Thursday, December 30, 2010


Will update the blog later with stuff,
But before the old year's snuffed,
Here's to the new year that is to come, and..
Here's another to the adventures that will never end!!


HAPPY NEW YEAR y'All!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Xmas and A Happy New Year!!

(Thanks LSY for the pic!!!)

And to all, Happy Holidays with a Bright Look Ahead for 2011!!

Trudge on!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The BIG race for next year...

The reason I'm scared.. the reason I'm nervous.. and the planning and preparations begins...


(Taken from the XPD website)

I've only started AR this year, and have never done an expedition length AR. Got one year to prep and there's already so much things to do (not to mention all the training trips and races to get to). I'm super excited... and well... can't wait to get it all started ;)

Time to train!! hehehe...

Train on!!

:)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I want for Xmas..

In the midst of equipments hunting for races, I got bored (yup... it can happen)... Got down to Vivo, and decided to donate to this...Sometimes I feel I overindulge in myself. OK... I do over-indulge in myself :) ... oh well.. don't we all ;)

OK, what I want for Xmas is..... a good ride with a good makan after the ride ;)

Trudge on, y'all!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Moving on... again...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uelHwf8o7_U&feature=related

Sometimes when I think back, my life was like this song... It's hard to get back on track... but after 2+ years... I think it's getting better... :) Time does heal...

Move on... and to a dear friend, it will move on...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One of the stranger rides...

Trails are strange at night, but even stranger after the rain... at night. This week's night's trail ride had some highlights, and in the words of Kiara Boy - "Sprinting centipedes, worm leech, baby owl, tonnes of frogs, wild boar scent, lights cutting out for no reason. Freak falls. Spoooky night indeed."
AND I swear, my night lights really have something against me.. freeeeaky...

Short notes of the ride:
1) On the way to BoulderCity, the wrap that was holding my light batteries flew off into the trail. My battery was just suspended in mid-air with only the wire attachment connected to it. Hence, I had to navigate about 10 minutes of trail ride with the right hand holding the battery to the handle bar. Short to say, took all the wrong lines (hard to control la, with only half of a handle bar to hold on to) and had an interesting bumpy ride.

2)BF was super slippery. Kiara boy slipped a few parts... I just slipped everywhere!! Had a hard time navigating the roots as my rear just kept giving way all the time. Was happy though, cleared Big Logs number 2 (the rest.. too slippery). I loved this ride though, with the technical parts turned up a notch or 2 cause of the loss of traction everywhere.

3) Kiara Bay noticed a fast centipede- ish insect, and the CUTEST baby owl ever!! Other than that, the frogs were out in 3/4 of their full force, and there were wild boars rustling around. The monkeys were noisy (well, I think they were monkeys.. I'm scaring myself now) and.. yeah.. while washing the bikes, Kiara boy had this

on his bike frame. What in the world is this??!! (Pic courtesy of KB's iPhone - it's never to late to join the dark side)

4) My handle bar bike lights suddenly went off again, while I was going downhill (lucky not technical). So, depended on Kiara Boy's lights behind me to navigate. I swear again, repeatedly, those lights really have something against me. It's like it has a life on its own...

5) I endo-ed at a place I don't normally crash.. hmm.. It was a bumpy downslope, I was getting my weight back, and my feet came off the pedals. My bum almost hit the rear wheel, so I pulled forward and put my weight forward. Right at that moment, my front wheel went down and I think I lost too much control and flipped forward. Did a 180 deg flip upside down and was stopped by the tree on the side and I fell to the ground.. No abrasions, cuts but just had bruises. Hmm.. and I just endo-ed last week too at KR.


After the ride, had ice lemon tea, while recollecting the things that happened. It was just a strange nite indeed. Oh well, good things came out of it though:

1)I learnt the new uses of my soft bristle brush - to brush my bag, gloves, shin guards, pants helmet, and almost everything else, including my sink. I stopped at having a go at the toilet bowl, though. Yeah, so it's still clean for other bikers to use as well.

2) I tend to oversteer alot... so mebbe a shorter handle bar would be perfect for me.

3) Next week :) ... SPD's or CBs? hmm...


Trudge on!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Being Just in the Nick of Time...

Recce Trip No 2 : Bukit Takun
Participants:
EA-san
JS
SM
Vincent
Stan
ST
HM
Me!!!

Joke of the day(s):
Stan: I'm Eurasian, what!!!
EA-San: Since when??
Stan: What do you mean since when? Since I was born la!!
All of the rest: HUH??!!!
Stan: orr... now u racist la...
All of the rest: hahahahahahahhahaha
... and the rest of it was history, as people would put it.

Bukit Takun, a "small" hill somewhere in the outskirts of KL city. Its tucked quite deep in, but is one of the oldest climbing places in Malaysia (according to the Climb Malaysia book). Mainly travelled to for its trad climbing, it has a few bolted routes for sport climbing as well. And, looking for a new place to climb, it was time to recce Bukit Takun.

With 8 climbers, 4 ropes, and a whole bunch of gear, we took of on Friday night (to be more exact, Saturday 12.30am). The van was fairly comfortable, but sleeping in a van sux. hehe.. We arrived at about 6 am in KL, and tried to check-in to the hotel, but the rooms were still occupied. We went to a mamak for breakfast instead, and headed down to Takun after that. Better get started, bright and early. Buuuut... it drizzled..

Breakfast at the Mamak

Getting there, however... was not easy. We had some instructions from the Web, and we reached the starting point in about 30mins or so. Then the trekking in begins. err... as usual, I think not many read the link that EA-san sent.. (me too!!) and wore only flip-flops and sandals, which was NOT advisable.. haha. It was a treacherous uphill trek, with mozzies and leaches all around ( I almost got bitten by one of them). After about 20minutes, we reached the first wall (Stan and Vincent got a leech bite here). We set up most of our stuff on the ground and started to recce the site for bolts and anchors. This being a recce trip, we really did recce a lot. Not many bolts in site and JS then started his first attempt on one route (with no anchors in sight), while the rest of us continued to look around. We found another one towards the left, which was a good climb, and Stan had to kill a tree (he tried burning and sawing) that was blocking the route (Thank you, Stan hehe). We then adjourned to the Right side of the wall, where the trad climbing courses were held. It was another about 15-20minutes trekking through sharp rocks and muddy ground in flip flops and sandals.. sigh.. But anyways, 3 routes were set up here and that's about it. It started to drizzle again about 4+pm, and we decided it was time to head back. This is not a place you wanna be in when its raining, that's for sure. Packed up and headed back down to the road for our van pick-up. And it came in just in time too, before a heavier down pour started to come down on us.. phew..

OK, all of us were tired and hungry (we tapau-ed food , but the treacherous trekking burned it all up) so we headed back to the hotel to clean up. Went to OneUtama for dinner and kai kai .. to round it up :
1) We went to see the MONSTER wall at Camp5 - must be 6C rated climber to climb horr.. inside, we secretly held our hopes that it will rain the next day, so we can go to Camp5 again, much to the dismay of EA-san.. haha...
2) Had Nando's for dinner and yummy A&W for supper (my 2 fave fastfood in KL) - can never get enuff of peri peri and the icecream waffles!!
3) Watched Rapunzel 3D at 11pm (which I think only started at 11.30 or so) - free soloing with(out) gears.. don't miss it!! Great cartoon btw, and my fave this year..

Roomie - ST and me were kaput-ed when I reached the room. Zzz out almost immediately. And that's it for Day One.

The next day: Back to Batu Caves. We went to Damai Wall with little hope of getting to Nyamuk later (which as usual never happens). Here, HM, ST and I did some lead climbing (getting better, I hope) and the Monsoon route - now I understand what everyone was saying about "the slope" haha.. After that I stopped as my arms were too achy too continue.

