Thursday, December 24, 2009

Arthur C. Clarke

The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.

Arthur C. Clarke

Simon says: - Now is this man talking about Ironman or what? We all know his most famous novel was "2001 Space Odyssey", however, his next book was "2010: Odyssey Two"...Mmmmmm! 2010, a coincidence do you think? I THINK NOT! Bring it on!

Oo oo! spooky, I just realised that I did my first Ironman in 2001 - aggghhhh! There is something really cosmic about all of this!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A quick update from Ngae

As many of you will know Ngae had a brain tumour removed soon after Langkawi Ironman this year. He's well and truly on the mend and has been seen in several events since then including Powerman.

Ngae had a check up last week with MRI scans etc and was told to lay off the racing and have another check up in 3 months. He asked me to update his friends. He did say though that he will be in Langkawi supporting - so make sure you look out for him and give him a big cheer.

What lucky looks like

(Courtesy of Sam)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NYC Half Marathon - Fresh Air Fund

Simon says: - Anyone thinking about doing the NYC Half Marathon - please consider representing the Fresh Air Fund. Sara sent me this email below and she works tirelessly to help underprivileged inner city kids. Have a look at the website at least - some great work going on there.

Hi Simon

I hope you're doing well this holiday season. The Fresh Air Fund is looking for runners and sponsors to join our Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC Half-Marathon this coming March 21st and I was hoping you might be able to post something about it on Tritwins to share with your readers. This is a great way to participate in NYC's premier summer road race while helping Fresh Air Fund children.

Over the last year, support from friends like you helped us give nearly 10,000 inner-city children country experiences that they're still talking about! We rely on donations this time of year to keep our programs strong for the summer months, and helping children is a cause that I'm sure your readers would be interested in. Please feel free to repost anything from our news site here:

Please let me know if you are able to post or tweet and if you could send me the link that would be wonderful. Together we can help make sure these children have everything they need!

Thank you so much and have a happy holiday,

Sara Wilson,
The Fresh Air Fund

In my defense - I'm not perfect

(Courtesy of the Online Telegraph)

The storm that never came

(Courtesy of my lovely wife, Shilpa)

Simon woke up one fine morning with a huge hangover. He forced himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he saw is a couple of panadol and a glass of water on the side table. He sat down and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed.

Simon looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotless, clean. So is the rest of the house. He takes the pandadol and notices a note on the table. "Sweetie, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping. Love You!"

So he goes to the kitchen and sure enough there is a hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His sons are also at the table, eating. Simon asks, "Boys, what happened last night?"

Sid says, "Well, you came home around 3 AM, drunk and delirious. Broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and gave yourself a black eye when you stumbled into the door".

Totally Confused, Simon asks, "So, why is everything in order and so clean, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me? I should expect your mother to have 'put the face on' and a big argument!"

Seb replies, "Oh, that! Mum dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your clothes and shoes off, you said , "Hey!!!!!!! leave me alone! I'm married!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

OMG - Black Beauty - even more beautiful!

Not only did the Trek TT bike get the fastest bike split at Hawaii Ironman this year it is rumoured that the new Trek TT will be representing the US in the Miss World Competition next year due to its unrivalled beauty.

It's difficult to believe that so many people ride those other "tanks" from the north, especially considering not even one of them made it into the top 15 in Hawaii this year!!

In fact my good friend Patrick (Canadian) commented this weekend that he wouldn't ride a French bike anyway. I pointed out that they were Canadian and his retort was "Hmm! Probably French Canadian" and that seemed to settle it for him.

Anyway, I digress, having now offended just about every triathlete I know, Sam, Carmen, Disco Dave, Bee, Chris, KK, Emma, Jens, Keat Seong...the list goes on (everyone in Malaysia seems to have a Canadian bike). Also apologies to Johan (South Africa) and Bryan (Canada) but I thought you'd like to see what a gorgeous bike looks like when she's been pimped up with a set of USE Tula aero bars - once you've seen this I suspect the secondhand Canadian bike market is going to be flooded and Trek and USE websites jammed... ENJOY...(Check out the brake levers - I won't be able to stop of course but they look great which is the most important thing!).

