Sunday, August 24, 2014

Strangers At 47 - new cafe at Section 17, PJ

Since the incident descending Fraser's Hill that left Bryan with a fractures right clavicle (and thus ended his IM training abruptly), he has been enjoying lots of leisurely down time. 

So leisurely has his last few weeks been, he has been going around enjoying good food. 

So when he told me of this new cafe that opened at Section 17 (same row as Kanna Curry House) and raved about how awesome the food (and barista!) was, I told him that I NEED TO GO AND TASTE THE AWESOME FOOD too. 

Strangers At 47 had been up and running for over a month now and due to staffing issues they only open from 3pm until 10pm weekdays, 10am to 10pm on weekends.

...and Bryan wasn't kidding about the awesome food.

They don't have an extensive menu...but an adequate one. Savoury crepes and sweet crepes....and your regular caffeine-based fixtures.

Bryan says it's like going home each time he visits this place. I wonder why....

The latte was undeniably tasty. Good blend of Sumatran and Brazilian beans.  

The dessert sweet crepes weren't really my thing.....

The savoury crepes however, were just exactly what my stomach craved!!!!!!! 
My fav: Lethal Schrooms

We went back quite a few times (Bryan has now been a regular fixture of sort) and the nice lady barista recommended the green tea latte. I personally love cafes that offer green tea lattes. In my opinion not enough cafes venture into green teas other than that in a tea bag.
.....not too bad :)

More savoury crepes to soothe the growling tummy..

Bryan was keen to convert Phuitin into a fan. I think she felt the portion wasn't big enough.

....but she did however enjoyed the fried sweet potato fries!

I gave the sweet crepes a go....(I was still hungry). I think they make better savoury crepes...IMHO

Enjoying hot chocolate. ....

I guess we shall be seeing Bryan at this place a lot more. And since he is still under OKU status and is unable to drive, I shall be seeing this place a lot more too with Bryan :)


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Desaru 113 Triathlon - 16th August 2014

This was the "test-water" race.

The race that I'd use to bench mark how much more bucking up I'd need for Langkawi....(not that I have that much time remaining to buck up anyway)

The race that I'd use to gauge if my preparation had been adequate.

I didn't have a target for myself. I just wanted to complete it in one piece....considering the last half-iron distance I was in landed me in the medical tent with an IV drip on my left hand.
But the uncles got together and decided that I'd (by some miracle of God) sub-7 hours.

Frankly I thought they were a tad optimistic.
My fastest half-iron distance to date is about 7:30-ish. 'Ish' being very lenient.

But since optimism is the general theme throughout the whole Ironman Langkawi training, I told them I'd give it a go and hope for the best. Miracles do occasionally happen.

* At Lotus Desaru Resort picking up our race kit. Picture courtesy of Fendy

* Preparing my race kit. My fav Soas Racing tri tank (I just love the colour scheme), best tri pants ever...Zoot!!!, TYR goggles (I think I need new ones as my current one was starting to leak) & the ultimate energy gels and sports bar that doesn't taste like cardboard by High5

* I'm a little jealous that everyone I was rooming with in Desaru was sponsored by Compressport. I figured I too "need" to pose in Compressport wear for the heck of it. Oh and I'm waiting for Rupert to get me some freebies from Compressport. Still waiting, ya.

Picture courtesy of H.A.B. ever!!!!

* Racking my bike on race morning. Picture courtesy of Gary

On race morning, was feeling a bit jittery. Bad memories of Ironman Putrajaya 70.3 in my mind like crappy screenshots on an Android phone (speaking like a true iPhone lover). But whatever it is, this would be more of a training than a race. I guess I just needed to keep reminding myself that.

* Post body, Phuitin and Karen. Picture courtesy of Gary

* Lounging around waiting for the tide to rise. A little calm before the storm. Picture courtesy of Gary :)

The swim start was a mass start. I guess there weren't that many participants that warranted a wave flag off. Race scheduled to begin at 8am but the tide that morning was low and race started nearly half hour later (I think). 

At a glance, the sea didn't seem very rough. It looked pretty calm and possibly an easy swim.
But once we got in the water, the waves were huge and the sea turned out pretty choppy. 
Avoided the crowd by swimming to the inner edge. I didn't want to hurt anyone, y'see. But I guess people tend to swim into me despite me trying my darnest to avoid them.

2 loops of a 1km swim loop. Came out in 47 minutes. Breaststroke. Can't complain.

