Andy’s Pirates Party 15-16 Sep 07
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
If there is an anti-thesis to this website, it has got to be Doug Scott's lecture on Thursday with Royal Geographical Society of Hong Kong. Every week I dramatised my average Joe's adventures on this blog, but when a real master of adventure speaks, it was in such a casual down to earth manner that I almost fell like going up and re-write his speech for him. Initially I thought time has mellow out this mountaineering hero but more likely he simply no longer dare to believe in the rock star status that media once crowded him. Though despite his best effort to underplay his stories, they are still tales that every climber father will read to his son.
In 1975, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston, the summit team from Chris Bonnington's Everest South West Face Expedition Team, reached the top of the world via one of the most difficult face to be climbed at the time. The poster I held above was the moment they reached the summit and it was 7pm in the evening. As it was too late to make a descent, Doug and Dougal had to bivouac in a snow cave, which they dug, few hundered meters below the summit and survived the night in thin air and bone chilling cold. Probably the highest point anyone has spent a night in open air in the world to date.... and lived.
Two years later, he went for an expedition in Pakistan's Ogre Mountain, the team split into pairs to climb the 7000m Karakorum peak in Alpine Style (light weight small team style). Doug and Chris reached the sumit but on the way down Doug slipped off while abseiling and pendulumed across a few miles across the mountain face (recounted as the older version of Doug stroked the laser pointer across the picture of mountain like it was great fun) and broke both of his ankles. Chris later also cracked 2 ribs and contracted pnemonia. But they survived the week long descent to base camp, Doug did it by crawling on hands and knees and abseil off his bump, even crossing glaciers cravesses that way.
"Why did it happend so soon after the success of Everest.?" Doug asked himself in the lecture. "Probably because I had begun to believe in my own myth created by the media after the Everest Expedition." Hence I can see why he is now so humble when talking about these climbing tales again.
This is the attitude I admired the most from Doug, when he was up there on the moutain face, he was not there to achieve something great, just out there having a good time with his friends, doing the things that he most loved.
As with lectures by famous mountaineers I have come across, the speakers would devolve a great deal of time talking about how his closest friends' death in the moutain. A sudden rock fall, a slip off a rope, an avalanche would just wipe a dear friend away from their lives in an instant. "But we were left with fond memories of our time together on the mountains." said Doug. This is the attitude I admired the most from Doug, when he was up there on the moutain face, he was not there to achieve something great, just out there having a good time with his friends, doing the things that he most loved.
At the end of the lecture, we went up to buy some signed posters of him. We bought two for our buddy, ahdont. We told him "This friend of ours has been a big fan of you ever since he read the expdition report of your Everest trip." He replied with humour "That might have ruin his life, people still ask me when I am going to get a real job!"
Doug Scott's charity, Community Action Nepal, is supporting the poor community of Nepal to build a more sustainable life.
Friday, September 07, 2007
13th Powergel of the Day
On the bus back to the hotel after the race, Austin asked if anyone did not have a cramp at all today. I said bemusely "Yeah." then I added "but then I had 13 packs powergel today!". That was how carbo loaded I have been. The guys laughed out loud "You ain't gonna crap for the coming week." but let's not go into my digestive function on the post race week for now.
Either that I was pushing the use of powergel to doping territories or I could have pushed much harder on the bike, I was fresh as a rabbit when I got onto the half marathon, I was able to over take most people on the course. It was a good feeling though a lot of the competitors I passed were on their second loop of the run already, so much closer to the sweet finish then I was. The real challenge on the run was the weather, midday sun hosted the party of the first 10km lap and a tropical storm took over the helm on the second. But our supporters cheers on regardless of the weather and what have we got to complain? I met Madoka, Catherine, Austin, Arthur and Dennis at different stage on route, padding each other on the back, giving high fives in opposite lane, no one could feel that they are facing this alone. Finally at the final 2km of the Half Ironman, my legs began to feel weiry, so I popped open my 13th and last gel in my pocket, my only chocolate flavour one especially preserved for the moment; unawared of any potential digestive related side effect, I swallowed it and brought myself home.
