Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Thanks to Sofian for this, it is truly inspirational and should make the average person be ashamed whenever they say "I can't do something because...". This clip demonstrates that however long the odds, however great the handicap (or in most people's cases the imagined handicap) there is always a way - you just have to believe it, find it come what may and then work hard enough at it.

If this doesn't inspire you and bring a tear to your eye then you're reading the wrong blog.

Ride & Run Alert - Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd August

Saturday 2nd Ride
Ulu Yam is the destination this week.
Meeting points:
True Fitness, Sri Hartamas. Time: 6.15am.
Traffic lights at right hand turn for Ulu Yam shortly after Batu Caves. Time 7:15am.
Distance from KL about 90k (round trip)
Distance from Kajang exactly 143k (round trip)

Sunday 3rd Run
Sri Hartamas
Meeting Point: Bukit Aman Carpark 6:15am.
Distance about 21k (round trip)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

PD Olympic Distance Triathlon - 20th July 2008

So the Sprint Distance went OK the day before and I'm feeling pretty good for the OD race (albeit a bit over race weight).

I hadn't stayed for the briefing the previous night as it was getting too late and I needed my beauty sleep (see the pictures - I need a lot of it). Sadly I didn't sleep well at all which was not a great start - Oh well ay!

I managed to get an idea of the course from people at the start, it was the usual swim and bike but a new run. I wasn't too worried about that, I knew it was going to be a struggle by that point but I was working on my usual philosophy - DENIAL.

I had an awesome swim (for me anyway), out in 26 minutes, managed to stay focused from start to finish (something I've been aiming to improve on - I didn't manage it in Singapore but was very pleased here).

Patrick ran past me in transition, WOW, I've never beaten him in a swim before, looking good I thought. Not only that but Don was just behind too.

A quick transition and I was out on the bike, I started picking people up right from the start and I doubted that I'd see Don or Patrick again - how wrong I was! Things were really picking up speed-wise and I looked back to see them both there - darn!

A few K's into the bike and I was starting to look forward for Iwata's pack, but then suddenly there he was on the side of the road - he'd just remounted and was struggling to pick up speed on the hill. Apparently, someone had caught his back wheel and he'd had to stop to realign it.

I wasn't going to hang around and let him jump on the back of the pack so I danced on the pedals and upped the pace - not only had I already got Patrick and Don in the pack (my age-group in case you hadn't worked it out) but the Thai guy that I narrowly beat the day before was with us plus at least 3 or 4 other 40 year olds amongst the now swelling pack of bikes. I also knew that the winner of the Singapore race was way out in front, as was Razani plus my old nemesis Ip from Macau. Goodness knows how many others in between - who told all these "stars" to come and do this race!

I decided to bide my time and try a breakaway after 45 minutes ride time. Coincidence or what, 10 seconds before my attack and Patrick flew off the front. That was enough for me, I went with him up a long ascent and then pushed the pace down the other side. He then took the pace on again up the next rise. We were really hammering it and I doubted that anyone would be within 100m of us behind. I looked back and would you believe it, the Thai guy was right on my wheel and the massive pack was strung out for several hundred metres but with everyone pretty much still in some sort of draft zone.

OK, I got the message so I literally slid to the back of the behemoth pack where I met Olly from the British Consulate. We had a very pleasant chat while cruising along at about 40kph until about 1k from transition, at which point a made my apologies and eased to the front of the group - the last thing you want is to be coming into transition at the back of 40 bikes.

The tactic worked well and I was out of transition in seconds and running and remarkably fresh legs. I was up to speed straightaway (no wobbly bike legs today). The first 5k was up hill to a turnaround and then back the same way - it was hot and going to get hotter. After about 2 1/2k I heard the inevitable flippty flop of Don's running style and he ever so slowly pulled away from me. Never mind I thought, I'm running well so let's see what happens later.

