Friday, June 12, 2009

XTERRA Malaysia 2009

XTerra basically is a rougher and wilder version of a standard Olympic triathlon. Cycling on asphalt tarred road is replaced by pot hole ridden plantation muddy roads and beach trails.Running on asphalt tarred road is replaced by jungle trails with roots and terrain that can twist your ankle 90 degrees. In my own terms, I would call XTerra a triathlon kasar as opposed to a triathlon halus (standard Olympic triathlon).This is my first participation in a triathlon and I learnt new triathlon lingo like transition area, swim and bike segments, colored swim caps and drafting (What the hell is that?)

We all assembled at the swimming start off point and at 8am sharp, the Raja Muda of Pahang flagged us off. The first few minutes of swimming was tough because I'd be touching someone's feet and someone else would be touching mine. When that happens, I figured Im getting too close and I surface to look around. This proved a bit too tiring for me and I started swimming out from the swim lane. After 15 strokes or so, I would look up to find my way and usually I'd find that I've been veered off course by the currents. I took it cool and easy on the swim. Freestyle all the way. By the time I got out of the water, it was 830am. Not bad, not bad. I didn't feel tired or anything just yet.

Running to the transition area was fun. The crowds were cheering and I high fived a couple of them to get me all pumped.
When I reached the transition area, it looked pretty empty but I wasn't pressed for time. I wanted to have fun. I put on my shoes, my CamelBak, munched a small portion of my McMuffin and off I went with my RM400 Le Run Solaris MTB.

Cruising down Jalan Semambu was just magical.
It was a cold cool morning and a slight breeze from the sea made the ride really enjoyable. Then along the way, I realized the petrol in my bike was pretty empty and I made a detour to the petrol station to fill her up.

Once I entered the old Jabor plantation road, things were starting to get pretty tough. It didn't help that there was a drizzle underway.

I had to dismount several times to push the bike up and I was glad I wasn't the only one.

The trail was extremely challenging for me as the trail began to get slippery. I fell down once while trying to take my camera out. Once I was down, I might as well take a photo.

I am so new at MTB that I would push the bike DOWNHILL. Usually, the riders would just cruise downhill but not for me. I was afraid of not being able to control my speed and crash into the bushes. Very very afraid of that. I looked at my watch and it's been two hours on the bike trail already. My bike and I was entirely covered with mud and Mr Fatigue was starting to set in.

But there was one part where divine intervention assisted. Right towards the end, I rode to what I thought was a not-so-steep downhill but a few seconds downhill I realized that the downhill had another continuing downhill. I couldn't brake nor dismount because by doing that,the bike would have skidded due to the momentum going downhill and not to mention the condition of the trail. That was when I started to pray to God to just let me get through this twisting and turning downhill trail. I left it to God because if I knew if I tried to do something, I would end up as a corpse and the plantation owls would be having a good time. My exact words were "Dear God, this is so fast and I don't know how to handle it. Help me calm down and get me through safe". 20 harrowing seconds later, I was back on level ground and happy to be on level ground. Then I forgot about God altogether.

I came out at a highway and knowing that I survived the plantation trail without any injuries made me more semangat
. I entered the small kampong roads passing by the Kuantan Satellite Earth Station and made my way to the Beserah beach. We had a choice to either ride by the shore or ride a trail slightly above the shore. The latter proved to be impossible. It is so much effort to cycle when the tyre is sunked into the damp sand. Riding by the beach was nice and just simply awesome to have the wind blowing into my face.

After the beach trail was the jungle trail. I had to sometimes push and carry my bike
up and down slopes because it was impossible to ride through the roots and branches strewn along the trail. While still in the jungle, I could start to hear the emcee and that indicated I was pretty near to the transition area. I was quite proud to make it that far. The final trail was out of the blue as I had to ride on wooden walkway stilts leading all the way to the transition area. Phew I completed the 30km bike discipline.

It's 12 noon and I heard that the winner clocked in at 10am. I've been punishing myself for the past 4 hours and I still have 10km of running to go. I chucked my mud and sand covered bike to the side and realized that the transition area was empty.

I even saw a guy washing his bike indicating that he has completed his race. Bastard. The running disicpline had me running to a nearby hill called Bukit Pelindung and going uphill was torturous at that point.

What's worst is that I have to undergo two loops of the running trail to complete a 10km distance.
Right towards the end, I came out by the beach and limped my way to the finishing line at 5 hours 23 minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially a triathlete. I had a blast in XTerra and enjoyed every moment of it. It was a well organised race and I am definitely coming back next year ..with my faithful Speedos.


Joleen said...

hahah who took your photos?

Stupe said...

Speedo Man, hats off to you.

Sorry if i made too much fun of you annoucing it in the transition man!

Welcome to my world Welcome to Triathlons.

Hope to see you and race alongside you in the near future!

Mohd said...

remind me to enforce a dress code for next year's xterra.. haha

U did great buddy and glad u enjoyed it!

activecat said...

nice blog, thank you.