Monday, August 23, 2010

Flights for 50p

(Courtesy of Ian)

Now this is funny!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ITU Long Distance World Championships - Immenstadt 2010

Here I am after finishing the ITU Long Distance Championships in Immenstadt, Germany holding the Union Jack and the Malaysian Flag representing my two countries (Official and Unofficial).

ITU Long Distance World Championships 1st August 2010

I was very honoured to be representing my countries (officially Britain, unofficially Malaysia) in the ITU Championships in Immenstadt Germany. I’d qualified by winning 70.3 Malaysia and also at Ironman Malaysia.

Unfortunately I’d torn my calf six weeks before the race at The Bintan Triathlon; so being recovered enough from the injury to actually start was the first big question and then being fit enough to compete was the second.

Having now completed the race I can report that my calves held out perfectly and my damaged right foot is a tad sore now but didn’t affect the race. What was clear though was the lack of endurance both in my running and swimming.

The calf had not affected my cycling or training and I’m without doubt faster now on two wheels than I ever have been in my life and feeling like there’s more to come. The running though obviously suffered badly and especially the lack of hard long runs. The swimming on the other hand was down to lack of motivation and laziness. Actually, there was more to it than that, I was very “down” about my calves and foot, especially when my foot failed to respond to treatment and as I’m a reluctant swimmer at the best of times I just couldn’t stimulate myself into action.

THURSDAY 29th July
So back to the race, Shilpa and the boys decided not to come as the logistics of getting us all there was going to be tough and as we were then meeting Shilpa’s parents in Paris afterwards we decided that she and the boys would fly straight to Paris. I flew to Heathrow and then connected to Munich where I was (eventually) collected and taken to the hotel. On the drive I met another member of the British Team, Greg. A really great bloke, an ex-timetrialist turned to long distance triathlon. As soon as we got to the hotel we were met by Tim Whitmarsh the team manager. Tim is an extremely warm and welcoming chap and a team couldn’t ask for a better manager I’d say. Travelling time, door to door, was about 27hrs so I was fading fast and off to bed by about 7pm but awake again at 4:30am. This suited me as we’d be getting up at 3:30am come race morning.

FRIDAY 30th July
I spent the morning in the restaurant doing some work, clearing emails etc… and meeting more of the British Team, an absolute fabulous bunch of people. I was really starting to enjoy the team dynamic, something you don’t get in Ironman racing. I hooked up with Brian a Scottish member of the team who I got on extremely well with and we headed off into town to test out the bikes and register.

On Friday evening it was the Pasta Party and the Parade of Nations. I hadn’t realised that I was supposed to have bought the team polo shirt so I wore my Union Jack Cycling Jersey instead and had a huge Union Jack too. One guy even had Union Jack K-Swiss running shoes. (I’ll have to try to get a pair).

The parade of nations was great, the town of Immenstadt was totally into it with crowds lining the route, cheering, waving and taking photos. The pasta party was like many such events, a bit of a sticky bun fight to get food and the food was literally pasta and sauce and that was it. However, in true German style you could buy beer, it was spoilt a bit when the bar tender asked me if I wanted alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer! (he’s still recovering in hospital!!! Haha not really but the look I gave him answered the question without it needing to come to blows).

In fact I had decided to wait to test the famous Bavarian beer until after the race but my resistance was low when Brian suggested that we try a Weissbier (Wheat Beer), it’s one of my favourite tipples so my abstinence didn’t really stand a chance. We kept it down to just a couple though. With that done it was another early night and another early start on Saturday morning. Although Brian, Andy (another real cool guy), and a few others went to the bar for a coffee but ended up having a few more beers and schnapps – oh dear – lucky for them the race wasn’t until Sunday.

SATURDAY 31st July
Saturday morning was the team briefing, all the team had arrived now and it was really cool to be together for the first time. Tim gave an excellent team talk and read messages to the team sent by Chrissie Wellington and Jodie Swallow. Very motivating and inspiring. Then off for the team photo, once again I felt really privileged and honoured to be part of the national squad. We may have been the Age-Group Team but I’m sure it felt just as real as the pros (perhaps with a little less pressure).

A few of us then rode down to the lake to give the bikes a final run out, test the wetsuits and the water temperature (16.4C Brrrr, actually it wasn’t that bad at all) and then a 15 minute run to get some blood flowing through the running muscles. We checked out transition and the bike exit etc… and that was that – all ready to go.

