Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sam's Desaru 1/2 Ironman Distance Race

As you may know I'm on holiday with the family and having a great time. The triathletes I left behind in KL though were left with few excuses to avoid doing one of the hardest races around - The Desaru 1/2 Ironman Distance Race - I call it the Devil's Cauldron Race.

Sam send me an update which is a very worthy race write up - here's what he wrote: -

"Re Desaru, the day started as a real scorcher in true Desaru style. All the participants stood at the starting line sweating their balls off as Chan did his race briefing yet again (I guess he had to since only about 20% of the participants attended his evening briefing).

The shape of the swim course was changed this year to a long “out” followed by a short 100m parallel to the beach and then back to the start, 2 loops. The water was very choppy and once you were in the water, you could not see the first turning mark. The only thing to guide you was the line of small buoys that went vaguely in the direction of the turning mark. Most swimmers kept to the outside of the small buoys where it became a bit of a bun fight and a roller coaster. I chose to take the inside line with the small buoys to my left which turned out to be a wise move. I had much clearer water albeit it was still choppy and I was able to get into a rhythm, if you can call it that after 50m or so. I had no panic attacks, thank goodness. In fact, I quite enjoyed the conditions. They kept my mind occupied on the job at hand and when I came out after the swim in 43min or so I discovered I was ahead of Randy and Japanese Sam, both of whom normally beat me on the swim.

One reason for the choppy sea was the strength of the wind, even at 10am in the morning. So I knew that there would be some head wind on the bike. Sure enough and soon onto the bike, you could feel the effects of the wind. Of course, this helped you in one direction and it was against you in the other. I decided to adopt a conservative approach and to save myself for the run particularly since it was turning out to be a very hot day (39C) and very reminiscent of Langkawi. The last thing I wanted to do was to “bonk” so I took on as much water as I could on the bike which meant stopping at the turn-around by the golf course to refill my bottles since they only had small plastic cups and jugs as means to dispense the water. There were no bike-friendly water bottles that you could pick up on the move. Given that this water station was the only one marked on the bike course, it should have been managed better. I finished the bike course in just under 3 hours which is a tad slow for me but under the conditions, it's what I chose to do in the belief that the worst was yet to come.

I went out on the run not knowing where I was in relation to the others in my age group except for Michael who was not far behind me. As I started the run, the heat of the day started to take its toll and I could feel my body overheating. I got as far as the golf course turn-around and gave myself a "Langkawi shower" by pouring loads of iced water over my head and back. Phew! You could see the steam coming off me in true cartoon style! I knew I was taking too long at the aid stations but it was either that or blow up! So, I took every opportunity to cool down and to take on two cups of water and the odd gel. I could see that Michael was slowly but surely catching me up. Eventually things started to improve and I got into my stride and my breathing became less laboured. I passed Alvin from the Philippines who was in 1st place. He was suffering from cramps and persevering like a true trooper. At the half way point, the sky clouded over and I became less concerned about overheating and more concerned about picking up my pace albeit I was still stopping at every aid station to take on water and to cool down. With about 4k to go and on that nasty little incline, Michael comes past me looking strong. I could not respond and once around the roundabout and heading back to the finish opening my stride, I knew I could not catch him. Good on you Michael! I finished 2nd in 5.22 and I was very happy with my time.

We all went down to Sungai Renggit for the traditional "fish supper" that evening washed down by a few bottles of ice cold Heineken. Lovely! We then retired to that famous ice cream parlour called the "Petronas petrol station" in Desaru for a well earned Cornetto before turning in for the night to watch the 100m men's final on the TV. It was yet another great dayin Deasru. However and for some, the day did not end there. You will be amused to know that Dr Tan who did the race, Nage and Jason of Pacesetters stayed up in the hotel bar drinking beer until 2am.

Cheers mate and I trust all is well in Euroland!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lauftreff Unterkirnach

Shilpa, Angela and I turned up for the weekly running club Tuesday evening run. It hadn't stopped raining all day but we weren't going to miss this for all the tea in China.

Not much English was spoken but enough to get by and the people we met were absolutely delightful - which I must say hs been my experience of Germans throughout my life.

Angela briefed me that the group would split into two groups after an initial warm up - a fast group and slower group - she assured Shilpa and I that we could chose which to go with. However, as we were being introduced I heard the word "Ironman" escape from her lips, there were a few eyebrows raised and then she turned to me and said you'll be in the fast group!!! It didn't appear that there was a choice any longer.

We were soon jogging along and then we were off road and then off off road, running over roots, through mud and up and down tiny tracks - it was wonderful (if not a little wet). We then split off and headed up what I thought was a mountain (little did I know this was just warm up for the real uphill time trial). Shilpa and Angela went with the more sensible group.

