Monday, December 31, 2012

2013

So, 2012 is coming to a close. It sure doesn't feel like a year has gone by... This uear has definitely been an exciting, full of triathlons, committee events & adventures. :D

Naturally, it is sad that the year is coming to a close. But, next year has more adventures in store!

New year's resolutions... Hmm... Well, last year's resolutions were only partly met... :\

So this year, nothing special; keep up grades, get accepted to a school in Canada, etc.

Perhaps, try a century ride before I leave Malaysia. I would also love to do the World Championship Distance for XTERRA Malaysia in April.

Just a short post this time around. Can't come up with more substantial posts at the moment. Heh heh.

On a different note, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Which Side of the Argument is True?

In light of the recent horrific shootings in Connecticut, I've been observing some debate amongst social media users regarding gun laws in the United States.

Some are saying for people to always have their firearm loaded & on their persons, the younger the better, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, some are calling for either stricter laws or outlawing guns altogether.

In my opinion based on what I've seen in the media (which may be biased/lopsided/etc), as well as during the recent Presidential Elections, the community demanding gun laws stay is rather powerful.  It was one of the topics of debate during the elections & if I recall correctly, neither candidate did much about it.

Given the number of shootings that are happening recently, I think, no wait. I don't think, something NEEDS to be done about the gun laws.  Do I feel guns should be outlawed outright? Honestly, yes.  Is it feasible?  Probably not.  There will be resistance, issues about black market and/or illegally obtained firearms, etc.  In my opinion, each citizen should be allowed only ONE sidearm.  I say this because I'm taking into consideration that there will be those who want to own firearms for personal safety.

At the same time, the protocols and process to obtain said firearm should be strict.  Continuous psychological assessments every 2-3 months, compulsory weapons training sessions every 6 months.  On top of that, each person owning a firearm should be only allowed one full clip of ammunition.  There should be a stamp card system whereby they are only allowed to buy more after 4 months.  No stamp card, no sales.  Any purchases with the stamp card in between those 4 months should come with a hefty premium.

All these steps sounds complicated but let's face it, how many times will a person who truly buys a gun for personal protection fire their gun?  When they do, how many rounds do they actually shoot?  Not too many, I imagine.

For those that want to go hunting, yes, they can buy those but no ammunition allowed outside the shooting range and or hunting grounds.  I'm not sure how the hunting season goes but if there isn't, there should be a booth outside designated hunting grounds where hunters are allowed say 2 clips of ammunition & are required to turn in every unused round.  Extra ammunition may be bought but at a higher price & again, unused rounds returned.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Putrajaya International Triathlon 2012

So I did the Putrajaya International Triathlon last weekend.  It was a rather last minute event so not many people signed up.  Personally, I was skeptical about how well I would do as I hadn't been able to properly train for the past month or so, juggling school work, committee work and finals.

Crossing the line in an unofficial time of 2:07:11, I was pretty happy.  Seeing as I'd never done such distances back to back compounded by the lack of training, I actually performed better than I did at Desaru.  Unfortunately, the rest of the field was rather experienced and I came in around the bottom quarter. :(

My only issue with the course was the cycle route.  Why go on the highway?  Putrajaya has a very complete motorcycle lane system.  Why didn't the organizers use that?  They really should have.  On top of that, there were no signs and not enough marshals so at times, we were winging it, hoping they would place marshals at crucial exit points.  But at the most crucial point, the exit to get off the highway & back to the venue, there was no marshal.  Some riders only overshot by several meters, others went up to an additional 7km.  I got lucky because I somewhat know Putrajaya so I didn't miss the exit.  It did kill my momentum though as some of the riders confused me.  I attacked and then I braked on an uphill, completely killing all the momentum. Gah.

The organizers, however, need a lot of work. First of all, on the morning of the event, things like buoys were still being set up.  To me, that's a big no no.  Once people have arrived, important things like path markers, transition zone(s), etc should have been done and ready.  And the organizers obviously failed to implement any sort of monitoring steps or methods.  It was only at Uncle Chan's suggestion the evening before did they get things like ribbons to be given to the athletes.  Even that, they gave out ONE ribbon, and a HAIRBAND. Yes, a hairband. -,-

On top of that, the volunteers/marshals were somewhat mediocre.  The girl responsible for waving athletes to do 2 rounds was so meek & barely audible.  A number of tired athletes forgot & overshot & the girl barely did anything.  It was the supporters who shouted & reminded the athlete.  & I noticed some of the people who were running around managing the event were wearing slippers.  You're organizing a sports event & you need to run around & you wear slippers?  And it wasn't even the flipflop kind.  It was the leather, strap over the instep kind of slipper.  -______-

At the finish line, there was not enough isotonic drinks, no sort of wet towel.  They did give us fried rice but I honestly would've preferred a banana and a can of 100 Plus.