JS and SM paired up to do one multi-pitch, and so did Vincent and Stan. Was wondering what took them ages (the whole morning to be exact) up there, but later was shown the reason - they were taking pictures of each other up there.. haha ... We were later joined by S and S from the Nomad adventure side. Had a awesome time at BC as usual, and I made a new resolution to do multi pitches in the next BC trip in Jan. :)... oh yarr... we finally had our first lunch at Batu Caves, after sooo many visits here!!
The reason to do a multipitch!


The View from above

The only time when the wall was quiet was when these 2 were up in their pitches :p

JS and SM on their pitch

ST tired liao...

GroupShot!!

Packed and headed back to SG at about 430pm. Had an epic wait for food at the A&W Ayer Keroh, and reached SG at 11.00 ++ pm. Tired, dead and sleepy, I just jumped into bed and zzz... haha..

Think BC saved this trip from being a disaster. Somehow, it always turns a frowning climber into a smiling climber. Takun was.. sort of nice, but I still think it's more for trad climbing :) Well, till the next climb, recce, or watever...

Trudge on!!

Rumblings in the heart... restless in the mind...

I'm scared. I'm trying to smile, but I really am. I've done so many things before, but I'm scared of this "little" endeavour of mine. I have nothing prepared for this, except that it's something that I really want to do. I think my mum knows me better when I have an idea or something in mind, it stays there till I've had enuff of it or I've completed it. My arms still ache from the climbs in KL over the weekend, my eyes are still red from lack of sleep, but my mind is racing to figure it all out. Hmm... I got my work to do, and my studies to complete too. My mum is gonna complain that I don't go back much.. Hmm.. *dead*

But then again, when I think of it, I'm all excited, and a little grin appears...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Viva La Vida

Da link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsUAxG6c3Ws

Amazing... one guy, playing all the different layers song separately.. and editing it back into one piece. Reminds me why I took up violin last time. I loved the sound it makes, the emotions it stirrs. The pull of the bows, the light staccatos it makes..

But anyways, about the song. It's time to review the year that just came and go, and wonder how next year will be like. This year has got to be the biggest DRAMA year ever, not as painful as a few years back, but just super DRAMA. And the drama happened not only to me, but to people around me.

I tried a lot of new stuff that stuck to me, like MTB-ing, and made a bunch of new crazy frens along the way. I restarted some stuff that I left cos of time constraints, like kayaking and climbing. I learnt about how much life is reliant on having good frens when I'm staying on my own, like when I had my pneumonia. I learned that being there for a friend and having his/her back is something that is not easy to be done, but is one of the best things to do. I learned that things do not last forever, no matter how perfect it looked from the outside. I know that I can finish everything I put my mind to... if I can put my mind to it. I learned to smile, even when things are getting harder and harder, cos smiling makes it easier to get through it. But the best of all, is I learned more about myself, and how I think people should accept me as who I am. I don't think I can ever leave the outdoors for now, and that's fine with me :). Oh... and that life moves on... one setback only means that - one setback. It does not set me back for life if I don't let it.

A short snippet:
  • Night MTB!!
  • Got my 1Star & 2Star kayaking cert...
  • Roll in a kayak!!
  • Severe pneumonia & got warded!!
  • Had a Minor Operation
  • Climbed at Dairy Farm, Batu Caves and Tambun
  • DWS and Lead Climbing
  • Moved to a new place
  • Visited Hanoi & HaLong Bay
  • Visited Siem Reap
  • Mountain Biking and built my first racing bike
  • Found 2 someones .. & gave it up.. hehe :)
  • Volunteered at races (bike escort & medic)
  • Play FFXIII
  • Three Adventure Races
  • Shot from a AK-47
I wonder what will happen next year... hmm

Trudge on..

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Epic Plentong ride...

Just a memorable conversation...

On one of the short road parts, one of the guys riding next to me asked me why I was spinning on my Granny's. I told him that sometimes I still have a problem with my gear shifts, and I'd prefer not to shift if possible. He was impressed as he said I was spinning very fast and added that I would have nice legs. With a devilish grin, I told him to just give that thought up too... I have bigger than normal girl calves cos I run a lot too... He just shook his head and we all laughed it out.. haha...

The reason I like MTB :)

Trudge on...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The annual Twelve Months of Lala!!

Back again, the 2010 edition...

Jan: Got my first MountainBike, and endo-ed on the same day; CNY home, played Futsal with the Ipoh guys

Feb: Siem Reap - to the Wats!! and... Shot from a AK-47, started Flowriding

March: Bdae month... Finally got FF13 (but until now, no time to finish it), Started volunteering in races- OSIM, OCBC

April: Sabah Adventure Challenge!!

May: Moved to a new place; Rafted and started climbing again; Kayaking 1Star

June: Halong Bay for DWS

July: Nomad Adventure Race, PNEUMONIA!!

Aug: Recover from PNEUMONIA!!

Sept: BC, Ace Adventure Challenge, Lasiks done!

Oct: New Bike, Started night MTB, Rolled in a kayak (finally!!), Tambun - Lead Climbing, Batu Caves and Genting

Nov: MTB - Kiara, 2Star kayaking, MTB - Plentong Epic Ride...

Dec: Takun Recce!!

OK... another year of fun is almost coming to an end. I got one more module to grab my Grad Cert... then think think about progressing to Masters. Time really has flown, hasn't it. Let's see what happens in the coming 2011.. things are just getting better and better...

Trudge on...

A good start to the morning :)

Tried to pay with my Starbucks Card this morning, and when it didn't work, I had to pay in cash. When I got my change back, the barrista handed me a voucher for a free beverage... :)

This is excellant service... and a good reason to go back to Starbucks for good coffee...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cycling in Kiara 2

Can't remember which trail this was on though.... help anybody?

video

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back in the waters..

After a long hiatus, it was time to get down and wet.. in the kayak again. This time, with a clearer vision of whitewater ahead, I've decided to plunge ahead to learn how to roll (finally!!). Messsaged SO, and got my first rolling class rolling. I've tried to roll before but have never got it done, so, this time, with goggles, and a nose piece, I'm super determined to get it done at least once...

Capsizing, at first, is scary. But after capsizing so many times in my first WW kayaking course, it's.. somewhat, quite a normal thing for me already. So, capsize one.. I'm upside down, orientation off, SO tried to get my paddle in the right position, tried to hip flick... kaboosh... fell into the water again. This went on and on for a few more times.. before finally, with SO's help... my first assisted roll!! yay!! OK, now need to do an unassisted roll. Tried a few more times ... and failed... but.. never give up!! and, after a while more... MY FIRST ROLL!! and then another 3 and I'm done for that day!.. This was a few weeks ago...

Rewind to last weekend. EA-san wanted to do 2Star kayaking. I wanted to do 2Star Kayaking. So we went and sign up for the course. There are a few reasons to do 2Star:
1) Can't rent a spray skirt without 2Star
2) Most kayak races (WW) will require a 2Star
3) Kayak expeditions in SG will require at least a 2Star

The 2Star course is 3- day long, and includes a 6km expedition. Other than that, the other useful skills would be the Eskimo Bow Rescue and Scullying Draw (which SO has taught us in 1Star). The first day was used up to polish the 1Star skills, and I realised that I don't even remember much. After a while, everything started to come back to me and well, started to get back in the groove.