In the meantime my sister Angela and her family, Markus, Nico and Sven had arrived at the nearby campsite so I rushed back to spend some time with them before the race briefing. It was really cool to see them and in fact one of the reasons I’d decided to do this race was because it was in Germany where they live.

Then off to the official race briefing which was all pretty mundane stuff. Annoyingly, while sitting on the benches I was trying to keep my back straight to avoid any problems with it and sadly it had the opposite effect and my back tightened up terribly as I headed home for bed – not good.

SUNDAY 1st August – RACE DAYUp at 3:30am, actually that was the alarm time but I was wide awake at 2:45 – having had two really good night’s sleep I wasn’t worried and felt well rested and ready to race, my back was a little tight still but there was little I could do about that now except stretch it.

The bike was taken off at 4am and breakfast with the team was a very subdued affair with little discussed other than the bike course (everyone was nervous about that). The profile had scared a lot of people including me but then course profiles can often be deceiving depending on the X and Y scales.

What was clear was that it was 2000m climbing in just 130k. I’ve ridden the Ulu Yam/Fraser Hill/Bentong loop many times and that’s about 2000m climbing but over 213k. So I knew this course had to be tough. Some of the guys had cycled part of the route and they said it was as bad as expected at best but probably worse. Most of the big climbs ranged between 14-19% and we had to do all of the worse ones twice.

We headed to the start at 5:00am to set everything up. It was freezing, my teeth were chattering so much it was almost comical. Then disaster struck for Andy, he’d taken the precaution of replacing his worn cleats on his cycling shoes but couldn’t work out why he couldn’t clip his shoes to his pedals – they were the wrong size – OMG! Panicked telephone calls were made and he raced back to the hotel – fortunately he was back and had them replaced just minutes before the start was flagged off – phew, disaster averted, although I bet it did no good for his heart rate.

At the Alpe d’Huez Long Course Triathlon last year we weren’t allowed into the water until just a few minutes before the start. When the gun had gone I was hyperventilating due to the cold and not being used to a wetsuit (not much call for wetsuit swimming in Malaysia) I thought I was going to drown and worse than that my swim time was toilet. I wasn’t going to allow that to happen at the Worlds.

I was one of the first in the water and after doing the customary warming of the wetsuit (if you know what I mean) I started getting some vigorous sprints in. I felt fantastic. I have long since realized that however bad a swimmer I may be the best way to have a good swim and avoid being beaten up in the “washing machine” is to start at the front. Everywhere else there are basically people thrashing around trying to stay alive whereas at the front faster people swim around you (and over you) but as soon as you can get onto someone’s feet who is quicker than you (but not too quick) then you’re going to have a good day and not get too bashed up. The plan was executed perfectly. I knew if I could cover the first 500m without going into the red zone or anaerobic I’d be in good shape.

I sat on a guy’s feet in a sailfish wetsuit for the first 2.2k but then felt he was going too slow for me (or my ego did) and I passed him. I soon realized how much help drafting made and it wasn’t long before he came past again but this time I was out of rhythm and lost him. The next k was tough but I was still having a great swim. For the last kilometre however, my lack of endurance swimming and lack of swimming in general since Ironman came to expose me. I really struggled and the last k never seemed to end. Fortunately it did and I was on dry land.

Swim time: - 1:11:35

I’d decided to take off my wetsuit by my bag before I ran up the hill to the change tent. Apparently this was a big NO NO and I got seriously shouted at by the officials – would have been nice if they’d have mentioned it in the briefing. So I pulled it half way back up and waddled up the hill with my bike bag looking like a penguin. Must have looked quite funny and I knew it because even I was chuckling at myself.

T1 time: - 3:31

A quick transition and onto the bike, Helloooo baby, now I’m in my element. I immediately got into the groove and was watching my cadence and heart rate. All the numbers were spot on and then I hit the first mega climb out of town – this was wildly steep and long. It was going to really really hurt bad on the next lap.

Germany is without doubt one of the most beautiful countries in the world and the ride was spectacular, just amazing scenery. Of course with the amazing scenery comes amazing hills and they were coming thick and fast. I was passing other riders in droves and as I came past Smudge, one of the Brits (he lives in Germany and is in the British Army, real nice guy), he said something like “Nice and easy, a long way to go”, great advice which stayed with me the whole ride. My numbers were still in the target zone and although I was going much quicker than most others I felt that I was OK and stuck to the plan.

