Thursday, January 31, 2013

Homemade Eggtart In Filo Pastries

Remember the giant eggtart we made a couple of weeks ago?
Makes you hungry, isn't it?
Now, two days ago, wifey decided to try making another batch and modified from the first attempt. This time around, we decided to make them a bit simpler and use filo pastry (for lightness), ONLY egg yolks and less sugar. We decided to make these in the muffin trays (12 muffins). We initially made what we thought enough for 12 tarts - only to find out that our tarts are much bigger...and require double the recipe...
For Pastries
Pampas Filo Pastries - can be bought at supermarket. Only reason for this is that this brand and type uses no margarine as their ingredient as opposed to other type such as puff pastries. We cut the pastries to strip of 1.5inches by 3inches.
For Filling
6 egg yolks (we kept the egg white for dinner later)
200ml full cream milk
200ml whipping cream
2 tablespoon sugar
6 teaspoon all purpose flour
Methods
It's straight forward and the photos below show it all.
First, measure the milk and whipping cream. 200ml each.

Then heat it up on low heat. Keep stirring so it won't get burnt.
Then pour in the sugar into the milk as it is being heated.

While the milk is being heated up, line the muffin tray with the filo pastries. Yes, it will be a bit ugly. But it's character (:P)
 Then, make sure the egg yolks are ready. And the flour within reach.
Let the milk cool down to touch and then add in the yolks and put in the flour. Mix them up well and fast to avoid the yolk being cooked in the warm milk.
Then, take a sieve and pour the content into something. In this case, we use the container that we used to measure the liquid.
Pour and divide the filling into each pastry. Half way through is good as the content will rise a few more millimeters.
 Now, heat up the oven. 180degree C and get ready to pop in the tarts.

Bake for 35minutes. The tarts will shake a bit even at 35mins. Avoid overcooking or you will lose the smoothness.
After 35mins, take it out and let it cool. Resist the urge to take one and eat right away. A burnt tongue is not a happy tongue (but if you still do, practice some common sense ya, blow the tarts. OK, that sound wrong too)
 Need we say more?
Enjoy the crispy filo pastries that is light and the filling that literally melts in your mouth. :) We know we did.
Estimated calories
This will be an easy one. With just the basic ingredient with the milk, whipping cream and yolks to be the main ingredient, it works out to be about 180kcal (milk), 250kcal (whipping cream), 330kcal (yolks), 60kcal (flour) and 300kcal (estimated 4 sheets or 100grams). This added up to be 1120kcal and divided by 12 tarts gives 93kcal each. Lets just round it up to 110kcal as we lined the bottom of the tart pan with some butter. At 110kcal, i would say this is a bargain and there is only good stuff in the tarts! Happy trying!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 Open For Registration Today


The Standard Chartered KL Marathon celebrates five years running and opens registrations on 30 January!

Kuala Lumpur, 29 January 2013 – Runners, get set go! Mark your calendars for the last Sunday of June this year, as the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 has been confirmed to be held on 30 June 2013.  Participant registration for this year’s marathon will officially commence at 6:00 pm, 30 January 2013.

The Standard Chartered KL Marathon through the years has come to be regarded as an iconic event for the country. Last year alone, the event attracted over 28,000 runners from 48 countries, a 108 per cent increase since its inception in 2009 (with 13,500 runners).

Overwhelming response to Malaysia’s largest marathon
In 2012, participant registration closed six (6) weeks ahead of the deadline following an overwhelming response from the public. The event saw a total of 28,050 runners; with 3,168 runners in Full Marathon, 5,727 runners in the Honda Half Marathon, 491 runners in the MSIG Ekiden, 3,812 runners in the 5KM Fun Run and 541 runners in the Kid Dash, with the 10KM taking the lion’s share of participation with 51 per cent  or 14,311 runners.

Following the overwhelming response, the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 is looking forward to increasing the 2013 participation to 30,000 runners from all around the world.

The total number of participants throughout the four years of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon stand at 80,928 runners (2009 – 2012), with a strong record of participation increase each year. With this fifth year edition, the Marathon would have welcomed some 110,928 runners to Malaysia’s flagship running event with a total prize pot of USD520,000.

Highlighting Malaysia on the global map
Globally, data as of 2011 shows a total of 256,000 runners have participated in the Standard Chartered Marathon series that takes place in nine (9) markets around the world – Bangkok (Thailand), Dubai (UAE), Jersey (Channel Islands), Mumbai (India), Nairobi (Kenya)Stanley (Falklands Islands), Singapore, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

The highlight of the Kuala Lumpur race is navigating a challenging route that weave between beautiful and historical landmarks around the city of Kuala Lumpur. The throng of cheering spectators and supporters additionally adds to the overall festivity of the event.

Last year, the Standard Chartered KL Marathon celebrated a new Full Marathon Men’s route record of 02:14:45.32, set by Kennedy Kiproo Lilan. The Women’s Full Marathon winner was fellow Kenyan Elizabeth Jeruiyot Chemweno, with her time of 02:40:24.84. Shaharudin bin Hashim retained winner of the Full Marathon Malaysian Men’s category with a time of 02:42:27.57.


