KLMBH July 2013 Report

When at first, the hash information was posted, they said it is going to be an adventurous ride and going to be a tough one. The hares were very honest to warn us that if we do not like killer climbs and bike pushing, stay away from this hash. But their description about how scenic and beautiful the place is sort of compensate that thought for awhile, so maybe it is well worth it. After all, I have heard about Hulu Langat trails are epics! I needed the dirt and mud fest anyway…

And…

Boy was I wrong…

It was crazy…

Most of the trails were not really ride-able…

65% bike pushing, good for you if you want to train your body strength with a freaking 13.5kg bike…

Weather was hot… I ran out of water. There is a water station but I sort of accidentally ignores it…

Okay, I am going to quit whining like a bitch..

So here how is the ride went..

We arrived at Sungai Tekali, parked our car and unload our bikes. Did the usual sign up thing, adjusted my GoPro camera. Met a few familiar faces, even met riders from the BTCC road bike group, glad they have a change of flavor a little to eat mud rather than dust all the time.

Managed to catch the ladies again! Yes the hot ladies below whom I met them the last hash. They truly have my respect to ride this hash even the hares clearly stated it is going to be a tough one. Manage to snap a picture of them…

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Didn’t really notice the time at that moment, but I think we started slightly late as many people arrived a little late and still preparing their bikes. As usual there is a briefing, which I can hardly catch anything as I was quite far back. And there off we go…

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Briefing area, good turn out aside from the Puasa month…

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Kenny Kwan giving me a smile 🙂

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No clouds… that means… hot, hot and hot…

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Adrian and Yishuai, still fresh…

The first section is double tracks that able to fit a large vehicle and already a small climb and then turn into a single track uphill. It sort of reminds me of PCC rides a little, with the bottleneck traffic and hiking the bike upwards. I think we were still at the below 1km mark and already there is a check. Deeper we went and the paper trail is no longer visible, so all of us have to make a u-turn. Unfortunately in this case, the trail was narrow and with the huge traffic, it took almost 1 hour for me to get back on track. It was a little frustrating and there were a lot of obstacle to go through. Fallen trees, fallen bamboos, and we also manage to see a tiny green snake. Some people actually stop to snap pictures of it. In this 1 hour traffic, I saw a lady had some very deep cut on her leg. Some commotion as well, as another lady trying to ask everyone who got a Digi line cell phone . I think she is trying to call for help, but in my mind… the better way to do it is to get her out of the jungle first, then get a good reception, whether it is a Celcom, Digi, Maxis, or u-mobile, its easier that way to get help, besides plenty of vehicles to bring her to medical help… Hope the lady is okay though…

So went pass this incident and we have to climb more uphills on some newly made single track. We come to a point where is a very dangerous descending slope. We need to actually hole a rope to get our balance, while pushing the bike down. It was a little tricky. I kind of gave up doing that, I just throw my bike down, and hike down that slope. Hey, I love my bike, but I know what my bike can stand… and no dent, no scratch anyway. Then continue on and follow by a very nice single track and flowly downhill. I think that is the best part of the ride cause the rest… its about pedal bike, push the bike, pedal a little more, then push more bike. Like I said earlier, most of the time is pushing bikes.

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Bike pushing…

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More bike pushing…

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Fresh single tracks with long grass side by side… nice

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I think this is the riders who took the scenic route… smart choice

Fast forwarding…

We did hit some tarmac and pass through small towns or villages which is very empty and quiet. Sort of like a dead town. Probably because of the Ramadhan month, most of them stay indoor. Good idea as the heat is really massive.

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Hitting the tarmac for the need of recovery…

There was a big ass climb that goes on for 800 meters, which I was starting to swear in Hokkien… Mind you, if I swear in Hokkien, it’s bad. I can see the top of that climb from the bottom. Although the view is beautiful, it was ugly at the same time. Seen some riders trying to ride it, but seriously… Don’t waste the energy. Push will be ideal.

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Then there was a rolling trail which is up and down, up and down… and hit tarmac, then into trails again and there is where the mud fest is. It was a slippery situation but I enjoy it after all the bike pushing.

Though I was doing long route, coming to the last 4km, we have the option to do a chicken back to the car park, I was pondering on it for 5 minutes, but with water running out, I decided to be a chicken and just take the chicken loop back. I still cover the same milleage, but skip the uphill climb, yes that’s the only difference.