The organizers need to step up.  They were successful in securing an awesome venue, they were able to get many police marshals to help out, they had the support of Triathlon Malaysia!  So much potential.  Do that, & more people will come.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

From Triathlon to Duathlon

So, I did my first duathlon last weekend. It was the Powerman Duathlon Asian Championships & some big names came down hoping to secure points to qualify for the Duathlon World Championships in Switzerland. The duathlon I participated in was held in Putrajaya. Such a beautiful place to race. I hope they do it again next year.

A duathlon is run-bike-run & sounds easier than triathlon -- which is swim-bike-run.  It's simpler, yes but it is in no way easier.  Most likely due to the slightly different distances.  That being said, I like the duathlon distances better.  Maybe I should start doing the long distance triathlons after this.

Anywho... Compared to the Desaru triathlon, I was able to put a 5 minute gap between my brother & myself.  Best part of it; I started creating that gap in the first run & he never closed it.  In Desaru, Akid had a 1 minute advantage out of the water but I was able to close it & we arrived at T2 (bike-to-run transition) at the same time.  During the run, we ended up staying together until the last 700-500m where I pulled away & crossed the line a minute or so ahead.  Desaru was a bigger fight but I guess that makes it sweeter?

Overall a very well organized race.  The run course was very scenic & shady.  The final leg of the run course had a gentle but looong uphill.  Reminded me of my training track around my housing area.  The 2km loop I normally run is a VERY good training ground because there's a long & relatively steep uphill so that pushes you & makes you work harder to hold the 6min/km pace.  I'm hitting something around 6.7min/km or so.  During Powerman, I was able to hit sub-6min/km for the first run. Woohoo!

I was actually nervous on the morning of the event because on Saturday I ran 6km after almost 2 weeks of no serious training & on race morning, my legs were hurt.  After breakfast, before suiting up, I bathed my legs in warm water.  That helped & overall, happy with my performance during the race.  Some stats from my race:

For the 1st run

  • Average pace: 5.83min/km
  • Top speed: 10.1km/h


For the bike leg

  • Average speed: 27.9km/h
  • Top speed: 62.1km/h


For the 2nd run

  • Average pace: 7.5min/km
  • Top speed: 20.3km/h


Next event; Sepang Jamboree!! :D

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Playing Catch-up...

The last time I blogged was before my birthday. Wow. So much has happened in that time span.  My cousin, Hamid, got married, I raced the Desaru International Triathlon, did the Salomon X-Trail Run, went to Legoland, I coordinated a two-day Halloween bazaar, & last but not least, Hari Raya.

Was kind of surprised when Hamid popped the news about getting married. Was so happy for him.  My family is very close to him & his siblings so we were more than happy to help out in anyway we could.  We all bunked out at a homestay in Pasir Gudang, his new wife's hometown.  After the wedding, we went to JPO! Muahahaha. JPO stands for Johor Premier Outlets and is basically a shopping mall selling high-end stuff for cheap.  Well, mostly.  Long story short, I got a Adidas AdiZero jacket! :D Akid got a running kit, Abah got a track jacket & pants combo for cheap, & Mama... well, Mama bought a lot.  O-O She got the previous generation F50 AdiZero running shoes + two matching kits (one for her new AdiZero, the other for her ClimaCools).  Whew.  Hehehe!  We got all that for less than RM700, I think.

We swung by JPO again on the way to Desaru & I got myself a running kit.  Wanted to get a pair of F50 AdiZero shoes for about 100 bucks but they didn't have my size. :(  Back to the triathlon bit; Desaru supposedly is one of the tough-er triathlon races in Malaysia due to the waves. Sure enough, the sea was rough. But I was able to perform & am happy that my mom insisted I give it a shot. :D  Got 33rd! Doesn't sound like much, I know but I'm happy because I'm only in my first year of triathlon & I've been going against seasoned athletes, national athletes as well as sponsored pros. As icing on the cake, I was able to hold my pace despite a minor foot injury.

Hmm... Consistently in the top 40 at every triathlon so far. I'm happy. :D

Salomon was fun! Was expecting more like actual trails. Instead, it was basically fire roads. Ah well.  Despite that, I had underestimated the difficulty of the run.  An amateur mistake I should not have done.  Then again, I had spent the whole week nursing that minor foot injury I had picked up literally hours before flag off for Desaru.