One of the wonderful things about lung burning, heart exploding climbs is the descents. The problem on this course was that most of them were very technical, I came close to high speed wipe outs on a couple of occasions and by high speed I mean over 80kph – quite fast on 19mm tyres and only Lycra for “protection”! Another big problem was the other riders – everyone was very capable but overtaking at that speed down a technical course just adds more danger (and “excitement”) to the exercise.

Another factor I had to focus on was nutrition - calories and hydration were going to be major factors. The temperature was becoming very hot, the climbs increased the heart rate to silly numbers and to top it all the wind became quite strong about half way through causing more resistance but also increasing dehydration. I did pretty well on that front but my body couldn’t absorb anywhere near as much liquid as it was losing.

On the second loop I’d begun to pass many of the British Team and the camaraderie was great, usually just a “Go GB” or a brief few words shared but all really motivating. I saw Angela, Markus and the boys for the first time on a bit of a fast, technical corner but I managed a wave and a shout out to them. Again another really motivating and inspiring moment.

The second time I hit the monster hill out of town I’d had some real highs but the lows were coming regularly too now – the pain was growing and the legs, lungs and back were really hurting. I was still passing lots of people with one or two really struggling (some even walking) up the super steep hills. My legs still had really good power over anything that resembled rolling hills but I was starting to cramp up the really steep ones (and I NEVER cramp on the bike).

I cleared a mega steep hill that just went on and on kilometre after kilometre, I was standing for most of it (on a 39:27 gear ratio - that's how steep it was). I remembered the hill on the previous lap but couldn’t fathom how it had become so long and so steep. It’s amazing how memory and perspectives change when you are exhausted compared to being fresh. My memory was playing tricks with me but my legs were not, I realised that there was very little chance of me making it up any more mega climbs where I had to stand for more than a k. I felt I’d already come close to passing out a couple of times and had kept it together by willpower and by consciously "resetting" my mind – difficult to explain but the point is I was on the edge.

Fortunately, everything for the last 25k was pretty much doable and I even got to enjoy the scenery again. I came down a fabulous descent, past the swim lake and T1 and in towards town and T2. The marshalls were few and far between here and I took my feet out of the shoes too early but no big deal. As I came into T2 I saw Angela, Markus and the boys again which was really cool.

Bike time: - 4:14:08

The hand off of the bikes to the volenteers wasn’t as smooth as it is in most Ironmans. Usually as soon as you get off the bike is whisked away. Here no one took it and I was waved on to the transition area where eventually I came to a line of guys ready to take the bikes. Again I was happy with a fairly quick transition although nothing spectacular. I have long since learnt that the smallest thing forgotton or not done correctly in transition can lead to much lost time later or at least considerable discomfort. I did forget to take off my heart rate belt though (I don’t run with this ever). I was able to pass it to my sister though later in the loop.

T2 time 1:55

The run started well, my hopes were high but expectations were not and I was working on denial (no running mileage in training due to calf injury). I passed my sister and family and then Tim the Team Manager and then back out of town and past them all again. I was running well under a 5min/k pace and feeling reasonable for the first 10k.

The second 10k was a different matter and I could feel my pace falling but my breating getting faster and faster. The walks through the drink stations were getting extended and I was really struggling to get the heart rate and the breathing down. I was well pleased that my calves and my foot weren’t issues though.

The third 10k was not a lot of fun, sooooo many people came past me and so many of the British Team did too. Much of it was a walk with little bits of running interspersed.

I ran past my sister and I was hunched and it was more of a shuffle than a run – she shouted “You’re looking fantastic Simon, I’ve never seen you looking so good”. Had I actually been looking a little better or had she not tried to mean it so much I think it would have been a devastating knockout blow but because it was so rediculously off the mark it actually made me chuckle for the next kilomtre or two. I knew it came from the heart and was meant as encouragement – it was so sweet but sooo untrue and thus FUNNY.

Coming back into the stadium for the last time, Tim passed me a small Union Jack and said “You’ve earned it”, I thanked him and thought to myself I earned a bigger flag than this today. Markus my brother-in-law and my nephews Nico and Sven then handed me my huge Union Jack and equally huge Malaysian Flag. I did the circuit of the stadium with these, trying to hold them up and not get blown over. Eventually I finished and collapsed metres over the finish line with Brian coming in a few strides behind me. Finishing together with him was kind of fitting and a nice end I thought.