* Picture courtesy of SwimBikeRun Singapore

Got out of water and ran to the bike rack. 

Contemplated going to the toilet. 
I don't know about you but I kinda suck when it came to peeing while swimming. And don't get me started on trying to pee while on the bike. Ain't happening.

In the end figured I could hold it in for 3 odd hours and off I went on the bike.

The bike route differed tremendously from the previous Uncle Chan-organized Desaru race. This time around, we cycled out 6km of rolling hills (they were really hills and not exageration for blogging purposes) then 3 times of a 13km loop and cycled 6km back to the transition.

The 13km loops were a killer.
Bad road conditions....rough surfaces.....potholes abundant....
Tailwind on the way out....horrible headwind on the way back.....u-turn at the top of an uphill climb.

And throughout the entire bike leg.....all I could think of was how much I regretted not heading to the toilet before jumping on my bike.

Good job, Puisan......that was terribly smart of you.

Finished the bike leg....racked the bike....put on my running shoes and did my quickest sprint to the nearby toilet. I reckon my Garmin recorded a 4:00 minute pace.

The run was 3 loops of a 7km route.
Partially flat and mostly shaded.....partially hilly and exposed to the horrid elements that is the killer sun!

Tried running the flats and downhills....walked the uphills.
I kinda liked this mode of running. Helped me break the run leg up so it didn't feel too boring or monotonous.

The first 7km loop....I was barely shuffling along. I was trying to get in as much fluid as I can (coz I didn't dare drink that much on bike for above mentioned reason) and the sloshing feeling in my stomach was bloody annoying. 
The second 7km loop was easier. My legs got used to the momentum of actually having to run and my stomach stopped complaining. By the third 7km loop, I was tired and extremely sunburnt. Been pouring ice water all over myself in poor attempts to cool down. That must have washed off a lot of the sunscreen I'd feverishly applied earlier that morning and now I was feeling the burn on the skin especially my shoulder, arms and face. Also I was starving but the energy gels provided by the organisers seemed to trigger the gag reflex in me so I refrained from taking anymore of it. 

After getting out from the last hill...there was about 2km more to the finish line. I had 15 minutes to go before 7 hours as recorded by the Garmin. I had no choice but to run if I wanted to meet my targeted time.

*scroll down for results*


* Crossing the finishing line!!!! Picture courtesy of Joe :)

* Rupert won 2nd placing in his age group. Someone is obviously buying dinner!!! Picture courtesy of Gary

* Happy coz we survived.....and we're gonna be getting free dinner. Picture courtesy of Karen

* And yup.....met the target with less than 2 minutes to spare. Talk about cutting it very close. Oh...and I finally got the multisport timer to work. So it wasn't Garmin's fault after all....but it was user-malfunction, unfortunately

* Picture courtesy of Fendy :)

So now....back to more training.

5 more weeks to go. 2 more weeks to peak.

All I can say is...I'm tremendously looking forward to my taper.

Results as per timing chip

Total time: 6:58:41
Swim: 47:31
Bike: 3:18:55
Run: 2:48:03
Transition: wasted time aplenty

It'll'll do :)


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Port DIckson International Triathlon - 10th August 2014

This was where it all started.

The beginning of conquering one (ok maybe in my case, 2) fear.

The beginning of a possibility.....the possibility of one day completing an Ironman.

4 short years ago.

And as I countdown to less than 2 months to toeing the line at Ironman Langkawi, I thought coming back to where it call started was pretty appropriate.

Since was using every smaller tri races leading up to the Ironman as dress rehearsal, been trying to sort out what I would nutrition...etc etc.

I've decided I like my High5 Energy Gels and will start stocking them up by the truck loads before September rolls around. This shall be the bulk of the gels I'll bring with me on race day. Interspersed will be GU's Salted Caramel gels (I like the salty taste to it) and will keep a couple of 2nd Surge gels (they really pack the oomph when the going gets really tough) for the last 20km of the run.....assuming I do get myself to the run. Fingers crossed.

* Picture courtesy of Winnie Thor (aka "mummy)

I'm always amazed at the amount of people and bikes that can be packed in such a small transition area such as the open car park of Avillion Admiral Cove Hotel...which was where the transition area was set up at.

And it was great to meet and catch up with so many people that I've acquainted and (some) got to know very well through this sport at this race. Almost everyone who races triathlon was there that morning....(sorry Stupe....we did miss you)

* Picture courtesy of Joe

Ladies were the second to last wave to start the swim...just before the relay swimmers jumped in. 