To summarize it, I think the hares that plot this trail are sick man! And all they know and think of is to torture the fuck out of us. And I got to give it to them, they did a good job. I still will give my respect to them to take the time and effort to make this bash happen for us. Later while waiting for Yishuai, I had a chat with one of them, and they said they were dehydrated and super tired trying very hard to connect the dots for us the day before. Well, they did suffer to make us suffer… So we can call it even.

Enjoy torturing myself (not) and I will hereby declare this bash, ‘The hardest bash of the Year”, even though we still have like a couple of months to go…

So please enjoy the pictures that I’ve took, and video (raw)

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My ride data:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/349502850

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Kanchanaburi, Thailand 80km mountain biking

It all started from just a tweet coming from Jan (@bm_), a link to a route of 180km bike ride that cover across a province called Kanchanaburi in Thailand. A couple of tweets more which include Matt (@orengeelise) and we managed to plan this trip. So happened I have to fly to Bangkok for a business trip too, I take this opportunity to bring over my bike, which really a pain in the ass to carry such a huge luggage.

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We made a plan to have a dinner, a so called carbo loading meal on the Friday night, together with our spouses to get together and some very good food indeed from my hotel, a big buffet feast I must say. Load up our bikes into Matt’s Forturner so we do not need to bother for the next day early morning drive to Kanchanuburi. We left about 7.30am from my hotel and arrived at the The River Kwai Bridge Resort about 10.00am. Unload the bikes, set up our phones and GPS devices and there we are all ready to go. Our plan is to cover the route below:-

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Basically a loop around the province that covers some scenic area of the surrounding mountains, villages, plantations and farm, and we managed to cross the River Kwai twice (across a proper bridge). The route basically a mixture of majority road and some little off-road. I was hoping for more off road trails but I think it is already quite a challenge to ride with my Nomad for 80km and there is a point of time that we need to climb a continuous 15km of uphill, which follow by a long long downhill (10km!) which I have managed a max speed of 59km/h. That was one of the highlights of the ride and it was so satisfying.

In the earlier ride, we ride through a plantation estate which is full of plants that have thorns! Both me and my bike suffered from it. First one of the thorn pierced my right arm, and later after 3, yes THREE punctures, I found in my tires full of tiny little thorns. Jan and Matt checked their bikes and they too found a few in their rubbers. Lucky for them, they did not get any punctures.

Me and Jan was also testing our newly acquired GoPro Hero 3 black edition! Unfortunately to our disappointment, battery was out quickly. Maybe because we did not charge it completely. Videos will be posted later.. when I can find time to edit it. Didn’t capture much though…

But here are some pictures that I managed to take 🙂

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Three bikes all loaded to the huge space Toyota Fortuner, with our personal luggage, three big guys. Not a bad vehicle. Thanks Matt, for the transportaiton arrangement.

 

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We pass by the main town, which is such a change comparing to Bangkok city. But still full of people though.

 

 

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Parked our car in the front of the resort, while Matt head to resort lobby to make sure we got the right place.

 

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Quite a nice welcoming lobby, with a gazebo for the guest to chill and relax.

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You don’t get to see horse roaming around freely all the time, but over here… its EVERYWHERE.. and cows too. There were a long of dungs everywhere.

 

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Matt and Jan, riding along the village road…

 

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I am taking a photo of him, taking a photo of us..

 

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And Matt posed 🙂

 

 

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Jan’s turn…

 

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The River Kwai, surprisingly the water is very clear and clean looking. Almost wanted to take a swim…

 

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Some of the plantations that we passed by, with very nice mountains in the backdrop…

 

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Stopped at a place to grab some food, and two bikers can’t stop admiring a kid’s bike..

 

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Matt enjoying his MAMA cup instant noodle…

 

 

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And Jan is enjoying histhat’s the only food available unfortunately

 

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And this is mine… chicken soup flavour

 

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Green fields and mountains, with blue sky (okay, I color enhanced a little bit)

 

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My cockpit during the ride…

 

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Entering another village road… lots of trees side by side of the road…

 

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A panoramic shot of the fields that we passed by…

 

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Matt saying cheese!!

 

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After the long ride, just chilled out at our room.. how cool to have a balcony. We chat a little before heading for dinner..