I have been asked where I got these beauties from. USE is a British company and I bought them online in the UK (GBP458 incl. VAT) - not cheap by any means but even after paying VAT this was cheaper than the US, Australia or Singapore. Sam was an absolute star and very kindly arranged for his daughter to take delivery of them (thanks Sarah) and then carted them by hand from England to Malaysia, thanks Sam.

Sarawak International Triathlons

Very late I know but hey I've been very busy. Thanks to everyone for the photos by the way, greatly appreciated.

I’d decided earlier in the year that this weekend together with the KL Marathon and Powerman were going to be my big “FOCUS” races for 2009. So the Sprint Tri and Sunday’s Olympic Distance Tri were going to be biggies for me!

I’d decided to go on the early morning flight on Friday as it was a very cheap AirAsia flight and when I’d booked it there was a good chance that I’d get a game of golf in on Friday afternoon. As it turned out the golf had fallen through and I was beginning to regret the 5am wake up.

In the end it wasn’t so bad and I was checked in and asleep on the plane in no time. There were loads of other triathletes on the same flight which was cool. At Miri we were picked up by the organizers and the bikes loaded onto two lorries – very impressive organisation and service – every athlete got a free transfer to and from the airport with their bikes – nice touch by the organizers.

The bike was put together and stuff organized in no time at all. Had a “mechanic” emergency call from Elaine, between her, Disco Dave, Jason and Lydia they couldn’t put the derailleur back onto Elaine’s bike! With that fixed we all headed out to lunch – kindly driven by Jack and Eugene Chan. This finished with a McD’s McFlurry – HEAVEN.

Back at the hotel we agreed to meet up for a swim, ride and run to check out the water, gear and to make sure the body was firing on four cylinders. I’d finished my solo swim by the time everyone else turned up and I can tell you it was a bit nerve wracking as there had been reports of 4 crocodiles around the marina a few days earlier – I’m not sure whether local boy Jack was pulling my plonker but there had been a crocodile problem there a couple of years earlier so it was real enough for me.

With all the swims done we headed out on the bikes and over the dreaded “hill”. Fortunately the hill was far shorter than I remembered, although coming back was a bit tougher and longer. Job done and onto a quick 2K run to loosen the legs and the lungs.

The plan was then for an early dinner but I was still stuffed from lunch and decided to bail – mustn't overfeed as that is a sure fire way of screwing up a race. It was then that I got a call from Shilpa telling me that Seb had been rushed to hospital with a temperature of a 103!!! Oh my goodness, I felt helpless and wanted instantly to be transported home.

As it happened he was being a real brave little soldier and even spoke to me on the phone while the doctors and nurses were sponging him to try to get his temperature down. They gave him some medication and he was home by the time I got to sleep. His school had been closed due to a H1N1 outbreak that week so it was quite a worry – we never did find out whether it was that but he’s totally OK now thank goodness.

So to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzz!


I’d had a great night’ sleep, spoke to Shilpa and the boys and had finished breakfast by 8:30. It was then that I started seeing all the “tri-stars” turning up for this big “money” race. There was RM80,000 (US$23,000) up for grabs over the weekend. Elmar (Austrian) had flown in from Europe, Frederich (Sweden), Rob (Australia) etc… Of course the usual suspects as well, Razani (Malaysia’s top triathlete), Shahrom (Asia’s top duathlete), Barry (Malaysia’s top junior triathlete) plus a whole load of other very fit and focused looking athletes.

I started getting the picture and resetting my expectations as Elmar is a Pro triathlete (albeit in my age-group) he came 3rd overall in Ironman Malaysia last year. I’d never come close to beating Razani in a triathlon (although I had beaten him a couple of weeks before in the Powerman Duathlon – he is a far better swimmer than me though). They were both doing the Sprint distance race too.

To my credit I’d been training very very hard and especially the swim over the last three months so I was going to give it my best shot and see what happened. I still had the ghosts of the Alpe d’Huez swim to exorcise and that still played on my mind a little. I needed to start out strong but not go anaerobic where I’d go into meltdown (not good in water). As it turned out I had a great swim, very strong (for me), I got to the turnaround and drafted behind a guy who was kicking his feet like crazy which made it very easy to follow and the draft made the swim reasonably effortless.