Legoland! :D What can I say? So much fun! There was a counter for lost parents. Hehe! It's still new, though so a couple of things for them to improve on. All in all, a good start. I heard when Universal Studios first opened, many rides weren't available. O-O At least in Legoland that day only ONE ride was closed for maintenance.  Got a mini figurine! :D Was thinking about getting a keychain but it's 20 bucks... :\ I would wait another 3-5 years perhaps before going back.  I know it sounds like a long time but I want to give it time to 'grow' in a way.  :)

The Halloween bazaar was hectic! Being the head-coordinator AND Communications Director was a lot of work. :\  The night before the bazaar, I slept at 4 trying to finish my assignments.  The morning of day 2, I woke up sick. Ugh.  Still recovering but waaay better than I was on Thursday.

I think that's all for now.

Au revoir.

Friday, September 14, 2012

An Insight into Stupidity? Or Ignorance?


Religiously, I cannot endorse homosexuality.  However, the recent flurry of posts regarding a supposed guideline endorsed by the Ministry of Education offends me as to how shallow & simple minded they are when it comes to identifying homosexuals.  Their list pretty much includes majority of Malaysia. -,-

Each category only has four items or guidelines.  Yes, there are only four things.  Who knew homosexuals were so easily identifiable, eh?

Just to quote & comment. Quoted is in red italic while comment is not. :)

Symptoms for gays


  1. Have a muscular body and like to show their body by wearing v-necks and sleeveless shirts.  This applies to pretty much our ENTIRE athletic contingent.  Is the government implying they are gay?  Also, straight men do it to attract girls because let's face it, a well toned body is a big ego booster for men, and an attraction for women.
  2. Prefer tight, and light colored clothes.  I tend to wear a white shirt and khakis to casual events where looking smart and respectable is important.  And I do appreciate well fitting clothes.  Holy shit I must be gay. -_____-  So men are suddenly only allowed to wear baggy, dark clothes.
  3. Like to bring big handbags, similar to those used by women, when hanging out.  Call me ignorant but I have NEVER seen a man with a big handbag before.  Manbags?  Sure.  But never a big handbag.
  4. Attracted to men.


Symptoms of lesbians:
  1. Besides their female companions, will distance themselves from other women.  Huh.  You would think lesbians would be attracted to other women...
  2. Like to hang out, have meals and sleep in the company of women.  So... women have to risk being labelled 'easy' to avoid being labelled 'homosexual'.  Well that's just conveniently chauvinistic, isn't it?
  3. Have no affection for men.
  4. Attracted to women.  Items number 3 & 4 on this list can be summed with one image;

All in all, not at all impressed with all the wasted effort put in by all those responsible.  Boy that's an awful lot of "all's".

I honestly doubt that the Ministry of Education would endorse a list this shallow and this stupid but then again, I'm an optimist so I may be wrong.

"Only two things are infinite; the Universe, and human stupidity.  And I'm not sure about the former."
- Albert Einstein.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Open Season?

Classes have resumed.  Last two semesters have felt like open season & I was the deer.  Mechanics & Heat  in the short semester, then Multivariate Calculus in the following semester were really a blow to my CGPA.

I've probably rambled a lot about this so I'm not going to say anything more.  Let's just hope that hunting season is over & this little deer is not going to face anymore trouble.

This semester I'm only taking 3 subjects; Thermodynamics, Electricity & Light, & retaking Multivariate Calculus.  Multivariate Calculus has a new lecturer so hopefully she's good.  Going to work hard at all my papers now.  Have to.  Need to bring up my CGPA so I can apply.

Talking about applications, I'm now looking at Canada rather than the States due -- primarily -- to safety issues...  There has been literally a shooting every week.  It's frightening.  Going to apply to McMaster, University of Calgary, & Queen's.  Not too sure about getting accepted into Queen's but I'm still going to try.  Who knows, right?

So, during the term break, 4 of my friends flew off Stateside.  Coming back after one of the trips to the airport, I got rear-ended pretty badly.  Everyone was OK but the car was quite bad.  Good news, it wasn't my fault as I was already stopped at the red light & it's already done. Damn ambulance chasers said it would take 2 months.  2 months my ass.  Good thing my family & I don't trust them.

So, it looks like my racing season is kicking into high gear soon.  Events on September 16th, 22nd, 30th, and November 4th.  I'll have to work hard this coming months to juggle training & school.  Good thing my schedule this semester looks pretty relaxed so I have time to study and train. Insyaallah it'll stay that way.  My Wednesdays could be busy, though as I'll have Committee meetings.