Initially Uncle Chan wanted the ladies to go first....which I thought was a pretty bad idea from all angles looking into it. Ladies in general don't swim as fast ( Sue Teoh and Irene Chong can beat the men in the swim but I ain't talking about these sorta swim-monsters!) and with 5 minutes interval before the next wave (which would have been the younger men), most women would have been caught in the struggle of elbows and knees and kickings and grabbing hands of the faster male swimmers. 

I know some women griped that they won't be able to catch a relatively faster male-powered peloton and thus wasting energy cycling alone....but seriously I don't think tossing out safety in swim could justify a couple of minutes faster on the bike leg.

At least that's my can beg to differ vastly on this topic.

The sea was rather calm that day and the swim was relatively easy.

Got out of water and started the 800m beach run which I thought sucked.

I took a bit of time at transition this time around. Was deciding if it was worth it to go take a leak before getting on the bike (I'm not one who can pee while cycling....and I am not going to subject my bike to that sort of torture) but in the end realised this was gonna be a fast race. I'll pee later.

Hopped on the bike and off I went.

I didn't push that hard on the bike. Drafted on off. Decided to let go of a peloton coz I figured it would have killed me on the run. 

And I don't know if its all that training and mileage I put on the trainer and on road...but this ride felt easy....and before I knew it, I was back at Avillion....racking my bike....putting on my running shoes (decided to go with my flat Sketchers coz it was only a 10km run) and got myself out of transition and into the run leg.

   * Picture courtesy of Jack Ah Beh

I only had one aim on the run.

To not stop and walk.

And man....I really really wanted to walk. Perhaps out of habit....perhaps I've missed a brick workout or two too often....or perhaps I was just lazy. But I really wanted to walk and it took so much self-convincing to get legs to continue to run.

And I'm proud to say that I achieved my running aim....(lofty, but least I had some sort of an aim)

* Picture with Karen, Chubs, Gary and Rupert, courtesy of Fendy (Kental Fan club)

* Picture with Pat....courtesy of, well...Pat.

* Picture with my favourite tuxedo man....picture courtesy of Fendy

* Searching for airplane? Pic with Phuitin courtesy of Fendy (again)

* And the sarong man is back, y'all!!!!! Aiman and Yimster.....and you've guessed it...picture courtesy of Fendy :)

* Selfie with Alp and Vincent. Picture courtesy of Vincent

Overall....I'm pretty happy with my timing. Turns out I came back in 2:51:44.

Swim time: 37:55
Bike time: 1:16:41
Run: 57:06

I'm now convinced that the run was under distanced coz I don't quite believe I could run a 10km sub 1 hour after a swim and a bike ride. back to training for the big kahuna!!!!!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

The unveiling of the new Nazare2 at Velocipedeworks

As you've recalled....I've been riding on a NeilPryde bike since 2011.
Yup....when NeilPryde only had 2 bike models...the Diablo and the Alize.

Andrew recommended the Alize. No regrets since.

Anyway of late, Alize had been rebranded under a new name (in 2013)....the Nazare.
(heard of the awesomely ludicrous lawsuit case by Specialized?)

By the way.....United Healthcare Pro Cycling team has been riding successfully on the 2013 Nazare.
In 2014, the new upgraded Nazare2 is ready to take on the cycling world by storm.

Last Friday, Mike Pryde (the division manager of NeilPryde Bikes, who's based in Hong Kong) came to Velocipedeworks to introduce the Nazare2.

I'm not gonna pretend that I know exactly what Mike was going on about (all these numbers and wind-tunnel testings.....that's another reason why I can't stand research and statistics) so please...head on over to NeilPryde Bikes website to read more....

All I can tell you is....its a really nice bike...
(anyone care to sponsor an upgrade?!?!?!?!)

Mannnn.....I really want myself a new bike....even if it's just an updated version of my old bike :p

After the introductory session regarding Nazare2 and the NeilPryde bikes line-up (come to think of it...I don't mind a Bayamo as well...or a new Zephyr for future touring purposes, say around Taiwan....Melbourne to Sydney....etc etc), Mike did autograph signing session.

Not on paper.....that's so old fashion. Autographs on the bikes, obviously!!

Mr-6-Pack looking pretty starstrucked as Mike signs his podium-worthy Bayamo.

He said he's never gonna clean his bike ever again.

Spotted another Bayamo all ready for Langkawi Ironman.

And of course....a group picture is always MANDATORY!!!!!

6 weeks till D-day.