Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Powerman Asian Championships Malaysia 2013...

Event: Powerman Asian Championships Malaysia 2013
Venue: Putrajaya
Date: 27 October 2013
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 11KM run, 64KM bike, 11KM run
Shoe: Sauvony Virrata
Bike: Ceepo Katana
By Frank

My first Powerman back in year 2009 in Lumut till missing it last year due to Terry Fox Run KL and also some personal issues, my 4th Powerman shifted it's venue to Putrajaya this year and boy it was filled with drama at the start itself. Upon arriving at the race site with Roy and Jason at 4.30am, I only noticed that I've forgotten by race bib!

After trying to call dad but to no avail and decided to drive back home to pick it up at 5am. During my exit from Putrajaya, dad called up and confirm the bib was still back home. We made an appointment to meet halfway at the Petron station near to the LDP cable bridge. I arrived at 5.30am after zooming at top speed of 150KM/H and soon dad was there too. The return to Putrajaya was a fast one too, so fast till I notice a bright flash at SKVE which I assume was from the AES! Not wanting to think too much of it since I was already captured, I just zoom back to Putrajaya and am glad to be able to still find a parking lot near to the race site.

First time duathletes, Roy and Alvin.

Roy has proceeded to check in his bike with Jason waiting for me. Was glad my bike was at set-up right before I left and hence I proceeded to check myself in too. With my race bib of 699, I was parked at the centre of the transition area. Everything was settled in a matter of minutes and soon, I found some of my friends like Alvin, Kok Aik, Chua, Tony, Angie and others to linger with while we waited for the start at 7am.

With Tony at the start line.

Fast forwarding to 7am, the start was out of no where. While most were still chatting away, the air horn just went off. My strategy was similar like previous years, to run faster on the first loop and then to go easy on the second to save the legs for the bike leg. I settled into my zone after 1KM and conetranted. The run route this time isn't easier compared to Lumut. A variety of small hills made it a bit tougher but it gave us varieties which I actually welcome. It was much more interesting. And there were 5 refreshment stations along the entire 5.5KM loop. It was a water festival!

Towards the the final Kilometer of the run loop, we were taken a ride behind the Ministry of Finance. A pretty long but mild climb follow by a steeper one at the end before we make our way back to where we started. Immediately after starting my second loop, I slowed my pace down. I needed my beloved legs to spin later. I went easy, too easy at certain point that I decide to increase it again. But all in all, I lost time compared to the first loop which was intentional as I was comfy towards the end of the first run leg which I completed in 59:07 minutes.

Completing my first run leg and into the transition area.

Into the transition area for the bike leg and I noticed I've forgotten to press on my Suunto Ambit 2S. Therefore, no timing captured. Sob sob... Nevertheless, I left the GPS on just in case I want to take a peek on my running pace and bike speed. I am still clumsy and forgetful during my transition which I spent a 4:33 minutes. Upon pushing my bike off the rack, one side of my glove fell to the ground and my right side shoe wasn't buckle tight. Argh... Waste of time indeed. And it was a bottle neck out of the transition area with some many bikes. But once I got onto my bike, it was "slicing" time, as most of you will know the reason why. My bike's name is Sword as named after its model name Katana.

Heard someone calling as I exited for the bike.

The start of the bike leg at Lebuh Wawasan was a little bumpy due to road joints and uneven pavements. I started with small gear sets to get my legs up spinning but once into Lebih Sentosa which was a long rolling expressway, I shifted to big gears. Legs has warmed up and felt really good and I settled down in my favourite aero position. And as per mentioned, the bike route is a rolling one hence I am not so gungho like previous my Powerman and started to shift my gears around. Not to shy to use small sets to climb.

Towards Persiaran Utara, I noticed a squirrel trying to cross the road but only to turn back and getting hit by a car. It flew around and landed motionless next to the road side. I assume it was already dead though lucky it didn't get squashed. RIP squirrel. Am not so sure about my average speed but am proud to disclose that I went up to max speed of 54KM/H at one point (at least that's when I took a peek on my watch) on a flat road. Absolutely flying and feeling good. Conquered Persiaran Timur next and into Lebuh Wadi Ehsan where the first refreshment station was, I grabbed a bottle of water to refill my tumbler before heading on.

