Monday, February 02, 2015

International Rembau Century Ride 2015 Race Report

My first race for 2015 and it was the Rembau Century Ride 2015. With lesser exposure and time allowed riding on the road due to work and safety concerns, rides like these are a good opportunity to "go out and sweat". Add the purchase of a new TT bike, it's only fair that I let the bike have some fun as well.
The registration was completed late last year and the race kit collection was completed a week before the race. it was very well coordinated with the organiser ready to provide all the information needed. With no plans for staying over at Seremban for the ride, I car pooled with Hin Toong and drove down at 4.30am in the morning of the race. Prior to this, an arrangement to be part of the Old Putera (OP) team was done and I can't say no to camaraderie and some OP-styled banters. We arrived at the RV point (location not to be reviewed for national security reasons) which was close to the starting point - about 1.5km away.
Thank you OP Syed Azlan for the pic
The funny thing about Rembau Century Ride is we do not ride into Rembau or passed it, but rather, we ride around it. I guessed the novelty about this is that the current Sports and Youth Minister, En. Khairy Jamaludin is the MP for Rembau, and he will be officiating the ride. Kudos to him for coming on time and walked (without bodyguard) amongst the riders to the front podium to flag us off. I guess there is where his charms lie being a public figure and still not very arrogant about it.
Some of the OPs that took part. Thanks OP Syed Azlan for the pic.
The ride started with me being at the back of the pack. I've always jittery riding in a big group as there will always be chances of crashes when one of two lapse concentration while riding in the peloton. As I am very much training alone, I felt more comfortable to ride solo or with a friend or two which I am comfortable with. The ride started without much delay and just 2km into the ride, a rider was seen on the road side, believed to had slided under the uneven road. I was pacing with a few friends until circa KM20 when the cable tie holding my torpedo bottle (strapped to the stem and my TT handlebar) snapped. I have two choices, finish up the Hammer HEED and don't use it for hydration in this race OR find a quick solution to secure the bottle and still use this. The first option wasn't viable as I do not want to waste the HEED, so I went hunting for strings to secure the bracket. I found it by a road side stall selling fresh produce.
Somewhere at KM24,  Ayer Kuning
Crude as it seen, but it did the job for the remaining of the ride with no issues. have to make mental note to bring additional cable tie to fix anything loose next time around.
After the ride, back home
As the ride went into the 30km mark, immediately after the turn off towards Linggi at Kampung Kundur, headwind and crosswind started to blow with the participants. As with all wind, I would had thought this is momentary and would subside within the next 2 to 3 km. However, it seems that the wind refused to go off. I begin to notice many immediately in front of me slowing down as they were fighting headwind. Even myself in the aero position was having a struggling with the oncoming wind. With the deep dish (100mm back and 80mm front), I was being pushed left and right due to the crosswind. It continues all the way until CP1 circa KM45 - and it continues pretty much the whole way. The crosswind and headwind became the highlight of the race.
Below is my take on Nutrition (fuel and hydration), bike setup and actual effort riding the race.
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful. What i aimed to achieve in the ride was to fine tune my hydration, fuel and electrolytes. I started the race with 3 bottles of Hammer HEED, each 750ml and with 2.5 scoops of HEED, providing up to 800kcal for up to 3hours of ride.
I timed my fuel at 45-50minutes interval with each time a pack of Hammer Gel (each 90kcal), and this provide me up to 200kcal of fuel every 45-50minutes in combination with the HEED. Going by the guidance of 1/3 of your kcal consumption, I got it spot on.
prepared 7 packs of gel, consumed 4 only.
The tummy wasn't bloated and I did not have any instances of bonking, or near bonking - no simple sugar were consumed = no sugar spike =  no sugar crash = no bonk. I supplement the fuel with 2x Endurolytes and 1xAnti Fatigue (precious as I am running out of these, even whole country!). In addition to these, I took 1 banana from CP2 and decided that a sip of gassy electrolyte soda given out were too sweet/gassy for my linking. I am glad I skipped that! I now believe I've gotten my fuelling plan very near to what I need and will perhaps include 1 Perpetuem tablet (30kcal each) per hour as insurance.
As for hydration, I stick to the planned 750ml/hour and top up with water at CP2 and CP4. In all, I consumed close to 2.5liters of liquid and a pee-stop confirmed I was well hydrated with the urine color to be pale yellow.
Bike setup
This is the longest I've taken the Boardman AiR9.8 TT for a ride. With the recent upgraded seat to ISM Prologue, changes to the aeropad from old aircon pad to Fizik aero-gel, I did not have any issue with any aches during and after the ride. Correct sizing and fitting as advised by Hee Hong Cycle, I now appreciate the money I've spent on the new frame. Compared to the Ironman races I've done with the older oversized Ordu (I still misses her sexy curves), the Boardman were heaven and hell in comparison when it comes to comfort and power transfer.
I felt pro. Thanks Ray Lee for the capture. 
I brought along one tubular and two CO2 catridges in case of puncture. Total weight without rider was approximately close to 13kg (bike alone about 9kg). I am now 71.5kg and still looking for the best power-to-weight ratio for sustained effort. The Boardman AiR TT is a very very stiff and responsive bike. There was a few times that I gave the bike a "go". Picking up from my Garmin Connect ride details and looking at the few "speed spike", assisted by average of 2m drop in descent (which you won't feel over a 1km distance, as an example), I went from 38.7km/h to 56km/h within 900m distance at the expense of heart rate spike of about 13bpm (140 to 153).  Elevation differences were about 4m in the 900m. This Boardman AiR 9.8TT is a speed machine and it seems I am the hindrance for the bike to go even faster! Time to upgrade the crank perhaps for better efficiency?

