Monday, March 28, 2011

Apalah nasib pengayuh?

A recent fatal accident involving a fellow cyclist hit by a careless driver was disturbing. Much more when it is somebody I know. A fatherly figure when it we rode together and a joker when it comes to un-common sense chatting. Condolence to the family. And to all other cyclist/runners out there, whatever safety precautions we take, please be reminded that there are a lot of a***holes driving nuts and can whack us anytime.

Me, still chasing the milage for the PCC-IS 2011. The news that came on Saturday morning created massive shocks in the local cycling community. More over when we are hammering the milage meeting the endurance demand. A few of us were planning for a 130km ride that Sunday actually, hence the bad news really hamper confidence. Also considering the route that we are taking prones to hazardous scoundrel drivers, I was in doubt until the morning I woke up.

My second attempt at Bagan Lalang from home. A quick google map measured 130km with loads of sun. First attempt, koyak a few years back. Didn't make it back home on bike. Wifey to the rescue. Lol. Only Alwin, Det and me dared to test the recipe. A few more started from Unikeb as usual. We don't plan to catch up with them, that will only waste their time waiting.

Hazard No. 1
Location : Highway Cheras-Kajang
Highway interchanges always the tricky part for us cyclist. Tricky risking our lives trying to maintain the lane while avoiding vehicles exiting or entering the main line. We made sure four time, no vehicles wanting to exit. Only one motorcyle that we made sure he passed us before we change lane. We made it but in a split second, one Vios swerved behind us and where did this bugger came from. I guess, he came so fast from the high speed lane and made a sudden turn towards the exit. A mere inches and seconds, we would be another victim.

Hazard No. 2
Location : Pekan Sungai Pelek
Hancik was infront doing the pulling work. We slowed down approaching the small town. As usual, small town means cars parked haphazardly. A red Kancil parked on the roadside and suddenly both the front and the rear doors opened. It's either Hancik landed safely in the car behind the steering wheels, or sprawled in the middle of the road.

Hazard No. 3
Location : Jalan Reko, Kajang and Cheras Perdana
Motorists will never respect us cyclists. Be it the weekend warriors or the Banglas commuting to work. They expect we are travelling at almost zero speed, hence jumping infront of us at junctions are like playing games. Two occassions when I had to squeeze the brakes when only a few feet away, these buggers throttled out from a junction. We yelled back in anger, depa buat muka seposen. May someday I have the strength to stop and tazkirah him spot on.

Alhamdullillah we pulled it through. Freaking 133km in 5:15hrs under the blazing sun. I had to acclimatise to the weather, hence it worked so far. But still, from legs down I looked like a tapir. Next week is step back week. It shall be Langat super easy or the nearest mamak :)

Persidangan meja panjang pengayuh zon Sepang
Usul : Macam mana nak ajar KL drivers untuk respek cyclist

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Klawang oh Klawang

A week of zero workout but lots of work travels. Kids were in exam mode, hence the tense in the air was controlled at a moderate level so as not to trigger any unnecessary brain damage, I'm referring to wifey and me. As usual, kids were the cool ones. School break followed and feeding frenzy took place when we went back to hometown. Three days of pure food and sleep plus the Singapore bike tour. We went back to KL on Saturday. Alasan...Ahad nanti jalan sesak. Actual situation, a long ride awaits.

Mindset and anchoring all the way driving back from JB. I need to push the milage boundary at super easy effort so as to last the hours and the miles. Home - Kuala Klawang - Home should cover 140km. First attempt. Time...only God knows. Billy Ocean sang "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going." On top of the super scale milage in the menu, we were tested with a handful of mishaps. 

First, Zarol our new born orang kampung cyclist decided to sleep extra minutes and causing the cycletrain schedule a hiccup. We had to speed up a notch our warm up spin towards the first meeting point Batu 9. Luck was not on Det's side when he sprung himself into a pothole at the roadside and landed in the drain. I was infront and upon hearing a very loud crash, I turned and saw Det sprawling in the monsoon drain. Argh! That was scary. Braked, turned back and helped him out. Twisted brakehood, punctured front wheel and pain in right knee. The rest was clean. He was lucky the drain was clean, no rubbish nor sharp objects. He insisted me to carry on while I just made sure he's rational enough before I left half heartedly.

Caught up with the rest at Batu 9 and Batu 14 spreading the news about Det. I was still disturbed as we rolled away from Batu 14 into Langat. Traumatised, I took every single attempt to inform the drafters of potholes and such.

