Friday, April 19, 2013

Sabah Adventure Challenge 2013 : Scenic Day 3

Part 1 : Longest Day
Part 2 : Hottest Day
This is Part 3. Scenic Day ;)
I can't believe i wrote a 3-parts race report like what I did for Bali Marathon 2012. I hope you readers enjoyed the sharing. It has been tough and tight for me, time wise to produce more write ups as I am in the midst of a career move. It was a mixed feeling on Day3. One small part of us were glad the race will finally be over and the larger part were upset that we have no more race tomorrow when we wake up! Yes. Race withdrawal syndrome even before the race actually ends. The past two days has been great and the last day looked promising with 15km more to go. While the other two days has been pretty "off the mark" in terms of mileage, no one actually complained. A testament that those that was participating were there for the pain!
Skechers GoTrail clocked it's 90th Mile before today (Day 3).
It was a mixed feeling Sunday for us. Easter Sunday. It was strange for wifey not to be home with her family (she and the kids are Catholic) for this festivities. I told her if we see a church (very likely), we will drop by for the mass. Promise.
Check the burnt face from Day 2
The lethargy was shown on wifey when she did struggle a bit moving down the incline. But it is OK. The past two days has been rewarding for her. A bit achievement in fact. Day 3 is just about finishing it. 
Taking forever to walk down...sakit bang!
As we move towards the reception, the sight of Kinabalu greet us again. We both know it will be the last morning we will see her. For the next day, we will be in KK.
In awe, everyday.
As expected, the race finish for Day 3 will be no other place than the Reception area of the Resort. That would meant a kick-ass climb back up to the resort at 25Deg gradient. Going down to the starting point for Day 3, 1km away, is already a chore for many due to the steepness and the muscles not agreeing to the movement. It would be fun to see what and how everyone will hike up this last climb.
Awaiting all finishers
See how #30 holding her thigh to walk down? Noticed all the small steps taken?
I believe many forgot to look behind when they were walking down, for behind all of us, were the Grand Mountain. My two friends here certainly remember to look behind and had this captured.
Thumbs up*
Perhaps, everyone was moving down really slowly to have their photos taken? I don't know. But, i believe so too.
The eventual all-women (team) winners
Some, due to muscle fatigue after 2-days of racing, resorted to walk backwards, as that isolate the quads muscles.
Team 12. Singapore. Teachers. Awesome.
Upon reaching the starting point, all of us were briefed by Aman. Race map were only given on race morning and that sort of add to the mystery to it. As this is the shortest day (4hours and 15km), everyone was in super jovial mood, despite the lack of rest and DOMS.
Suckers for pain.
The maps
Aman telling us to watch for these flags. These are route marker. I swore i heard...landmines. Haha
The race on the last day was very straight forward. The ultra runners just need to check into 3-checkpoints. They are situated along a 15km route with elevation enough to make you tired. We were looking forward to it. Where will the race organiser bring us today?
Bandit, Rosli, Wifey and Doc-that-i-forgot-her-name-even though-i-saw-her-in-two-races
The race started soon after and while everyone rushed downhill to where the race organisers want them to go, myself and wifey took it slow to take more photos. Sorry, i really can't get enough of the view (of the mountain)
Agree? This is further down the road
And more
Some sakura and this will be like...Japan?
And, yet, one more...
Wallpaper sight
From then on, i knew this will be a longer than usual 15km. With sights like what you see above, it is really hard to comprehend why anyone wants to run any faster...But, well, the race organisers say that if we missed any checkpoint, we will get 1.5hours penalty. Come in late after cut off(11am), we get penalty for every minute we come in late. Pressure sial!
Sun coming out! See my shadow1
The ultra runners has it easier to just get to CP7,8 and 9, then return back to Resort to finish. We can go to any of the 3 first and it is totally up to us how to manage it. Knowing how to read contour lines on a topography map will help you understand the route lying ahead. But first...more photos.
Zhariff. No arms. Not a disability. We are limited by our mind.
As we reached the junction close to CP9 (nearest CP to go), the Adventure racers whizzed past us at breakneck speed. Kind of made me want to do the Adventure category. But lugging a bike from KL to KK and back again would be too troublesome.
You see, everywhere we went, the mountain looked down on us and made us look up. It was magnificent view at every turn. I know the sight won't last long as clouds and mist will sets in within 30mins. Kinabalu only "let you see her" for a couple of hours/day.
From near the Kinabalu Golf Club
You know this entry is gonna be filled with photos with the same background isn't it? And if you ever wondered why it took us that long (others took 2:30 average, we took 4+) to finish the 15km, you now know why. Myself, Wifey and Kam stayed back and stayed around to enjoy the view of the mountain and to take in the sight of the farm that we were waltzing through. There is no other way to enjoy this other than taking it slowly.
Even the bikers were taking it easy yo!
Enjoy more photos that I am sharing here. I believe we only covered like 5km in 1hour. Spent the next 1hour walking slowly and looking around.
Can you imagine a One Direction song being played here? 
Kam was with us all the way. Him loving to take photos and doing really well the past two days has gotten him to relax a bit. More so with good company like me and wifey. :)
We were small compared to the mountain
Dearest Marshall. :) Thanks RUDY and friend!
Lucky we had kam there
Running down with Kinabalu as background
Ini nak buat thumbs up or peace?
Running through the farm
Love this wild flower photo. No touch up!
We ran past a few family farms. The local were really friendly and it is with their permission that we can and allowed to run through. We have to take good care to only leave footprints.
Kam, he left more than just footprints.
Or @$$ print
It was slippery and his shoe did not grip the wet much, causing him to fall flat on his behind. Him being him, it was completely ok. We learn to take light of things that happen to us when racing, if it is not life-threatening.
Valley. Can you see the Biker?