 

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This is the front of my room, and basically like a small village kind of enviroment

 

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Shots taken by Matt, do I look exhausted? Nah.. its just camera trick…

 

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We actually hit a little bit of rain that day…

 

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Matt and me, having some ‘local tea’…

 

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We had some local Thai food in the nearby floating restaurant at the River Kwai…after a long ride, food was amazing… And three of us had an unforgetable foot massage, especially after a long tiring ride..

 

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The next morning I took a ride back to the famous railway bridge. This is like 6.30am and there wasn’t any tourist around. The best moment for me to snap some pictures…

 

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This bridge has some kind of war history, later after googling and wiki-ing, this is what I have found…

“The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma. Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre

 

 

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My bike, awaiting a train to hit it… lol. How often can you do that? To place a bike in an operational railway line… And I, standing in the middle of it.

 

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Another shot on top of the railway bridge with the River Kwai on the back. Some floating restaurant on the side..

 

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Tried another panaromic shot of the entire bridge. This was my view at the time…

 

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Went back to the resorts to have breakfast, and this is the exact view I had while enjoying my English breakfast…

 

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After breakfast, it is time to head back to Bangkok.

We had a lot of fun riding this one, and manage to catch a lot of scenic places, a fresh perspective of what Thailand can offer, an escape from all the skyscrapers and asphalt roads we face every day in our life. It is kind of a funny feeling when we arrived back to the city, it’s like we have just woken up from a dream to face the reality of what life really is. I wish it was the other way round, life shouldn’t be about day to day trying to survive and chasing the dream of greeds and wants , if given the possibility, I wish life was about just laying back a little with a slower pace of enjoying the natures of what our Earth can offer. Virtually slapping myself now and saying to myself.. “Wake up bro… and go back to work!”

Summary of my ride

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Distance: 78.00 km
Time: 4:12:03
Avg Pace: 3:14 min/km
Avg Speed: 18.6 km/h
Elevation Gain: 369 m
Calories: 2,127 C
Avg Temperature: 31.5 °C
Timing
Time: 4:12:03
Moving Time: 4:11:21
Elapsed Time: 6:32:59
Avg Speed: 18.6 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 18.6 km/h
Max Speed: 61.8 km/h
Avg Pace: 3:14 min/km
Avg Moving Pace: 3:13 min/km
Best Pace: :58 min/km
Elevation
Elevation Gain: 369 m
Elevation Loss: 357 m
Min Elevation: 31 m
Max Elevation: 199 m
Heart Rate
Avg HR: 137 bpm
Max HR: 158 bpm
Avg HR: 74 % of Max
Max HR: 85 % of Max
Avg HR: 3.4 z
Max HR: 4.6 z
Cadence
Avg Bike Cadence: 74 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 162 rpm
Temperature
Avg Temperature: 31.5 °C
Min Temperature: 27.0 °C
Max Temperature: 40.0 °C

For more information, please go to my ride data at
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/342318687

 

Race report – Port Dickson International triathlon 2013

Finally I get some time to pen down some of the experience I had for the pd tri race. First of all, I didn’t participate the full triathlon, neither the sprint. I am still lack the confidence in open water swimming. Furthermore, my friend Anand kind of forcefully made me his team mate for the mixed team relay. You got it right, mixed team relay means there is a lady in the team. Specially imported from Slovakia, Ms. Uza! She’s our swimmer and Anand bring the runner. Very obvious that I am the cyclist.

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The port Dickson triathlon has been around for the past 5 years and is one of those event that a person can try their very first experience in multi sports race. There also two different distance, one is the sprint… Shorter by half of the Olympic distance which is 1.6km swim, 1km beach run (only for this race), 43km bike and 8km run to the finishing line. I swear to god next year I will do the full Olympic distance. See below for the race route

We arrived at port Dickson a day earlier to check in our hotel and also to collect our race pack. Manage to met up with a couple of friends. Race pack sucks though, just a t-shirt, some stupid brochures and vouchers, no gels or bars. Thought sponsored by power gel?!

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Love it in black

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Race numbers for the cyclist

On the eve of the race, all participants get to enjoy a cardio loading buffet at the official hotel Admiral Cove. In order to segregate the traffic in a well manner, participants are to eat at designated room, coloured code with the voucher given. Okay, so free dinner to compensate the missing bars and gels. But but… The food rather blunt, with choice of pasta or rice… Some kind of creamy vegetables (yucks), roast chicken (ok ok), roasted beef (too hard) and some others that I didn’t bother to remember.

