Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Xterra Malaysia : Race Route Preview

During the press conference about two weeks ago at Pullman Putrajaya, Race Director Dave Spence has introduced the race route to the press and those that attended the race press conference. I was lucky enough to be there to see it and got really excited knowing the route.
Dave "I Will Get You Dirty" Spence
So when i received a message from dearest Dave asking if I want to help "clear the trail up as some of it might be blocked by trees", I jumped to the chance.
"I will bring chain saw", i quipped.
Everyone met up at Transition area on the date and time agreed and pushed off at 0815hours.
Dave giving briefing
Bike
The ride took us to part of Putrajaya not explored by many. Overgrown trails that used to link part of the estates in Putrajaya. Road were minimal and mostly used to interconnect two trails aka cutting across the highway (from under using the motorbike lane). As we did both the route on Sunday, the map will obviously show you everything. I've marked on the map on where the Sprint will go and where the WC will cut off. Do not worry as the route will be marked and the sprint and WC is on two different day. Minimal chances of confusion unless you flew down the trail at 45km/h.
Mix of Sprint and WC. WC goes from POI44 to POI45. Skipping the left side route. Sprint covers PCP once only
To get more maps/official maps, head over to my blog here : Official Route

The elevation gain for the course is per this profile below.
The "negatives" was because the barometer dip due to inclement weather. Otherwise, the two peaks happens in PCP.
Below are some photos I managed to snap while some of us tested the bike route.
The motorbike lanes in Putrajaya has no one using it!
The trail is mix of cross country, kampung route and chest high bushes. There were one part where it was so bumpy you have to try not to endo while riding through it. Now, pray that it doesn't rain or it will be mudfest there. When you reach an open field, don't be too happy ;-) Surprises await you.
Kampung Route at Dengkil
This is where a lot of overtaking can and will happen
The part where boys and men will be separated is at Putrajaya Challenge Park (PCP). This is where technical trails will either make or break your race (and lets keep it at race and not bones or teeth ;-)). Technical climbs with no less than eight-switchbacks. Fast downhill, rocky terrains and roots waiting to snag your front wheel if you got the wrong line.
Leading into the technical trail at PCP.
In races like these where there will be riders not able to clear the trail, it is always best to space yourself and not risk injury or falling off the ledge. Unless you are a Pro and heading for podium, give other due respect. And in the same note, if you see Pro and podium racers coming - GIVE WAY. :)
Singletrack in PCP with view of Putrajaya itself.
As the trail in PCP was technical, I did not take as many photos as I should. Those familiar with it will know it is mostly singletrack and challenging enough to delight even seasoned riders. The route for Sprint passes through PCP once while the full will pass through PCP 4 times (twice per loop), so those doing the WC course, take note not to lose concentration in a technical trail or you will or might fall down, endo, or worse of all, pushing your bike and stopping others behind (yes, it is more ego-busting when a rider have to push his bike, falling is ok ;-))
As per Xterra guideline, there have to be part (two actually) where even the Pros have to push their bike. This is where it will happen. Seriously...better work your shoulders peps!

Push/Carry.
And this...
Almost a 40deg gradient

Syaful!
Great photo op for photogs at this point. :)
Wowzers!
Very Model-like.
But of course, anything that goes up, will come down. There were not short of technical downhill and easy downhill such as the video below. This is a very good learning video for those that will descent big long drop. Keep your butt behind!

Syaful actually endo-ed at the end of the trail. I was too caught up filming that I forgot to move the camera to him. 
Run
We finished the whole biking course in (moving time) 1:45. Total time taken including waiting time and discussion/regroup was 2:30. This is only for 24km. I predict It will take average of 3:30-hours for the WC to cover the 30km while the Sprint will require about 2:30 for the 20km. Yes, it is that challenging.
Immediately after the bike, we sort of went into a fast transition and started running (almost immediately). The run trial was cut short due to a few area being heavily blocked by fallen trees. But Dave through his superb navigation (and memory) managed to bring us close to the planned route. The 1km shorter is not a concern as it will be there on race day. 
Imagine hundreds running at this start point
The running trail gets technical with steep climbs up rubber plantation terraces and you will need to look up to plan for your next move (this is a trail running tips).
almost 30 inclines
Once a while, you get out in the open, and you thought - hey, this will be easy. Well, that is true until you hit the Wasteland.
With my batchmate, Sean.
Technical downhill on rocky surface. One runner went into the bush
Look out for one nice climb. The trail leads to a dead end and the only way to go, well, is UP. And I mean...UP.
Damn it, missed the video!
The surface is loose, so be sure to get down on all four, if needed!
Nothing shy to crawl up!
I foresee the wasteland to be where a lot of overtaking to be done. Race Director has made one section "open" in the sense you can run in all direction, which will ultimately reach the same point. Like below. As everyone downhill skill is different, allowing different pathway to "attack" the technical downhill will add color to the race.
Find your racing line
The run then brought us to run along the Putrajaya Lake near the watersports centre. It was no easy run as the ground is not even and higher on one side - typical of how the side of any lake will be. Careful when running here. The ground might look flat and falling into the lake is not really a good idea - and not glamorous. Don't worry, waist high water only.
Running towards the side of the lake
The session ended shortly after about 45minutes of run. That covered 4.4km - and let me tell you this group that ran were doing like 5:00 pace on the flat and what divided/slow them down was their own confidence with uphill scramble and downhill running. My camera ran out of battery after that. But suffice enough to say, it was a good day workout for me.
Only missing part is a larger loop on the lower left section.
The elevation of the run trail is something similar to what you can find in Bukit Kiara on a short course. 
If any of you are interested, you can always download the GPX file from here:
Bike : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/297538531
Run : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/297538523
Share this out to friends that will be racing Xterra!

11 comments:

  1. What have I gotten myself into? LOL!

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  2. Second UnkaLeong. What in the world have I gotten myself into. Ouch!

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  3. OMG! Almost 30 inclines! Now worried big time...

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  4. Hi stupe,
    Im here at PCP,the team is doing a GREAT job reinstalling PCP to previous glory,even Dave's here overlooking them patching up PCP.
    Hope youll enjoy the race.
    Good luck!

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    1. I will relay the words to the team. Awesome bro!

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  5. Wow.. Looks like a lot of fun n adventures. All the best guys.. Thanks to stupe for this brilliant post.. It helps lot of my friends who're racing this weekend.. :-) me? Gonna watch from afar:: janamanjung

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    1. Ann - well done on the 130km ride!

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