Yes sir! You have to come up here!
The simple life
The cabbages
Happiness with her chocolate
Remember your first bike?
Washing up
The route was really scenic. There was nothing to complain about as the temperature was low though the sun was shining down strongly. We had our cap and sunblocks on. That was essential.
What goes down, will go up again.
Nutrition was maintained as it is important not to underestimate the effort though we were mostly walking at an easier pace during the 3rd day. The Hammer Bar was pretty good if you ask me. This one, 100% organic.
Oatmeal Apple
Makes you wonder that these men harvesting the cabbages too, they live a full life, they eat what they harvest. Sustainable!
Nak beli?
Remind us of princess at home
Might be 15km, but by no meant a walk in the part with these elevation. Guess where we going!
Sean and Irwin. :)
Above cloud, figuratively speaking
We finally managed to clear out of the farm and headed towards the road. I must had taken too long behind the road that wifey decided to take a small nap on the road. No, this was not posed. She was that tired. Car? Nope. It's Easter. No one around!
The last 3km was by mean not easy. We had to go up 200m elevation over that distance. Usually, it would not had been any issues unless you are dead tired, and wifey was.

It was a long climb and with every step we take, we know we are reaching the end.
1 more KM. Steady only i see you walk!
The last 1km was scary as it was 25deg gradient. :) Even a vehicle need to downshift to 1st Gear if they did not gather enough momentum.
Shall we sprint?
As we approach the finishing line. The last 100m was especially sweet. I had to get it captured on video. I was pushing wifey from behind, y body almost 45deg, that was how steep the ground was.
Thank you Nasier!
See the camera? This was how it looked like as we march to the finish line.
3Days. 85km. We finally finished it. We are still married. Yes, adventure race test relationship. You see the best and the worse in each other. Luckily, with both of us married for 7 years, it has been great partnership. And best of all, is having two brothers in Azly and Kam to be with us in this journey. It was awesome.
Rightly so. Thumbs up!
Nasier Lee, Abang Rabani's nephew, made everyone that finished the race jump (yes, in all the half-deadness) under the Finish banner. I believe many's tiredness disappear with the thought that a good photo will make this even really memorable.
Looked like a car advert ;-)
This is the easy 15KM stroll we took
Soon after that, we walked back to the room knowing we are finisher. Packed and headed to lunch. The award ceremony happened after that and we were surprised by a few nice gesture by the race organisers. One of the one, which I believe will be collector's item will be a second race bib made fresh with our name on it. What made it more special is that the Proboscis monkey on the cover was one of the endearing images captured by the late Abang Rabani Ayub.
Tired? No way!

Lucky Draw!
Love the logo...and the size!
Big enough?
The crews. :) Love you guys.
Will i return? YES!
Us. In another representation
It was truly a good trip and a superb race. I am very glad I get to do this with my wife. This is the official results from Race Director.
Click to enlarge. This is Team Adventure Racing
Click to Enlarge This is Women Ultra. Wifey complete the race in 24:26:52
Male Ultra - I finished the rce in 24:26;50. Kam 21:41:35 and Bandit 33:52:33
Click to enlarge. 
Congrats to all winners and finishers. This was a 40+28+15=83km foot race over 3 days. Organisers has promised a distance of 75km, but we all did more than we came for - which has added to the value.
Me and my wife would like to thank the organiser, Claus, Aman, Doc Dev, Rudy, Pam, Aileen, Nasier and his group, all the marshals, medical and Sabah Amateur Radio for their on-the-dot planning. Also a big hand to Sutera Harbour group where the hospitality has been great.
I am looking forward to the new format 2014 15th Anniversary Sabah Adventure Challenge.
Bring it on.


  1. many many thumbs up!! both of you (wifey and you) have done so well!!

  2. Hi, is it hard to read the topography map? Do i need to engage any lesson in it to be able to read it?

    I'm looking to join the 2014 SAC and is concerned about my ability (lack of it actually :P)to read topography map.

    advise would be most appreciated. :)

  3. Hi Albert - it is not that tough. Basic knowledge is good and the SAC route is very do-able as the critical turn off are always marked-off by the race team. Only way to miss it is that we did not pay enough attention.

    The map given are usually a guidance and back up in case we got lost, which I believe hardly happen unless again, you were careless with your sense of direction