So, wish me luck, I guess.

Random thought; Ben l'Oncle Soul is a french singer with a very nice voice & very nice soul songs. :D

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Orang Asli Roadtrip

So today, Aneez, Fang, Vic, Naufal & I went on a daytrip we had planned for quite a while now.  Things only came together so it was a bit rushy.  Pulled off the logistics, though! :D The original plan was to rent a van & go to Bidor, Perak.  After a few discussions, plans changed and we opted to visit the Orang Asli village in Trolak, instead.  The whole objective of the trip was to deliver the NoKero lights we had raised funds for during our events in school.

Left rather early, and made it to the Sungkai exit on time.  Unfortunately, we got a little lost thanks to a mislabel on Google Maps.  Luckily, it wasn't difficult to get back on track.  Once we were deep-er into the plantation, we turned off the a/c & rolled down the CR-V's windows.  It was fun as we weren't going that fast.  The final stretch going up was fun to drive.  Hehe!  The village itself was very quaint, and despite being rather close to the Felda Residences, still had not been modernized too much.

We had a small meeting with the Tok Batin, explaining to him as well as many other eager and curious villagers what is the NoKero lamp & how to use it.  The people of the village are known as the Semai and are the native inhabitants of Perak.  Vic slept a good portion of the journey. Hehe!  The village itself is roughly 210m above sea level.  The village gets it's running water from the nearby river via a series of pipes.  At the moment, there is no electricity.  At least, not for most of the village.  I don't think they're in abject poverty... Um... The somewhat ambiguous definitions given are clashing with how I define abject poverty... So, I would say no. But the vague definitions imply yes... Hmm.

After the briefing, our guides talked to the Tok Batin, presumably regarding the NoKero lamps as I could not catch what they were saying.  It wasn't Bahasa as I know it.  It was almost like another language, which was fascinating.

Vic & I started to photograph the children and show them the pictures.  I also photographed some of the elders.  Apparently, the elders enjoy being photographed, & viewing their pictures as much as the children do.  Vic & Fang were then invited to enjoy a meal prepared by villagers.  Apparently it was daging kerbau of some sort & got the thumbs up from both of them.  While the two of them were chowing down with the village elders, Aneez, Naufal, & I were busy exploring the river.  It was fun dipping our feet in the cold river, especially after our feet were slightly sore from walking and jumping along the rough, hot boulders that line the river.

Vic, Naufal, Fang, & I ventured quite far upstream whilst Aneez opted to stay downstream under the shade of the tree with her feet in the water.  The young village children were extremely lithe, agile, and athletic.  Our venture upstream yielded us a view of the kids playing in their naturally-formed water slide.  Wanted to give it a shot but I didn't want to face the hassle of having to change clothes later on.  After resting a bit, we headed back down, took a big group photo with the children, and then with the elders.

The drive back was quieter as everyone was tired.  It poured heavily as we approached the exit onto Guthrie Corridor Expressway.  The wet road didn't bother me, I was worried I would miss the exit.  Thankfully, I didn't.

There's a lot more I want to tell but I think the pictures on my Facebook tell the story much better. :)

That's all for now. Au revoir.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympic Fever!

So as most of the world is well aware, ongoing right now is one of the greatest sporting events in the world; The Olympics.  People all over the world have been glued to their TVs watching their favorite athlete run that bit faster, smash that bit harder, push that bit more, cheering them on, feeling their pain, their joy, feeling pride in their athletes regardless of a win or not.

Malaysia may be a soccer-mad nation -- yes, soccer -- but when it comes to the Olympics; there is one sport that I can safely say ALL Malaysians are eyeing; badminton.  Since the glory days of the Sidek brothers, Malaysia has been a powerhouse in badminton.  The Men's Singles final was a replay of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Sad to say, even right down to who won the match. :(

Nevertheless, our Dato' Lee Chong Wei performed superbly, gave it his all, never backed down, but most of all, held his composure till the very end.  Chong Wei, you are one awesome player.  It is sad you did not win gold, but not winning gold is not losing.  The way you played is the farthest thing from losing.  The entire match more akin to a 100m dash than a boxing match.  It wasn't about defeating your opponent, it was who would reach 21 points first.  Congrats Chong Wei, Malaysia is completely & thoroughly proud of you.