To cut a painful and disappointing story short soon after the turnaround my lack of run training this year, Singapore Tri the previous weekend and the Sprint race the day before all caught up with me but I've no doubt that what made the real difference was the added kg's I was carrying. 1kg = 3 seconds per k (if you believe the magazines or physics - which I do) and I was 10kg over my race weight which equates to 5 minutes over the 10k run. No only that I later realised that I was horribly dehydrated.

With just 1k to go Patrick ran past me shortly followed by the Thai guy. I finished 7th. Very disappointing on the face of it but I knew my shortcomings for this race, I make no excuses I only had myself to blame. As it happens I thoroughly enjoyed the race and the weekend. Sid and Seb arrived after I'd collapsed for about half an hour so they didn't have to see the worst of it but they did see their Dad pick up his prize RM400 (only RM100 less than I won 2 years ago when I came second - what a pleasant surprise).

Back to the hotel for lunch and then a gentle drive home well before it was dark - awesome weekend.

Postscript - if you're 40-49 and intending to race in a forthcoming Triathlon, be warned, I'm on a diet, I'm motivated, I'm training hard AND I'M LOVING IT.

Big Yellow Taxi - Counting Crows

Sweet as a nut!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chasewater 10k - 20th July 2008

My Sister and Dad did this race on Sunday (also one of Angela's friends from Germany, Simone ran too). They all did brilliantly especially considering the conditions - and don't forget that my Dad is 75! Angela ran with Dad so they finished together.

Well done guys, we're proud of you.

Angela wrote: -

"Hi Simon and Shilpa,

The Chasewater race went really well but with a strong wind. Dad did the 10k in 1:11 which considering the wind and his heel problems this year (causing a reduction in training) was an excellent result! We had great fun and got the finishers T-shirt.

Simone ran too and did a great time of 54 mins!

Lots of love and see you soon!!

Angie, Dad Mum and Simone"

Ride & Run Alert - Sat 26th & Sun 27th July

Saturday ride will be a 120k - ish ride out to Salak for breakfast and returning the same way via the Putrajaya Elevated Highway. 6:30am at Megamall.

Sunday Morning run will be 21k Bukit Aman to Sri Hartamas 6:15am start

Quiet Cup of Coffee Anyone?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dying eight-year-old 'marries' his school sweetheart

An eight-year-old boy who had set his heart on 'marrying' his school sweetheart achieved his final wish the day before he died of leukaemia.

By Laura Clout, Online Telegraph

Given only weeks to live, Reece Fleming proposed to his 'special friend' Elleanor Purgslove at a laser tag party.

After she accepted, their parents arranged a make-believe wedding at Reece's home in Mackworth, Derby. He died the next day with his family.

Reece's mother Lorraine Fleming said he told her, "I can go now" after his wish had been granted.

The 28-year-old said: ""He was so proud of her, and we were proud of them both."

Reece was diagnosed with leukaemia in July 2004, when he was aged just four.

He fought the disease for four years until May when doctors told him he had just weeks to live.

Ms Fleming, said she and his stepfather Mick Thompson had tried to help him achieve as much as possible before his death, including marrying his sweetheart.

"When we found out that we only had a few weeks with him we tried to do absolutely everything with him that we could.

"Him and Ellie had been 'special friends' for a couple of years but then they broke up.

"We said we'd have a pirate party, and Ellie came. She went to visit Reece a few times in hospital as well.

She added: "We also had a football and laser quest party, apparently that's when he proposed to her."

The pair went out to dinner in the mayor's limousine and the families organised a 'wedding', complete with rings, a stand-in vicar and a certificate.

The ceremony was carried out on July 4 and the following day Reece died at home with his family and a Macmillan nurse.

At his funeral, mourners followed a horse-drawn hearse on foot.

Ms Fleming added: "Even on the Saturday that he died, he got out of bed and walked to the sofa.

"He always tried walking, right to the end, so we thought if he walked for us then we would walk for him."

Simon says: - What a terribly sad and moving story, we should all be so grateful for what we have and live everyday to it's fullest, life can be very tenuous.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Port Dickson Sprint Distance Triathlon - 19th July 2008

(Photos courtesy of Shilpa, Ivie and Tey)

The weather was grim, really grim! Rain, rain and more rain. I got to the registration and saw the team, (Team Tri-Hard as it is now called) All had intended to do the Sprint race on Saturday and the Olympic Distance race on Sunday but with only one exception they all pulled out of the Sprint due to the miserable weather.