After the dinner there is the race briefing by Mr. Chan himself… A little draggy cause a lot of people asking question. Can feel there was some unhappy previous year participants about head on collision during the swim leg. Other than that, Mr. Chan sure like to joke around… Well it’s funny but kind of typical lame jokes. Good laugh… If you enjoy such.

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Finally the briefing is over and everyone head back to get some good rest. Anand brought me back to my hotel (I stayed in avillion instead, got a good deal for rm400 a night to stay at the water chalet, breakfast included! My wife and her mom had it though).

Next morning woke up at 5am. My family are still sleeping except for my son Jaden who is already awake laying on the bed playing with transformer. Took some bread, and a can of redbull to stir some of my senses to be awake. I cycle to the race area just to warm up a bit, the day is still dark and when I reach the place… It’s being fill with people already. Being the first in the team to arrived, I hang my bike at the transition area and took the opportunity to walk around and snap some photos.

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So finally the race is going to start, my both swimmer and runner head to the beach. I was on my clip shoes so rather not walk on the sand with it. From a far I watch the race started in waves. There were almost 1500 people at the beach, so swimming during that moment is definitely no joke. Got some comment from some participants that they were kick, slam and pull due to the hectic situation. My swimmer manage to do a decent 38 minutes and 42 seconds. The chip was then passed to my runner which have to run 1km from the beach to pass me the chip. Waited a bit for him and saw nearly half of my other competitors went out… Restless feeling but it its all good.

When my turn came, I did a quick run out from the transition area, clip in and sprint out to the road, it seems rather rude to overtook a few people, but it’s a race. Lots of catch up to do. Spotted a few of my competitors and all I can think is “bye bye”! I was doing about 35km/h, slower at some mild hill climbs, reaching 50+km/h at downhills. It’s draft legal, so a lot of the “individual” racer took the chance to draft behind me, knowing I will go all out as a team relay racer. Manages to finish the 43km in 1:17:02. Could have been better timing…

So I finally reach back to the transition area, hang my bike, ran to anand to pass the chip to him. Will Smith alike took a quick sprint out and make up some time. He managed to finish 0:49:34 for that 8km.

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Overall as a team, we took 2:45:19 for the entire race and finish 25th out of 88 teams. Not bad la…

To summarise it, the race was pretty decently organised, with proper marshals and police to assist. Medical team was efficient, so I heard from my friend Jason who crashed at 40km/h. A few confusion from the team relay cyclist, not really sure where the runner should meet us but other than that, kudos to the organiser!

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For my race data, please go to

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/338540968

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KLMBH June 2013 – Report

After all the carbon dioxide, dust and haze that I have been inhaling through out my training on road bikes, decided to go back to my roots to have a taste of mother nature in the trails. So happens there is a bash by KLMBH on the beautiful Sunday, me and my friends decided to join. Heard this particular bash is very scenic and it is not one of those time that the hares are very naughty and will punish and torture every blood and sweat in your body. I guess it will be good time for my friend to be a first timer in bash.

Where is the bash?
In Kuang, nope, not the Johore but near Sungai Buloh in Kuala Lumpur. This place is an orang asli settlement which I witness some of the villages along the ride. Check out the pictures that I took, not so village-ish as you might think.

As we arrived the parking area, we noticed there were a lot of turn out this time. I would figure almost 300 riders. Met a few familiar faces, the usual chit chat and all.

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Mr. HYH, gave a full briefing that this bash, everything is the same but there is an exceptional where there will be a two way traffic this time at the trail heading towards the waterfall. Most unfortunate as they could not, and no matter what, figure out a way to move around the waterfall. Actually they could make it more fun to cross the river but I guess safety is more important.

So the rush started at 9.30am, and we ride through the industry road that in my opinion kick up a lot of dust (not exactly to look for when you wanted fresh air and mother nature). We end up in a junction where we will choose to turn right to go for the long route, or straight for the short route. Eventually I choose to go short, as four of my other friends do not want to feel too adventurous and two of them are first timers in bash. Also the long route is just slightly 10km extra that consist of some zig zag uphill and nothing else (i might be wrong). So there we go…

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We first arrived at the trail that heads into the waterfall (the two way traffic thing), bump into a few riders and told us  that it is just a short ride into it. Since we are not taking the long route, me and my friends went ahead and relax a little in the waterfall. The place wasn’t really well kept as I can see rubbish lying around the beside of the river. Water still look clear to me and the current wasn’t that strong. You could sort of see the water very calm and zenish.