The climb up Peres was nothing else but me story telling about the recent Singapore bike tour. It kept the climb unnoticeable. Oh! We met Fong! Been awhile there new mom! Shuk and Zarol decided to bail out from Kuala Klawang attempt upon reaching Peres peak. Perhaps the morning cold win chilled their confidents. Cut the nonsense short, we straight away cruise down to Titi and finally Kuala Klawang town for nasi lemak and roti canai. Time was good and 70km clocked. Splendid.

Attempting Broga reverse on a few occassions were something, but transversing Kuala Klawang and back up Genting Peres again was totally a different story. So I heard some season cyclist preferred looping around to Broga rather than climbing up back again.

The climb actually starts right away from Kuala Klawang. The 20km inclines back to Titi, the foot of Genting Peres was a gradual and pain at some stretches. The pure 13km climb (plus some rolling hills) back to Peres adds to the agony.

We tried to stay together which was surprisingly, worked! My previous attempts was null and void, everyone rode alone following owns' pace. That was a good start actually, bringing the meaning to the word "group ride".  So was the climb but it took it's toll soon after we were into the first kilometer. Saiful was hauled from cramps on both quads. It looked severe. Most of us stopped. The so called faster and stronger riders (konon) had already passed a few turnings ahead, so don't bother yelling out for help.

Fadil handed anti-cramp pills to Saiful. We waited with him for the pain to subside. I think it was merely 15 minutes when we started talking nonsense. Yeah. That's what we do when the IQ starts draining. The best part was, nonsense will definitely followed with laughter. Big one. I recalled those moments when we were stucked in the middle of nowhere during epic mtb rides. Just us and the forest.

We barged on with several more breaks attending to Saiful's condition. The final one, I handed him Nathan electrolyte tablet. It looked alrite then which lasted until our last effort to the peak. We were fortunate weather were kind, else, the climb would be more disastrous.

We descended in silence into Batu 18, stopped at a saundry shop for whatever we craved for the last few hours. I remember somebody bought Choki Choki?!! Hah! Coke, 100 Plus, soy drinks, cincau. Cans of them. Still we survived more jokes.

The ride from Batu 18 back home was rinsed! Heavy rain. The rest had their cars parked at Batu 14 but Bahri and me rode all the way. Soaked in and out but justified with a 140km pushing the milage envelope. Now when is my step back week?

Yeay! We made it back together...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cranking Temasek

Note: This post may use some too geeky names & in depth technical syok sendiri words. Hence Parental Advisory may be required :)

Hometown trip had a detour this time around. Azizi, a friend whom I met at Padang Istana running route last Hari Raya with Shuk, persuaded me to jump on board the bikeshop tour in Singapore. He planned it a month prior, when my email to him about his wife's new ride sparked the conversation. He insisted to bring me across the strait and into those magnificent boutiques with gorgeous crafts. Aku SIGN.

The strategy was to lock my credit card away deep inside my wallet, or better still leave it in Johor, and only bring cash just enough for Geylang's bryani. Hehe. We started our journey somewhere late morning and headed out to The Bike Boutique as our first stop. They just shifted to Kaki Bukit area from Amoi Street two weeks ago. Glorious Cervelo frames gleaming behind the glass door, waiting for me to caress each one of them. The first one was the 2011 R5 in black and Thor Hushov's green. Happened to be, Aviva 70.3 will be on Sunday, so we saw triathletes in and out of the store in their training trisuits and merciful Cervelo P series. I was surrounded by Cervelos!

House of Cervelos
We met Dennis, the SA and he showed us the secret rooms. One room full of Louis Garneau stuff. Jerseys, bibs, helmets, shoes, socks. Full of them. Next room was Ironman's merchandise. Now Azizi was traumatized. Besides the normal Ironman's sportswear, they also have Ironman mouse pad, keychains, bumper stickers, etc. Awesome. But Ironman is just not in the list.

Next stop was Cannasia. Asia's Cannondale distributor. Located somewhere at Frankel Avenue. Don't ask me how to get there. Azizi did all the driving. He commutes JB-Singapore once a week I guess. A simple row of shoplots, just like the bikeshops in KL nested in a bungalow surroundings. The jewel I hunt down was no other than the alu hyped CAAD10. Put it in simple words, I didn't sleep well that night after witnessing the best alu craft ever made on earth.

Sz52 CAAD10 with Edge 50 at 6.5kg. Freaking...
Next was Bryani at Geylang. We need carboload. Bike shops tour creates stress, hence complex sugar and fat is crucial. More bike talks over the lunch table and some chats about events in Singapore.