The Standard Chartered KL Marathon is once again made possible by title sponsor Standard Chartered Bank in partnership with the event owner and organiser Dirigo Events, and co-organiser Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Running enthusiasts can sign up at the official website www.kl-marathon.com
Early bird discounts on registration fees are available till 28 February 2013.

Connect with the other runners through the Standard Chartered KL Marathon Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SCKLmarathon and keep up-to-date via twitter at @scklmarathon. 
       
About the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013
Back for the fifth year, the Standard Chartered KL Marathon is scheduled to take place on 30 June 2013. The marathon aims to grow to 30,000 total participants, ranging from elite professionals to first-time amateurs. A truly international event, the Standard Chartered KL Marathon boasts participants from all over Malaysia and over 48 countries. The Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 continues as Malaysia’s flagship running event with top runners competing for a total of USD110,000 prize money.

For more information on the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon, please refer to:

About Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered – leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East
Standard Chartered is a leading international banking group. It has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets and earns more than 90 per cent of its profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This geographic focus and commitment to developing deep relationships with clients and customers has driven the Bank’s growth in recent years. Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.

With 1,700 offices in 70 markets, the Group offers exciting and challenging international career opportunities for nearly 87,000 staff. It is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. Standard Chartered’s heritage and values are expressed in its brand promise, ‘Here for good’.

For further information please visit www.standardchartered.com. Follow Standard Chartered at www.facebook.com/standardchartered and on Twitter @StanChart.

Standard Chartered in Malaysia
Standard Chartered Bank, a member of the Standard Chartered Group was established in Malaysia in 1875 and incorporated as Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad on 29 February 1984.  As Malaysia’s first bank, Standard Chartered leads the way through product innovation, consistent and strong growth performance and sustainability initiatives. The Bank’s two businesses - Wholesale and Consumer Banking – provides a comprehensive range of financial products and services to corporates, institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals through its network of 40 branches across Malaysia.

In 2001, Standard Chartered UK established its third global technology & operations centre, Scope International, in Malaysia – the first international bank to do so in the country. Scope International provides software development, banking operations, IT support services and customer service capabilities to the Bank in up to 70 countries. It now houses the biggest software development company in the country, International Software Centre Malaysia (ISCM) and has a total workforce of more than 3,200 people.

Price Solutions Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank UK is also located in Malaysia. The company promotes and markets Standard Chartered’s financial products in Malaysia through a network of direct sales agents.

Standard Chartered Saadiq Berhad, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad’s Islamic Banking subsidiary was established in November 2008. It offers a full suite of Shariah-compliant products and services to individuals and corporates through its financial centres.

Standard Chartered employs close to 7,000 employees in all its Malaysian operations.

About the Event Organiser
Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd
Dirigo Events is a Kuala Lumpur-based company that provides strategic event management expertise for high scale sporting events. Dirigo is headed by Rainer Biemans and Gloria Ng that collectively have over 30 years in planning international sports events, and includes managing previous Standard Chartered KL Marathons. For more information on Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd, please call +603 7725 0881

Update Jan 30, 2013 3:30pm
Registrations will commence today for Individuals and Sponsored Entries ONLY. 

Group categories, such as the Corporate Challenge, Universities Challenge, Leader’s Run, MSIG Ekiden, Run For a Cause, Kid’s Dash and Media registrations will commence on 15 February, 2013.

Registration Fees for SCKLM all category

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Replacing A Laptop Charger

Apologies not not updating as needed. My laptop charger went bust as it sort of went dead with a spark and an anti-climax pop sound. With the battery surviving at about 25% I will need to get a replacement.
White spot denoting electrical arching
I will be back tomorrow with two items lined up for the week that is a MUST share ;-) Have a good day everyone.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Save Bukit Kiara : Thunder Valley Gone

Received a sad update from a few friends that has went to the other end of Bukit Kiara. A lesser known trail, but popular with a few groups of hardcore mountain bikers known as Thunder Valley has been destroyed.
Photo from KLMBH Facebook
Yes folks, Bukit Kiara is NOT just confined to Taman Tun Dr. Ismail area. It starts from TTDI and stretch all the way to Segambut Dalam and Mont Kiara on the northeast-east, Hartamas to Bukit Damansara on the east-southeast, With TTDI area dominating the south-west portion and Kampung Sungai Pencala towards Sg. Buluh/Kepong on the west-north portion.
Full resolution thanks to KLMBH Website here
So, where is Thunder Valley? Now, before you find out where Thunder Valley is, perhaps it's time for some "history" lesson on how the name was derived. A good buddy of mine, which a group of us nickname "King" has this to share on the FB.
Hand built you ask? Yes. Why do you think we are passionate of protecting Kiara?
Thunder Valley is the northern most part of Bukit Kiara - the part where it almost reach the North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) with Desa Park City on the left. Yes, Bukit Kiara is that big!
The 3rd Peak is situated here
Google Map already shown development encroaching Thunder Valley
Now you know the extend of the damages that could be done by greed. This upper portion should belong to some developers out to build more home and market it as "eco-friendly" and promising a "jungle living in the comfort of the city". Go figure.
If you have not signed the petition to "Save Bukit Kiara", perhaps, it's about time you do this before witnessing more damages to be done when Berjaya Group starts their planned development in Bukit Kiara! Stop them!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Xterra Malaysia : Important Event Updates

