Tuesday, May 30, 2006

First Taste of Triathlon

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Last Saturday I got my first taste of a triathlon. Martina, Andy, Alice and I headed out to Bintan, an Indonesian island an hour away from Singapore. Well to be honest, the only reason I am doing it is because it was free, Alice knows someone who sponsored the race and so got some free competitor spots. We even got our hotels and ferry for free. Bargain. So I headed out to a triathlon but the last time I swam was probably the end of last summer.
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This is the most relax and enjoyable event I did, the family beach resort has been turned into a camp of athletes with their expensive bikes and flashy triathlon outfit. The main restaurant is constantly serving buffet and you see all these people doing crazy carbo loading with the unlimited pasta supply.

So we got Friday to chill and to do the preparation. I tried the race course (5km) on Friday morning, it was hot as hell, I ran for just 2 km and was dying for cover from the equatorial sun. Now the swimming was a problem both for the distance (750m) and my ability to keep my wound dry. In case you haven't heard, I picked up a nasty cut at the Moganshan Race 2 weeks ago which I said hello to my bone. Two weeks later, the wound still looked like Freddy Coughan's face and I am on a mission to keep it dry. Experimenting with all sorts plaster in the shower, I found Band Aid Advance Healing to be the choice for a undisciplined patient. I then reinforced the plaster with climbing tape and eventually electric tape. It worked my wound stay dry.
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Onto the race, it kicked off at 8:15 in the morning and 180 people sprined toward the sea. For a newbie to triathlon like me, it was a funny experience, we were like lemming on a mass suicide party. And I am license to kick and grab anyone who gets in my way. I tried front crawl for a bit but it was impossible to stay on course or stop bumping into people, so I switched to breast stroke and now no one can get near me, else my kick met their kidney. 22 mins later I am the 117th person to emerged from the sea, Alice was right behind me.

I got on my rented bike from the resort, a 40pound moutain bike which moved like a donkey. Most people who overtook me with their flashy road bike kind of snobed at mine when they overtook. I try to regain my position against these snobs whenever I see one just for a laugh and I can bearly held them off for a minute. The biking session was 40km. I came 146th, even more falling behind.

So finally back to the transition area to get on my feet, the conditioning the day before was useful and I was almost the only person that was running in the heat. I took 29min to cover the 5km and ranked 47th, kind of redempt myself.

My overall position was 104 and I am jolly happy with that. Andy and Alice's relay finished 96th and congradulation to them!
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It was a good event, doing multiple sports in a paradise island and cool down with chill watermelon. Thoroughly enjoyable experience.
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The next chanllange: Macau Action Asia in two weeks time!!
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Monday, May 29, 2006

Travel Blogs

I read about these travel blogs on the flight back from Singapore, and I just took a quick look at them and found them to be worth recommending, so take a look to cure your wanderlust. I have added them all to my google personal page.

- By Rolf Potts a travel columnist who write so well that earn him the right to be constantly on the road.

- A collection of travel writers with rich travel stories. They are currently doing a count down on the top 30 travel books

- 'a virtual café with an international readership' ran by an award winning travel writer

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Year of Race Continue

Well, it has been almost two weeks since the nasty accident. The wound has semi-recovered, the hole has closed up but not all the flesh has grown back. I've been visiting a GP doctor the first day I got back and it was only a week later I found out he was completely useless in treating me. On Monday about 9 days after putting in the stiching, I went to see him to take out the stiching and he had no idea whether I should take them out, he even let me decide for myself! Luckily I went to see my friend Geroge who is a top surgeon who took them out for me. The stiching was serving no purpose at that point.This weekend comes another race I have signed up for, which is the triathlon in Bintan. I am flying over there today. George said I shouldn't swim, so I have bought all the plaster of the latest technology from Watson's, hopefulling combining with the help of some climbing tape, I can seal the cut water tight. It is only 750m of swimming in any case. Anyway I won't take this race too serious this time.
To finish off, here are some photos of the Moganshan Race posted by the organisers.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Moganshan Misadventure (Part 2)

.....let me continue with my misadventure, jumping on the ambulance, I began a 15 minutes ride to the town clinic. We had to stopped couple of time for the nurse, who had cleaned my wound 20 times earlier while waiting for the ambulance, to throw up on the side of the road. But maybe she is just doing that to make me feel better. Anyway, the ambulance stopped in this dimly lit village house otherwise known as the town clinic. In the next 2 hours I enjoyed a variety of hospital treatments which adds up to and outrageous 57 RMB!! Here is what I get for that bargain price
1) An X-Ray on my knee
2) An X-Ray analysis that tells me no bones has been broken (yeah but I did cycle for another 30 minutes before getting my rescued)
3) A merciless shower on my knee with Hydrogen Peroxide water which makes all wound go fizzy ( and burnt)
4) More cleaning and rubbing on that hole above my bone (painful)
5) Dirt picking with a tweezer on that hole above my bone (damn painful)
6) Couple of stiching performed without anesthetic (and when he yanked up the hole it was bloody damn painful)
7) Another X-Ray
8) Another X-Ray analysis to ensure me no bones were broken
9) 4 jabs of Tetanus injection each 15 minute apart on my bump
I must say despite the rawness of the treatments, both the doctor and the nurse did a good and hygenic jobs. But paying all that for just 57RMB makes me impossible to settle my mind.
So this very much concluded my Moganshan Adventure. When next morning I heard at the prizing ceremony that one of the female competitor whose team came first in female catogories, had suffered a even worse accident in more or less the same area that I did. The carbon fibre handle bar broke in a clean snap and cut deep into one of her finger that a piece of flesh was just tangling, and also a cut on her forearm that would need a few stiching. Yet she denied immediate medical attention and finsihed the race I guess about 8 hours later. I felt pretty damn useless myself, may be I should have done the wild thing and endured it to the very end.
Though as I am writing up my ordeal, I think if I were to choose again, I will still jump on the ambulance to preserve my leg. There is George Mallory who challenge his wildest dream to the end and there is Joe Simpson who makes it back safely and writes a bestseller. I would rather be the latter.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Moganshan Misadventure (Part 1.5)

Before I finished off my ordeal, just a lighthearted interlude. When I got back I called Icarus, the man who got me into mountain biking, and told him what happen. His reaction was an invitation to his mountain bike trip to Huangshan in July.