The second day was the expedition day, and it was fun. I guess one reason was that we were bonding better with our team and an expedition is always more fun than just a skills course. We packed chicken rice for lunch as we're suppose to kayak somewhere, eat lunch and kayak back. The journey there was fun, except for the avoiding the fishing line part. Also, the instructor was commenting on our strokes, and he gave some useful tips like, keep the other arm at the forehead while drawing, it makes a good pivot point. We reached the Changi Water Venture are about an hour later and had lunch. By the time we finished, the dark clouds started to come in and it drizzled a bit.. brr..cold.. The drizzle soon became a thundering storm, and hmm.. we ran for shelter at the Changi Water Venture. Shivering and cold, we waited till the storm abated (a bit) and headed out to kayak back. There was still lightning in while we were kayaking back, and even the instructor was a bit reluctant. OK, let's do it slowly this time.. (we were all tired anyway).. and soon, we were reaching Pasir Ris.. :) On the way, we did some wave surfings.. hehe.. awesome

The guys in the Tiny Teddies Kayaking team!

Gwen with her Vibrams

The rock wall, so near, yet so far...

Yeah... the tiny teddies kayakers!!

Back at Pasir Ris, with some extra time, we practiced Eskimo Bow Rescue, and I tried the C-to-C roll a few times, before getting it right again. We were all shacked out by then. OK.. 5pm.. time to call it a day. Chop chop, we packed up and showered. A few achievements from this course so far:
1) I can finally kayak straighter
2) I can finally scully to save my life
3) I still remember how to roll, as of yesterday.

Just one more day and I can get my cert. Sorta exciting in the sense that with the cert, I can go do more crazy things. So, wish me luck this coming Saturday, and we'll see what happens...

:)

Kayak on!!

Update 20/11/10: I passed!!!! Now I'm a 2star kayaker!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Short Epic Trip

Epic Jam - 3hours
Epic Kiara MTB Rides - Short one on Fri, Long one on Saturday, Explorer mode on Sun
Epic Chicken Overload - KFC on Fri, Nand0's on Sat (I had Ramly's Special Chicken Cheese Burger on Friday too)

The whole idea for the first of many (to come) epic Kiara weekend started out with our new NiteRider Buddy, Kiara Boy. I've heard so much about Kiara from those who went there, and was raring to go ride at least once there. And so, with the long weekend coming up, why not? So, with bikes in the tow, WL and I was out in KL on the long 3-day weekend to conquer Kiara.

We started out on Friday morning, and got into our first Epic event = the Epic 3 hour jam at the SecondLink. We were moving at about 1km/hr but luckily we had a 2 movies to keep us entertained (Red Bull Rampage and RED). After the customs, things were moving great and we had a short stopover at Ayer Keroh for the A&W there.

Arrived in KL about 2 hours later than initially expected. With the GPS (bike unit), navigate to the hotel, checked in, prepped up and finally met up with Kiara Boy, for our first ride in Kiara. haha... so onz to get on the bike after the long journey down.. and no... we would not wait any longer...

Kiara, was.. just... awesome :). I've not been riding long, but the place is just FUN. OK, a bit of killer upslopes (actually, a lot of killer upslopes), but the course was just technical enough to make the ride every bit exciting. Most of the downslopes were manageable (even for me), but there were some (like triple trenches) which were still out of my league. It was really amazing to see the guys zip down those slopes, though :)

We went through some of the routes, 2k, magic carpet, a bit of lungbuster (in reverse), mission, and some more that I can't remember, before calling it a day when night came about. First intro to Kiara, and I'm smitten. Here's the next awesome thing about Kiara: there's free toilet, shower and bike washing facilities at the carpark. Apparently, the facilities were built using money pulled together by the community. I 'heart' this place.

Kiara Boy had family dinner that night, so it was up to me and WL to look for food ourselves. We ended up at TTDI nearby, and were elated when we saw a Ramly burger stall. But hey, Ramly is for supper right... hehe.. there was KFC opposite Ramly's, and to prove that the Msia KFC is different from the SG one, we had KFC for dinner. After tt, we tapau-ed Ramly and headed back for rest and movie.

The next morning started at 7am. We met up with Kiara Boy and his bunch of regular rider friends in Kiara for the ride. This was going to be the long one. The first stretch itself was a upslope ride on the tarmac into Magic Carpet. After Magic Carpet, we would meet up with another 2 friends of Kiara Boy. My memory here is fuzzy as we zipped from one trail to another. I still couldn't manage all the upslopes and had to push for most of them. The guys were really good and I liked to see the way they ride, and the lines they take. A few crashes here and there, and I endo-ed once on a drop. No biggie injuries though, will live to ride again.

After about 4 hours, we've finished. I was exhausted. My whole body was aching, but the adrenaline was still running high. We cleaned up (bikes and self) and headed over to the mamak for lunch. With our stomachs filled, we made a short stop at the KSH bike shop nearby, and then back to the hotel to rest a bit.

That evening was reserved for climbing at Camp5. After about a week of not hitting the walls, it was good to climb again. We met some Singaporeans there too, who were down for the holidays. Dinner was at Nando's... the home of Peri Peri chicken.. extra hot and spicy is always good. I bought an emergency light (comes with a whistle) from Allsports KL, and after that it was back to the hotel for another movie and rest.

Sunday started later at about 8+. Had a bit to eat in the morning, and off to the trails again for our last ride. This time, we went exploring on our own as the local guys were not riding. We got lost a lot of times, went on reverse only to turn back after a while a few times, but we did managed to find the 'sungai' trail. I can fully understand after riding and pushing through it, why Kiara Boy said that trail was... well.. require balls of steel. Wilson rode most of it ('xcept for the first drop) and as usual.. *clap clap clap* :). We finished about 12, washed up, and headed back to the hotel to clean up and check out.

We had local fare for lunch at TTDI before heading back to SG. A short stopover at A&W again and we finally reached SG at 7+pm in the evening. Twas the short epic trip had ended, but truly an epic trip it was. Kiara was really enjoyable, and the company I had made it even more memorable. Now... I just can't wait to get out riding again.. getting better and better, so that when I am at Kiara again, I'll walk less, and ride more.

Trudge on...

PS : will upload the vids later, when I've successfully converted it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Found this!!

Me in the Health IT Summit this year... :)

http://www.mohh.com.sg/his-2010.html

Kinda miss my old look sometimes.. oh well..

Trudge on..

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A weekend that almost went wrong...

Last weekend was strange (maybe cos it was Halloweens.. hmm). Things that was planned went off and things that was not planned went great. The original scheme of the grand plan was to go to KL on Saturday, climb a bit at Batu Caves and then head up to Genting for the GTB on Sunday. So here’s what happened:

  1. It started to rain at BC.. no climbing
  2. BK ran a fever at Genting… no run
  3. Had a good long needed rest in Awana… been planning to have a chillaxing hotel holiday for months now
  4. Went down early to BC.. managed 3 lead climbs, the 28m was :) :).. Thanks EQ-san
  5. Met new crazy friends… some I’ve only known on Facebook… fantastic!

Trudge on, my friends..

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"That" feeling..

You know, "that" feeling... The feeling that makes your heart go faster, you get a bit more restless, and you keep wondering if what you're feeling is really something more than what you think it is (sorry, this has no reference to any romantic inclination, whatsoever...).

Been doing a bit more of night trail riding nowadays, and there are times when I get that feeling. There are certain parts of the trail that "feels" very strong to me that makes me to only want to go faster and get out of there. Maybe it's just my imagination, and I thought I was the only one who felt this, but when I talked to WJ yesterday about it, I was surprised that he felt the same way at the exact same spots too. For eg, in our recent ride, there was a part when I was leading that I suddenly had the strong urge to make sure that the person behind me was really supposed to be the person behind me, and I shouted to make sure that he really was the person behind me. WJ did the same thing too a few nights before when we were riding together, at the exact same spot, in the exact same direction we were riding.