So onto the bike and back into my element, hit the hill and at the top I saw Razani and Kevin Chan descending – I put on the afterburners and overtook them soon after the descent – I was pretty surprised that they didn’t get on my wheel but then I was trying to avoid that.

Heading back I had about 40 seconds lead over Razani and needed to stretch that a bit if I was to hold on over the 5K run. I pushed hard, had a quick transition and was on the run in 7th place overall and 2nd in my age-group. Freddie, Elmar and Rob were too far ahead but a group with Barrie were about 500m ahead and I set about reeling them in.

I felt strong and fast with a good leg turnover and passed the group before the turnaround for home. With one K to go I looked behind and there was no one in sight so I backed right off and jogged to the finish. 2nd in my age-group and 4th overall – not only had I beaten Razani for the first time but also Shahrom! Wow, I had to be happy about that although I was only too aware that this was just the sprint and they were likely to have been taking it easy for tomorrow’s big event.

I joked with Shahrom that as I’d beaten him then he had to go back to transition and pick up my bike (about 2k away), can you believe it, as I was walking back he appears on his bike pushing mine along too with all my kit. What a great guy and a lovely gesture. I assured him that tomorrow I’d be collecting his bike in the race that really mattered – he said “we’ll see”!

That evening was the prize-giving and carbo-loading, there was so much prize-money that pretty much everyone I knew got something to take home. For 2nd place I got RM300 (US$85) so the hotel was paid for at least. Off to bed and a 5:30am wake up call.

Sprint Distance 750m Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run - 1:02:18


Four cups of coffee and a Powerbar is my traditional breakfast before a race, I don't like racing feeling "heavy" in my stomach. Bike set up and warm up swim done we then waited for the start. I'd had a good swim yesterday and was determined to do likewise today.

The gun went and it was the usual mad scramble to the first buoy. I soon saw Wong At Thiam (Malaysia's best Ironman) next to me and as we're similar on the bike and work well together I made it my mission to make sure I didn't lose him in the swim. Not much to report other than the training paid off and the swim was solid. Wong and I ran into T1 together and were soon rotating the lead on the bike (draft legal race). We were passing truckloads of people and none were able to stay with us which was reassuring.

We came across Razani and a big effort enabled us to drop his group. This were looking good, came across and dropped a couple more guys in my age-group and then at about 30k into the bike we came across Kevin Chan and a reasonably large group with a Czech guy in my age-group. Wong and I tried to drop them but they managed to hang on.

It soon became apparent that the Czech guy wasn't doing any work at the front (Kevin told me afterwards that he literally sat in the pack the whole way and didn't even make a token effort at the front.) I tried to encourage the guy to do something and then I must admit I started being pretty damn rude to him about it. The guy was thick skinned or what! Being too weak to take your turn at the front or simply playing the "smart" game and saving yourself for a win on the run are both understandable but you do a token effort come what may - certainly if you expect to retain any respect from your fellow athletes and friends.

Eventually the hill came and went and the pack rolled towards T2. I moved to the front to ensure I didn't get held up in the transition and was out on the run ahead of everyone else in the pack.

The run was 8.5k, pancake flat but darn hot. Elmar was long gone, Razani was somewhere behind and the Czech guy was on my heels. Mmmm! Running scared as I've often said before is not a bad thing provided you use it as a positive. I felt strong and my cadence was high. I'd left transition with two relay guys, both of which ran away from me but after a while I started reeling one of them in again. Always good to have a rabbit in sight.

At the first turnaround I saw the Czech guy, Wong and everyone else that were in the bike pack, they were way back and only after only 2k of the run. I knew Razani was a very very talented runner though and that thought kept me "scared". At the next turnaround I knew I had about 2.5k to go and 2nd place in my age-group was in the bag. Now I could enjoy it. I crossed the line 6th overall, feeling brilliant and without having to collapse on the ground for 20 minutes. Now that's unusual for me but a nice feeling for a change.

I hung around and watched loads of buddies finishing, everyone seemed to have a great race judging by the smiles on their faces.

