This wasn't a planned race and what ever happened during the race is really what I could expected for. I was supposed to travel to attend a wedding on the raceday and therefore knew I'm gonna skip this edition of the Powerman Malaysia 2017 when it was open for registrations. Friends from local and outstation has been asking me to join them in the race and all I could was to explain how much I would love to but wasn't meant to be.
But wait, fast forwarding to 2 weeks before race day, my traveling plan had to be called off and told myself "let's see if the registration is still open", to my surprised it is still open and without hesitation I signed up for the short race which involves 5km - 30km - 5km in a run-bike-run format.
There is still a problem. with the race out of mind, naturally I did not spend anytime on bike training and rode a mere 3 times since Ironman Langkawi in Nov 2016 going into the race. Fortunately, I have a marathon race coming up and was keeping my fitness checked all the time, so no problem there for lacing up a racing flat going all out. However, as the race day was exactly 2 weeks from the marathon race, I have decided to approach the race as a speed workout session rather than a race. That way pressure monkey is off my back and I just need to do my own thing without the thought of setting any time....well I was secretly hoping for a sub-2 hours finishing :)
Race pack collection arrangement was very similar to last year, and the queue was horrendous. The organizer in my opinion could just post the indemnity form and authorization letter online for participants to fill up prior traveling for race pack. Lots of time wasted just to wait to fill up forms and queue which was as long as the Germilang Bridge.. hope they can improve next year. My partner in crime Richi "Toyota" San was racing the Classic Race (10km-60km-10km) for the company and let me tell you that feller, he is the main man there with camera crew and photographers following him around just to make him a Toyota celebrity. They must have thought who the H#ll is this feller trying to grab some limelight from their main man. Truth is I wasn't, I wasn't even thinking about racing @!$!$*. The Toyota camp just came out to greet him "boss boss" as he walked into the camp and even politely asked him to setup his bike at a specific location so that they could shoot video of him in the process. Damn I knew he is a big shot with the company but never imagined he's that "big", that goes to say how humble he is as a friend and as an athlete off work. With the bike racked and some catch up with Juliet, Sue and Jessen, I left the place feeling relax.. told you I wasn't racing, is training day
Raceday, woke up early and met up with Richi at McDonald's for a quick bite. The restaurant is full of participants as they were all in the cycling kit or trisuit ready to race, while we took our time to chill out as we do have plenty of time to spare. We then travel to race site, still early and it was still dark. took out our gears from the car and we head separately to our transition to set up the bike and lay down all our gears. One grievance here, no basket for participants and that meant participants gears are all over the place which can be hazardous during the 2 transitions. I organized my gears nicely and kept things minimal on the floor avoiding any potential mishap. After final check and some liquid, as I left the transition area after failing to locate my school mates, the elites athletes and the classic category's participants are all already lined up at the starting line. As I walked down the the starting pen, I managed to locate Khar Hon and Kar Boon all geared up for the start. A quick catch up and wishing them best of luck , I walked to the nearby field to start my warm up and some stretch. Both the categories started on time, after a quick toilet break, I lined up the starting line with Irene. Not long after the elite group completed the 1st 5km loop run and boy there were really fast.
Looking at the watch, there is still 12 mins before race start (7:30am) for the short category and I continued to watch the elites raced as they pass by the startling line to start their 2nd loop of 5km run."Honk" the air horn suddenly horned and the short category participants started racing and I was like "what happened?", the watch says 7:20. I was left panic and started running at the same time fiddling my watch to start recording my workout. The start was fast and furious for everyone as expected with everyone going all out. My pace was pretty good and could keep up with the regular fast legs although they are constantly around 50-60m ahead of me, but I always have them in sight. Saying that, I was concerned of any side stitch and luckily it never hit me. I kept my pace only slow down slightly at the 2nd aid station for a quick sip and race on. Soon the watch beeped at 4km and I was running faster than my best 5km time trial and I was absolutely trilled and comfortable with the pace. Final right hander and I was running down the final straight heading into transition 1 for my bike.