One stop center at Vertex where four giant bike brands located. On one corner was khcycle. Freaking huge, covering floor area larger than my home! They housed Scott, Look and Bianchi brands. Ziff's bike was there but slightly overpriced I guess. Just like TBB, the staff were busy attending racers with gorgeous Plasmas.

Walking 5 lots to the other corner, we entered Giant and Specialized side by side. I guess same owner. Left, right, above and under, my neck sprain admiring those elegant TCR Advance and charming S-Works. They even have the newly released Prevail helmet, which I tried all 5 different colors of them. Lol. "It's lighter than the magazine in your hand." That's what the advert says in bicycling mag. Lucky I downloaded currency converter from BB Apps, so I kept on calculating the exchange rate everytime I peek at the price tags. Freak.

Triple craze...
Now this Cannondale hub is kinda a showroom to the earlier outlet we went. This is where the displays played the trick and adds up to the stress. Talk about all kind of Cannondale products, they have it. It's rare to be riding in KL with more than 3 cyclists riding Cannondale. What more having it in a KL shop? That day, Cannondales are all over me. Lefties, monoshocks, Six, Supersix, Six13, all kinds of CAAD series. Now me sounded so biaise la kan? Prowd owner of a CAAD4 of course.

Azizi had to decide for our last stop at Entro, nearby also. It was almost 4.00 p.m., hence a quick visit before crossing back to JB to avoid peak hour. Entro have Argon! Beauties! Brrrr....I think Argon are more on tri specifics. 3T and also Fiziks are on the shelves as well, plus Lazer helmets.

That's about it I guess. We had to skip the smaller shops and other tri shops, cause that would mean within purchaseable reach for small items. Save by the bell! We wrapped it up in Singapore but last stop at our very own local bike shop Kedai Basikal Ah Fan in Gelang Patah, Pontian. Very old shop, structure almost die one, but Mr. Ah Fan (a soft spoken with wetlook hairstyle chap) have SRAM Red, Shimano DA and Bora Ultra 1 on display! Lol. I got myself a CO2 for 40 bucks as a souvenir from the trip. Cukup ler tu. Nasib baik 40 hingget, bukan 4000.

Yet still Ah Fan was busy attending mountainbikers bringing in their super steeds either for upgrades or servicing, which reminds me of my old days frequenting LBS. Tapi kenapa mountainbikes tayar bersih? Kayuh on road ler tu. Keh keh keh. Tak kisah ler, as long as they live a healthy life and not merempit.

Yes, cycling have grown to a different level in Malaysia. I saw hundreds of groups all over, be it roadbikes or mountainbikes. Even events sprouted throughout the year to cater for the growing demand of healthier lifestyle (besides healthier But still, our government impose import duties or tax on cycling items, unless you buy a complete bike. Why eh?

The rest of the album:

2XU distributor. Too bad they closed. Maybe they open up a booth at the Aviva 70.3

Ironman on the street

My kind of Universal Studio :D

Amir will love this one. Notice the lefty!

Hey! My  2003 frameset is still around!

I sprained my neck while attempting this

Carbon composites beauties

Alamak! Sidai basikal kat luar je beb

Entro front look

Finally...hujan batu di negeri sendiri :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

These were last week's news

Entah apa aku nak taruk tajuk tapi it was just another awesome weekend. Nothing outstanding, but I managed to squeeze in another 3...oops actually 4 in two days.

Pagi Sabtu, menu LSD again around the neighbourhood. We call it McDonald loop 8km. I received message from Rozaimi a few days prior that the whole orang kampung will join. That would be him, Asharul, Det, Nizam and me. However, there at the junction at 6.30 a.m. under the streetlight were only Det and me. Asharul still nursing stiff calves while Nizam still in celebration mode for his newborn twins. Rozaimi? Overslept! Siapa yang salah?! Black metal tu tak bersalah Pak Abu! Yang salah tu ialah anggapan Black Metal tu salah! Sabor je lah...

Det was the honorary pacer of the week, despite a few grouchy look from me when he up the pace noticeably.

Then, Azmar was willing to join the swim cangkuk session at Bukit Jalil after that. No coaches available for this weekend, so I was kinda hoping that the session would be at least the same magnitude as previous. However, things didn't fall into the groove as wanted. Everything was wrong that morning. Kick, breath and fatigue. Thanks to Azmar, he brought a snorkel which means I get to slightly improve my stroke, especially the left one. Willingly, we bailed out after disgustedly managed to cover 700m.

