Monday, February 28, 2011

Hmm...

I've said it before; once I'm bored, I start doing lists. So for today, I decided to make a list of cool things I found that would be neat to own. Hehe!
  1. GoPro HD Hero. It's a camera for action sports. With an assortment of mounts, you can mount it anywhere to get that awesome footage. The HD Hero model shoots in 1080p videos and 5mp pictures. Impressive considering it's just this small little thing. P/S; the camera is mounted on the helmet. You don't get a free helmet (nor goggles) with the purchase of the camera. Hehe!

  2. A cyclocross bike. Cyclocross is sometimes written/typed as CX. They look identical to road bikes with the drops bars and all but they're actually built to go off-road. Pretty neat concept. Hehe. If you notice the bike in the picture below has drop bars and rather thin tires, reminiscent of a road bike.

  3. Some ring I found on this website called Novica and it looks like a Jaguar. The animal, not the car. It's a really nifty looking thing. I like that the ring has features all around. Not just on top. And also, it's not you standard band nor is it the standard one-stone-on-top-with-engravings-all-around-it kind of ring.
3 things that I think would be pretty cool to have. Hehe. Hmm. I wonder if I should squeeze another list here? What the heck, why not. I think this time I'll write about things I want to be able to do one day, and I'll work to it. Almost like a set of goals.
  1. Build my own bike. As in buy the frame I want, the components I want and build it from the ground up. That would be awesome. Although, I would either need to learn how to assemble a bike first or find somewhere I can get it assembled. Though I really want to be able to participate actively in the assembly rather than just sit there and watch a bunch of bike technicians put together my dream steed.
  2. Study engineering in the US. Mechanical engineering, specifically. I don't know why, but materials engineering really interests me.
  3. Visit my foster-grandparents in Canada. Lue (my foster grandmom) visited us late last year and it would be really nice to be able to go visit them.
  4. Ride the trails in Downieville, California, and in Whistler, British Columbia. Ah, mountain biking heaven. Oh, and Ray's Indoor Mountain biking Park in Milwaukee. Hehe! I know, you're thinking, "Indoors? I thought mountain biking was about being OUTdoors?", and you are correct up to that extent. You must remember, though, winter can be harsh. Besides, you gotta try everything once, eh? Well, almost everything.
  5. Bungee jumping. Hehe!
  6. Not forgetting the most important of all; enjoy life.
Hehe.

I think hat's all. Au revoir.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why I Ride

Looking back, mountain biking, particularly XC, is sadism at it's finest. During the race you feel your spirit breaking, you want to cry and give up yet you keep motivating yourself, "I want to finish this, I want to finish this," and you do. You don't win, but you did finish where many others pulled out. You're body is aching, and you feel like collapsing. At the same time, once you cross that finish line, you're like, "I actually did it," and you look at the expressions of those who didn't finish it and you feel a mix of joy and pain. Days after that, after you've recovered and gotten back in the saddle, you think, "I can't wait for the next race."

It's borderline stupid but it's addictive. That feeling when you're atop the hill and you know you pedalled and struggled your way up. You didn't take some big 4x4 and wreck the environment to get the view. You broke a sweat, you swore, you struggled, and when you make, it's that much sweeter. Pure, sweet hell. And you want to do it again.

Events like Downhill, Dirtjump, Freeride, etc take lots of guts, a pair of titanium balls and skill. The adrenaline rush is amazing. But it's not the same as the strange, addictive sadism of Cross Country riding.

On those crazy climbs, your legs are burning, your lungs are burning, your mouth is dry, you can feel your lips cracking & your heart is racing at a thousand miles an hour. As you approach the top, it just gets harder and you seem to be travelling at an increasingly slower pace. Once you've hit the top, however, that's when the rolling hills start and you look forward to that next climb.

It's that feeling of "I can do it" and the sense of triumph when you reach the top that makes XC riding so addictive.

Kencana-SIC Bikeathon

Some of you may have read on Facebook that I participated in a race this past Sunday on February 20th, 2011. It was an all-day event consisting of one mountain bike event -- called the Jamboree --, and 3 road bike events -- called Criterium races. The Jamboree was the first event of the day and was scheduled to start and 10. Riders were to be at the starting grid by 9:45 a.m.

Alright, before you go on, I'm going to rant about the flaws of the event before the good part. So if you want to skip the bad, go to paragraph 7 (not counting this paragraph & the one above).

By 9:30, there were still around 30 people who hadn't received their race number and transponders. No, it's not that so many people showed up, overwhelming the organizers. It was the sheer inefficiency of the organizer's themselves. In short, the registration was an absolute mess. The counters weren't properly labelled, the chain of command was all over the place, there was hardly anyone in charge & the way they split the counters was ridiculous.