Two important updates from the organiser of Xterra Malaysia over the past 3 weeks. The first one was the dispute with the entrance fee that discriminate expatriates that (legitimately) works and stay in Malaysia. The organisers agreed that it was only fair to allow the expats to sign up at the same rate as fellow Malaysians. Kudos to that!
Nice touch
I believe the organiser has won over a few support from the expats community that does local races. I personally know many of them and the sincerity of the organiser listening to the grouses was cookie point in my opinion. 
PayPal, Credit Card or Cash?
With the popularity of the Xterra branding being known by more people, with many not owning credit card or a PayPal account, the organiser has shown understanding by providing an option to register "offline and pay in cash". This was announced at the Xterra Facebook page on January 22, 2013.
No more excuse NOT to register
Extra Goodies
As Xterra involve offroad biking or more aptly known as mountainbiking, Xterra Malaysia has teamed up with Zero-To-Hero Zero2Hero to provide discounted prices on learning to ride a mountain bike the correct way. This was shared with me just two days ago by the organisers :


XTERRA MALAYSIA 2013 – SPECIAL DEAL!
To prepare for your dirty weekend of adventure and perform to your best, simply click on the link below to book your Mountain Bike Skills coaching day.  
For those who had already registered for this exciting event, you are now are entitle to register for a MAD day (Mountain Bike Adrenaline Day)!
Just enter the coupon code [ xterra1 ] and you will receive a MASSIVE XTERRA Family style discount! Pay only RM80 for a MAD day instead of the normal retail of RM299!
Be coached by the best Mountain Bike riders and coaches in Asia and lift your racing performance and skills to new levels
Now go and get DIRTY! 
Click on  www.zero2hero.asia  and register for your MAD (Mountain Bike Adrenaline Day) now!

Update: Read about my MAD here

Stay tuned to this blog as I bring you all more updates as the race organiser shares them with me. Race route? I was told it has already been identified and I could be one of those lucky one to be able to "test" the offroad section and feedback to all of you. 
Meanwhile - Keep training and getting dirty!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brooks PureDrift - Retiring Soon

I took the PureDrift for runs the past couple of days and pushes it through my normal/usual pace of training. Yesterday, I noticed that a tear at the upper mesh on the left side shoe has happened. This would usually mean that the shoe will start disintegrating as it is put through the running motion.
Noticed the hole (black)?
Upon closer inspection, The right big toe has shown sign of wear as well, with the inner white cloth lining giving way, making the shoe translucent with only the upper mesh holding it.
The toe box getting "thin"
 So, as of the last 6km run completed on January 21, 2013, the shoe has clocked 157miles.
My active "gears"
At 157miles or about 253km, the prediction that the shoe will end it's life was pretty accurate as predicted in this blog post here. In my opinion, The shoe could still be good for another 30km before the mesh starts to tear off more. I have every intention to give the PureDrift the "sending off" it truly deserves - by literally running it to it's last possible KM.
Minimalist
I am now a minimalist convert. I am not sure how I will react to cushioned shoe again. But I have a Brooks Ghost 5 waiting for me at home. Perhaps, the wiser choice would be to use the cushioned (and heavier) shoe as training shoe and the lighter minimalist as race shoe. That way, the mileage (not duration of inactivity) and lifespan of the shoe will be greatly extended. At RM399, PureDrift is not exactly cheap. But with Brooks constantly giving out vouchers from races and even the 30% discount on selected model, it becomes a bit more affordable.
If it is not because I am loving the Skechers GoBionic more, PureDrift, despite it's setback (blisters and durability), would had been my choice of minimalist racer.
Now, lets see how long more before the GoBionic retires.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sprinting For Distance Runners