Well, that doesn't mean the night rides will stop. Will continue to explore new places to ride as night trail riding is fun, and well, more fun than day time riding at times. Maybe I'll just install an airhorn or a bell, to be on the safer side, and bring a GPS system to prevent from getting lost.. and more spare batteries and lamps, so I'll never be in the dark. Hmm.. and maybe a cross, garlic, holy water... etc.. my bag will probably weigh a ton by then..

Well, it's going to be Oct 31st again soon, and .... Happy Halloween, everybody!!Get out, wear a costume, act crazy, go watch a scary movie.. just have a scaaary weekend y'all!

Till the next ride, Scare on...

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Book!

Lunch time reading...

Read on....!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Searching for the Lost Climb.. (and bolts.. and anchors.. )

Two weekends ago, I was given a chance to participate in a climbing recce trip by EA-san to Ipoh. A few years back, Mammut and Camp5 were invited to set up a natural climbing area at the back of "The Lost World of Tambun", and ever since then, this area has been visited by many climbers from all around the world. Well, me, missing home and parents and all, decided to follow EA-san on this trip, and well, just to have fun too.

There were 4 of us on this trip, EA-san, AS, YK and me. We took the night bus from GoldenMile Tower (Konsortium) to Ipoh and arrived at Medan Gopeng at about 6am in the morning. I called Dad, who picked us up and brought us all home to freshen up first.

Arrived!!

The guys unpacked some of their stuff and so, we're all set for Ipoh dim sum breakfast and the recce climb.

Sunway City in Tambun is quite a new housing/ business area although its been here the past few years. To get to the walls, one has to pay the entrance fees to the theme park (there is another way, though). We went there early in the morning to recce the area and arrived at the theme park at about 9am. As the park only opens at 11am (bummer..) we tried asking the staff if they can issue us the tickets earlier for us to enter. As usual, they dillied and dallied here and there, "trying" to look like they were busy. Oh well.. wait and wait. Luckily, not too long after that, one of the park's supervisor came out of his office. We asked for his help, and immediately he asked his staff to help us get in. Finally!! We can go CLIMB!

OK, so we all got tagged, coughed out the dough (RM41... PM me for more details ;) ;) ...) and followed the staff to the climbing walls. It was way at the back of the park, and was accessible through a locked gate. Lo and behold, the "Needle" was there. Hmm.. it wasn't as tall as I imagined it to be, buuut.. nevertheless.. it was tall. Alright, time to get prepared and set up the gears, but more importantly, get the mosquito coils burning. This area was infested with them.

Mosquito coils to the rescue~~

AS went to recce the routes with the simple topo maps that we had from the Internet. OK, let's start with something simple, a 5c named "Triathlon". AS lead the way up easily and got the rope set. This become out warm-up route.


The next route was "Nasi Kuning", a 6A route. This one was a bit tricky, as the bolts were a bit loose. AS tightened it on the way up, and well.. Sunway should pay us for maintenance. I went up the "Triathlon" first to warm up, then to try lead climbing, I went up again. First, with a top rope tied in, and finally, the moment of truth came, and I lead up without the top rope. It was super fun and scary at the same time!!! The exhilarating feeling of climbing, yet the scary feeling of falling without a safeguard. I loved it!!! After that, I gave "Nasi Kuning" a top rope try and I was super sweaty by the time I got down.

Up the 'Yellow Rice'

With the sun coming in, we decided to do the "Needle" next. The easiest route 5c (30m), aptly named "Taik Kera" was tucked in between the "Needle" and the wall behind. To get to the route, we had to climb up a rocky and slippery slope. Here comes the confusion, the bolts were hard to see. The first bolt was quite high for this route, and so we were quite doubtful of its grading. Nevertheless, AS and EA-san prepped to tackle this wall.

Using the tree as an anchor

The climb to the first bolt was... scary. The wall was hollow and we were not sure where the route leads to. AS continued up, one bolt at a time, till halfway through. He came down, and so it was ES-san's turn. EA-san was "raring" to go.. hmm.. sorta.. well, anyways, he tied in, got all the runners, and started up. (Btw, my first lead belaying too!!) .. and.. one by one (literally) he got all the runners in and reach the TOP!!! yay!!! We have conquered the "Taik Kera";) ;)!! I lowered EA-san down, and at the bottom, we had an interesting review of the route, esp at the top.

Just getting in the first bolt... so high!

YK up next, and EA-san will belay him. AS went recce-ing around and wanted to check out the other routes. There was a 4b (30m high??!!) called "Roots and Berries" next to the fence. It looked easy enough from below, but looks waaaay high to be a 4b.. hmm, the map says 20m.. was the map wrong. Nevermind, my time to try leading again. I tie in, got enough runners, and start out. The first bolt was high, and I was worried. Slowly, slowly, ok... managed to get the first one in. Here was where everything turned downhill. I managed to put the second one in, but as I was trying to get to the third one, I fell and scraped my shin over the ledge... ouch... skin out... bleeding.. I asked to be lowered. AS went to get the Medikit for me.. and I was still .. OUCH!!. ok ok.. tahan tahan. Lucky my MTB injuries from 2 weeks before (at the exact same spot) healed liao, if not the scrape would have been worse. OK... fixed myself up, but think that there will be no more leading for me this trip. Oh well... EA-san came by, and said that the 4b route was typo-ed on the map. It was switched with the 5c next to it. Damn....

Me on my second lead before the fall..

OK, so YK and EA-san continued to climb at the new routes, and AS and I went to clean up the "Needle" area. I gave "Taik Kera" a try, but wasn't able to go up high. AS went up once more and managed to reach the top. Time to clean up and rejoin the other guys.

AS lead the next climb on "Low Battery" and this one was easy except for one crux. After the guys tried a few more climbs on the last two routes, everyone was tired and beat. Time to call it a day and hit the hot springs. We all packed up, tried not to smell the rope (and me, of the 3 guys), and were all set to go. Before leaving, we recce-ed the area a bit better, found the 9a "Clockwork Orange" and met up with the supervisor again (not on purpose).

Recce-ing the area

AS with the 9a

Group shot with "the Needle" behind us (the supervisor in red)

YK and EA-san went for a dip in the Hot Spring. I didn't want to with my injury, and AS forgot to bring shorts. After that, a nice shower and we're all clean again!!

At the Hot Spring

Bro came and picked us up from Tambun. Mum and Dad were hungry, and well.. when one is new to Ipoh, there can only be one place to eat dinner -Lou Wong Nga Choy Kay and Hor Fun!! (and the guys didn't believe me at first that Taugeh is an entire dish itself!!!) ..

Converted Believers!!

We had a hearty dinner and ended the night with a drive around Ipoh and a stop at Old Town Kopitiam. Was dead by the time we reached home and went to zzz almost immediately.

The trip turned out to be all good fun. I had a chance at Lead Climbing and Belaying and I got to go home. It's time to keep practising and get better at it. My shin wound is almost healed now, and luckily no fracture. Now I miss home again... oh well... till the next trip home..

Climb on!!

Of Leading, Repairing, Rolling and Going down stairs..

In about last week, I've:
1) tried Lead Climbing in Tambun

2) learned how to do trail repairs
3) rolled in a kayak (x4 times actually)
4) go down flights of stairs on my MTB

Other discoveries:
1) Duoderms are amazing dressing
2) Coban works ok too... but duoderms are better
3) A new MTB helmet... super cool looking

Trudge on...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My new BIKE!!!

It's light enuff for me to carry :).. Sabah, here I come!!

Trudge on, y'all!!

Freedom.... finally!!

Something I've not tasted for a long time, as I've always had to think of and about someone else, and when one leaves, another fills up that spot in a matter of weeks, or sometimes even days. I'm kinda sick of that after a while, and though I do miss it sometimes, I'm just glad that those times are over for a while and I can finally focus on what I've always wanted to do for a loooooong time now.. So watch out for this space for updates .. which I am sure will be more to come!!