Malaysia's next hope is Azizulhasni Awang.  Our very own Pocket Rocketman.  Competing in the Men's Individual Sprint as well as Men's Individual Keirin, I would say he has a good chance of bringing home another medal!  Yeeha!  So do tune in & watch him!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keeping Fit

Ramadan is a tricky time to stay fit. It's very much possible, just for me, it requires more discipline compared to other months.  Usually after iftar, I'm either too full/worn out to do sports and/or I am going to tarawih with my family.

My parents seem fine with me doing exercises late-er due to Ramadan but when something isn't in your routine, it feels odd. Maybe I still should train at night, like when I played rugby; we trained at night after tarawih.  I'll do that.
So tomorrow night, night run. I'll try to hit 6km & see how I fare. Minimum distance I need to run is 4km. I'm sure my fitness is quite bad. I haven't really done much training since Port Dickson International Triathlon, which was about three weeks back or so... O-O

September is going to be a busy busy month.  I have the Adidas King of the Road 10km road run, Taiping International Marathon (I'll most likely be doing the 21km half-marathon), Desaru International Triathlon (still deciding between the Sprint or Long Distance), AND the Salomon X-Trail 10km trail run. Whew.

I'll probably go for the half-marathon for Taiping, & the sprint for Desaru, just so that I can manage.  I'll barely have any recovery.  It'll be every weekend, and I have classes too. Hmm.

We'll see.

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.6

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nightowl-ing Activities. And Terry Crews.

So, it's Ramadan now. A month of fasting.  :)  It's fun, actually.  Aside from the spiritual gains, at the end of the day, the food looks very good & one does feel more grateful.  Also, at least I'm on my term break so I won't be running all over school going to my classes.  Now, I just need to find a way to stay in shape.  If not, it'll be a month wasted.  On top of that if I don't keep up, come September -- & the numerous events I'm planning to enter -- I'll be screwed.

I'll most likely be doing night rides, night runs, and the TotalGym after breaking fast, just so that I'll have the energy to do so.  If I do it during the day, I'll have difficulty fasting the rest of the day.  Plus, I want to try and maintain my current BMI else I might fall too low.  Gaining BMI during Ramadan with my metabolism is pretty much out of the question. Hehe.

Sheesh.  Everything sounds so bland, doesn't it?  Nothing exciting...  Hmm...  Oh!  Before I forget, blogging from TTDI commented on my previous post regarding Bukit Kiara.  Thank you for your insight. :)

So tomorrow I'll be going to school to apply for a job as a student helper.  The pay is RM3/hour.  Not much but the potential perks & gains outweigh the low salary.  Plus if I work 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, in a month I would've gotten RM300.  I'd say that's OK as at the moment, as I don't have to worry about gas, about parking, about rent, etc.  If I did, I would've looked elsewhere.

I'm thinking about trying out the Kota Damansara Community Forest (KDCF) mountain bike trail Friday night.  It has been so freaking long since I last went mountain biking.  I've been training hard for triathlon these past months so my trusty orange '09 Giant TCR 3 has been my primary steed for a while.  Itching to get back on my '09 Polygon Collosus AX1.0 all-mountain bike.  I'm sure my little brother is also itching to get another go on his blue 2012 Commencal Meta AM 2.  He hasn't really gotten the chance to really take it off road.  I'm sure he also wants to give his new DC shoes a spin.  Those are still dirt-virgins.  Wonder if we have enough lights, though...  I would definitely feel much safer with two lights per person but my parents will most likely want to ride as well so that means one light per person... Hmm... We'll see.  Worse come to worse, it's back on the TCR and onto the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.

If it doesn't rain at all this week -- or maybe just light drizzles -- Bukit Bandaraya should be dry enough to ride.  That place literally floods if it rains.  :\  A night ride there would be fun!  We've ridden it before so we know how it is and I would be OK with just one light there.

Talking about night running... Bukit Bandaraya is also tons of fun to run.  Hmm.  Now there's another idea.  I could just strap one of the bike lights to my hyrdration pack shoulder strap like my dad & I did for Kinabalu climb in February.  We have four bike lights & two forehead lights.  More than enough.  I don't think I'll need the forehead light.

On a random sidenote, Terry Crews' Old Spice commercials are always fun to watch.


I guess that's all for now.  Au revoir.  I'm going to go play videogames now. Muahahaha.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Green Lungs

Recently, I've been hearing a lot of buzz abput Kiara being 'developed'. Bukit Kiara or simply 'Kiara' is one the few remaining green lungs left in KL so hearing/seeing news, videos, and pictures of it being 'developed' is very saddening. Outdoor enthusiasts from all ranges be it mountain biking, running, r even horse riding are all at the losing end of this deal. Many trails have already either been entirely demolised or cut up by roads and/or fences.

