Sunday, 10 March 2013

Victory!

Yay! 

I have managed to return victorious from 2013 Kenyir Lake International Triathlon! First placing for the category of Men 18-26, earning my self RM1500. So dinner for all who read this is on me tonight :P

I won't be boring you on the technical details of the race like my heart rate, my average speed of cycling and stuff like that, instead I'll be telling you about the chronology of the race from my perspective. So here goes:

POOOOOWW.. went the air horn flagging off the first wave of triathletes for a 1.5km swim. I quickly ran into Lake Kenyir's blue water and at waist depth I did a dolphin dive and start sprinting, eager to leave the crowd behind. I managed to break away from the crowd and for a good 400m I was leading and feeling pretty good. Suddenly, as I sneaked a glance backwards, I notice there were 2 people drafting behind me so I allowed one of them to go ahead and I drafted him. 

In case if you are wondering what is drafting. Well, the concept is simple. The guy in front fights against the water resistance and creates a slip-stream behind him (sort of like a no water resistant area), so swimming in the slip-stream allows one to use very much less energy to swim at the same speed as the poor guy in front doing all the work. 

So yeah, we continued in that fashion, me drafting the first guy and another guy drafting me, until the end of the 1.5km swim. Just to let you know, the guy that I was drafting was no ordinary triathlete, he is Jason Hsieh, an elite triathlete all the way from Hong Kong. He has been the overall champion of Kenyir Lake International Triathlon countless times, no exception this year too. To be able to keep up with him and draft him is an honour. 


Jason Hsieh on the right

Jason and me returning first from the swim

Next was the 40km cycle. Jason shot off on the bike leaving me and the guy drafting me during the swim to work together to chase down Jason. I got to know during the ride that the guy working together with me was called Eden Kang from Singapore. He actually did most of the work on bike and I felt guilty at times for drafting too much. Jason managed to stay in front of us even though we tried hard to catch him, he was practically flying on the bike. 


Congrats Eden for winning 3rd placing and thank you for pulling most of the way :) 

So at this point of time, Jason is leading in front followed by Eden and I and some distance away, a very large group of riders consisting of the commandos, fire fighters and some civilians trying very hard to ride us down. The commandos are average swimmers, very fast cyclists when working in a group (like there were doing now) & scary runners. When I say scary I mean SCARY, they run so fast that they make fast people look slow. I know that if they catch up with me on the bike, I'll be left in their dust during the run. 

But Eden and I did such a good job working together that even though the commando's group was much bigger than ours, they never caught up with us on the bike. 

One thing you'll have to know about Kenyir Lake Triathlon is that the hills are killers. It is so steep that I may have well been cycling up a 90° wall. At a particularly steep hill, Eden had a cramp in his thighs and thus leaving me to finish the cycle alone. After working so hard together and eluding the chasing pack of commandos for so long, it seriously was a pity he had the cramp and had to slow down. Maybe it was because I drafted him too much, allowing him to do the lion's share of the work and thus the cramp hehe now I feel guilty again. 

So I was 2nd overall when I arrived at the transition and still 1st in my category. Jason is in the Men 27-34 category while Eden is in my category. I remember thinking as I entered the transition area: 'I've done quite well for this ride considering I have not been cycling for some time, I'm actually not overtaken by anybody.' Just as I was thinking that, both my thigh muscles seized up and would not bend and thus I started the 10km run with both my thighs all cramped up. So the lesson learned here is that there are no shortcuts in life, wanna cycle fast without training? Do it at the expense of the run. 


I could only only watch as Zuhar, a commando overtook me on the run, followed by Zafrullah another very fast runner and a fire fighter. So my overall position dropped from 2nd to 5th but I was still 1st in my category. Not for long though if my leg continued to remain cramped up, so at every water station I tried to drink as much water as I could without slowing down and I thank God when my legs recovered at kilometer 6. And not a moment too soon as I could see Barry Lee, a national triathlete who was in 2nd placing catching up with me. So with my newly rejuvenated legs, I ran all the way to the finishing line with no one else overtaking me. I ended the race with me in the 1st placing in my category and 5th overall. 


Zuhar the commando in the middle and Zafrullah on the right




The end of my crappiest run ever



Am I satisfied with the result you may ask? Well, my answer would be yes and no. Yes, for the category results and obviously not for the overall position. I could and should have done better. At least this serves as a wake up call for me to improve my cycling. Well, I will try again next year and I'll be feared then for my cycling prowess on top of my swimming and running speed. 



With 2013 Kenyir Lake International Triathlon concluded, now a long bus ride back to the National Defence University and lectures tomorrow. And not forgetting the war against my greatest enemy for the next few days: stairs! Oh ya, this race did not have the standard Olympic distance, the swim was 1.6km, 45km bike and 11km run, just thought I'd mention it. 

Friday, 8 March 2013

2013 Kenyir Lake International Triathlon

It has been some time since I participated in a triathlon held in Malaysia. Wait,  before I continue, let me explain what is a triathlon in the first place. Many people, especially Malaysians do not know what is a triathlon. I've met friends who have asked "What religion is that? " when I tell them I do triathlon. 

Basically, triathlon is a sport which consist of 3 disciplines: Swimming, cycling & running. The fastest to complete all the 3 disciplines would then be declared as the champion. There are many different distance depending on the type of race. So, there is the sprint distance, Olympic distance & the long distance (Iron Man distance). I usually race the Olympic distance whereby I swim 1.5km, cycle 40km & run 10km. I prefer this distance as speed comes into the equation more compared to the iron man distance where stamina is the main winning factor. For your information, the iron distance consist of a 3.9km swim,  180km bike & 42.2km run. 

With that in mind, allow me continue with my story. The last time I joined a local triathlon was in 2011 & coincidentally it was the 2011 Kenyir Lake International Triathlon, the same race which I am about to participate. I managed to get first placing in 2011 and thus bringing me to the attention of Triathlon Malaysia Association. Hence, I have represented Malaysia in a few oversea tournaments. Most of the local races were either too close or clashed with the overseas tournaments therefore I have not been able to join any local races since. 

So, 2013 Kenyir International Triathlon will be the first local tournament after a long time and also the first competition of the year. I sure do hope I can do well and make my family & UPNM Medical Faculty proud. Do pray for me and wish me luck as I travel overnight to Terengganu to pit myself against Malaysia's fittest & fastest, namely the commandos and other elite triathletes.

I hope the next blog post would be me announcing my victory hehe. Till then, cheers!