I got to the top in third place but then it got scarey, they headed down hill at break neck speed - so of course I followed - somehow I survived but was then told that we would soon be going up a very very steep hill but not to worry it was only 600 metres - being told not to worry nade me worry ALOT. We headed vertically and caught the slower group. Angela later remarked on the contorted look on my face - she wasn't exagerating. Fortunately I'd invited Mr. Ego to run with me so I managed to ignore the fact that my lungs were exploding, my legs were ready to fall off but when the lactic migrated to my arms - my arms for goodness sake, then I started asking myself whether the Germans measured 600 metres the same as the rest of the world.

At last it came to an end and I managed a third place again which satisfied Mr. Ego - clearly the worst (or the best, whichever way you looked at it) was over. We then had a 20 minutes run with both groups together to the end. This has to go down as one of the most exilerating and enjoyable runs I've ever done or ver likely to do - AWESOME. Thanks to Angela and the running club.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We're on Holiday

On Saturday I had my last ride with the group for a while and then back home to chill out and pack. Sid and Seb had a late afternoon nap in the hope that they'd stay awake until we took off for Frankfurt at midnight - then the hope was that they'd sleep until we landed or almost. Amazingly the plan worked a treat, daddy even got to watch the movie "Ironman" (strangely not a piece of Lycra in the whole movie) and Kung Fu Panda - cool!

My sister, Angela and brother-in-law, Marcus, had kindly driven 3 hours to collect us from Frankfurt and took us back to the Black Forest. Spent the day chilling out and then ate a huge bowl of spaghetti we then went for a run through the forest with Angela and Shilpa - great idea but eating the spaghetti first wasn't such a good idea. We survived 5.5k and felt a million dollars.

I then ran again the next morning, evening and then again this morning - 40k under my belt already - the plan is to exceed 300k in three weeks plus a bit of swimming and biking. Running with Angela's running club this evening and then going to make my nephew Jan suffer tommorrow morning on another 11k jaunt.

Weather is awful today, pouring with rain from the moment we woke up and pretty cold for us - we're loving it - the air is pure elixir and the scenery straight out of the Sound of Music - to top it all I had the biggest ice-cream sundae that man has ever conceived of yesterday with Rocher chocolates - life is good.

Sid, Seb and Shilpa are loving every second of it too, the boys are just lapping it up.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ride and Fly Alert - Sat 9th & Sun 10th August

Ride on Saturday will be to Salak again via the Putrajaya elevated highway. Start time 6:30 at MegaMall. I'll be riding from home and adding as many k's to the route as my legs will allow as this will be the last ride for me prior to going on holiday - without my bike - boo hoo boo hoo!

Sunday morning many of Team Tri Hard will be doing the Adidas King of the Road 22.7km run - thankfully my travel agent has tremendous foresight and compassion and I'll be flying to Germany shortly after midnight (Saturday/Sunday) with the family. Enjoy and good luck team.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Shimano's electronic Dura-Ace

By Lennard Zinn

Shimano has formally announced plans to release Dura-Ace Di2, a new electronic shifting option for the all-new 7900 series Dura-Ace, in January.

Composed of dual control shift/brake levers, front derailleur, rear derailleur, a wiring harness and battery pack, the new Dura-Ace Di2 7970 components integrate with components from the upcoming 7900 series Dura-Ace group, while adding only 68 grams.

Electrically actuated shifting eliminates cable friction and contamination. The shifters are now merely switches, which also allows for creative placement of optional remote shifters while reducing the weight and profile of the main shifting units. For example, a rider could place remote switches out on the ends of aero bars as well as on the top of drop bars near the stem.

Derailleur movements are computer-controlled and servo motors in both front and rear derailleur create synchronized shifts.

Click here for the whole article

Week/Weekend Overview

Probably for the first time this year I am in the groove! I'm actually motivated and excited about training and I'm doing it consistently. Consistency is the key to success without a doubt. If you don't have the miles in the legs then that 10k run (last leg of an Olympic distance triathlon) is going to bite you (it did for me at PD). The best cyclists are always the ones that do the most kilometres (simple mathematics that one!) and swimming - well in my experience it's not about the distance or the time in the pool (they certainly count for a lot) but for me I have to have a least one long coached session a week, a quality session! Plus I have to do additional weight work as my upper body is weak as a lemon pie.

PD was a wake up call, I'm now dropping the Kg's and I've completed two mega weeks of training and kicked off my third week with a 60k ride before work this morning - I'm tired but feeling good. It probably helps that Shilpa, Sid, Seb and I are off on our holidays on Saturday night so getting in as much cycling time as I can before 3 weeks forced "rest" is easy.

Last week I managed 6 swims (including my coached session), 6 rides (including a rather painful, hilly and lonely long ride - enjoyable though) and 6 runs including a long run on Sunday where a clocked a 45 minute 10k on the return leg. It's all looking good so far - Rebuilding for the second half of the season!

I'm hoping to do a few swims on holiday and run at least once a day. I might even get a few rides in on borrowed bikes - I'll be taking my shoes and a pair of pedals in that hope anyway.

I'll be missing the Desaru half Ironman distance race - a race that always chews me up and spits me out so I'm not too disappointed but good luck to all you guys doing that.