We ride on to the area where everybody parked their bikes to catch a glimps of the waterfall.

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Found a few riders also chilling at the waterfall and taking a dip in the water…

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We took this opportunity to also chill out  and after the first 4km… which also one of the time I took a few other photos…

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Few riders just taking a chill out at the waterfall

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Mr. Inro practising his pre- wedding photos

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Taking a group photo. Notice Adrian dress as though he is going for a futsal game? Yes he is the first timer 🙂

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So enough of the waterfall, and we are ready to move on..

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The ride is extremely smooth, and most of the trails are double track as seen in the photo above. We go through mostly palm oil plantations and occasionally construction sites and villages.

We reach a session that to our delight, a smooth flowly single track downhill. And this is where the unexpected happens. Our veteran Kiara rider, Stanley were too into the downhill that he did not notice a drop (2 and half feet only la). At this point, he supposed to turn right to decent, but went straight down. He crashed and the bike fell on his back . I was just behind him and I witness the entire episode. Thank God he wasn’t really hurt but from the look of it, he was a little shock. Another rider behind me (dunno who is he), came and assisted us and we were appreciative of his help. He got to know we are ‘Kiara’ riders, and said this kind of thing is so so for us.. not too bad la. But I think that sort of scratch Stanley’s ego, lol!

So we continue on the trail to reach a village… we have to make a stop as Stanley’s bike had some technical issue

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I guess the crash doesn’t only hurt his ego, but his bike too. Turns out his RD is slightly bent and just a quick whack at it, we manage to get it ‘rideable‘.

From here I notice the surrounding of the village, in my opinion, it looks well developed. The houses are brick and not the ‘kayu‘ constructed as you think.

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This house is like a bungalow in the village

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The orang asli settlers. Must be wondering what all this dumb ass riding around their town…

Well, the rest of the ride is pretty much nothing out of the ordinary. Personally I love the final long downhill which I managed a 38km/h max speed.  I would say it is a super easy ride, nothing that makes you needing to come down from the bike to push uphill. Everything is ride-able, no stupid obstacle to make you carry your bike over, or no technical downhill that requires you get down too. We bumped into two aunties, probably in their late 40s and I was amazed with their determination to finish the ride. We had some conversation and I really respect this word coming out from one of them. “We should punish our body first, so the body doesn’t punish you”. RESPECT!

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Look at the seriousness of the first timer… After a few Kiara rides, he probably thinks this ride is a little too boring, lol

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Very flowy and smooth trails… very good for beginners…

We reached back to the assembly area, I think we took about 2 hours and 30 minutes for this ride. Many stops to relax, and camera whoring along the way.

We packed our bikes on top of Yishuai’s truck and just catch a quick breath (didn’t really need it).

Stanley was stoked but he is okay… Heard from him today he is feeling the aching in his body

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As a Kiara Veteran rider, this is just small scratches…

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Bikes packed on Yish’s truck and head out for the great lunch below…

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Amazingly the lunch only cost RM128.00.

Overall, the ride is very friendly, thanks to the hares of KLMBH for marking the trails for us. Well plotted and since I have the ride data, I will maybe one day do it again with some of my friends. For my ride data, please check it out the following URL

http://connect.garmin.com/player/335096724

Check out a short video of our ride

Edited:

Found some new photos from other people. thanks to kelolo and albert chua

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Events in Malaysia and Singapore, majority postponed due to haze

Recently with the weather condition in Malaysia and Singapore, a few major events has been postponed  to later date. Just to name a few, Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Tri-Factor Triathlon in Singapore has both respectively taken the precaution due to the haze attacked recently. Through the haze condition now has been improved significantly, organizers do not want to take chances and I respect them for doing so. It shows the organizer has responsibilities and do think about the safety of the participants. There are mixed feeling from participants definitely, as some would find it inconvenient and have probably planned their travels and accommodation for these races in advanced, and maybe to some people the training effort been wasted. There are some others who also took this as a chance and opportunity to have more time for preparation and to train even harder.

Fortunately, there are no words from the organizer of Port Dickson International Triathlon about any possibilities of cancelling or postponing the race. I in the other hand, have also made a lot of arrangement and training for this race. Finger crossing now…

Anyway, your health and safety is always your first priority… do not take chances. Live another day to race!