The lingering question in my mind is why? What are they planning? Why doesn't the government seem to care? Well, that last question is a bit rhethorical. It really saddens me that development has started & ramping up. There are so many groups that use the trails. -sigh-.

I feel like the government and/or people responsible are not doing their part in communicating w/ everybody who uses the park. I hope things turn out OK but not the way its going...

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.6

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Joy of Mountain Biking

The smell of the trees, of nature,
The shaded cover of the overhead canopy,
That feel of the first crunch,
As you transition from pavement to dirt

The rush of wind past your ears,
The blur of trees in peripheral vision,
Your mind & body focusing on the narrow singletrack ahead,
Left! Right! Lean back! Your instincts shout as you tackle the terrain,
Your fingers playing with the brakes to keep your speed in check,
That adrenaline rush as you hang time or smoothly tackle a rock garden,
The feel of your suspension compressing & elation soaring,

The pounding in your chest, your ears,
The burning in your lungs, your legs,
As you push through one more pedal stroke on the arduous climb,
Clearing the technical switchbacks while holding the tempo, "Left. Right. Left. Right,"
Leaning down onto your bars to provide more power from your core to your legs,
Or even standing up as you almost lose traction,
That screaming success when you've tackled a climb.

Aqil Zakwan

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Fledgling Triathlete

This past weekend, my little brother & I did our very first triathlon! I would've posted this earlier but I've been so busy... Anyway, here I am. :)  In this post, I will cover the basics of triathlon, as well as my experience as a fledgling triathlete. Who knows, anyone of guys want to pick it up sometime. ;D

I'll start with the basics first.  Tried writing my experience first but they were too many loopholes that I felt an introduction was necessary.

Basically, a triathlon is an athletic event where athletes have to do 3 sports consecutively.  Athletes start out with the swim, then move to bike (cycle, not motorbike), and finally to the run.  Distances vary depending on factors such as age, type of event, level of competition, so on and so forth.  For adults, a 'short' triathlon is known as a sprint triathlon.  On the other extreme, there is the Ironman. Crazy tough event but I digress.

In a triathlon, you swim a fixed distance, then move to the bike, cycle the predetermined distance, come back, then move on to the run.  As such, you will need swimming a trisuit, goggles, a bicyle, and a pair of running shoes.

In the triathlon, there is always a transition zone where you place all your gear, and transition between events -- swim to bike to run.  This means that the start & finish areas for the cycle and run will be the same.  Usually, a simple A-frame rack is set up where you hang your bicycle by the nose (front) of the saddle (seat).  Baskets are also provided nowadays for athletes to place their items.  Elite athletes ride with cycling shoes -- a.k.a. clipless shoes -- that allow them better power transfer during the cycle.  You don't have to use clipless shoes, though.  Many amateurs decide not to in order to save time coming back for the run as you won't have to change shoes.  A trisuit is an importance piece of apparel as it is designed to be worn for all 3 events.  For example, swimming shorts aren't great for cycling because they have no padding.  Cycling shorts aren't great for swimming and running as the padding interferes with the motion of the body during both events.  A trisuit is a great balance.  Of course, they aren't that cheap. :(

Some of the general rules of the triathlon are that

  1. You must wear a swim cap during the swim
  2. Wear a helmet during the cycle
  3. No bare chest during the cycle
  4. No riding in the transition zone

Hmm. I think that summarizes triathlon as a sport pretty well. :) Any questions, just ask away.  So, here's what a triathlon felt like through the eyes of a fellow fledgling triathlete;

I raced in the 16-19 year old category -- which consisted mainly of elite juniors from around the world.  There were triathletes from Macau, Hong Kong, Australia, UK, Singapore, & of course, Malaysia.  Woke up very early so that we would arrive at the Putrajaya Water Sports Complex on time. The body marking -- where your race number is stamped/written on your arms and legs -- started a 0645.  For this event, however, it was only on the arms OR the legs, depending on whether you wore a long-sleeved shirt or not.  After getting numbered, I set up my transition area, and got ready; hung the bike, put my gear in the basket, put away my clothes, etc.  Many of the elites went for warm up runs.  I was too scared I would be tired so I didn't.  Heh heh.  I did move around, though, to keep limber.  0800 came by and my category was called to the pontoon.  Our names were called, and we went into the water to take our positions at the start buoy.