As I headed off to get my bike, Wong said, don't worry Shahrom's got it. True to the "deal" he brought my bike back again! What a smashing bloke, the first day was a bit of fun but to do it twice was a real cool thing to do. Probably the last time I'll ever beat him though so I'd better get prepared for bike collecting, bike washing and shoe cleaning duties for the rest of my life...he probably was just sucking me in hahaha.

Prize-giving was cool, again just about everyone I knew got prizes. I got RM2,000 (US$585) not bad for a day of fun!

Olympic Distance Race 1,400m Swim, 37k Bike, 8.5k Run - 1:52:29

This is a really great venue, fantastically friendly people and organisers, great course (although should be stretched out to full Olympic Distance next year in my opinion). They announced that the prize money would be increased to RM100,000 next year - WOW, that's a lot of money for an amateur race. I think the dates do clash with Powernman though (hopefully I'm wrong or at least the dates will be changed).

Two small moans though - 1)I was third in line and it took me 25minutes to pay my entry fee - it was farcical bureaucracy at it's worst. You couldn't pay for both races at once, you couldn't pay online and each payment had to have a receipt written out longhand whether you wanted it or not. 2)Now this is a big worry - as I was driving back from the airport I felt some terrible itching on my back. By the next morning I had welts all over my back, chest, pelvis and legs.

In the end I had to go to the clinic where they gave me an injection of cortisone and antihistamines plus a bucket load of tablets and a huge pot of cream. This was more than two weeks ago and I'm still suffering with bad itching and some welts on my back - very very unpleasant.

Having swam three days in a row on the marina it is clear that the effluent and chemicals released from the boats and goodness only knows what other chemical and waste released upriver all combined to a pretty toxic swim. The organisers need to do some water quality tests and try to establish the problem and they need to do this now. I for one will need some reassurance on this front before I go back next year. (I wasn't the only one suffering from these symptoms by the way).

The moans aside - great weekend, great races, great venue, great organisation, GREAT FUN.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rudy did it!

(Courtesy of Sam)

This is from Cherie Gruenfeld 8 time, IM Hawaii age group world champion.

I'm sometimes asked where I find my inspiration and my answer has always been the same: While I admire the professional racers for their amazing athletic talents, my true inspiration comes from the amateur athlete who must over com e daily obstacles and challenges in his or her life. This group includes moms and dads raising a family, the older athlete fighting against the clock, and the physically challenged.

Last weekend I witnessed an inspirational moment that tops all others. Rudy Garcia-Tolson became the first double above-the-knee amputee to finish an Ironman. Rudy, who is twenty-one, has been a friend of mine since he was seven, so I've had the privilege of following the journey that led this amazing young man to his first Ironman finish line.

In 1995 I was swimming in a pool when I discovered I'd been joined in my lane. I quickly noticed that this fellow-swimmer was different from me in several ways: He was moving at the speed of a torpedo; he was a very young kid; and he had no legs. That was my introduction to Rudy and, on that day, I learned his story. Rudy was born with a disease that left him with useless legs. After 12 unsuccessful surgeries by the age of 5, he was told that he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Imagine the courage for a five year old to say…”Cut ‘em off.”

I fell in love with this kid and his family. There were three able-bodied children in the family and Rudy, who was a bundle of energy and kept them all jumping. And with prosthetic legs, he was a study in constant motion. When I met him, he was already exhibiting signs of great athletic ability and excelling in the swimming pool. I shared with him my experiences as an Ironman athlete and several months later he and I did a triathlon. We raced as a relay team: Rudy swam, his older brother biked and I ran. The seed was planted.

With his spunk and positive attitude, Rudy won hearts everywhere he went and soon he had major supporters including Terry Martin from Power Bar and Bob Babbitt from the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Rudy was in good hands and his career as a challenged athlete took off. He began racking up swimming titles and world records, ran a 6-minute mile and started riding a bike.

And another thing happened: Rudy discovered that he had become a role model. Somewhere there were other kids being condemned to a life in a wheelchair or being told that an amputation or other physical challenge meant an end to an active life. Rudy realized that with his success came great responsibility and, as with all challenges in his life, he was happy to take this one on.