Continuation from yesterday's posting on my suggested training schedule/routine, I am sharing another trick to help you tweak your workout a bit more - Sprinting for distance runners.
This might sound cliche, but why do distance runner need to "sprint"? The majority of distance runners I know concentrate mostly on distance (via long slow distance or LSD) and are often contented with a "good run".
Instead, why not make it a GREAT run?
Sprinting should not be mistaken as just a "faster paced" workout. Essentially, it is a "mini workout" by itself. Ever want to improve that 10km or 21km timing? Read on.
The Good of Sprint Training
I can very much vouch for what this "mini workout" has done for me for distance up to 21km. I dare not verify this for my 42km as I've not tried a 42km after realising the benefits of the sprint training. From what I experienced myself, sprinting while performing a run provided a few benefits.
Increased metabolism
A sudden spike in heart rate, coupled with increased coordination (breathing, arms swings, leg strides) activated a lot of smaller supporting muscle fibers and raises up your metabolism after the workout. As out load increases, the body will get accustomed to the workout, making weight control or weight loss to plateau. Throwing in a sprint (or three) will guarantee a good burn to the workout.
Better Efficiency
Ever wondered when you start running faster, everything around you moves slower? You are more aware of each movement as you grow more aware of the changes in motion, thus lending more efficiency to your run. try sprinting at sub 4:00 pace and suddenly you felt "slow" running a 5:00 tempo. Speed, as they say, is addictive.
Potential Injury Prevention
Sprinting aid in injury prevention by building and activating the supporting muscles in your legs. The body is a highly adaptive machine where it will reacts to physiological and physical changes. By constantly putting the body to an "uncertain" load, you will grow stronger and a stronger set of muscles would almost prevent you from injuring yourself. There are some literature pointing to injury prevention and exercises and suffice to say that as long as the injury/ies is/are not related to accident, it can be prevented or healing/recovery will be faster.
How To Do It
As it is a mini-workout, you can place these sprinting exercise into your run training. Apart from making the typical run good, it might just make it better.
Stride work
Towards the end of your run, say the final 500m, mentally divide 5x100m sprint. Start at moderate pace and sprint halfway through holding it for about 30meters and walk the last 20meters. Repeat.
Mid-run Surges
Instead of doing it at the end of the workout like stride-work, do this halfway. Mid-run surges involves running at maximum effort for up to 30seconds and continue to run at your workout pace and repeat up to 5 sets. A sample of it would be a tempo run at 5:00 and a quick sprint up to 4:00 pace for 30 seconds before slowing down to the 5:00 pace for a minute before bursting out again at maximal effort. Awesome.
Hill Sprint
Enough said, it is my favorite. I make my hill circuit part of my hill sprint workout as well. Find the steepest hill and sprint up for up to 8 seconds. Be prepared to have a few saliva-dripping moment as you feel your heart starting to jump out of it's cavity. Repeat up to 5 sets (5sprint x 8seconds). Walk/run slowly for a minute and repeat. I increase the sets and durations every week and currently I am at 10sets x 10 seconds. The hill I run is 1km long and provide good opportunity to break it down with 1 set at 500m each. The 10seconds allow me to cover no more than 60meter on a 10degree gradient hill. I know, I am a wuss.
Bottomline
Injecting sprint into your run will allow you to break away from the monotonous run that many of us fall victim to. The repeated same motion at same pace over the same route will not help with performance improvement and would likely to create some injury due to repetitive pounding. Changing the pace a little by adding in faster speed (such as sprinting) will help to break the monotony and in the longer run, help you finish the run much faster.
As with all exercises, please know your current health condition or get professional opinion to know your own limits before starting. Bear in mind that what I share here is good for me at my current fitness level. My training pace is 4:35min/km, which you can use it to benchmark against your own ability. Stay injury free!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Suggestion for Training : Run Routine

I've been diligently following my own training plan for the past 10 weeks. Having learnt about all the different type of Tempo run, Hill workout and the ever favourite HIIT. Coupled with the new found knowledge of finding and using Lactate Threshold, everything is falling into place now.
Only thing left now is to be better looking
As I've always believe in sharing and none of my trainings are "secret" and I call a-km, one km, you can try to use this and see if it works for you on a daily basis. Remember, I am a working parent tat has limited time for myself and many other things. My "workout" has always been restricted to what I can get to do between 30-70minutes on daily basis. It need to be "quality" rather than "quantity" and you be surprised that I hardly do any "distance" work unless I am specifically preparing for anything that needed it. The hardest part of all these is to fit in all 3-discipline in a week to make it a "triathlon"-centric training.
Building The Base
Running is the most basic fitness everyone should have. If you can run, you can basically do any sports. With that in mind, not many people actually put their time and effort into running - most citing that running is "not fun" or "painful". Here is the truth. I hate running.
I do.
And i need to run so i will learn to love it. So far, I still hate running.
Here is my (current) training routine. Feel free to copy and/or modify to your own fitness level.
Recap : Training Zone calculated from Lactate Threshold Heart Rate
Zone 1 (Recovery) Less than 85% of LTHR
Zone 2 (Aerobic) 85% to 89% of LTHR
Zone 3 (Tempo) 90% to 94% of LTHR
Zone 4 (Sub Threshold) 95% to 99% of LTHR
Zone 5a ( Super Threshold) 100% to 102% of LTHR
Zone 5b (Aerobic Capacity) 103% to 106% of LTHR
Zone 5c (Anaerobic) More than 106% of LTHR


Monday - Recovery Day

Training Zone : Zone 1
Estimated Distance : 5km
Time to completion : 45minutes
Average Pace : 6:30 to 7:30
It is an easy run with wifey while waiting for our daugther to finish class
Tuesday - Tempo Basic
Training Zone : Zone 3 and Zone 4
Estimated Distance : 8km
Time to completion : 45minutes
Average Pace : 4:45 to 5:30
It usually will start with a 3km run with the dogs at 5:30 before I leave them back home. I then finish the remaining 5km within 25minutes.