The swim was, for me, the most tiring. Swam 450m in 00:10:43.  One of my best times so that's a plus.  The elites were much faster :(.  I started off with front crawl but couldn't hold it for the entire duration.  I also hadn't eaten as much so started to get stomach cramps.  Doing breast stroke definitely helped me stay in the race.  The water was clean albeit green with algae.  By clean I mean no garbage, no slimy feeling, no suspended sediment, etc.  Coming out of the water, I felt disoriented but just followed the blue carpet.  I knew I was at the tail-end of the swim group so I didn't dare look back, I just kept going forward towards the transition.  My swim-to-bike transition was good.  No hiccups.  Race number, sunglasses, helmet & I was off.  Put the shoes on the bike -- I was using the clipless shoes.

Me at the swim-to-bike transition

Being I strong cyclist, I made up for it in the bike.  Passed several people but couldn't quite catch up with the elites.  I was able to match their pace when the lapped me, so that helped my time.  I did 12km on the bike in 00:25:29.  The bike route was good.  Not too many corners, some slight inclines, plenty of straights where I could lay down some power and make up time.  I ate one of the PowerBar gels I had on me.  For me, the cycling was the easiest but most crucial.  I can do 40km no problem so 12km was well within my comfort zone.  However, I had lost so much time in the swim that I had to make every second count.  Came in to the transition zone a bit fast and the guy in front of me stopped dead center, so I squeezed past and ran to my rack.

At the bike-to-run transition

My bike-to-run transition took a while because my feet were still wet & I was putting on my socks.  Putting on socks when your feet are wet is a nightmare if you're racing.  One guy started to pull away but I was able to catch him about halfway through the first 1.5km leg of the run and pulled away when we turned back towards the finish line.  Finished the run in 00:21:30 for a total official time of 0:57:42.

All in all, a very fun event.  Definitely looking forward to my next event, the Port Dickson International Triathlon.  Need to work harder as the distances are longer.  Whew.

Click here for more pictures of my brother & I in action. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Conquering Kinabalu

So... Blogger has changed their layout for their dashboard. The blogs themselves look pretty intact so those of you who just read blogs won't notice.  I feel so... sterilized.  Really.  It looks like some kind of sterilized menu.  Barely any color -- though I do like the orange accents.  But, it is neater.  So that's a plus.  Here's a picture attached.


So... It has been literally months since I last updated.  Good lord.  Anyway, in brief I climbed up Kinabalu in the middle of my semester, failed Mechanics & Heat -- climbing Kinabalu had nothing to do with it, honest --, finished my semester break & started my 4th semester.  Oh, & I'm going to be doing a triathlon in July.

Mount Kinabalu was an amazing adventure.  Outdoorsman/woman or not, you MUST try it.  The second morning as you make the ascent to the summit at 0200 hours is one of the most magical parts.  It's so punishing because you're exhausted but the view is so magnificent.  Unhindered view of the starry night.  All you have to do is look back.  You're so high up you almost feel like you're among the stars.  The climb up is no less amazing, especially if you take Mesilau instead of Timpohon.  The change in altitudes, micro-climate, as well as flora is something to behold.  My favorite part is right after a particularly gruelling set of stairs.  You can literally feel yourself ascend from tropical mountainous rainforest to something no short of a garden of willow-like trees.  By this point, you are already in the clouds so at times, you will be engulfed in clouds.  It was always just dense enough to create the sense that you've entered a completely different, more mystical world.  It's just so poetic.

Descending through Timpohon is no less fun.  It is slightly better serviced and less scenic but you do feel the transition in flora better.  Making it back to Timpohon Gate is so rewarding after the tough trek.  Mesilau to Laban Rata -- the halfway point before attempting the summit -- took us eight hours.  The night in Waras Hut at Laban Rata was not easy.  It was very cold, the water was literally numbingly cold & there was no heating.  Not for the water, nor for the room.  Somehow, I slept soundly from 1945 to 0130 when I awoke to get ready.  That sleep however cost me as my legs were hurting to the bone the next day.  I attribute this to the fact that once the you go into R.E.M sleep -- Rapid Eye Movement -- your body & brain start repairing itself.  Being extremely exhausted & not accustomed to the exertion of the previous day, my body needed extra rest but I didn't get it so my body couldn't 'complete repairs' so to speak.

For those interested to attempt Kinabalu, I have some pointers for you.

