Monday, June 25, 2007

Miri Olympic Distance Triathlon - 24th June 2007

Pretty pumped about yesterday but today was the big test. I'd gotten plenty of sleep a good breakfast and I was ready to go. Once again it's a drafting race so I was very focused on a good swim to give myself half a chance of being with a good group of riders.

As the gun went off I was caught a little unaware as instead of the start rope being lifted as normal we had to somehow struggle over the "tripwire". Never mind not too much time was lost and similar to the sprint yesterday I had a clear swim without too much interference.

I got into a good strong rhythm early on and kept it up all the way to the finish. Drafted a little which was useful, navigation wasn't great but alright and the end result was that I came out of the swim considerably faster than last year.

On to the bike and found a good rhythm again. Picked up a handful of bikes going up the hill (a mention to Choi Mun Yong - he was there again - as strong as ever) and got them semi organised on the flat (it took a lot of shouting though!).

We were doing a very nice job and then saw a big pack in the distance - when we were about 300m behind them I made a point of briefing each rider that when we were on their tale I'd take the lead and we'd sprint past them. To my dismay the leading rider in our pack thought I meant now and off he went. By the time I brought him back we were on the tale of the big pack and I guess the umphh was taken out of my big push - within 2 or 3k both packs were all back together - including Kevin Chan (my friendly competitor) and also Iwata-san (my next proper competitor in my age-group).

I tried various breakaway attempts but all were eventually reeled in (neither Iwata nor Kevin were going to let me get away that easily today). No one wanted to work although I have to say that a couple of guys did more than their fair share - everyone seemed very happy when I was out in front and no-one seemed to have the slightest bit of a conscience when I called for some help. In the end I went to the back and tootled along letting them get on with it. I was waiting for the hill again (although I knew this was too close to the finish of the ride to give me much of an advantage).

At last the hill was there, I dropped the pack and cycled into T2 with a reasonable margin. I felt great on the run and once again it wasn't until 2.5k before Iwata caught me - he surged past me obviously not wanting to enter into the same game as yesterday. I had decided before the race that in this scenario I'd let him go and then focus on staying in contact with him - if I then felt strong enough and saw a chink in his armour I'd have a chance to chase him down.

All went to plan and he didn't pull very far ahead of me - the only flaw in the plan is that there was no chink in his armour! - the man is made of steal! However, the plan did enable me to keep a good pace going and with just a couple of kilometres to go I came across my arch Nemesis - Ip Chin Nang from Macao (see Singapore and PD last year). He is a fantastic swimmer, a solid biker but struggles sometimes on the run, today he was having a tough run and I was able to go past to secure 3rd place in my category (and I think 7th place overall).

Razani won our category as usual but I remain hopeful that his margin of victory is reducing. All in all not bad for a race to "see where I am" and now with another three weeks of intensive training before PD who knows what the limits are - perhaps there are none - "There is no Spoon!"

Miri Sprint Distance Triathlon - 23rd June 2007

Blimey, what a good result all things considered. The last eight weeks I've been training like a madman with the intent of getting ready for OSIM Singapore Olympic Distance Triathlon at the end of July. The plan was to put in a solid couple of races in Miri and then try to get a podium finish in PD but with my real sights set on Singapore the week after.

I've been paying particular attention to upping my swimming volume and to a lesser extent upping my running volume and intensity. Both have obviously paid dividends.

I had a solid swim, feeling strong and fast ("fast" being a subjective term if you've seen my swimming), I hopped on the bike and got into a nice rhythm with a high cadence. As I hit the infamous hill going out of Miri there were a dozen riders in my sight and by the up and the down of the hill all were dealt with (including Kevin and Iwata) I was in 6th place overall and reeling in Wei and Choi Mun Yong (this lad is 16 I think and is awesome on the bike - I feel sorry if you're in his age-group).

I caught them at the half way point and we drafted together back to the hill (it is a draft legal race I hasten to add). I left them at the hill and came into T2 in 3rd spot.

Within a very short space of time Wei came storming past and really showed his running dominance (very impressive). By half way (2.5k) Iwata-san was closing in on me fast and he passed me soon after the turn. I decided that as I'd suffered so much recently with the big training loads then Mr. Iwata was also going to be made to suffer today if he wanted to beat me. So I matched him stride for stride for the next two kilometers - he surged, he slowed, he ran steady then surged again - all good games but I stayed with him passing the remaining runner in front of us (except Wei) until the last 500m.

My legs are aren't quite there YET and I knew that; at 500m to go the imaginary elastic band snapped and off he went to beat me by a few seconds. I was stoked though and contented myself with a second in age-group and 3rd overall. I also kept in mind that tomorrow was the big race and I was pleased I hadn't cooked myself today. All in all and excellent first intensive race since my accident in September. As you can see we even got a mention in the following day's Chinese Newspaper.