Wednesday - Easy Run
Training Zone : 1 and 2
Estimated Distance : 7km
Time to completion : 45minutes
Average pace : 7:30
This is a run I will do with my wife. The pace will change as her fitness level improves back again. The run is aimed to be her Tempo run.

Thursday - HIIT/ Tempo Race Pace

Training Zone : 4 and 5b
Estimated Distance : 5km/10km
Time to completion : 25minutes/50minutes
Average pace : 4:30
Alternate Slow-Fast speed over 1km-1km-800m-800m-400m-400m-200m-200m-100m-100m. I usually start at 4:45 pace and finishes at 3:45 pace.
If it is a Race Paced Tempo, it will be well, a race (against myself)

Friday - Recovery Run
Training Zone : Zone 1
Estimated Distance : 5km
Time to completion : 45minutes
Average Pace : 6:00 to 6:30
My recovery for today will be wifey's tempo day. This run is important or I would not be able to reap the maximum benefit from the planned workout on the weekend

Saturday -  Hill Tempo
Training Zone : Zone 5a to 5c
Estimated Distance : 10km
Time to completion : 50minutes
Average pace : 4:30 to 5:15
I will split this tempo into two sets of 5km each. It's Hammer Time.
Sunday - Hill Circuit
Training Zone : Zone 5a to 5c
Estimated Distance : 12km
Time to completion : 60minutes
Average pace : 5:30 uphill. 4:10 downhill.
Bukit Kiara will be the choice route. Guardhouse to guardhouse distance is 1km with elevation gain of
And the cycle repeats again on Monday. I keep things flexible with regards to the intensity of the workout depending on how i feel the night before. It is important to learn to read your resting heart rate after a hard workout and gauge from there if you are strong enough to push harder. Going through a workout half-heartedly (or with your heart busting out too early in the workout) is demerital and a waste of time (and potentially fatal if we fail to see the signs of overtraining).
One more thing to note, I cross train too. It is essential as it will allow the overused muscle some rest while we still can enjoy some exercise intensity. That is when the Swim and Biking comes in. It is also important to varies the surfaces you run, and that is why I run in the trails. My principle is the same - Get out. Do it. Get home. 
ps- you might wonder "where is the REST day?". My easy days are my rest day. I am training for potential ultra races and my mileage per week is close to 60km on the average. Not very high and the only way to get the body to "get accustomed" is to clock in mileages and slow recovery pace is good stuff too.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Triathlon Biking : To Roadie or to TT