Happy training

Review : Argon 18 – E118

You know, I always wondering what is the hype about TT bikes until I actually tried one. I have zero riding experience riding one, and this is my very first ride on a TT bike and get a taste of the difference comparing to a standard road bike. It is not only I get to test a tri-bike, but one of the super bike tri-bike. Yes, I have been pampered recently with all the super bikes (bicycle).

So here it is, introducing the infamous Argon 18 – E118.

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One look, simple decal which is not a bad thing, it is actually making a statement. It is here to tell you ‘I am not here about being pretty, but I am here to give you a taste of what aerodynamic and speed is about, so f**k off pretty boys’. Standard fonts to tell you.. ‘It’s an ARGON’, no loud and fancy decals and colors with a solid matte black nice finishing and minimal white stripes on the top tube and carbon fork.

Thanks to Jason (same name as me!!!, we are strong boys:), for loaning the bike to me. Like Mr. George, the stuff that are installed in this thing is no joke. Two words ‘race ready’. However, lots of proprietary parts in this frame set, especially the cockpit and the braking system, we will come to that later. As for the gearing system, it is installed with SRAM Red front and back derailurers, including the 10 speed cassettes.  And finally wheelsets, the speed weaponry Zipp 404 Firecrest clincher with Continental 4000s rubbers. Now you tell me, is this not race ready? Not to mention the owner recently race in Sentul Race Series 2013, that explained the race plate in the picture 🙂

IMG_0047Featuring Jason in Argon 18 in the Sentul Race Series.  Photo courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine.

IMG_0037Looking at the cockpit, its like looking at the top of a starship (personally think it looks like a Star War X-wing). Built in head stems and carbon wing aero bars.  All these are integrated and its called ‘Oneness 2.0’.  The stem can be adjusted between 65mm or 95mm.

IMG_0004SRAM Red drive trains and ZIPP 404 Carbon Clincher wheel sets, mean to cut the wind like a sharp knife.

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Integrated front and back brakes. The brakes are placed hiddenly to create a more aerodynamic purpose. Though I can’t imagine how difficult to maintain it. On the brakes you can read ‘Advanced Braking Systems’ , which in my opinion, ‘advanced’ my foot! The brakes on this bike is poor and it takes years to stop! I did not like the brake lever as well as I feel a little flimsy and unresponsive. Well, later I found out from another friend CK that Jason has re-routed the cables in order to hide it inside the frame. Basically he did not follow the manufacturer recommendation, so the only person to blame is the owner himself. Probably the brakes will work better if he just listens… listen… listen!

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the riding experience

Comfort 4/5
The absorptions of the bump using this bike are surprisingly good and I am sure it can take a very hard beating, though I will never dare to try it with this near RM40, 000 bike (oh yeah). When on the bar ends, my upper body is relatively straight, so after a powerful sprint I can relax a little holding it. And when I am on the aero bars, my body is really in an aggressive ‘aero mode’. I do find it easily to relax my elbows on the aero bars. If you are not to use to tri-bikes like I do, it may take awhile to get used to it.

Handling 3/5
Not a fair opinion coming from me as I do not have much experience in riding a TT bike, I tend to sway a lot from one side to another. I have to focus on staying on the line and for me, the bike is very sensitive and over responsive (if you are a pro, this may be good for you). I was told it takes a while to stabilize your control with the aero bars and natural for me to feel this way. Maybe after a few rides I may be able to tame the bike a little (or maybe not, owner misses it already). On corners and especially going at high speed, I do not take chances to stay on the aero bars, instead I hold the side bars just to be safe.

Aerodynamics 5/5
Are you kidding me? This bike is all about aerodynamics, its a TT bike, its a super TT bike. It keeps you in an Aero Mode with a comfort and give you the lowest wind resistance. I can feel the wind rushing below my legs and above my back. What is missing what I did not have an aero helmet. If not I definitely can go faster, or not at least look cool! And with the 404s, cross winds and head winds is nothing when using this bike.

Pedal Power 4.5/5
The  press-fit BB86 bottom bracket gives you the stability when pedalling and stiffness ensuring you no loss of power. Though the recent test on Time RXR, I think the pedal efficiency is better than this bike. It does not mean the argon disallow you to power pedal, YOU definitely can. On stand still and when start pedalling, it feels heavy, like any other TT bike as I have told. It does take some effort and on the sidebar, you feel like you are riding a hard tail mountain bike. But once I hit a higher speed, I can feel the bike’s momentum will assist me to go even faster. Once I tucked into the aero bars, my legs are transferring huge wattage to the cranks. I feel using smaller cog helps a lot rather than bigger to go on a constant speed and pace. On the uphill, surprisingly it is okay. I would recommend off saddle to give a powerful sprint up. On the saddle, you may want to use high cadence for a smoother uphill.