Who was the exception? Well me of course. I used to sail through the worst of English winters so a few grey clouds and rain wasn't going to stop me racing, especially as I was only wearing shorts and T-Shirt and I was still hot; where I come from shorts and T-shirt are reserved for the Summer - and I believe that was on a Wednesday last year!!!

Despite the poor weather I had the foresight to pop a bit of sunblock on my nose as it's very prone to burning and off I set for the start. By this time the rain suddenly disappeared and the blazing sun came out. The swim was delayed by half an hour as the organisers wanted kiddies race not only to clear the swim course but also clear the first turnaround on the bike (quite right too). Then the junior elites took off. By this time it was very very hot - my nose survived but "lobster" was a term I heard a lot over the rest of the weekend and they weren't referring to the colour of my trisuit.

It was everyone else next but not before Mr. Chan had noticed my expanded waistline and suggested that I stopped wearing trisuits for a while - he may have a point!!

The tide was out so the swim start was actually a long run to begin with - into the water and the swim went rather well until just after the first turn buoy where I struggled to get around a bunch of slower swimmers only to get a size 11 foot in my face - don't you just love people starting off fast and then doing breast stroke later on!!! After that all was smooth, I hit transition and was off on the bike in no time.

I cut through the bike course with relative ease, one younger guy rode with me but did little to help out - not too worry, I was still hopeful of catching my arch-rival Iwata-san as this year's race was actually a 20k bike rather than the usual 9k. I saw his pack just before the turnaround but failed to catch them and with only the youngster with me I was going to have to cook myself to move up to them. I felt bloated and although catching them was likely, then getting ahead of Mr Iwata with enough of a gap on the run was unlikely, so I continued at a good hard pace but not red-lining it.

Out on to the run and I felt OK - I overtook a lot of people which was encouraging and at the turnaround I met Iwata coming the other way, he was about 150-200 metres ahead of me. Not bad I thought but now it was time to back off and cruise to the finish for a well earned second place, a gentle jog I thought! NO SUCH LUCK, a Thai guy was heading for the turnaround no more than 200 metres behind me and travelling at a pace that was unfathomable, he was closely followed by a British guy that I'd met earlier in the day, he was looking very together. Oh dear, not only no resting, but rather I was going to have to pick up the pace.

In the end I somehow pulled it off much to the shock and awe of the Thai guy - he spoke to Shilpa later and told her how amazed he was - it might have been a compliment but I suspect he was wondering how such a chubby chap could have beaten him.

Later the elites took off for the Asia Cup Series - all pretty impressive but I'm a triathlon participator rather than a spectator so they didn't get the attention that they undoubtedly deserve from me. The pros do have my utmost respect, although I do wonder sometimes if they really are human - I'm serious, when people sometimes exclaim "they're machines" or "they're like robots", I do fantasize whether these are pure analogies or actual facts!!! Think about it, a cyborg for instance could give blood and urine samples, wouldn't need drugs and probably could still do a sub 8 hour Ironman! Are these EPO and Nandrolone drug cheats in the TdF and international athletics are just trying to keep up with the Cybermen!!

[IMPORTANT NOTE - if this blog goes off-line and I disappear - I think you can workout what happened to me]

Finally I can't go without mentioning the support team, Shilpa, Sid and Seb did an amazing job supporting me - it's often been said that supporting a triathlete is more tiring than doing the race itself - I certainly wouldn't argue with that - thanks guys!

NEWS FLASH - Marc Almond takes up Triathlon

(Photo courtesy of Ivie)

Amazingly, Marc "Sam the Man" Almond, the 70's synthpop star of the band Soft Cell, was recently spotted at the Port Dickson International Triathlon.