Trudge on!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Warded!!

Alrightey.. my first hospital admission!!
Diagnosis : Severe Bilateral Community Acquired Pneumonia.

Suffered for about a week, but thanks to very supportive friends (esp ST, Pris) and family, and the great bunch of doctors and nurses in SGH... I'm well again!!

Buuuut, I learnt a few things along the way that I hope if I go back to clinicals I'll remem to or not to do:
1) Never order a drip with KCl supplements - it hurts like hell, and i couldn't even sleep a wink
2) Always listen to the patients needs... even if it was a simple cup of water
3) Nasal prongs dries up the nose.. till can get cracks and nosebleeds.. good to moisturise the nasal passage once in awhile.
4) Just generally be nicer to patients... it sucks being sick..

:)

Well, trudge on!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mud race.. lotsa mud

Last weekend was the Nomad X-Capade Race weekend, and it ended too soon. This time, I partnered with Shaff for this multidisciplinary race that involved MTB, road biking, abseiling, kayaking, rock climbing, and mud crawling/trekking. Venue: Batu Dam, Selangor. Time: flag-off at 8am. Fun level: Limitless.

Travelling down to KL itself was a big challenge. We cycled down to the pick-up venue early in the morning. Yayy!! Saw some of the SAC folks there as well. :) hehe.. Chad is partnering YK in this race, and well, they make the funniest couple ever!! Back to the bikes. As they did not have enough people to book a proper truck transport, we had to pack our bikes at the bottom carriage of the bus. There were 2 buses, and about close to 60 humans, which meant that the bikes need to be packed nicely into the carriage. To fit it all in, we removed the front wheel of the bikes. Took longer than expected and after all that, we were told that we have to change buses at the Malaysian customs!! NOOOOO!! Then why did we go through all that trouble for. Next, YK realised that he brought his niece's passport, not his!! haha.. so he called his wife to pick his up and bring it down. OK, so that's over, the passports are all checked, the bikes all packed, we finally set off.

Reached the SG customs.. no problem.. reach the Msia customs.. all hell breaks loose. We had to reassemble our bikes and wheel them over. And, it's Saturday morning, so the place was jostled with people trying to get across. Managed to get pass fast with the Msian passport, but the rest (non-Msians) took about an hour to get across. hehe.. twas funny to hear their accounts of how the elder folks would just cut queues to get in front of them. Well, we packed all the bikes onto the Msian bus and after everyone has settled, we set off again!!.. phew..

In the bus... on the way

Stopped for breakfast and lunch.. yummy.. good ole Malaysian food, and finally reached our destination at about 2pm. We were already late. We got all our stuff out, reassembled the bikes and head up to the race area where skills testing were performed.


Assembling the bikes at the start

Registration was ok, equipment check done, and first station was the abseiling station.

Shaff at the registration tent

I have not abseiled in a long long time, but with Shaff's and the testers help, got it done fast and easy. Next, at the kayaking station, I played arn as usual :) hehe. While waiting for the briefing to start, I met up with Raymond and Elaine, the ever energized bunny!! hehe..

Everyone being tested...

Called up Ivy, and managed to convince her to come down and pick us up (with Elaine's help - TQ Elaine!!) and well.. briefing started late, full of corny jokes, ended late, and finally, when Ivy picked us up, it was already quite late. Shaff and I initially planned to camp at Batu Dam for the night, but seeing that we can store our bikes at the race site, and that the place was.. hm.. we decided to bunk at Ivy's. :) (TQ IVY!!)

Ivy and Callie picked us up and brought us to a Peranakan restaurant. The food there was goooood!!!! mmm.. so in love with that fish now.. mmm.. But anyways, after dinner, headed back to Ivy's place, prepped for the next day and off we were to bed.

Proposing to Ivy... hehe

Woke up at 4+am, got ready, and off we were to the race site. We arrived early at about 6am, and the place was quiet. Got out our bikes, registered and got our bandannas.. yes... badannas.. and prepped up. Everyone started to fall in as well. Flag-off time fastly approaching, everyone started to line up at the start, the VIP gave a speech (I think.. I wasn't listening).. and as the clock hits 8... GO!!!



Pre race pics!

The start was a slow start as it was short road biking session before we double back, cycled a bit of an up-slope and hit the trails. At the trails, the racers start to spread out and the stronger ones were already far ahead. The trails were nice singletrack trails, buuuuut... the first part, or about 70% of it was up-slope.. and although some of the slopes were quite rideable, it was short lived with braches, tree trunks, rivers along the way that just stopped all the riders in their tracks. This continued on for a hour or so... till we finally hit the the downhill part!! yay!! the downhill was super fast and furious and FUN!! hahah.. unfortunately, I got a pinch flat at my back wheel.. and we stopped to changed it. First spare - valve broke, change again. Second spare, phew.. worked.. maaan.. talk about bad luck. Anyways, apparently, due to the difficulty of the trails, the organiser cut the full trail from 3 loops (killer, big and small) to only one big loop. That's saying something.. but then again, I do hope to come back here again and go try all the loops.. :) Finished the MTB part, and back we were to Batu Dam, and onwards to the jungle trekking (aka mud trekking after the rain) at Batu Caves.

Crossing a stream

The first part of the trek was to climb all the way up to the caves.. which was easy. Then a short bit of caving.. which was easy. Then jungle trekking all the way to all the chkpoints.. which was SUPPOSE to be EASY.. until it RAINED!! haha.. A heavy downpour came upon us and we were all drenched. The trails turned to mud and had ZERO traction. Most of the time, we were on all fours... trying to not slide of the hill. This makes Genting TB looks super easy. We got lost abit while gg from one CP to another, but recovered fast enough. After a looooong while, we got to CP8, where we split up for the abseiling bit. Shaff did the 100m abseil, and I went on to do the 50m cave abseil.

My big black butt!

All was well, the trek to the 50m abseil was easy and with more traction. The wait to abseil, however was wrought with cold winds. I was shivering itself.. and I really pitied all the abang-abang who was guarding that CP. okla... loooong wait... why? - on 3 ropes, the racers were stuck.. sigh.. so waited about half and hour just to get on the abseil. The abseil however was really nice.. after all, its a cave abseil... into the dark. Bumped my shin against the rocks while going down however... and towards the end, almost had forearm cramps cos twas hard to feed the rope throught the ATC. Finally, one more swoosh and I'm down. phew.. short and sweet.

Now comes the next harrowing part.. need to trek back to the rock climbing area, bypassing two other chkpoints.. sob sob.. more of the mud and slides... mudslides.. the parts I hated the most were the sideways traversing parts where there was no grip, nothing to hold on to, and well.. I just kept slipping downwards.

Reached the rock climbing area, Shaff was not there yet. Started to worry. He shouldn't need to take this long if nothing happened.. ok ok relax abit and went to clean up abit at the nearby shower. OK.. Shaff is not back yet.. hmm.. wait wait.. Talked a bit to Samuel and he said that Shaff got lost and did 3 loops around the same area looking for the 100m abseil CP. Oh maaan... I hope he's ok. Waited a while more, and he started to come down.. he looked tired. Finally, he made it!!.. We got onto the rock climbing part next where Shaff climbed barefooted... woots.. amazing..

After cleaning up abit and refilling the water station, we head on back to Batu Dam and on to the next part of the race, river trekking. When we got there, the organisers said no more river trekking in the river, but river trekking at the banks as the waters were too high after the rain. Alritey, so we slow jogged abit and trekked abit and finally reached the kayaking session in super fast time (trying to hit beat the cut-off time marr). Got into the kayak, and started kayaking. Here's the funny thing: we're suppose to find some passwords on some buoys and tell them to the CP guys at the end of the race to finish the race.. we hunted high and low for the first kayak.. can't find them, then just continued on towards the end... when.. lo and behold, the two buoys were there. If only we knew earlier. Anyways, Shaff did most of the kayaking.. I was already half dead... (TQ Shaff!!).