Run time: - 3:04:00

Total time: - 8:35:09 - 212th overall and 46th in M40-44 age-group.

I headed to the medical tent for a couple of much needed IV drips. I’d really let my hydration and salt levels get depleted and took these as precautionary steps towards a quicker recovery. As soon as I was out I headed to the post race nutrition laid on by the organisers – Wiessbeer (Wheat beer) haha (only in Germany & Austria). I managed 4 and gave Markus and Angela one.

That evening I caught up with a few of the team for a couple of beers and a pizza and then had to head off with my sister driving to Brugge in Belgium. It’s about a 12 hour drive for them and about a 12 hour sleep for me.

I’d encourage anyone to do an ITU Championships race whether it be Olympic Distance, Worlds or Long Distance. The events are totally different atmospheres and experiences to usual OD or Ironman races and the team dynamic is wonderful.

Finally I’d like to say thank you to my fellow team mates, you were a lovelly group of people, thank you to Nirvana travel you really made a difference and really went the extra mile, thank you to Tim Whitmarsh for great support and great management but most of all thank you to Angela, Markus, Nico and Sven for the amazing support in driving all the way to watch the race, the hours and hours of patience and support during the race, after the race and then for driving me half way across Europe only then to take my bike to England for me – OUTSTANDING!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rise of the Mamils (middle-aged men in lycra)

By Dominic Casciani (Courtesy of the BBC, Keat Seong & Chris Wayman)

Flashy sports cars are out, now no mid-life crisis is complete without a souped-up road bike. Why?

Every weekend, across the nation's rolling countryside, watch out for the Mamils: middle-aged men in lycra.

And ladies, if you have a man at home taking an unusual interest in how you shave your legs, you may have a Mamil in the making too.

Research conducted by the retail analyst Mintel suggests there has been a surge in the number of middle-aged men choosing to get on two wheels.

Given the number of men aged 35-44 who are buying fancy-pants road racing machines, is this a 21st Century mid-life crisis? Has the silence of skinny tyres and carbon fibre framesets replaced the thunderous noise of motorbikes?

Back in the day, when some men with a bit of disposable income reached a certain age, they did some strange things. The grind of the office and home life convinced some that the answer to an expanding midriff lay in a pair of designer jeans and a flashy but cheap Japanese sports car. Teenage daughters ran away screaming. Sons were deprived of the role models seen in adverts for shaving products.

Gents, our womenfolk were right all along. It wasn't a good look. And did it do anything for the beer belly?

But then came a confluence of coincidences that gave a man an option other than looking like a gigolo cruising Italy's glitzy Lake Como.

The past three years have seen the rise of the uber-techno, super-flashy, full-carbon fibre, bobby-dazzler road bike. The market for these bikes has expanded faster than a 45-year-old's waistline, partly thanks to the success of the British cycling stars at the Beijing Olympics. Marketing departments have produced smart advertising messages that encourage a bit of freedom, elite performance and memories of teenage derring-do.

And the result can be seen on Saturday and Sunday mornings as middle-aged blokes polish the rear derailleur, lower the mirrored shades and pedal into the hills. Every couple of weeks, you'll see a girth of Mamils gathering to race a "Sportive", a form of amateur competing that has taken the British cycling world by storm.

While the serious, younger riders are busy getting into the zone of elite competition, we're comparing the latest GPS route-finding cycle computer and pretending that we know how to stretch.

We hit the first hill and suddenly we're a puffing, panting, heaving mass of sweaty humanity that is well past its sell-by-date. Sounds humiliating? I've never had so much fun in my life - and there are also some unintended benefits of being the older rider.

First, there's the no-questions-asked fan club. My kids, on the promise of an ice cream, will cheer me over the top of any climb. They're still young enough to think I'm Superman - and you don't get that kind of pick-me-up on the golf course.

Even better is the Mamil's solution to saddle sores. A teenage shop assistant in a too-posh-to-pedal London shop tried to sell me some balm for £30. What's the point of that, I asked. I've got loads of unused nappy rash cream at home. He thought I was terminally uncool. I know better son, learn from your elders.


But no Mamil's life is complete without the spiritual journey to the mountains.

Robbie McIntosh is 45 and has spent much of the past year clad in lycra after being talked into cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats with a group of fellow Mamils.

Ten days of pain, rain and groin strain later, he decided he was ready for Mont Ventoux. This mountain, the Giant of Provence, is one of the toughest climbs in the world - 23km straight up. British cycling legend Tom Simpson died on its slopes in 1967. Last month, with terror in his belly, Robbie began turning the wheels.