A Word of Thanks
The seed was sowed in January's Action Asia Sprint when Larry first asked if I will do the Singapore Half Ironman in a matter of fact manner. So I decided to join a tri club and prepare myself for the "2008" Singapore Half Ironman. But somewhere along the line reason and sanity gave way to dreams and maddness, and it was Alan who should take most of the credit in convincing me to sign up this year when I was drunk from the completion of the 2.1km swim in Shek O Challenge in June. I mean where is the fun when you are too ready for a race
Sume, Jeffrey and Albert should also get their fair share for making half ironman sounded like it would be a stroll in the park. I had of course never been convinced that I can do it, until it was done. So thanks guys for making me taking that ruthless step of signing up. I mean where is the fun when you are too ready for a race, that is got to be my motto.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
One Year I Swim Proper
Knowing there is nothing more I can do to the bike, I left the transition zone to join the rest of Team Sonic at the swim start. The first light was yet to be drawn and groups of sonicians were there taking photos in the dark. Then suddenly the twilight retracted and the red sun emerged from the sea. What better way to start a race day?
Unlike Ironman Korea, Singpore started in waves, so the mass suicidal scene I expected was replaced by a orderly starts. I dived in the sea along with my age group in blue swim cap. It was hard to imagine that I had dared to take part in the swim leg of Ironman Korea a year ago. For my swimming form has changed and improved so much one year on. I used the total immersion technique to glide throught the water as smoothly as I can, yet that was just barely enough to keep up with the main group.
At almost the beginning, my hand smashed into some junk in the sea as I speared it into the water, it was a polystyrene float with sea shells stuck on it. My fingers grew numb immediately, I dare not to look at them. Not willing to acknowlege an accident has happended so soon in the race. Thank god it was nothing but minor cuts and that was the last bit of bad luck I had that day.
Half way down the loop, I caught up with the tail end of the yellow cap guys (M25-29), thinking I must be doing okay, but 5 mins later the wake of the green cap guys (M35-39) stormed pass me like a tornado. Soon the orange guys (40-44) also emerged but thankfully it was like to get out of the water.
The 90km Experience
The bike leg was a sheer enjoyment. Once pass the humpy loop on East Coast, we joined the silky smooth inner city loops which we have to do 4 laps of. I maintained a steady 30km/h pace, while all the Sonic guys raced passed me in much greater speed. Never mind them, I just want to scrap a finish today. On the second lap, the "cycling jinx" manifested itself in a comical way, the cap of the aero bar mounted water bottle bonuced off a hump and so from then on every hump means a splash of isotonic drink on my face. In the end I just opened my gob and caught the spilled out to save myself from dehydration. 90km was the longest I have riden my entire life, though by the time I reached the transition there was no time to savour the back breaking expereince. Kenneth the Sonic coach was standing a T2 to urge me to get ready for the run.
to be conintued....
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
As if to taunt the competitors, there is a split about 1km into the half marathon, take left you will finish the daunting Ironman 70.3 (aka half ironman) circuit of Singapore, take right you have another 20km or 10km to run before you can find pain reliever. But this is the third time I am coming up to the junction that means I can take left with a smiley face! Approaching the finishing line the volunteer pulled up a ribbon for me to run through, I stopped for a moment, knowing that Martina should be nearby, to let her get ready with the camera; then leaped as high as I can into the air to ensure a dramatic finish on the photo. The happiest finishing line I have crossed to-date. I finish my first Half Ironman in 6hr23mins, snail pace maybe but it is a FINISH and here is how I got there.
The 50 triathletes strong party of Sonic descended from their coach 1.5 hrs before the start of the race, ample of time for the final preparation. I got to my bike, setup my helmet etc. Then I thought I will give the tyre another little pump. Unfortunately I broke the valve of the front wheel in the process. What would the fortune teller have to say when you lost two inner tubes before the swimming have even kicked off?But as the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” said “Don’t Panic”! I pulled out my spare inner tube and took the wheel to the bike mechanic, they fixed the wheel and the relieved me ran back to the bike. To my shocking horror, the tyre has deflated again, the fresh inner tube has punctured! Where would I be without the bike mechanics? I returned to them, they fit another new inner tube quickly and this time the wheel has held. Deep down I recall the day when I fracture a bone in my left arm last year, earlier that morning my seat tube fracture mysteriously; retrospectively I always say that was the warning sign for something worse installed that day. What would the fortune teller have to say when you lost two inner tubes before the swimming have even kicked off? I beleive there is cycling jinx on me, but that is not a reason to back off now. I am simply too carbo-loaded to call it a day.
(to be continued....)