For example, there were 4 counters; 2 for registration (let's call them Counters #1 & #2), 1 for payment (Counter #3), 1 for collection of race number & transponder (Counter #4). Sounds simple? That part is. Now stay with me, Counters #1 & #2 were split such that Counter #1 handles group as well as individual registrations. Counter #2 handles individual registrations ONLY. And there was only a small label on the counter you could only see once it was your turn. So for those who wanted to do group registration but ended up in the individual registration line would've obediently waited until his/her turn came only to be told that he was in the wrong line.

Counter #3 was smooth, duh. All you did was pay up RM30 per event. Counter #4 is where the trouble begins. After standing in line for 10 minutes, only 3 people had collected their race number & transponder. There was another 7 people in front of us & about 20 behind us. And the line was growing almost literally by the minute. At 9, we still hadn't moved so the organizers asked those participating in the Jamboree to step aside & form a new line, presumably we would get priority because our event started in 45 minutes and there were A LOT of us. 2 minutes later, we're asked to go back in line. So everyone lost their spot. Nice going. That was still bearable, though.

They did it a 2nd time. This time, they left us standing there like idiots for 20 minutes. No one at the counter, NO ONE said ANYTHING. We were standing IN A LINE facing the bloody counter for 2o minutes & no one bothers asking, "Excuse me, why are you guys standing there?"

Not a fucking soul.

Everyone bitterly went back in line. Luckily for me, my dad was in line because he had to collect the race number & transponder for the Criterium races the rest of my family would be participating in. After talking to some of the regualr participants of the event, they said this was the case every year. That makes 3 years in a row. Nice going. The only reason some people bear with it & come back is because you get to win free F1 tickets if you win any event. As well as cash. The kids got RM300 for 1st place but I'm not sure how much the adults stand to win.

-Deep Sigh-. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I can tell you about the fun part. Hehe!

The Jamboree was a 42km event broken into 3, 14km laps. Each lap starts at the start/finish line on the circuit, goes in the opposite direction than the F1 races, exits after the first bend behind the stands, goes into the ring road around Sepang International Circuit before leading up a climb into the oil palm estate. By the time you get there, your legs are already burning after the massive climb. The initial off road part allows you to regain your breath before dumping you into a steep & sketchy descent. You exit and reenter the plantation once. During the reentry, you're faced with this steep, straight climb. It must've been like a 45 degree incline. I never made it pedalling. Heh heh. That was a confidence bruiser. At least almost no one else did. After that is a fast, rough off double track till the ring road again where you reenter the circuit. In the circuit, you have to go all the way around, doing virtually the whole lap back to the start/finish line. Repeat another 2 times. Hehe!

Overall the off road part was a ton of fun. For me, it was the circuit that was the real killer. Fuh. Anuar Manan, local cycling hero was also there! I managed to take pictures with him! He also joined the jambore. That guy is fast. On the 3rd lap, me and several other riders were told that a winner was already crowned so if we wanted to, we can double back to the track or push on. About 6 of us decided to. For me, the final section on the circuit leading to the finish line was pure hell. Sweet, pure hell.

As I wrote earlier, Anuar Manan was there. He participated in the Jamboree as well as under the Men's Open category for the Criterium. He's one strong and fast rider. Clinched 6th place for Jamboree and 2nd for the Criterium. A friend of ours, Ijad also did both but he couldn't finish the Men's Open. It's exhausting.

Ijad, my brother, Anuar Manan, & myself

Halfway through the Men's Open Criterium, Tun Dr. Mahathir came to watch. He came and stood at the pit stop with everyone else to watch the riders zip by. It was amazing to see him. All of us managed to shake his hand. My mom even managed to take a picture with him.

All in all, I rate the event as average. The races are awesome but in terms of event management, a lot is left to be desired.

That's all for now, au revoir.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

251st Post!!

I would have done this one my 250th post but I didn't notice that it was the 250th. Heh heh. My bad.

Anyway, I recently bought a book. Finally, a book. Hehe. I'm an avid reader & as I was browsing through MPH Subang Parade last weekend, I realized it's been a while since I read a book that I wanted to. The latter part of last year many of us had our noses buried in reference books, text books, notes we took down during class, etc, gearing up for SPM. Now it was time I got something I wanted to read.

I've always been intrigued by mystery novels; the Hardy Boys, Famous Five, etc. So I got one. Want to guess what book I got? I'll give you a hint.


Look familiar? I'm sure it pretty is. Yep, I got myself a copy of 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Somehow, despite being a fan of mystery books, I had never read any of Sherlock Holmes' Adventures. Sure, I've heard of some of his stories but never actually read them. It's a nice book. I really like it. It's from Collins Classic and the language is old English. Really sounds nice. Kind of hampering my reading speed but hey, I have time. I'm taking my time reading it, enjoying the stories.

On a different note, I'm currently training & gearing up for 2 races. The first is going to be next Sunday -- 2oth February 2011 -- and is called the Kencana-SIC Bikeathon



I'll be racing in the Junior Open Category & it's 5 laps x 5++km. So roughly about 25km. For the F1 aficionados, they will know that SIC stands for Sepang International Circuit. Yes, the race will be held on the actual circuit. I think I'll enjoy this one very much.