Marc, has obviously weathered since his days of fame and hit songs "Tainted Love" and "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" but he's still keeping it together winning the over 50's age-group category of the race. Notorious for his "out of the closet" approach to life you can see that he is still "pretty in pink" and not afraid to show it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Michael Jackson comes to Bollywood


Singapore Tri - Two Years Later

OSIM Singapore Triathlon 2008

The OSIM Singapore Triathlon was supposed to be one of my two focus races for the year but having not really overcome my lack of motivation this year, together with a bout of pneumonia again, I turned up at the race terribly under-prepared and a long way off race ready - including far too many extra kilos.

Either way I thought I'd do my best and enjoy the day. I was well prepared in terms of getting organised and the race gear ready. Body was flushed out in plenty of time (taking a fibre drink 24 hours before the race and 4 sit-downs works a treat).

My wave start wasn't until 10:40 so it was going to be hot for sure. I did a good swim warm up and then toed the start line. The gun went and I was first or second into the water. At this point I usually get swum over the top by the faster swimmers and then have to fight and struggle to the first mark; amazingly I reached the first mark in second place - Blimey!

The swim was very choppy but no great problem, I exited the sea and dived back in for the second lap - that's where it probably went wrong, I undoubtedly lost concentration and didn't have a great second lap. I came out of the water feeling OK and headed on the long run to transition.

New bike, new aero helmet and sexy new Zipp Sub9 disc wheel - I was going to look good if nothing else. As it turned out I rode within myself and managed the second fastest bike split of all the age-groupers and sub 1 hour for the 40k not including the transitions - I've got to be happy with that!

Then on to the run and this is where the extra kilo's came to visit with a vengeance, there's just nowhere to hide. I managed a credible 43 minutes but this was 1:40 down on my previous best time but all in all I couldn't complain.

I finished third in my category and 6th age-grouper overall. The only upsetting bit was that they'd screwed up the timing (my age-group had two waves) and they'd not included me in the top three - they actually made me fill out a protest form and pay S$50 to get my time verified - why they couldn't just look at my time I've no idea. Anyway, my "protest" was successful and I didn't have to pay the S$50 and I got my prize which was a crap plastic vase and a rather nice set of high end sports specific OSIM weighing scales - I was very happy with that.

Sadly by the time time the prize-giving was sorted out Shilpa was exhausted looking after a very tired Sid and Seb. The little fellas had fallen asleep on her lap - poor things.

We managed to go and visit the Singapore Flyer while we were there (same as the London Eye) - Sid was a bit apprehensive for a while but then got into the swing of things especially as there were Naval Displays and fighter jet displays all taking place in practise for Singapore's National Day. Not only that but there were more cranes in one place than Sid and Seb had ever seen before and they currently LOVE cranes.

A really great trip, we even caught up with an old friend, June whom I hadn't seen for years (Sid and Seb loved her instantly). Also we saw Greg Lyons at the finish and hopefully we have persuaded him to do PD this weekend. We managed a quick lunchtime visit to Brewerkz (one of my favourite venues). To top it all the boys slept almost all the way home - RESULT!

PS. If anyone from the race organising committee is reading this then some feedback for you: -

The best thing ever about this race was the prize-giving held at a night club type of venue with free flow beer and wine. After a great race it was one hell of a way to celebrate and made it the best race in Asia (despite the high price).

You then moved to a boring dinner prize-giving format with limited free flow - OK still fun but then it was just one of many races.

Now you have made the prize-giving just a quick mention on the stage, rushed results (which were wrong this year until you made me protest - I wonder how many other athletes lost out) - you have turned the highlight of the race into the low point - what a disaster! - I used to enter the OSIM Singapore Triathlon with excitement and anticipation knowing that it would conclude on a high (regardless of whether I won anything). I used to take Monday's off work so I wouldn't miss it, organise family holidays around the dates - NOT ANYMORE - I'LL GO IF IT SUITS ME BUT THAT'S IT - what a disappointment you took an iconic race and downgraded it to just another (albeit very expensive) race on an already packed racing calendar!

Thought I'd throw in a raunchy picture of the boys for all the two year old girls that view this blog.