Sunday, buddies decided to skip PCC ride to Titi but gave LEKAS a shot instead. So they told, enough climbings. When was that anyway? I obliged. Ten of us. I rode from home, with Det. Planning to clock in more milage as PCC-IS 2011 is nearing...8 weeks left. Speed was magnificently controlled at moderate on the way to Seremban. That was cool. We entered Seremban for breakfast and time was still good. The ride back was something on the opposite. Speed was crazily spoiled and headwind was too strong. Drafting at 45 was pushing the red zone and a slight turn from the head outside the streamline, will only cut down the speed dramatically. 102km done.

When time spent under the magnificent sun more than 3 hours, dehyrdration was immense. I was still warm even when I poured in liters after liters. Lucky me, recovery was short and the evening was pretty much well spent by celebrating Umar's 5th birthday. Very short and simple but we have a large crowd of hungry and sweaty playful buddies to join in the chocolate cake digging.

Just woke up from afternoon nap dah kena tiup lilin

The whole peloton of BTHO

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Trying to squeeze in 3

Triumph after the Dragoback
With kaki already into the drivetrain mode, plus the cycling kakis in jovial mood for another Batu Arang ride, we embarked into the self retrace back to the suburbs of Ulu Selangor. One of the largest state, Selangor still boast more untouched lands which sooner later will be flattened in no time. As the name says it, summer time throughout the ride was expected. Milage 82km, not quite worth the burning sensation above and under from the torching sun and tarmac. Leburrr...

Anyway, the trip and sunburn was justified when I managed to secure a good deal for Amir's BMX right after the ride. Thanks to, a mint condition BMX for him to join the neighbourhood peloton after this.
BTHO Pro Tour Team
That was two weeks ago, which I had to summarised things again.

Last weekend, things went a bit above average. I did three workouts. Nothing that I planned for but things kinda fell into pieces and went smoothly without tampering other chores. Since swim was pushed to evening, my biological alarm clock had me wide awake by 5.00 a.m. Thanks to fellow old time "orang kampung", we made a last minute plan for LSD around the infamous McDonald loop. Four of us, but in reality, I was sayur-ed halfway into the run by no other than Det and Nizam. Damn fast these guys. Apa taknya, belasah gym almost everyday. So I had Asharul to tackle my envy and pep talks. Asharul will be a FMV in the June SCKLM, so as usual I had him pouring with loads of tips and knowledge. We ended up with him waiting for me to email him the Hal Highdon marathon training program.

Awaiting 5.00 p.m., I was restless. With almost the whole day I was not quite as the laze around type, I was a bit worried I couldn't meet the distance menu tabled out. As a beginner, putting in effort for something new is near impossible at times. But, I gave it a shot. SIGN!

The introductory drill already had me twisting every part of my body. Kick drill, one arm drill and the best drill was stroke "ikan sebelah". Completing the drills was only the appertizer, because the main course was yet to be served. Followed with 500m front crawl or whatever crawl I managed. Then the 500m crawl with only my arms without the legs since I had the pull buoy. Now, this almost broke me. As the laps and soreness accumulate, I had only my mind to push me through. Wall after wall, stroke after stroke. Leburrr...

OK that was "fun". I was struggling to catch up with the guy next lane who did breaststroke. Damn, he's good. I had only 30 secs recovery before the main course bell rang. 1 kilo shall we? Wha...t? The whole one lump sum? Again, without any chance to bargain nor beg, the cangkuk phenomenon took place for the second week. The longest in single attempt so far, eventually completed when the pool light made the bubbles seemed therapeutic, enough to last me for 33 minutes 47 secs. OK, the time was extra motivation because I was 200% barely surviving the distance. The rest of the night snuggled into the compression tight, hoping I could make it for the ride next morning. And now I wished I have upper compression wear as well, the soreness was total!

Next morning, again the orang kampung camarederie was the driving point. Fortunately recovery was speedy. Four of us from the same neighbourhood. A great peloton. Nizam, Det, Doc Taufiq and me pedalling away into the morning darkness, only to rendevouz with the rest of the peloton along the way. We met Bahri at Batu 9 and two more cyclists caught up. By the time we reached Batu 14, we had 7 in line. Plus 7 more we had the whole lane to ourselves all the way to Batu 18. Weather was kind enough to lend us morning shower. It rained so hard, we had to take refuge under the lontong stall. Lol. No excuse not to taste the hot bowl of lontong with 13 other hungry souls while the rain washed away our sunken anxiety...konon.

Half an hour bowl digging, the rain stopped and we had to justify what was left of the morning. It was still 9.00am, so we pursued the eager legs up Genting Peres and Bukit Hantu and back home just in time to dig lunch pulak. Tammat.