Rudy has proved himself to be one of the world's top challenged swimmers, owning three Paralympic medals (2 gold and 1 bronze). Now Rudy had another dream. He wanted to be the first double above-the-knee to finish the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Rudy's motto is: “A brave heart is a powerful weapon”. His brave heart had helped him accomplish every tough goal he'd ever taken on. But the question remained (for everyone except Rudy): Can someone without quads or hamstrings cycle 112 miles through winds and over hills? Is it possible? In October, Rudy made the attempt on the Kona course and came up short when he missed the bike cut-off time by a few minutes. This wasn't failure – it was simply a deferral of success. Being an impatient man, Rudy took the lessons he'd learned in Kona and went to the Arizona Ironman in November.

On race day his goggles broke seconds before the cannon started the race. No problem – he swam 2.4 miles without them. On the bike he got a flat. No problem – he fixed it and moved on. He was fighting against a 5:30 p.m. deadline on the bike. No problem – he finished 112 miles with thirty minutes to spare.

Then came the run. The focus of Rudy's training had been on the bike, which was to have been his biggest challenge. He'd never run a marathon before. No problem – the kid is a good runner and he's got a brave heart.

However, during the marathon Rudy had some of the darkest moments he's had in his athletic life. Those who saw him during those moments wondered if this was perhaps not possible. Those who knew him didn't know how he was going to do it, but knew that he somehow would.

With three miles to go, somewhere deep inside, he remembered all those kids who were looking to him to see what was possible in their lives. And he picked up his body, which moments before had been betraying him, and he didn't just run the last three miles – he blazed, passing other runners on the course who had given up on him. He raced to the finish line where thousands who had been waiting for this moment watched with tears of joy and amazement. Rudy's performance that day not only changed his life: It changed the life of physically challenged people all over the world.

Next goal: Go back and do it in Kona where it'll be tougher. But I wouldn't bet against Rudy.

I'm proud to call him my friend and my inspiration.

Simon says: - What is there say? Truly inspirational, we are insignificant compared to guys like this.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Do you have Athlete's Heart Syndrome?

(Courtesy of my buddy Tristemmet and Dr Larry's Blog Page)

Simon says: - "A buddy of mine recently had a bit of a scare when his doctor told him his heart rate was seriously low and needed to visit a cardiologist. My resting heart rate dances around 38-41 and during my annual medical check up they always give me an "A" rating for everything but a "B" rating for my unusually low heart rate!!!! It doesn't seem to matter how much I explain to them what I've been doing over the years to get my heart rate that low they still give me a "B".

From what I can work out, if you have blood pressure problems, dizzy spells, a irregular heart beat or palpitations then you should get it looked at. If on the other hand your overweight, cigarette smoking, pizza eating, beer guzzling doctor doesn't understand what a fit heart is supposed to do then I suggest you do see another doctor PERMANENTLY."

Check out the link below.

Athletes Heart Syndrome

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sid and Seb's birthday cake cutting

Sid and Seb turn 4 years old on the 31st December. This is during school holidays so we designated the 30th November for their "official" school birthday cake cutting. It was going to be the week before but unfortunately the school was closed due t a limited breakout of H1N1. Seb got very sick as well (we don't know whether it was H1N1 for him but he's better now thank goodness), so it was better all round that we changed the dates.

Here are a few photos of the little angels: -

First of all Mummy tells all the children about Sid and seb, their likes and dislikes and all about them being twins.

Then the boys take around some photograpghs of when they were younger. Here Seb has photos of him and Sid riding toy motorbikes around a track at Kuantan and the three boys having ice-cream together just after the Genting Challenge.

Sid is holding a photo from when they were still one year old (almost two at halloween (probably time we passed the outfit on to their little cousins).

Then it was time for their Thomas the Tank Engine cake to be brought out. Mummy had it made especially with their favourite engines on - note Molly the Engine is their as she's yellow - very important for Sid.

Sid doesn't need to be asked twice to blow out the candles - the boy is fast!!!

Then just like the perfect twins they are they cut the cake together.

Here are Shilpa's three boys being especially well behaved and listening to the teacher (naturally I only put this on for the boys as a good example - I was never this well behaved at school and amazingly the teachers say that Sid and Seb are two of the most well behaved kids in the whole school!)

All the kids singing and dancing together.