And take a look, we've made it to the local paper! (Me at the front, my partner Kin at the back)

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Moganshan Misadventure (Part 1)

Right here I am to tell you about my (mis)adventure in Moganshan Explorating Race. Flying out on Friday afternoon with lots of familiar faces, they were all regular in KOTH races but finally I can put name to their faces. The Japanese girl who sat next to me on the flight said these races were like a school trip, you jumped on a plane and knows everyone. It turned out that she was the woman team champion of last year's race in Ziyuan.

The race started off with orienteering around the tourist region of Moganshan, we ran around the hill looking for checkpoints that contain puzzles to solve. We finished a little bit outside the allowed time but there were probably about another 7 teams behind us. Jumping on our bikes we glided down the single track bike trail, for the next 4 hours, it were just never ending undulating hills of biking, sometimes we were going through bamboo forest and sometimes we were on dirt road with think muds deposited by the down pours in the pass few days. One of the interval was to carry a 5m long bamboo trunk on our bikes and carried it for about 3km. The biking was not easy for me but I was enjoying the challenge and the landscape.

Finally we made it to CP3 and there was a choice to skip the technical biking session and take a short cut to CP4. As much as I would like to skip that, I felt like facing up to my inner fear. Also my partner Kin is a good biker and I don't want to deny him the fun. So we cycled up to a steep hill and entered the off road trail once again. There were so many sessions that was impossible to cycle and we had to push the bike. It was purely a matter of judgement of which slope to take on. Then on one seemingly innocent gentle downhill staircase made up of lose rocks, I followed Kin to cycle down. The first few steps was okay but I began to lose control with every bounce, the bike pushed me toward the hillside and I couldn't pulled it off. Finally I hit the wall and bounced off the bike, my head did a double hit on the rock chin first and then forehead before landing flat on the ground.

When the dust settled, I picked myself up and checked for injury. My word, there is this cut 3cm beneath my knee about 2.5 cm long and a few mm wide. I took a closer look, I see void inside, then looked even closer, it was a white piece of bone. Man! Nothing like this has happend to me ever and blood began to drip out fast. My only piece of first aid was a bandage and I asked Kin to take it out and wrap the bastard up, he did it so well that the bleeding stopped really quickly. Then we walked/cycled to the next CP the best we can. The pain was intensive at first but gradually goes away, I thought maybe I can just keep going and not to give up.

Couple of marshalls met us a little bit before the CP as another team who passed us has alert them, we knew the ambulance was on its way. In CP4, I unwraped my bandage under the curious glaze of the locals, 'Never thought you would be an operation theatre!' joked the marshall. Amazingly with the nurse at the CP was only better equiped than me in first aid terms by a bunch of cottom stick and a sterilising solution!! So we occupied our time by cleaning up the hole above my bones again and again until the ambulance arrived. My mind is toying with the option of getting some first aid and carried on as far as I can, or give up at only 1/3 into the race and get proper stiching at the hospital. I fought a bit with the doctor who propose the latter option, until he warned that the bones may be infected by tonight. My fighting spirit finally wavered away, I decided to jump on the ambulance...... (to be continued)
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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Count Down to Moganshan

The Moganshan race is approaching fast. I have been training so much for it. Over the long weekend I did a 10am-6pm bike ride on Friday, then a 4.5 hours afterdark bike ride on Sunday. The afterdark ride was real harsh training, I have to do off road biking on Hong Kong Island Trail in the dark with just two bicycle light at the handle bar. It was scary and tough. Unfortunately just when I was getting good and pick up my speed, I went over at probably the last corner of the trail. Landed into the brushes beneath the trail and banged my knee real hard on some rocks despite the protection. Damnit, the knee has swollened bad and I am going to the Chinese Medicine physio everyday to get the bump down on time for the race. This is what I will be up to on saturday:

60km bike ride, about 40km offroad, 18km trail running, 4km kayaking, plus abseil of all kinds.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

2006 Year of Adventure Race (Part II)

Earlier of the year, I put up a posting on all the overseas adventure race that I planned to do, I got a bike, I got a pair of hill running legs all I need are some partners. Though that dream seemed pretty much faded away as time ticks. Then last Friday, I saw an e-mail from the seyonasia yahoo group that I have subscribed, someone is looking a partner to do the 12 hours Mogan Shan Race in 14th May. Didn't take me long to spurnt into action, Martina said I have answered a dating ad. So I got a partner, Kin, for this coming race. Kin is a great Mountian Biker and this will be his race. As the Mogan Shan Race have 60km of biking trails. While hopefully my trail running and rope skill can be a compliment. Though I need to seriously worked on my biking skills in the next 2 weeks.

After Mogan Shan, it will be Bintan Trianthlon in end of May and the Action Asia Macau in June. Full of actions!