Monday, June 18, 2007

PD Triathlon Clinic - 17 June 2007

So here we have it, a bit of an update. I've been fairly quite on the triathlon "goings on" recently; I missed Bukit Merah tri (great location and race - very sad to have missed it) and Lake Kenyir Tri (super hilly). I declined to go to either, due to being totally out of shape, very overweight and having very little endurance or speed programmed into my body.

I have however been working VERY VERY VERY hard on putting things right. I've been religiously sticking to my periodisation training, eating sensibly and now converting the immense mileage into intense speed sessions.

It all seems to be working out, I've lost 8kg in 8 weeks without starving myself (in fact having 3-5 small meals a day) and I surprised myself over the last couple of weeks in the Thursday night rides (very high intensity rides with sprint finishes at the half way point and the finish) not to mention the tri training this weekend at PD.

An excellent training camp run by the ever energised Mr Chan. This year we had full police escort on the ride and run not to mention TV3 and TV7 camera crews following our progress. Oakley even sponsored a pair of the new Radar sunnies for a lucky draw at the end. All very impressive stuff and another clinic at the same venue scheduled for two weeks time DON'T MISS IT - IT'S HUGE FUN. The swim is a new course starting from the beach and then around the headland into the marina and back again rather than in previous years where it was just in the marina - very different so I strongly suggest that you come to the next clinic just to get your bearings.

A quick precis of the morning: -

The SWIM, it went very well for me other than appalling navigation - this new course really will take some getting used to and I will definitely be trying it out again before race day.

The BIKE, we were led out by police cars, motorbikes and the TV camera cars. We tootled along at about 20kph for the first 5k to keep everyone together and to get out of the traffic before we turned right and then all hell was let loose. Speeds quickly were up to 40-50kph (or so I'm told - my speedo wasn't working but I could see my heart trying to burst out of my trisuit).

I stayed with the front group and I guess things thinned out behind us. We got to the turnaround and there was just myself and Shahrom left with a chasing pack a couple of hundred metres behind. Shahrom decided to wait for them and I decided to go for glory - Arrrrgggghhhhhh that was a painful decision.

With just 3k left the Shahrom juggernaut came past me (DAM he's good). Apparently he tried to get the group organised to catch me but gave up in the end and mowed me down himself. We had a few sprints to the finish but he was just playing with me!

So off we went on the RUN and Sam (57 years young) took off like it was a 1k sprint. In the end he got fed up running by himself and literally waited for us! The leading pack got to the turnaround (4.5k) grabbed some water and back we came. A Kenyan guy was out in front, then Shahrom and then the rest of us. The two junior boys took off after them and then Sam came past like I was standing still. The worst was yet to come - Kevin Chan moves up on my shoulder with a big grin on his face. I now realised that rather than jogging gently home I was going to have to hurt badly to get rid of Kevin.

I put the accelerator down, caught up with the junior boys, reeled in Sam and then amazingly went past Shahrom (photo) - I finished with just the Kenyan guy in front of me (I think he's Kenyan anyway - I apologise if I've got that wrong). Sam did point out afterwards that Shahrom can run considerably faster than that - and come to think of it he probably could beat me hopping on one leg but it didn't do any harm for my confidence and most importantly Kevin was nowhere to be seen.

All in all a great day's training/racing (Thank you Mr Chan) and I'm all set up now for the Miri triathlon this weekend. I came 2nd (in the sprint) and 5th (in the Olympic distance) last year. I'm not expecting to improve on that but I am looking forward to feeling at least semi-competitive in my first race since "the Accident".

Watch this space to see how everyone gets on next week.

(Photos courtesy of plagiarism from Hairul's site

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Me Nephews - Surf's up Dude!

My Nephews Nico and Sven on holiday in Annecy, France. The water was close to freezing but they went swimming and sailing in it every day.
Here's Sven on his boogy board, he's a natural!
Surf's not bad for the time of year, eh?
Actually the waves are rubbish and the the water's cold so let's eat crisps and watch the Grandparents freeze instead! (Smart boys)!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Boys at the Aquarium

As you can see we took the boys to the Aquarium. We only lost them about 5 times which we thought was pretty good under the circumstances

OK Sid I'll go this way, you go the other and see if they can find us.

Righto! - I'm off too.

If those boys don't turn up soon Daddy's going to feed them to the big fishy.

Blimey, I didn't get very far.

All right gov'ner, it's a fair cop you got me.

Hey Sid this getaway car doesn't seem to be moving very fast. I think the big people are playing games with us!

"There is no spoon" need I say more?