Overall experience 4/5
Love it. The first thing I do after tested the bike, I messaged Jason and call him a cheater. His Strava results should not be compared with our standard road bikes, it’s not fair! TT bikes give you speed and a very fast one especially on the flats. Having the integer ‘4’ in the front of the double digits km/h is easily achievable in my opinion. The brakes could be better and I have to be extra careful when descending. It takes awhile for me to get used to the sensitive cockpit especially leaning my elbows on the aero bars but with much practice I believe I can conquer it. Love the speed that it can generate and definitely a bike to have for triathlon and time trials. If I have used this for the Tri Factor bike race, I will get top 5 position (wow! Over exgratiating).

Not your everyday bike for fun rides and to climb hills, which I give all my respect to Jason for it, he can actually ride with us and what more always lead us in the peloton (of course, the bike so unfair!).

Side note : Having tested the SRAM Red on both the Time RXR and Argon 18 E118, shifters on aero bar ends is not that convinent as the standard shifters. Strongly advise you to plan your gear ratio on uphill, as you do not want to switch your gears half way, you will lose time as you need to move from your bar end and stretch to the aero bar end.

Ride Data with this bike (gathered using Garmin Edge 810)
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What did I tell you about the 4s in that km/h. And I believe I can go faster if was not for the Haze attack! Km8 is where I made a U turn when I almost choked from the haze. On a normal day, I can confidently promise you a clean 43 to 45 km/h with this bike.

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36.5km/h average speed overall ride of 15km (this includes the warm up cruising and warm down finishing)

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Very heavy cog for the maximum power pedal. Not much effort with average 148bpm and my max is only 167bpm to reach 50km/h. Low cadence is the way to go with this bike, no need to waste your time with high cadence (probably you do it on a full Ironman race, and that’s a 180km mileage).

Pros:
– Freaking fast
– Maximum aero dynamic
– Surprisingly comfortable

Cons:
– Over sensitive maneuvers (it takes pros to get used to it)
– Not a climber
– Poor ‘advance’ braking system
Ain’t cheap

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Ready to take off!

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ZIPP through the air

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Being plain is an art

Review – TIME RXR ULTEAM 2012

I had a chance to ride a TIME RXR ULTEAM 2012 which was lent to me by a friend that frequently ride with me. Thanks to him, George, that I am able to experience one of the top performance super bikes. First impression of this bike is the detailed decals and awesome design by this company called TIME from France.

Although this bike is designed and manufactured in the year 2012, the technology behind it is up to date and can be matched with most of the new high end bikes around the market. TIME fully design, build and mold their frames from their very own factory in Vaulx-Milieu, France. TIME weaves their own carbon and claim one of the best in Europe and produce this frameset using a technology called RTM, short for Resin Transfer Molding. It is believed this is a very guarded secret and it is not made known to the general public how exactly it is being done. Well I am not a person that is technically sound on all this but my intention today is only to share my very own riding experience on the bike.

First of all, here is a full bike view…

This bike looks awesome and sure to turn heads around when riding by. I personally love the design of the seat tube with an integrated aero seat post. And yes they want to make sure you notice it is a TIME, as in every area you can see their logo, including the carbon fork. My friend George is definitely a perfectionist when comes to choosing the components for his bike. Using one of the best components out there like SRAM Red Groupset, a Fast Forward Carbon tubular wheelset (not sure of the model, lol) and I personally love the QRing Rotors custom to the SRAM Red cranks. The RXR has a proprietary head stem and equipped with a PRO carbon handle bar.

Integrated Carbon Stem and PRO carbon handle bars

Fast Forward Carbon Tubular High Profile rims

Custom QRings Rotors Chain Ring with SRAM Red

All these equates to a freaking feather light 6.7kg. Almost meeting the minimum weight for UCI requirement.

I like to divide my review into the following:(One RockOut icon being the worse, five being the best)

Comfort level

It is simply amazing that this bike is very much comfortable to ride even with a clear stiffness feel on the bike. Take note that this is a racing geometry designed frame. I do not feel any discomfort when riding through our nasty Malaysian roads and going through a minor bumps was good. Though I expected a very bumpy ride when George said this is a very rigid frame, but definitely does not seem like it. Even when on the drop bars, I do not feel so much stress on my back and upper body.