"I wanted so much to say I'd climbed the Ventoux. It's an amazing mountain and a serious challenge.

"I was surprised at my nerves but I had a sense that if I could do this on a bike I could do anything and that was a feeling I wanted so much."

And make it he did. He wasn't as balletic as the local, young French riders - but he stood alongside them at the 1,910m summit and surveyed the world.

"Cycling has given me an opportunity to feel sporting achievement of the very highest level," says Robbie. "It doesn't matter that the pros ride up Mont Ventoux at twice the speed or more. I can scale the same sporting heights as the best cyclists on the planet. I can walk with giants."

So a man becomes fitter and happier. Where's the midlife crisis in that? Ah. The costs.

Ladies, look away now. Men who seriously cycle typically spend about £3,000 to live that dream. For a time, at least. That sum will cover the set-up and the first year, then about £1,000 a year, at least, on top of that.

The must-have bike of the summer is the Pinarello Dogma, the bike used by the British Team Sky in the Tour de France. Yours for about £7,000. Grown men stop and stare at this machine, like seven-year-old lads pressed against the toy shop window.

Thankfully, most Mamils don't have that kind of money to burn. But it hasn't stopped the rapid growth of a suburban money-laundering operation. It goes something like this. Man dribbles while looking at £100 bib shorts on cycling website - they're the kind that make you look like a wrestler. Partner says no, think about the starving children. Man continues to look at bib shorts and decides they will help conceal his 36-inch waist.

He calculates that three weeks of hard pedalling will help on the belly front - which is coincidentally the same time it takes to receive a secret new credit card to pay for the shorts. Job done. Platinum status achieved with the online cycling retailer. Discounts on more kit, all of which is sent directly to the office rather than home.

When you run the slide rule over all of this, flash road bikes definitely look like a midlife crisis.

There's a look to strive for, expensive kit and excuses for weekends away.

I and my band of hill-climbing brothers disagree. It's about becoming a happier and healthier person rather than sliding towards mediocre oblivion at the bottom of a pint glass.

But I conclude with a message from my own Mrs Mamil to other cycling widows. She's discovered a precise form of retaliation. If your portly husband buys another stupid fluorescent jersey, buy yourself another pair of shoes.

That way, at least one of you can look good.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Port Dickson Sprint Distance and Olympic Distance Triathlons

(Photos courtesy of many kind people and Tey as usual of course)

These were my first races since I tore my calf six weeks ago at the Bintan Tri. Since then I’ve been receiving intense physio, platelet injections, shockwave treatment (OUCH) and ultrasound treatment on both my calves and on the more damaged right foot. The calves had responded well, although as I increased my training the foot got worse!!!

I have the ITU Long Course World Championships next week in Germany where I’ll be representing my two countries (official representative of Great Britain and unofficial representative of Malaysia). People said I was bonkers to do a Sprint Distance followed by an Olympic Distance race just one week before. My philosophy was that these were going to be intense races but short and if I came through them relatively unscathed then I’d recover in time for the ITU Champs. I needed the confidence that I hoped they would bring and if I failed to finish them then I would never have been able to complete the ITU race anyway.

Port Dickson Sprint Triathlon 24th July 2010

Swim 750m, Bike 20km, Run 5km

Shilpa wanted to come and support one of the races with the boys and as they had a party on Sunday they decided to come down for the Sprint. We are only about 45 minutes drive from PD so we decided to commute rather than staying over. It was an early start though, getting the boys up at 5am was a tad harsh on them – poor little angels.

The race was scheduled for an 8am start and I was remarkably well organized and got set up quickly. However I then faffed around and didn’t get much of a swim warm up in – rooky mistake, silly boy! Soon enough the race was hooted off and the washing machine swim began. Actually it wasn’t too bad and I was in transition tearing off my speedsuit in what seemed like a good time.

I was very disappointed with the start of my bike, my shoes are mounted on the bike and I slip my feet into them only once I’ve started riding to save time. Today I made a real mess of it which annoyed me no end. Having said that, one of the reasons I usually do the sprint is as race prep for the next day’s OD race. So, mental note to myself - “Don’t make a hash of it again tomorrow”.

I was into my rhythm straight after that and I knew I was riding well. I was going past groups of riders some didn’t even bother trying to get on my back wheel others tried but dropped off straightaway. Oh well I thought, looks like I’ll be doing this one all by myself.