Late last week, I posted something on swimming after realising that I keep getting questions about which strokes to use in the water. I noted that it is more important to keep moving. No doubt looking good is important, but no one will hardly see who you are, or how nice your new tri-suit are as you will be in the water. Then, the next burning questions among the newbies - Should I get a road bike or a triathlon bike?
"TT" and "Triathlon bike" term is used interchangeably in this blog entry. Some may argue they are similar, but not the same. Traditionally, a Triathlon bike has a 650C tires while a TT maintain a 700c tires. However, the popularity of the 650C were supersede with most Triathlon/TT bike becoming the same.
Before I make it more confusing, lets group TT and Triathlon bike to be the "same".
Differences Between The Two Horses
I will not delve into the material that are used to make the bikes and lets just assume that both the type of bicycle are made from the same material. Lets just assume both are carbons (since we are all carbon-envy folks anyway). So, apart from sharing the similar attributes like two-wheels (that is why it is not called a tricycle), a seat, a handlebar, a set of gears you can shift through, what separate the two bikes?
Road bike - typically with a curved handlebar
Geometry
The biggest difference between the two bikes is the frame geometry. The Triathlon bike moves the rider closer to the front while the roadbike sits you nearer to the back wheel. A Triathlon bike has a shorter top tube, which allow/compensate for the crouching aero position that the bike are built for.
Traditionally, the seat tube of a Triathlon bike is at 78 degree while a Road bike sits at 73 degree.
Crouching (slow) Dragon
I say "traditionally" as some Triathlon bike has a steep seat tube up to 80degree. So, essentially, the Triathlon bike moves you not only more to the front, but also on top of the bottom bracket. 
Wheelbase
Triathlon bike has shorter wheelbase. Meaning, the distance between the centre of one wheel to the other is shorter - giving the characteristic handling that many first timer would summarise as "twitchy". This is because every small movement is amplified due to the shorter distance. However, one would very quickly adjust and get used to this characteristic. A shorter wheel base too, allow for faster sprinting. Exactly what the bike was built for - speed. Road bike, on the other hand, is more forgiving as it allow for a more neutral handling. By the way, the "skinny" tires, they are nothing to be afraid of and it doesn't effect your balance on the bike as much as it will with you cycling drunk.
Handlebar
On the road bike, the traditional "racing handlebar" is a norm. The curved bar that allow for multiple hand placements and body positioning is superior compared to the two-position allowed on the triathlon bike handlebar. On the Triathlon bike, it is either your hands are on the aerobar (and gear shifters) or your hand is on the handlebar where the brakes are in a more upright position. And if you are going to ride the Triathlon bike in an almost upright position, it defeats the whole purpose of having the bike as you will not be in an aero-position.
Almost upright position when holding the brake extension on the Triathlon bike
Is That All The Differences?
The short answer is Yes. But the longer answer goes beyond just the frame geometry, Wheelbase and the handlebar. Because of the differences stated above, the Triathlon bike will have a few other characteristic that will not be noticed by a novice. For example, a shorter top tube and a lower head tube - both to accommodate the crouching aero position that would not be able to be achieved when riding a Road bike (yes, even with a clip-on aerobar installed on the curved bar of the Road bike). This is because rider who install the clip on aerobar will usually end up with too much distance between the saddle and the aerobar, stretching them in an uncomfortable and unsustainable aero position. Then, the higher head tube and the attached aerobar will add height and the rider will not be in the optimal position to reap benefit from the bike setup.
Noticed the more "behind" seating, more "upright position" and "higher"crouch on the Road bike fitted with clip-on aerobar?
And in any race, a comfortable and efficient position is very important. Unless you have trained sufficiently on the Triathlon bike and stay in the aero-position at least 90% of the whole training/race, you will not reap the maximum benefit of even having a Road bike fitted with aerobar. Yes, I have friends and some of you might beg to differ on my opinion here, but a Road bike fitted with a shorter stem, lowered (to minimal) headset and even with a "reversed seat post", will not be able to perform like a triathlon-specific bike. And yes, this is "rider" dependent too. 
The Triathlon Bike Advantage
It is a known fact that a triathlon specific bike will provide advantage on the Bike-Run transition. The seating and bio-mechanical position of the triathlon bike provides an advantage to the triathlon bike riders. Ian Garside and Dominic Duran, via their June 2000 study "Effect of Bicycle Frame Ergonomics on Triathlon 10km Running Performance" had test subjects performed a 40 kilometer time trial on a Road bike in a stationary trainer followed immediately by a 10 kilometer run on a treadmill. Later the same test subjects repeated the test protocol but used a Triathlon bike on the stationary trainer then transitioned immediately to the treadmill for the 10 kilometer run. Time savings for athletes running off the triathlon bike averaged a full 5 minutes time savings on the 10 kilometer run when they transitioned off a triathlon bike as opposed to transitioning off a road bike. Simply put, you could potentially run faster and more comfortably off a triathlon bike than a road bike. 
Bottomline
Road bike, Triathlon bike, Road bike, Triathlon bike, Road bike, Triathlon bike. Choices aplenty and it really depends on the type of riding you will mostly do. Triathlon bikes are best ridden on relatively flat and rolling hills route while Road bike would be much preferred for rides/races that has climbs. Road bike allow for high speed cornering and the "twitchy" handling of the Triathlon bike might not allow a confident cornering. 
It would be wiser to ride a Road bike if you often ride in groups as it will be safer to do so in a peloton. Having the aerobar sticking out and in a peloton could be potentially hazardous as crashes involving Triathlon bikes could results in serious injuries or death as the aerobars hit the cyclist in front. Same reason why triathlon races are mostly non-drafting. However, there is no real restriction during training or group ride should the aerobar be used except that we are fully aware of the implication of riding one fitted with such bars. Realistically, the ability to ride in a group using Triathlon bike (with note to the aerobar hazard) depends on the rider themselves rather than the bike. If you have the money to spare, perhaps getting one of each might just solve your problems. Just make sure you get a good bicycle shop and an experienced person to "fit you to the bike", else, all money spent would be wasted (on a badly fitted bike).
Good luck!
ps- i would like to apologise for not publishing any entry yesterday. Due to some unforseen circumstances, this post was delayed to today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Skechers GoBionic vs. Brooks PureDrift