  1. Make sure you are fit.  This will not only determine whether you'll make it on time for dinner at Laban Rata -- dinner ends at 1900 by the way -- but it will also determine whether you can conquer Kinabalu & enjoy it.  I would say at the very minimum you need to be of average fitness.
  2. Shave those pounds! Not your body weight but the things you bring up.  Forget the shaver & eau de toilette for the gents, & perfume for the ladies.  Bring bare necessities.  A porter will cost you RM80 per 10kg but I find being able to carry most of your things up & down more rewarding.  Otherwise you can carry a shit ton of things, get the porter(s) to carry everything as you speed up & down the mountain.  Where's the fulfillment in that, I say.
  3. As the popular saying goes; "take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints."  I take this to heart.  There are garbage cans along the way at rest huts where you can throw away your food wrappers.  If you finish your food on route, stuff'em in your pockets. That's what my whole family did.  Imagine finding a skittles wrapper your house guest dumped halfway up the stairs to your house.  Bothering isn't it?  Same concept.  Don't be a litter bug.  No one likes a litter bug.
Here the pictures from Kinablu in case you wanted to see them. :) I guess that's all for now.  I'll do my very best to keep y'all updated on my triathlon in July.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Thought Sparked by a Simple Facebook Status

I saw this status on Facebook once; "You're 10 & you have a laptop, iPod & Blackberry. Dude, when I was 10 all I had was a Tamaguchi". When those things came out I practically begged for a Tamaguchi. Didn't get one. Instead, I had already been given something better. I just didn't know it at the time.

When I was 6 or 7, my parents enrolled me into swimming class. The coaches said I was like a fish in water. Kept going & I almost made it to the State team. By this time I was still young, 12 at most, and didn't want to continue. Kept swimming for fun, though. In between 6/7 and 12, I had gotten a bicycle and I loved to cycle around on it. It was basic & had to use training wheels at first. One day, I realized that I didn't need the training wheels and convinced my dad that I didn't need them. That feeling when I first rode without training wheels, I felt like I was going really fast!

Then at around 14, I picked up golf. Wasn't that great at it but golf taught me patience & perseverance. Something my then-7 year old brother had yet to appreciate. Due to studies (namely PMR & SPM), I had to give up golf & never picked it back up. I also tried kayaking & snorkeling whenever we went on vacation by the beach. When I was 15, I joined my school rugby team & wasn't too bad at it. Loved it & worked hard at it. Ended up earning a reputation for passing fast balls & having the most stamina on the team. At the same time, I was cycling to school. At first it was only for extra-curricular activities but at 14 I convinced my parents to let me cycle back & forth. Being able to that was definitely a feeling of independence. For my 16th birthday, my parents got me a really good mountain bike. I love riding & my friends can attest to that.

When I was 15, my family went on vacation to Fraser's Hill & I loved it. The fresh air, the trails, the wildlife, the flora, it was amazing! It was new, it was eye-opening. We went there again last year for my 18th birthday; with our bicycles this time. The experience was even more enjoyable. For Christmas, we went to Singapore, just to travel out of Malaysia & to experience something new. This year I am turning 19 & we kicked off the new year with a bang; my family & I conquered Mt. Kinabalu, the tallest peak in South East Asia.

Indeed, this is a lengthy post but bear with me.

Also, throughout primary school & high school, they have always supported me & are the ones who encouraged me to take up debate & public speaking. They didn't mind ferrying me & my teammates to competitions & paying for whatever fees were needed. Occasionally, if they were free they would come to watch & support me.

I'm sure the question playing on your mind is "what does the story of my life have to do with the status?" The answer is this; it's not what your parents get you, it's what your parents give you that truly matters. My parents may not have gotten me a Tamaguchi but they gave me patience, perseverance, a good work ethic, chivalry, an appreciation for the environment & the world around us, but most importantly, confidence & independence. In my opinion, that's a hell of a lot more valuable than a toy.

So, go & give your parents a big hug, tell them you love them & say thank you for all they've done for you.

If you have read it up this point, congratulations & thank you for taking your time to read it. It is very much appreciated. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012

It's that time of the year again, when we say goodbye to one year & join another. :)

So far, 2011 has been a good year. Alhamdulillah. Insyaallah this will keep up. Looking back at my new year's resolutions I realized that I have achieved 5/6 of them. The only one I didn't achieve was the last one; getting elbow/forearm guards, which as the year progressed just fell out. Guess that means that I achieved all my goals. 8D

Next year is poised to be another rocking year although I can see one or two potential speed bumps on the horizon. So, 2012 resolutions?

  1. Maintain an absolute minimum of 3.0 CGPA. At the moment it's at 2.98 which is frustrating as I could've gotten 3.0
  2. Start digging around to start applications to the States
  3. Finish upgrading my bike
So, without a further ado,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!