On the other side of the road I saw the leaders coming towards me, a group of 3 young guys from Hong Kong followed by a group of 2. In the distance there were another 2 who hadn’t turned yet. I was in 8th overall and gaining fast. I took the 2 ahead of me before the turnaround and then the next 2 a few km later. I don’t ever recall moving through the field this fast before. I hit transition having averaged the 20km in 41.4kph which has to be a new PB for me I’d imagine.

So onto the run and it was across very lumpy grass for about the first km. Not what my poorly foot wanted – every time it twisted a little the pain was excruciating – I was trying to be as careful as possible to ensure I didn’t do too much damage. On to the tarmac and I was trucking along at a nice clip. I caught one of the leading trio soon after the turnaround, he tried to stay with me but I knew by his breathing that he wouldn’t be company for very long. The 2 out in front were awesome though, they were long gone. I ended up 3rd overall and won the 40+ category (and the 20-39 category as it happened). I received a nice trophy and RM300 (about USD95) for my troubles which was nice but I was totally stoked about how the race had come together for me and how well my body had stood up to the test of it. Good omens for tomorrow’s race.

Total time (no splits) 59mins 17secs

Port Dickson Olympic Distance Triathlon 25th July 2010

Swim 1,500m, Bike 40km, Run 10km.

Another early start and again another efficient and quick set up in transition. This time I made a point of warming up properly in the swim. There were getting on towards 1,000 competitors racing and the waves were going off every 5 minutes. We (40-49yos) were the 3rd wave but just before we were hooted off the big inflatable arch collapse across the start line. Quite amusing but also a bit stressful too waiting for them to clear it. We eventually started a minute or two late which meant that we’d have less trouble getting past the slower swimmers in the wave in front but catching up with the faster packs was going to be infinitely harder on the bike.

The swim was pretty good for me and I even managed to do quite a bit of drafting (a skill I’m not good at in the water). At the end of the swim there is a 200m run across soft sand which is always a tester but everyone has to do it. Pretty happy with a swim time of 27mins 03secs.

I stormed through transition, onto the bike and having learned my lesson from yesterday slipping my shoes on quickly. Now I was in my element. I was passing people faster than I could count and wondered whether I could go sub 1hr on the bike today.

People tried to hang on to my back wheel but as with the sprint race they didn’t last long. Eventually an Aussie guy hung in there but profusely apologized for not helping out as he was at his limit. Respect to him he did do some token efforts and for that he deserved the tow. By the turnaround though I’d picked up a huge train who would neither be dropped nor help out. I shared a few choice words with them that my Mum wouldn’t have liked but it wasn’t until I came across Shahrom that they were eventually dispatched.

I didn’t even recognize Shahrom, he was in a different trisuit from normal and I was so focused/on-the-limit that I didn’t notice who it was but rather just pleased that he was helping out, especially up the hills. One other guy hung with us but every time it was his turn at the front he surged so fast that by the time we’d caught up with him his turn was over. Oh well we’ll put it down to over-exuberance but we could have squeezed that little extra time off the ride if he’d been a little more “in-tune”!

Into transition and my time was 59mins 42sec for 40.3km, that was a first for me so I was stoked going onto the run. Shahrom and the other guy ran away from my but I was pretty sure I was in second place in my category but well ahead of anyone behind. As it turned out I’d long been in first place but there was another Aussie guy chasing me down so it was lucky I thought I had to work to catch up the “leader”.

Soon enough the run was over with a 38mins 50secs 10K run and an overall time of 2hrs 06mins 30secs.

For the first time I’d completed the double winning the Sprint and the Olympic Distance in my Age-Group. I was pleased as punch and received RM1200 (USD375) and a Timex Ironman watch. I drove home a very happy camper and turned my mind towards next week’s little adventure – The ITU Worlds in Germany, after all, these races were tests to see if my dodgy calves and foot could even make it to the start line. Now I have no excuses.

Finally, two points that I’d like to make: -
1. Well done on the race organization Mr Chan, BRAVO! – It was excellent. Every year this race gets a little better and with a bigger turnout. It’ll be filling up online soon after it opens in the not too distant future, you mark my words.

2. Thank you Tey on behalf of the entire field and race community of Malaysia. You come to our races and tirelessly and unselfishly take amazing photos of us and then post them soon afterwards for our viewing and blogging pleasure. It’s about time your picture got included.