I've been writing extensively on these two shoes within the past 10 weeks. It all started with the PureDrift being handed to me before it was scheduled for official launch and to date, I've clocked about 127miles or 204km in it. 
Brooks PureDrift
Following up from the last entry on Skechers GoBionic that I reviewed about two weeks ago. I went from 120km to 215km (as of January 14, 2013) on the GoBionic. The shoe averaged about 9km/run outing which is my typical run distance everyday. 
The main driver of this comparison review were because:
1. I've written that the PureDrift is "close to retirement" at 200km. Read on to find out why.
2. With the GoBionic clocking above 200km, this could be a good chance (before i clock in more mileage on the shoe) to compare how these two shoes are like - physically.
Here Goes
It is not a secret that I am part of the Brooks Frunners that (technically) will be given the new model from Brooks from time to time to review. It is also no secret that via Team 2ndSkin Asia, I am receiving Skechers shoes as part of the sponsorship package. I hope I've been giving honest review to assist your purchases because I know myself would appreciate first hand user experience before parting with my money. To start off, lets look at the similarity of both the shoes. They are, but not limited to (in case i missed out any, please point out):
  • lightweight. Both are sub 7oz shoes and you can "feel" it not being there when running
  • Zero drop aka minimalist (true for PureDrift if you remove the sockliner)
  • US brand - but both are made outside of US.
  • Has toe grooves which "facilitate toes flexing" - with one having more grooves than the other
  • cater for wider Asian feet (i wear a EEE wide working leather shoes)
  • Both are sold at the exact same recommended retail price - RM399
  • Both allow a sockless experience
PureDrift is my 6th pair of Brooks to date and GoBionic is my first Skechers. I was super excited with both. In fact, it hurt me to actually run that much in both of them. But in the name of review (and ensuring the companies that gave me the shoes, justice), These two shoes were my main choice for the past 10 weeks when running on the road - with fair exposure of both in races. So, after that many kilometers clocked, it all boils down to this entry as final comparison.
Wear And Tear
As I've tried very hard to land mid-foot and fore-foot in both the shoes, the heels somehow still takes a beating. I suspect it is the run downhill that cause the heelstrikes. Both shoes showed consistent wear on my left foot, which more or less confirmed that one of my leg is lazier/longer/can't adapt to midfoot strike. Consistent wear on my left heel.
Both the left heel. Red is GoBionic. Yellow is PureDrift
While the photo of the left heel possibly showed the GoBionic to be more "damaged", a closer inspection of the PureDrift showed more extensive wear on the heel. Take note of the black portion where the hexagonal shape were well worn-off and level with the yellow portion. Not to forget the Brooks logo too, almost smoothed out saved for the inner part of the heel. Correspondingly, the right heel of both shoes too showed equal wear on the heel. 
To the right, to the right...
Moving on to the midfoot/forefoot portion of the shoes, they both showed consistent wear on the front portion. If I want to be anal about it, the PureDrift actually stood up to the abuse a bit better in this department. However, I am not sure if it is because I compensated more with heel strikes instead. The photo below shows you the thickness of the black portion of PureDrift and you will get the idea how much was shaved off at the left heel (photo above)
Striking it right where it should
Moving on the the top portion of the shoe, I must say my disappointment with PureDrift as it showed sign of damages on the side where my small toes were (both side of the shoes). There is a very thin white lining behind the top layer that has worn off, making that part of the shoe to be translucent. Sad, but true.
Noticed the PureDrift damage?
Looking at the photo above, you can see why GoBionic did not suffer the same fate. Having thicker top (and yet, maintained the overall weight to be lighter than PureDrift), it prevented the wear at the small toe area. 
On the PureDrift, the white part is essentially a layer of thin cloth behind the yellow grid. The yellow grid is held together by fine mesh. Now that the white cloth is worn-out, the fine mesh is now threatening to tear off. Once that happens, it is the end of the shoe's life - which was my main reason for the retirement statement.
Can you see my (brown) finger behind the mesh?
Closer view of the mesh
I have also found the cause of my blister when wearing PureDrift. There is a layer of thicker white cloth surrounding the toe box from inside. Looking at the photo above, you can see the different density of white matters behind the yellow grid and mesh.
On the GoBionic, there doesn't appear to have any wear and tear issue on the upper portion of the shoe. In fact, despite the boring color, the shoe looked like new.
One would think I never used it
The only con on the GoBionic is perhaps the sole not being able to outlast the top. But that is expected with Minimalist shoes. I've pegged both the shoe to not last more than 250km; perhaps 300km if I am lucky. But from the look of it, the PureDrift could only last the next couple of run before it starts to tear off (at the small toe) and the GoBionic will start losing grip at the heel within the next 50km of hill run (and heel strikes).
Comfort
I have to give it to GoBionic. I have no blisters in the 6 weeks i used them. Not a single one. That alone is a win. PureDrift started to give me consistent blisters at the same spot as the first usage and I could not run without socks anymore. GoBionic allowed me to do (sockless) so and return no blisters. Fitting wise, GoBionic are more true to the size with PureDrift being more generous with the space in the toebox. I would really suggest you bring a long your usual run socks to try the shoes before buying. Go in the afternoon or evening after your feet has swelled up. As always, avoid buying/testing shoes in the morning as the feet will not be at it's full expansion.
Bottomline
It is a fair comparison in my opinion. Both shoes performed as it should and when it should. But as they say - all good things will come to an end. I only wish that they won't "end" before 250km. If it does, the ROI would be RM399/250km = RM1.60/km. A typical full support/cushioning trainer will last a good 500km at about the same price (but at 3oz heavier) giving a ROI of 80sens/km. I know it is silly to compare it this way - but hey, we are all weekend warriors and are careful with our spending (are we? Running events aren't getting cheaper nowadays ;-)). From a consumer point of view, it is important to buy these with our eyes wide open and knowing what is to be expected - but if you are like me and clock an average of 50km/week running, do think a bit harder; or maybe you will have better luck compared to have the shoe lasting longer than I experienced. As impartial as I may want to sound, my money goes to Skechers GoBionic, if i have to buy my next pair.
Performance Shoes. That, i have to agree with both.
Expect another one (or two) update as the shoe comes to their end of life. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bukit Kiara : Running The Trails Less Visited