Reached the shore, got out, and hurray!! Ran towards the finishing line and we were done!!! YAYYY!! WE FINISHED!!! phew...

At the finishing line...

Life was just surreal then.. another race finished. I was just soo happy.. hungry and well tired :). We met up with the faster racers, congratulations flew here and there, and we got a small towel for the effort.. haha.. SMALL blue towel. Went to clean up the bikes, equipments and ourselves and headed down to EAT.. waaa.. haven't eaten the whole day. After the prize giving ceremony, we all got onto the bus, rested, had A&W for dinner, slept on the way back and... reached home with smiles..

The weekend was great.. but it just zipped by so fast.. I'm really starting to fall more in love with adventure races. I hope there are more to comes, but i do need to improve on my MTB skills and get a lighter bike if I wanna race more seriously. Well, see how it goes... and trudge on...

(Pictures courtesy of Shaff's camerea!)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lost and Insecure...

Lost and insecure.. this phrase keeps popping in my head.. even till now.. started from a song that I had in my PC (no other things to play, office blocked Youtube), well, and soon after, it started to remind me of how life is. We're all insecure in our ways, some insecure in their jobs, others insecure in looking for that other special elusive ONE, and even when you found that ONE, sometimes, insecurities comes in asking whether he/she is really the ONE.

I like psychology, I like human thinking, and I like sparring verbally about it, but the one thing that always stumped me was human feelings. We describe it with words, but how do you describe feelings to a person. MelM says I'm a feeler, which I totally agree upon, as I do use a lot of my feelings to get through things. People who know me well enough will always know, behind my happy and somewhat brave facade, what I feel, which brings me to the first 3 words of this post.

Lost and insecure... that's what I feel now. I've been secured in my place for far too long.. securedly holding my feelings in place, securedly braving through obstacles in one piece, that no matter how busy or worried I am, I stay strong. But sometimes I can feel a crack coming through. Maybe it's due to the stress the past couple of weeks... finding a place, getting a new housemate, moving, work, exams, papers, presentations, and the usual activity stuff, all in the month of June. I somewhat feel drained.... (phew.. lucky semester break is coming... but only one week.. damn...)

But that said, I rediscovered some parts of me that I forgot, like calling my mum when I'm stressed and staying in company of fantastic friends who only want the best for me, but the one that takes the cake is my confidence in going up heights again. I lost that confidence during my skydiving head knocking incident that left me looking like I just came out of a street brawl, but now, I'm looking forward to the thrill of feeling the wind against my face, the ability to move freely and free from being stuck to the ground, and well, just enjoying a superb scenery that only being in the sky can provide.

Living almost up to 3-0 already, the few things I've learnt is that...

"Things and people may come and go, but the experiences and memories stay on. Learn to live and learn to share and learn to give. Sacrifices are worth making only if what you get in return deserves it. Nothing lasts forever... but there is beauty in limitation... "

ohh, and one more

"always tell and show the people you love that you love them... be it family, friends, and even frenemies... ".

Man.. I feel old..

:)

Trudge on, y'all!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another chapter of life...

When something ends, another begins...
The past few weeks brought a LOT of changes in my life... that time literally flew past me again at like a speeding bullet.. and now... reflecting back:
1) moving out next mth - new hsemate(s) and new place ... now need to settle agreement and packing
2) changed from a primary runner to a primary cyclist - MTB and roadie (singlespeed)
3) no more PTSD (developed since that hard knock on my head during my solo skydive) from heights ... realised tt when I went climbing tt I wasn't afraid of heights anymore!! YES!!! time to save more money and go back to skyjumping..
4) between a need and a want.. what do I really want, and what I really need.. which is more important.. hmm.. can't decide..

I'm still scared and unsure of my future though, but as usual.. things happened along the way to reassure me that life is great by just being alive, and tt I should never take anything for granted cos its all there for a purpose.

I know this is gonna sound so Great Eastern and all, but...

Life is great!!!

Trudge on..

Monday, May 3, 2010

Last weekend...

The typical Jonie weekend is baaaaaack...

Friday: Shaff drove us up to KL in his convertible.. with the top down. Arrived at Ivy's... chk in and zzz

Saturday: met up with the gang.. and rafted at KKB. Nite - dinner at Pappa Rich and Otai burger

Sunday: Climb at Camp5, 1Utama, lunch at Nando's and then back to SG, with the top down again...

Amazing weekend... and as Monday comes, I realised.. a Jonie weekend is when the weekdays are for recovery from the weekend activities...

:)
Trudge on..

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How to recognize an informatician

Wrote this for my homework this week:

"An informatician looks and behaves like any other person, that is, until he starts to talk. Within seconds, informatic jargons like SNOMED, CPOE and CDSS starts spewing out, and, from then on, there is no stopping the verbal diarrhea. To make matters worse, when two or more informatician gather together, it can seem like they are conversing in a weird alien language altogether. Although life can be busy for an informatician because most still hold on to their day job as clinician, nurses, and even IT managers, they always exude passion in their love for the latest gadgets and EMR (Electronic Medical Record) systems. Understanding their nature is not easy, as one will need to delve into the deep realms of “technology”, “healthcare” and “workflow processes”. However, no matter how technical an informatician may be, deep down in his heart is a caring and gentle soul, who’s only aim is to see that all patients receive the best and safest level of care in their medical treatments."

Trudge on....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Volunteerism... hard work

As racers, we rarely understand what go on in the happenings of the volunteers (not internal supporters), and after volunteering twice.. I am beginning to understand how hard it is. I love the support I get from all the volunteers, but to be one, I realise is so much more harder than to be the participant itself.

1. Volunteers come in early and are usually the last to leave.. so if you think running for 4-5 hours in a marathon is hard, try standing and cheering for 7-9 hours. So don't think the people are happy there as well when you're the last one in and you're not even putting in the effort to finish faster.

2. Relentless energy and support is a must-show.. and its not even to support themselves, but volunteers have to support others... and it's always harder to be happy for others when it is a torture to stay put in one HOT and UNSHADED place for the whole day.

3. It's HOT out there and volunteers in Singapore seems to get very little water/food (except for the water/food stations ) Some were even refused water/food when they asked for it... sux, right.. I know...

4. Most volunteers don't get proper briefing... it is left to the minimal.. so if they don't know the answers to the questions... blame the organisers, not the volunteers.

5. Very minimal training is given to the volunteers.. hence, don't expect basic first aid except from the medical ppl like the paramedics. They won't know how to hand you water or food as well... remember.. minimal training can sometimes mean ZERO training. So cyclists, pls be a bit more understanding when the volunteers dun run with you to hand u your drink.

I had a good time yest.. and the people were great... I think I'll be extra extra nicer to the race volunteers from now on... and I hope all the racers out there do too!!!

Can't talk alot for now!! so trudge on!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My first Adventure Race...

And it's gotta be a multi day one : Sabah Adventure Challenge!! - a 3 day rumble and tumble in the jungles of Borneo!

I've never done an adventure race before but as the usual Jonie, have always wanted to do one. So.. when this thing popped up.. (I read it off facebook.. ) go fig.. I just had to try it, even if it's only once. Well... with no experience at all at mountain biking, why not, right?

Anyways, roped in BK for this race and I got all the race registrations, logistics, accomodation done up (I'm never doing all this accommodation and logistics again... headache-nyer.. I wonder how Aman does everything?.. ). I went and get (through YMCA - Thnks MelM and GracieN for the help) me and BK some MTB lessons as well, and Alex T taught me a bit on orienteering... and got some amazing tips from WilsL and well all set.. I think..
except tt....