[DISCLAIMER: - Please note that I had nothing to do with the hair cuts - Mummy can explain!]

Monday, July 14, 2008

White 'ghost bikes' pay tribute to dead riders in danger spots across Britain

By Tom Harvey of the Mail Online

They are becoming a familiar sight alongside many British roads.

More than 100 old bicycles painted white and chained to lampposts and railings have sprung up at ‘danger-spots’ over the past year.

Dubbed ‘ghost-bikes’, they have been put there to warn motorists approaching dangerous bends to look out for cyclists and, in many cases, have been left at locations where riders were killed.

Memorial: The scene of James Danson-Hatcher's death in Brighton

The UK campaign was started by road safety campaigner Steve Allen after his friend was killed in a North London street.

In July 2003, cyclist James Foster was struck by a drunk driver doing 55mph on a 30mph road.

Sabrina Harman, 29, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and banned from driving for three years.

Angry at what he believed to be a lenient sentence, Mr Allen, 38, set off on a quest to highlight the dangers for cyclists on Britain’s roads.

Ghost bike sites in London

He travelled to America where he teamed up with Ghost Bikes, the campaigning group that started the white-bike idea in 2000. It now operates in 43 countries worldwide.

When he returned home, Mr Allen established a UK branch of Ghost Bikes.

He picked up the bikes for a pittance from landfill dumps and scrap metal merchants and painted them white in his back garden.

The website developer has since placed more than 100 of them on the roadside in London, Oxfordshire, Manchester and Brighton, although local councils have removed many of them.

He said: ‘Something had to be done. James was a great mate, a young man in the prime of his life.

‘Cycle deaths on the road in the UK go largely unreported and I wanted to put something tangible out there to document the tragedies and warn drivers to look out for cyclists.’

One of the white bikes is on a junction in Hackney, North London. It was erected in April after the death of cyclist Anthony Smith, 37, who was crushed by a lorry.

Another was placed on a Brighton street where James Danson-Hatcher, 23, was killed by a car driving at

60mph in April last year. James’s grieving sister Alison Swann said: ‘I am glad a ghost bike has been put at the spot where he was killed. Anything that helps raise awareness of road safety is a good thing.’

In April this year, a white bike was left on a street in Manchester after 55-year-old Stephen Wills was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

He suffered fatal head injuries after being knocked off his bike but no one has been prosecuted.

Last year 3,000 people, including 500 children, were killed on UK roads. More than 130 were cyclists.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Review of Equinox TTX 9.9 SSL

Simply The Best

By Simon C from Malaysia on 7/12/2008


5out of 5

Pros: Comfortable, Handles Well, Absorbs Shock Well, Responsive, Stiff, Good Geometry

Cons: There are None

Best Uses: Duathlons, Ironmans, Triathlons, Serious Training

Describe Yourself: Competitive Cyclist

I have now owned three Trek Team Time Trial bikes since 2002 and all were excellent but none came close to matching this. The geometry has improved, the stiffness has improved as has the aerodynamics. I'm totally blown away by this bike.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Pop's 60th Birthday - Surprise!!!!!!!!

Shilpa's Pop was 60 years old this year and he and Mom fulfilled a dream of touring China. They had an awesome time but Pop was very much hoping that all his kids, their partners and Grandkids (Sid and Seb) could all get together to celebrate too at some point.

Unfortunately it wasn't possible as Sid and Seb had school and Shilpa was adamant that they couldn't miss that. Ranjan (Meenu's Hubby) had work, as I did so it looked like it might only be Kapil, Ritu and Meenu that could make the get together - OR SO HE THOUGHT. One by one the kids started turning up beginning with Shilpa, Sid and Seb and then Ranjan, finally I turned up but by then it was not much of a surprise.

That evening we all went out for a wonderful dinner together at an Italian restaurant - yum yum.

A surprise trip to Chiang Rai had been organised which Pop didn't know about until we got to the airport. Upon arrival we checked into the Legend Hotel right on the river and proceeded to eat and drink ourselves senseless for the next three days. Here are a selection of photos - click on them to enlarge them.