The next race I'll be participating in is called the Token Bikezooka Series.


It's more like a tournament because there are 4 races & you will earn points for each race. What's unique about this event is that the riders are not sorted by age but by skill. Therefore, at the end of each leg, it will be decided which rider goes into which category. Throughout the series, it is possible to be promoted/demoted to higher/lower categories depending on how you perform. There is of course, certain criterion that needs to be fulfilled before that happens.

Like I said, there will be 4 races. 3 of which will be Cross Country or XC and the other one will be a 4-hour endurance! Woohoo! I know that this is your most likely expression;

O_O

Definitely need to train as well as get to know the track. Looking forward to all the races.

Tomorrow, Weii Syuen is having a gathering at Domino's D'Bayu. Glad my parents said I can go. Yaay!

Hmm. What else? Oh right, before I forget. This Saturday, I'll be picking up my 'L' license! Kind of nervous. Heh heh. Insyallah I'll be alright. My mom had booked for us to watch a performance by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra! It's going to be the night show thus very formal. Good thing I found my dad's old blazer hanging in one of the closets in my granddad's house. My granddad had it made for my dad when he -- my dad -- was my age. And it fits like it was tailored to me. I really take after my dad in terms of build.

That's all for now, au revoir.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jules Verne's Birthday, Downhill at a Quarry, and a New Store in D'Bayu!

Today is Jules Verne's birthday! Well, he was born on February 8th 1828 which means that if he was alive, he would be 183 years old. Whew. Who is Jules Verne? Probably, his most renowned work would be 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A good book. Considering that at the time, submarines didn't exist, quite visionary. He is one of 3 people to be dubbed 'The Father of Science Fiction'. The other two authors are H.G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback.

But, why am I writing about this? Well, it's because Google came up with a really neat header for their search engine. They often do this in conjunction with important events & dates. I snipped it & here is the header;


Pretty nifty, no? Hehe.

Anyway, yesterday, my brother & I shot a video at the abandoned quarry near our house. The last time we did was a very short one, and it was only one clip. This time around, we took several videos & pictures & I made a short clip out of it. It's my first video, and I'm rather proud of it. Hehe. I think it's about a minute or so. Hope you enjoy!




Today, I swung by the new bike store in D'Bayu. It's called enDurance Cycles & Sport. Very nice store. I was surprised -- and ecstatic -- when I found out that they carry Polygon bikes! Hehehe! Not too many bikes just yet. They're only into their 2nd week of business. Hopefully one day, I'll be able to get both the front and rear mudguards. That would look so wicked on my bike. Or at least just the front. Hehehe! Tomorrow, I'm going to go get my bike fixed. While shooting the video above, my rear disc brake rotor clipped a rock and now it's kinda bent. Not outrightly noticeable visibly but yeah, bent. It's serious enough that I need to get it looked at pronto.

Sorry if you found this post uninteresting and not of any interest. Hehe.

I guess that's all for now. Au revoir.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

No Longer Green.

Flawless!!

Random? Not quite. Bear with me here for a while.

Today, we went to Alamanda, Putrajaya and got a Lowepro camera bag for Akid. It was a Flipside200. Awesome bag. Compact and sturdy. Not to mention perfect for cycling because it's a backpack.

After buying a few supplies at Cold Storage, including chips, pita bread, canned tuna, and mayonnaise -- among others -- we had lunch at Taman Warisan nearby. Awesome local food. They have a Satay Kajang Haji Samuri outlet there so we ate there. We had some daging (beef), ayam (chicken), arnab (rabbit), perut (stomach, which only my parents ate), and rusa (venison). Hehe! The venison was a bit tougher than beef and I couldn't really tell the rabbit apart from the chicken. Heh. I'm a horrible food critic.

Putrajaya Challenge Park was next on the agenda after lunch. 8D. At PCP, we changed into our shorts and jerseys, unloaded the bikes, put on our helmets and sunglasses, and started the warm up climb to the trail head. We only did the Core Green Loop because none of us had totally mastered it. Yet. After doing the loop, I told Akid to walk back into the trail and take pictures as I came down the downhill switchbacks. Hehe! Mama took some good pictures herself.

I had been itching to give my dad's bike a go on the XC loops of PCP so I did. I tackled all 4 legs in one go. It was a blast. My dad's Specialized Hardrock Pro climbs like a freaking mountain goat. All the climbs I had difficulty with on my bike, I could do on my dad's bike. Of course, being used to a full-suspension and my dad's being hardtail, it was a bumpy ride. But hey, that's mountain biking. I had a blast riding my dad's bike! The last leg for was the hardest part for me the last time I went to PCP. I had difficulty with the downhill switchbacks on the last leg. This time around, I was able to do them flawlessly. -cue applaud-. XD. Just kidding. It did feel good, though to be able to do those switchback descents without skidding or crashing.

Tomorrow we plan to ride GCE. Woohoo!

Please don't rain.

Au revoir.