1. AirAsia bloody he*l screwed up my flight times and didn't even tell/SMS/email me on the changes. Lucky thing Aman emailed us earlier to rechk the flight times... later when we spoke to him, apparently some teams may not even make it in time as AA informed them too late to change their flights. I mean, I understand the changes in time, budget marr... but must oso tell the passengers right. Cannot be that the airlines "want" to make their passengers miss their flights??!!! Is this another tactic to lighten the plane load and pay less for oil??!! I hope our Datuk Tony Fernandaz can look into this... if not, I don't think anyone should ever take AirAsia again cos of their tardiness in taking care of their customers.

2. Due to the deferment, had to take the afternoon off from work

3. Had to defer all my assignments deadlines to a few days late, which means have double the amount of homework to do when I get home

4. Some family happenings... which I still feel sad about...

5. Bike pedals refuses to be unscrewed, even with a spanar and a Mel, the pedal nut still refused to budge (BK tried later after the race.. oso couldn't unscrew it... in the end, got help from another guy to help loosen it.. yes.. it was THAT tight)

6. Needed to complete the Mel & Jonie for Amazing Race Asia video. Took me about 10 hours to edit a 3 min clip... including searching, downloading, looking at materials...but it was funz!! I should be a video editor

7. The main thing that worried me was that I still had a few injuries that have yet to recover. I had a right thigh strain that caused me to forgo IM Langkawi this year as I could barely run. It recovered by the first week of March, but by then, I had already not trained for 2-3 weeks.. Felt weak and bad.. then also had bilateral PFPS which doesn't seem to be getting better. Keep having sharp pains on gg down the steps. Ok ok.. after this race, will rest for a bit.. promised someone liao and kenot backtrack..

... so, yep.. with about 3 weeks of proper training, and about 2 mths of MTB-ing from zero (minus CNY and all... prob about a mths MTB experience).. and my semester's finals coming up in March... there's so much to do, and very little time... and a race to complete... so before I go on and blog about the race.. Thank you all who have tolerated my bizarre behaviour and have supported me to go on. Couldn't have done it without you guys!!!
so.... on to the blog :).

Mel brought the bike to the airport, and we packed the bike there. Noticed that some of them didn't even pack their bikes to transport over to KK O_O... yes... big eyes!! Didn't know I could do that. Might try that on the way back :) Checked in and off we were to Kota Kinabalu.
Finally at the hotel
Arrived in KK and was picked by Aman. Met lotsa new friends here and fellow competitors... was nerve-wrecked by then... they all looked so super strong and confident... I have no idea how to survive the next few days... anyways, arrived at Mega D'aru Hotel and checked in. Got the bikes up to the rooms and went out for dinner. Came back and assembled the bike. Rested for the night.

The next morning, after breakfast, took the bike out for a short spin.. good... everything was working fine. At 10am, we loaded the bikes onto the truck and got onto the bus to Tambunan. Had a short stop for lunch before reaching TVRC at about 2pm. There, we got our equipments sorted out and hung around till dinner and the race briefing.
Tambunan!!
The race directors went through all the rules and the maps as well as gave a chance to the GPS guys to gave a short talk as well on their tracker. This year will be the first year the competitors will be tracked and will have live updates online. So each of us got a GPS tracker to hold on too. It did come in handy, when the directors had to track the last teams... including us.. hehe..After the briefing.. makan, then back to the homestay. We stayed at MakCik Maria's place.. and she was a fantastic "mother". The house was clean and we even got our own attached bathroom.... Nice... next time must come here and stay again!! Packed our stuff and went to zzz... Race begins ... 3am...First section: Night Orienteering...

Day 1.

Woke up at 1am. Grabbed our stuff and off we were to the starting line. Turned the GPS tracker on. The race area was buzzing with activity and straight we went for the breakfast. I had a quick one while BK took his time to eat (for all 3 days).
Zombified JasB

After eating, we went to get our water fill and lined at the starting line. Was really nervous now as I've never done an adventure race before... It was dark everywhere, and we only had our headlamps as guides. ok... another minute and go!!!.... Everyone started running!! the race was on!!
We made a run around the lake and up on the suspension bridge. After that, up the road and into the trails, and this is where everything got a bit tricky... rivers, a map and a set of instructions. Using all this, we had to navigate our way through to Checkpoints 1 and 2. As we have almost zero knowledge of orienteering, luckily we met another pair who was trekking as well. We crossed the river multiple times, going up and down the river banks, and looked at the compass to make sure we were headed in the right direction (note to self: MUST brush up on Orienteering... esp in the dark) . Sometimes, we crossed barb wires and fences, and although there was a road next to us... damn... not allowed to use cos there will be a 3 hour penalty.
Reached Checkpoint 2 which was just next to a hanging bridge, and then up to checkpoint 3.... which was about a 1-1.5km hike... UPHILL!!! No one ever said this was gonna be easy.The hike was slow with lots of huffs and puffs before going downhill and reaching checkpoint 3.
We did a wrong turn once we were out on the gravel road, but luckily one of the locals were there, so we back tracked up to the right place. Here, we decided to downgrade to the Adventure category as we don't think we can survive the Extreme Category - not enough MTB skills yet. We collected our bikes and started the MTB-ing part. Here there were 2 options, either we take the trails (straight all the way down) or we take the loose gravel road (one big curve with up and downhills). BK didn't want to take the trails, and I don't have enough confidence yet (was super tempted though - you all can guess la... I'm that kinda person to never give up), so we opted to take the gravel road instead (talked to JasB after the race.. he said it was quite a nice but tough trail.. so next year must take trails all the way!!). That said, the gravel roads were quite dangerous as well as it was super super steep and with loose rocks all the way, and there were many times that I just slid when I tried to slow down. Can't believe that holding on to the brakes can actually be quite tiring and painful. There were a few teams that slid and had accidents here as well, so the medic teams were prepared at the bottom of the steep slopes, just in case.
OK, we finally reached checkpoint 4 where we had to go down and do some upstream river tracking. We had to track upstream and look for a trail near the hanging bridge. This part, I like. The sun was up and hot, the trees were shady and refreshing, the water cool an clear. I just love walking in the cold water, though the rocks were quite slippery.
At Checkpoint with JasB and Harsha
Pink 'Gandalf"
After about an hour, we reached the hanging bridge, took us awhile to find the trail, and finally headed up the trail to find a clearing on a ridge. We were suppose to look for checkpoint 5A at a church, but bloody *toot toot*... where is the church??? You'd think it'll be easy to find a building with a cross... but noooo... apparently, we were at the back of the loooong building and the cross was at the front.. haha.. anyways, found the checkpoint, signed in, and off we were back to checkpoint 4 to pick up our bikes to cycle back to the finish line.
The biking back was easy breezy.. stopped to take some pictures of the mountain goat where BK was complaining again.. hehe.. but anyways, found our way back up the normal tar road, headed down to TVRC and to the finishing line!! YAYY!!!!! some of the competitors who finished and were lunching nearby clapped for us... !!!! DONE!!! DAY 1 SAC-- over!! We finished in about 11 hours, at about 2+pm.
baaa... baaa..
Parked our bikes and I went to return the GPS (got so called late penalty if we don't return within 15 minutes) Talked to the GPS guys and apparently they lost our signal halfway through. Think it was due to the GPS tracker dropping to the bottom of my pack when I was rummaging for food. Have to remember to put it nicely the next few days.

