar and the elephants call in the middle of the night as MRR2 was non existence and the main road was nothing but a 2 way.

Once a bus stop for passenger, all the cars has to stop and wait until the bus move. Today, 25 years later, you try crossing the street and you might get run down by the 16 wheelers if not the Mat Rempit.

I went to a Kindergarden in Jalan I. Ladybird Kindergarden if i recall correctly. My childhood was spent growing up in Melawati. Way before Daim Zainuddin build a house on the Hills and way way before the first ever apartment in Melawati was built.

I remember catching dragonflies and ladybugs in SRK Taman Melawati, playing football before the class start and got punished because we reeks of sweat by the time class was in order. We had out own team of footballers. Killer Bees was the force to reckon with, but my class, 6 Emas, was of same, if not better than them. Who won't when we have the likes of Surin as striker, Azan and Muzzil as midfielders, Eu Jin as the winger (and ball supplier..he strap his ball to his bike's carrier - soccer ball la!), Felix as winger, Izham as goalkeeper and me as ball picker.

We have all witness helicopter landing at our school field as they come in to haul those stupid TARC students that climbed Bukit Tabur with their inflated egos.

Memories are made of more than these.

I remember sneaking away after school to go to the Dam (Klang Gate Dam) for a swim. I hiked up Bukit Tabur with friends, and don't forget those walks we all had along those main 1200mm pipes as those were the shortest route from Phase 6 to Phase 3!

How about the excitement when we found out those Dunhill Chinese New Year ads were shot on top of the hill in Phase 3? The one atop Jalan G.

The very same one, which as i'm writing now, is facing a threat from the brainless developer that wants to cut the tree down to build some bang-ang-lows (as in Bangang - malay for stupid)???

Check out the website here, The resident has set up a task force to take these money hungry developer head on : SAVETAMANMELAWATIHILL.COM

Over the years, I witness the landslide in Jalan G (Phase 3) and the sinking house infront of Muff's house on the other side of Jalan G, the felling of those great rain trees that offers very very cooling shade in the midst of the afternoon sun, the overdevelopment of the area behind Jalan J,K and L (Kemensah) and right now, the whole of Kemensah Trail is under the mercy of the backhoes and excavators as developers, under the guise of *living with nature* are tearing down every single trees there.

People says that we should learn from our mistake. But clearly, no one does, except for a few that cares and are going all out to stop the work in Melawati Hill. Do we want to see the repeat of the late 80's landslide in Melawati?

Do you want to rob your kids of those green lungs and growing up not knowing how a rambutan tree, or even a durian tree looked like? Or, worse case scenario, see your own house being swallowed by the mud and grim should the development goes on as any other development on the hill will inevitably causes more damage to the enviroment and the area surrounding the beautiful Melawati.

Spread the words. Stand up for our rights. Don't rob the future from our children, YOUR children.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Heart Rate Training

A fellow buddy has been asking me about Heart Rate Monitor. Though this item is a luxury to some and essential to others, i found myself stuck between the two.

So, i got myself some cheap HRM. The first one was purchased at a cheap cheap RM128 (Ciclopuls CP8+), which is still in service after 4 years.

The second one was purchased at RM180 (SigmaSports FIT Watch), which i've been using for the past 2 years.

I recently had the strap on CP8+ changed and had the battery in the FIT watch changed.

"Why is having a heart rate monitor so important?", you asked me.

For one, you would get to monitor how hard you are pushing yourself. Secondly, you get something to distract you on those long boring runs.

After 4 years of using the HRM, i find them pretty indespensible. Over the years, i've grown attached to it. It helps monitor my workout, tell me my caloric burnt, my recovery rate and act as a timer for my training.

When i first started the sports, i was an unfit late 20's male. With a resting heart rate of 72bpm and a hefty 90kg on the scale (which i tried to convince myself was muscle), i was a prime candidate for heart diseases.

Today, i'm a self professed fit person (i think i am), with a resting heart rate of 56bpm and a good 76kg weight which i plan to shed anohter 4kg.

Hospital uses treadmill and HRM to do stress test, as a method to detect early heart diseases. The recovery rate is the best indication of your current fitness. A fast recovery rate meant that you are fit. A slow recovery rate means you have a lot of work to be done where cardiovascular health is concerned.

This is my rough guideline that i uses as a basic to my training (or the lack of it)


The Stats

It is also interesting to note that running heart rate and cycling heart rate differ from each other by a little bit. The effort to pedal and the different muscle group used for cycling exert different type of workload on the heart. You will notice that your heart rate are relatively lower when you cycle eventhough you feel that you put in more effort compared to cycling.

This is evident from the other 2 methods used to calculate the working heart rate for running and cycling. The 2 other method used was londeree and moeschberger & Miller et al. Brianmac has a comprehensive write up on these 2.


Rocket Science?

So, it doesn't matter what you are gonna do with the training, the guideline below will be a good indication of what your heart is doing for you, if you train it at the certain heart rate range, as per below.



Happy training!

Menu for today : Afternoon - Swim 30minutes Evening - Run 5KM treadmill


For Sale

Clearing my bicycle stuffs that is in the office, since i'm starting new job soon, and yes, i need some cash.

Below are the items i am gonna let go at a bargain.


Specialised Nimbus 26x1.15 slick
2 units @ RM8 each



Vee Rubber 26x1.5 slick
2 units @ RM8 each




Hutchinson Cameleon 26x1.95 XC
1 unit @ RM12 each




Panaracer SpikeR 26x2.00 Rear Specific Race Tire NEW! (made in Japan)
1 unit @ RM18


Option to purchase all the above at RM50.

Self Collect though.

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