How hard did I work
With the Garmin 920xt paired with the heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor, I had a very good information of my effort in data form. Of course if I had a power meter, I would had been more efficient with the ride. The ride was done 95% using the 53 crank (large crank) and only dropped to the smaller 39 when the headwind get really nasty. My spinning cadence was average of 79rpm and it was near my typical training cadence as well. I now really appreciate the amount of time I spent on the trainer to relearn muscle memory. My average HR were 138bpm or about 74% of my max HR 186bpm). From Garmin Training Effect (TE) perspective, it was a 2.8TE effort, which translate to my Zone 3 Tempo pace (Joe Friel for cycling based on my LTHR of 150bpm) - hardly pushing and comfortably "hard".
Why is this important? As an endurance athlete that does Swim, Bike and Run, it is important to be able train myself to be efficient with body fuel usage and muscle stress and loading.
HammerOn. Thanks Ray Lee!
Full Garmin Connect Data
Race Pros and Cons
- very well organised from registration to race day itself. Organiser should be commended for the super fast open communication on my queries.
- Nice route for a 160km easy ride. Flat route made challenging due to the headwind and crosswind (is it always that windy in the inland of Negeri Sembilan???)
- Kudos to the organiser for engaging the Polis, Fire Department and volunteers that manned 80% of junctions and intersections. The 10% were on very less traffic area and pose no concern for the riders. The next 10%, see below.
- While the water stations were sufficient, the last water station circa KM130 ran dry of water and food. Slower rider may have to buy their own at petrol stations or grocery stores.
- Section at Tanjung Ipoh were highly trafficked. Cars zooming very closely and this was where the dangers lie. I was almost sideswipe as one car pulled too close for comfort. I managed to avoid crashing due to experience and knowing how my bike behave. Otherwise, it may turn ugly. This 10% section or approximate 20km that runs from Tampin to last water station was very busy with traffic. Even the local say this road turns into a highway on weekend.
- Lunch served could had been better thought off - simple buns and ice cold water would be a big win instead of the rice box or noodles that was served as they have high chances of going bad under the hot morning/afternoon. 
- There was no finishing experience. For those crossing the line in their first Century Ride...there was no fanfare, no one to greet you and no one to tell you where to go. 

Thank You
To my team, 2ndSkin and the collaborators Garmin Malaysia, Hammer Nutrition Malaysia, Kraftfit, Lifeline-ID and Skechers (I was wearing a socks from Skechers), thank you, and to Hee Hong Cycle for the Boardman AiR 9.8 TT support too. 

Gratitude to the Old Putera Team of cyclists and supporters for doing the internal coordination and flawless support, the organising committee and all volunteers that has made the race a good experience. 

And thank you for the awesome headwind and crosswind, that added color to the ride!

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