Transition 1 was executed flawlessly, a quick sip, gloves on, Oakley on, helmet buckled and running shoes off. Running down the transition area with the bike was not straight forward, as it was narrow and the relay category's runners were all there in the transition area flooding under a tent. I had to shout out to the runners to give way, some quickly make way but some really don't care and continued blocking the way.. thanks guys you guys were really helpful!!! Once I'm out from the transition area, I ran beyond the mounting line before jumping on to the bike and start pedaling away for a flying mount.. phew, luckily I didn't fumble and fall flat as I haven't been practicing that for some time. I was immediately up to speed reaching 34-35km/hr easily and I wasn't having any trouble with brick. After a few twist and turn, we were all racing on the Putrajaya highway which was smooth with rolling hills. I had cycled the route before during the previous edition of the race, so I was fully aware of what to expect, when to push and where the climbs were. After a few climbs, the race brought us to the u-turn point which mean there is only one final climb with the rest of the route a more manageable rolling hills. I lost some time here as I was always weak on the climb and to top it off no training at all with my avg speed dropped to 33km after the climb. Saying that, I was still very happy with the bike pace albeit knowing I could go a little faster had I train for the race, but no complains really. Took a gel here, pushed on through the rolling hills... "breep breeep" the race Marshall whistled to a group of participants who were drafting each other and signaled to them that they will be time penalty put on them and I was lucky that I wasn't closed enough to consider drafting escaping the penalty. To make things a little more challenging, it started to rain, not heavy but not a drizzle either. I've raced in such condition before and experience tells me that I need to be wary with my braking point racing on carbon wheels and so I started to worked on the brake a little early and all ends well racing into Transition 2.
Unfortunately as it was raining dismounting from the bike meant that the socks will be all wet as there were puddles of water everywhere leading into the transition area. I ran in fast with the bike keeping an eye on the landmark where my racking spot were, and luckily my Nike Steak LT3 is in a very bright and colorful colorway, I almost spotted my racing flat immediately and knew exactly where to rack my bike. A quick sip, helmet off, gloves off and racing shoes on, I quickly ran out from the transition area for my final 5km run.
The last run wasn't as fast as the first, but I have no problem putting in a comfortable pace. Breathing was rhythmic, legs were spinning fine with good cadence count although I could feel some fatigue, but again no brick issue. Similar to my first run, I sped past the 1st aid station and slow down for the 2nd aid station for some water and ice cold sponge to cool myself down a degree or two. There weren't many runners around but instead a lot of bikes just came back heading to transition 2. I wasn't sure how I was doing against the sub-2 hours target, then again I wasn't really too concern if I finish beyond 2 hours, so I slow down once again at the 3rd aid station, but this time I walked the whole aid station, grabbing some drinks and say thanks to the volunteer there, they made the race possible.
Through the last turn a slight incline before heading to the finishing straight, I find myself picking up my legs again and run the remaining 400m. I wasn't pushing on the pace for one I wanted to enjoy the finishing, two I wasn't having racing in mind and just cruising through the final meters on the blue carpet crossing the finishing chute. Jessen and Sue as expected had finished their race respectively and later learnt that they were finishing 1st and 3rd respectively in their category. So a big congratulations to both of them for a job well done, it was by no mean an easy feat from them. As for me, I am just happy to complete the speed workout in less than 2 hours time, shaving off 47 mins from my previous best in the short distance race, but to be fair I was on a mountain bike then haha. Dr. Lee my other school mate finishing his first duathlon race and had a really great catch up.
|We still missed you Kew|
I managed to catch Richi "Toyota" San in action running his last loop, and he was invincible on that day. His run was superb recording negative split from his 1st run after biking for 60km finishing his race shaving off 20+ minutes from last year "relay". . Big congratulations to him also. As usual all my and Richi's multi-sports achievements are dedicated to our mentor brother Kew.
Fan, Nick, Irene, Stephanie, Bak Lam and Bak Fai all recorded a good finishing time in their respective category. All in all is a great day for everyone, I'll be sure to come back next year but this time with racing in mind lol...
photo credit to : AKU Wong, Rany Tan, Julia Lim, Richi, Toyota Crew, Cycling Malaysia. Chin Peng, Sorry if I have missed out your name and thanks for the excellent shots