Handling

The bikes do handle wells on corners but a little flimsy when going over bumps. It’s tense to sway the bars a tiny bit but maybe that’s me. As for quick turns and all, it’s a little shy not as good as my Kuota Kharma. On high speed, I need to ensure I have a good grip on the handle bars to ensure I do not cris cross too much on the road, not sure it is the effect of the crosswind. Still think my Kuota has better responsiveness for all the quick maneuvers.

Aero dynamics

The racing geometry does not really give you the aggressive feel that you look for in other bikes. On my Kuota Kharma, I tend to bend a lot to go into ‘aero mode’ but this bike does not let me bend as much. I would probably blame it on the seat post height, maybe if I have adjusted to my heigh it will help a bit. I still be able to cut winds thanks to the wheelset but because of the geometry, my upper body is slightly on the high side and I can feel winds blowing on my face.

Pedal Power

The stiffness of the bike, especially near the bottom bracket helps a lot on the efficiency when pedaling. Whatmore with the QRING Rotors and super cool SRAM Red crankset, it’s ensuring you that every pedal stroke and rotation counts. You will not lose power with this bike. I do feel that when pedaling from a standstill, it slightly requires a little bit more effort, but once you reached the higher speed, is definitely effortless. Unfortunately, when testing this bike, my clips aren’t compatible with the pedals, so I believe that if I have clipped, the pedaling experience will be greater. I am able to sustain a good speed with a low cadence for very long. Sadly on uphills, I do not feel the power transfer from my leg to the cranks to go the speed I want, and I still believe maybe it’s because I wasn’t clipped in. On saddle it does require some effort and higher cadence to go up. Never dare to try off saddle yet as I am afraid I will pedal slip.

Overall Experience

I cannot say this is a fair review as taking in consideration that I did not clip, I have forgotten to fully inflate the tubular tires and did not adjust the seat post height to my profile. Nevertheless, I felt the bike has already so many positive points to shout about. It is definitely a bike that falls into a high performance category and you are looking for something better than your average ordinary bike, this is highly recommended.

Who am I to justify this review
I am an average rider that dynamically switching between a pedal power rider or cadence rider that depending on the situation on the routes. I do ride a lot and almost 3 to 5 times a week, also a mountain biker as a weekend warrior. I do participate fun rides and races. I managed to finish a 160KM (Kuantan Century Ride 2013) ride in 5 hours and 3 minutes and was positioned 125th in under 35 men category, and overall 279th, out of 1800++ riders. I have recently raced in Tri Factor Singapore 40KM Bike and finished 11th out of 257 people, took 1 hour 5 minutes. This isn’t bragging, but more or less I want to let you guys know what sort of riders and at what level I am.

Kuota Kharma Vs TIME RXR
Of course I have to compare it with my very own bike. I dare say this would be a better General Category bike than my Kuota Kharma. I will love this bike and will use it for my Kuantan Century Ride for the comfort purpose and probably that allows me a better finish. I will use my Kuota Kharma for the short distance race as I still feel my bike has more pedal power output and with the much more aggressive aero dynamic for a powerful sprint to finish.

Ride Data with this bike (gathered using Garmin Edge 810)

Notice how I am able to maintain a consistent speed using this bike? It is because of the effortless pedaling and efficiency of the crankset and the stiffness of the bike.

As a general rule of thumb, we usually train using the Cadence and Heart Rate to maximize the performance of our legs. Lower Heart Rate means you are not using much effort and strength. Lower cadence with high speed, means you are able to pedal on a very heavy cog. So with the chart above, I am able to pedal at a heavier cog, maintaining a 38++kmph effortlessly. Thus allowing me to save energy for longer rides.

This is my overall ride. I am able to achieve a close to 35kmh average with this bike. I did not put all effort into the ride as I am really worried about a pedal slip.

Pros

  • Very comfortable ride
  • Very good pedalling efficiency
  • Definitely look awesome

Cons

  • Not so good with the handling
  • Could be better on the uphill (maybe no clips)
  • Super expensive bike

TIME TIME TIME, if only we have more time to ride 🙂

Disclaimer : This is my riding experience and my very own words, you may not agree with me and may have a different understanding on what I am trying to say. Do try the bike on your own and let me know your own review.

If you want me to review your bike, you can always hit me up 🙂

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