It started with a Whatapps message from a running friend asking if a trail run is planned (last) Sunday. Knowing that he will be tapering for the HK100 race, I thought it will be good to have another catch up session with him. And by that, i meant i have to "catch up" with him running. He is fast and strong, but yet humble and unknown among the usual running community.
"What if we run the longest trail on Kiara? I haven't tried that", Bud asked
Immediately, Kampung came to my mind.
Problem is, the last time i went into Kampung was almost forever ago.
This puppy taste good stewed, King said
And even that, it was on MTB where things move relatively faster and I was following someone's back wheel. It will be a challenge figuring out which direction to go once i passed the last junction before Peak 1 (the top of Twin Peak). But of course, having the trusty KLMBH website and the link to the magical trail map done by Pat  and Joe Adnan, sort of solved part of the worry.
Disclaimer - the post was up since 2002...
So, armed with an 11-years old trail map and a high potential of ending up where we least expected, a time was set for the trail run. The plan was to run towards Mont Kiara/Segambut Dalam and turn back. It should give a decent 7 or 8km one way. Sounds easy.
This Was What Happened
As it was a rather last minute thing and I was unsure of the trail, i extended the invitation to another friend, Mon, and he was game. Adding another person into the run would be fun. At 7am, we were all at our designated pick up point. A quick chat and introduction between all of us - myself, Bud, Mon and Mon's friend, Azhar and we were off. The plan was to run up Lung Buster towards Twin Peak and turn off at the last junction heading to Segambut Dalam. There was no issues the first 2km. In fact, it was smooth sailing (as it was a familiar route for all of us), until i hesitated on the (correct) junction and got the team lost as we emerge at the Peak 1. Backtracked and turned right (from Peak 1) to the junction. We ran down and came to a cross junction that was marked in the map. I made the biggest mistake in map-reading by assuming I know where I should go and turned right, only to find ourselves running to the bottom of "TNT/Dirty Deeds". That meant we ran Pure Quill. Haha. Never mind as that 700m was treated as additional mileage as we backtracked and was finally on the right track. As we went down "Janie's Addiction", we came to the part where the fences were left open. The view from that side was much better than the usual lookout point.
Hot Sweaty Men in Tights and Shorts - Women, swoon!
Here is how the view looked like without the good looking men.
Alamak...lense covered with sweat!
We ran past the fencing and ran straight on. The trail was a bit unmaintained at certain section with undergrowth. But it was run-able. In fact, by trail standard, we were doing a 5:45 pace at that section. As we ran past the top of Peak 2, we bumped into a rubber tapper. We asked for direction and he told us to turn right if we want to head to Mont Kiara/Segambut Dalam (via "Boner") or go straight for Kepong. We turned right initially and decided - Hey, why not just head towards Kepong? After all, according to him, we've not past the Penchala Tunnel, yet. It was only later we found out that we actually already did crossed the tunnel. We continued the run and head to a very familiar route (by my memory) and I instantly remember this to be the "Clenched Sphincters". Tight turns going downhill that even while running down gave us some thrills maneuvering around the trees. Mid-way down, we bumped into two young men. Found out that they came from Desa Park City (DPC).
Being chased by Bud and Mon
We continued to run down this trail and reached a fork. An arrow was hammered into a tree, and it points to the right. Defiantly, we went straight ahead...and (as i read the trail map now) found that we were going down "Lightning Ridge". Yeap, the route that was steeper going down was characteristic of that. Then, we ended up at a dead end with a 10 feet drop. That, upon closer inspection (today), it was the "Caution, Large Drop"
Right...How did I not see this during the run?
We decided to backtrack, sadly, taking the same route we came from. I took my phone out and run the EasyTrail Apps and found out that we were already almost at the edge of the trail with NKVE right ahead of us and DPC beyond it.
Large climb back up again
As we continued our run back to familiar trail, we had better visual of how the trails around us looked like and it should allow us better navigation when we return in the near future. As we got back to the cross junction, we ran through "Pure Quill" (which has road clearance big enough to allow a truck to drive through), down "Dirty Deeds" and continued on "Snake & Ladder" before emerging back at the lower portion of Twin Peaks. Then it started drizzling.
Orbs!
Unfazed, we went into 2K loop and ran after a group of Mountain Bikers. This 2K is like my drugs. It is fast and 100% runnable. I believe I did a sub 3:50min/km pace here, again. Looking at the time, we had a bit more"10 minutes" and decided to return via 4K loop and Magic Carpet. By then, it started to pour and the rain was penetrating the secondary jungle canopy
Speedy Gonzales
And the inevitable happened, I got lost, again, entering 4K only to exit at the other end of Magic Carpet. Haha, too distracted taking photos. But the team took it as an opportunity for more mileage as we ran Magic Carpet and exit at the tarmac near the water tank. Then, it was a short 200m before entering the trail and heading back to the park. 12km was completed in (moving time) 1:30. Total time taken was 2:10 with the differences either taking a break or trying to figure out if we should jump down the cliff at the side that we got stuck.
Next round, I promise I won't lead the team and get lost again. :D Who want to come along?
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