Ok, then went to eat lunch, and chat around before checking in the bikes at the water area for the next day's event. Called up our homestay lady - Makcik Maria (who turned out to be an old girl of SM Seri Kepayang - hehe... SM Seri Intan's predecessor). Went back, showered, cleaned up and rested till it was dinner and time for the next day's briefing at 8 pm. Went back to TVRC... everybody was there.. recollecting their stories of the first day. It felt great to be back there and to talk to everyone about all the pain we suffered :).

With YK and WilsL
With YK and Chad!
The second briefing over, and the next day was gonna be a bike start and a tubing part. BK was nervous about both the bike and the tubes but I was more nervous about pushing the bikes up the slightly less than 1km upslope... diezz... we'll see how it goes... went back, packed and zzzz...
Day 2 -

Day 2 started at 8am and we were there early for breakfast, water and to collect our bikes. All ready and set to go, we lined up at the starting line with EWong and RayM as we were the adventure/leisure category. Counting down the minutes again, and ..... START!!!

With Elaine at the start point!

Everybody was on their bikes and started to mash the pedals... go go go!!! We made a round around the lake again and then pushed the bikes over the suspension bridge.With everybody travessing the bridge, it kept swinging and.. I almost lost balance a few times ... felt a bit like mabuk... heheOK, across the bridge and up the small slope. Then down and across the road, and here was where all the adventure began again. Gravel, laterite ... roads and slopes. Got chased by dogs and had to push the bike up countless slopes again. On the way to the checkpoint, we noted a steep uphill slope, preceeded by a ditch at the bottom.. Note to self.. be careful on the way back as we were taking the same way back.

Reached checkpoint 1 and continues on fer awhile before reaching climbing down to the river to continue pushing/ carrying the bikes downstream for about 1-1.3 km to the next checkpoint. This was not easy (Klaus - never will I ever trust u again... :p) and at the last bit before checkpoint 2, we had to carry our bikes across a river that was almost reaching my chest... phew... hard work la... put the bike on the bank and climbed up to the checkpoint, signed in, refilled and took some pics...
Pushing along the river
Next part.. tubing...2 tubes, one big one small, take it or wait for the next one.. bo pian, I took the small one... toss my bag to BK and started the tubing section. The small one was..
Tubing!!
hmm.. small.. haha... and there were parts that I had to walk instead of tube cos my butt kept hitting the rocks. On some on the rapids, I had to straighten my body like a plank to get through.. ouchh.... can imagine all the bruises on my butt now. Fell off the tube once, went on a rapid twice cos it was fun (and was waiting for BK to float by), and we finished the whole tubing part after about 2 hours. I kept thinking that we were lost, but every once in a while, I'd see some of the competitors backtracking (part of the race route, will explain later) .. so we were on the right track, so why are we taking such a long time.. hmm.. I started to paddle, kayaking style with the stick I was holding on to. Later we realised, when we talked to the others, apparently, we needed to paddle as hard as we can to reach then checkpoint fast.. so, for future reference.... for the next time, BK.. PADDLE!!!! There is no such thing as a free ride in this race... hahaha... oh well.Checkpoint 3!!!! Removed the life jacket, rested a while and off we were.
Now we needed to backtrack up to checkpoint 1 or 4 again to continue on. And the route was upstream… just go along the river. So, armed with the map, food, and the compass.. we hiked up. This hike was quite fun actually, especially the river crossing parts as the river current was strong and quite deep, so we used the river crossing method I learned in WW kayaking the last time. Finished this and reached checkpoint 4.
After tracking back to the water point
Collected our bikes, and here was the part I was scared of the most - pushing the bike up the slopes. Now.. I have weak knees and not so strong upper body strength, my bike weighed about 13-14 kg, it rained... and the slopes were muddy, slippery and tougher than ever. Go figure... I almost died. Had to go on all four at times while pushing and lifting the bike. Luckily BK was there to help me up some parts of the slopes. Heard later that some groups had to tow using their tow ropes the bikes up. Think this year was when the Extreme Category had it a bit easier here, as at this part, it was already the biathlon part (1 run, 1 bike) - so they only had one bike to push up.. compared to the adventure one.. 2 bikes!!!... Took ages here (as evident by the GPS tracker as well).. and finally when we reached the checkpoint the people were worried about us as they could not contact us.
The reason to join the race
That over, we drank our fill and rested awhile before restarting again on our bikes up to the starting point. On the slopes, I think there was one slope we pushed partially down, (remember the steep one with the ditch at the start.. yup..that one. (later we heard that a few groups slid off their bikes at that part.. phew... luckily no one was injured badly). It was getting dark as we cycled back and we took the city road this time to go back.. We were lucky here too as later I heard, the short trail back was closed as the villagers had locked the gate to the trail. Thank our lucky stars again...OK.... cycle cycle cycle... and after a while... we're at the finishing line!!! hurrah!!! this day is finally over!! I am sooo GLAD!!! haha... This was one of the toughest days ever... and it's done!! Parked, went to eat, returned the GPS and cleaned our bikes.. it's over... all smiles!!! We finished about 730pm.. another 11 hrs +..
Makan after the gruelling 11hrs 2nd day
The race briefing was at 830pm. Two more teams were still out there... so we were not the last. We stepped into the race hall.. and everyone was seated.. Aman went.. here they are.. and.... clap clap clap clap ... everyone gave us a clapping ovation... hahaha... so there we were.. all dirrrty, muddy in our race bibs... (while everyone else was clean and in their normal clothes) and everyone was clapping for us. It was a strange moment... for one.. I felt a bit embarassed as we were really slow compared to all those who were already sitting there... but also happy and satisfied as we finished the long and hard second day... :) Well, for what it's worth, it was still an amazing moment to walk in and have everybody clap for you. (it was suppose to be for the last team of the day.. but they weren't back yet.. so.. hm... will clap for them the next time I see them).
The next day's briefing went on as I rested at the back. The third day was suppose to be lighter, more navigational and apparently, as long as we finish the trail run, we can sit back and forgo the treasure (plastic bottles ) hunting part and just incur time penalties.. so.. yar.. I'm a slacker, so sue me... finished and off we were to zzz.

Day 3
We started at 8am again with a trail run. I trekked and walked mainly as my knees were already so close to giving way due to the sharp pains. Running downhill would probably just kill it off. The trek was really amazing though. F had a fall, and hit his head.. but he's ok :) with a neck strain. EWong had diarrhea along the way, so her partner had to play "traffic police" for a while. Strange things were happening arn....Finished the first part with another Singaporean team, and headed back to the checkpoint area to get the treasure hunting maps and bikes.
Just hanging

Konking heads

With the Sandakan Heralds
Short stop and so... the hunt begins....The first few "treasures" were easy to find... but... we got lost and only managed to find another 2 after that. At first, wanted to cheat with another team (I am so Amazing Race material)... but damn.. just remembered that they had a GPS tracker on us.. ok ok.. so no cheating. This part took us around the town of Tambunan which is a delightful small town.
Aman checking up on competitors

The locals were very supportive and some gave us clues along the way ;) hehehe.... In the end, we couldn't find all the treasures but decided to head back as the time limit was up. Reached the end and it was finally OVER!! Felt supremely happy that I actually managed to finished a multi-day adventure race.. but even better that I made good new friends along the way. It was just amazing to cycle under the arch at the finishing line.
With a sigh of relief... we ate, bathe at YK's place, rested, and after the prize giving ceremony, and headed back to KK after that.

Wilson & Grace - best mixed team in extreme

Me with the Extend GPS guys!
I felt sad that I had to leave this place already... it was just too soon... :( .Everything about this race was really fantastic - the organisers, homestay, the trip up and down, the race itself, the camaraderie... except the bike packing part and the stupid pedal that refused to budge. ahh well... there's always next year to look forward too.. :) so... where do I sign up?
Eating at KK - Post Race

Trudge on... !!!