Persiaran Selatan was a killer stretch. Lot of rolling here and the climb towards the u-turn point was tough. The return was smooth though and I managed to keep to a healthy speed before finally conquering it, at least for the first loop with one final climb into the Putrajaya International Convention Centre stretch. Spotted a lady participant just getting up from the road cursing at a car. The driver must have cut into her lane causing her to fall off the bike. What was the marshall doing there, I was thinking. The main climb of the bike leg came shortly and this was certainly the steepest. To climb to the top of the convention centre and I was almost on the smallest gear. But once conquering it, it was a fast zoom down towards the Seri Gemilang Bridge and into the final stretch at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. 3 humps along the road here slowed things down as I arrived back at the race site. But not into the transition area yet for the distance covered thus far is only 32KM. I have another loops to go.

Second loop was a tiring affair. My bike speed began to slow and both my quads were screaming. Change of gear became more frequent as I am not able to attack. The weather became hotter too and my level of water in tumbler is depleting. I quickly took my energy gel before my water supply runs out. And to my horror, my sachet of GU Roctane burst in my bento box. What a mess as I salvaged what was leftover. My palms were sticky as I suck water into my mouth before spitting onto my palm to clean it. That's cleaning on the go!

The same expressway I cycled pass earlier, and all I wanted was just go over with it and go on to the run leg. I know it's not easy to run either but to get back my legs onto the ground means I am close to the finish. As I arrived at the refreshment station at Lebuh Wadi Ehsan, I was just relieved to grab a bottle of isotonic to refill my tumbler. And it was cold too!

As I near the u-turn point at the end of Persiaran Selatan, there is this participant with bib number 552. He was spinning, letting go, spinning and letting do and all his action is coming form the fast lane and thus blocking the road. What a selfish participant as faster participants including yours truly had trouble overtaking. He was really slow at the climb at the u-turn too and had caused a "train" behind him. Once the climb was conquered and was back at the flat road on the return, I finally spotted a gap and made my move. And while passing him, I gave him a piece of me asking him to keep to the left lane if he maintains at his speed. Am sure he did not like it but hey, sorry, that's the way it is cause when I made my move, I noticed lots of shadow following me. Am sure the "train" behind started to break apart since then. And finally I am pedalling freely again.

Finally into the convention centre stretch, conquered it with my smallest gear and into the Seri Gemilang Bridge where I spotted Cham taking photos. And at the final stretch, I was just keeping my cadence high to make sure my legs are moving to prepare it for the final run leg. I completed my bike leg in 2:07:36 hours.

Clumsily putting on my running shoes.

Into the transition area and as usual, clumsy again. Quickly put on my running shoes and off I went after spending 3:25 minutes transiting. The legs were really "jellyfied" but from experience, it will only get better if I keep running. All I have to do is to avoid cramps. 500M into the run, I took my first short walk to ease up before resuming. Arriving at the water station to rehydrate and cool myself down by pouring water all over my head, I walk a little again only to resume at the start of a mild climb at Jalan P18.

I spotted Matt at around 2KM and ran to him. Spent a little time chatting before we resume our run together. And it's here, we helped each other. Whenever he slowed down, I waited for him hoping to pull him along. Saw lots of determination coming from him to try to follow me but am glad he did. Besides, he was overheating in under the scorching sun. First loop completed, and off we went on our second together with Jason who help pace us. He was zooming towards the refreshment station to grab water for us keeping us entertained. Matt was keeping up and soon, it was the final home stretch behind the Ministry of Finance. The climb here did not stop us for we know the finish is near.

"Happily" starting my 2nd running loop.

With Jason and Matt during the 2nd run loop.

As we approached the straight leading to the finish, Jason detoured off to the side as I ran together with Matt towards the finish gantry for a job well done as I completed my 2nd run leg in a time of 1:13:57 hours and completing my 4th Powerman in a total time of 4:27:57 hours.

Approaching the finish with Matt.

A look back at this year's Powerman. It was certainly tougher than the one at Lumut and those who did it last year at Putrajaya too, also mentioned a slightly tougher run route. Have a few friends dropping out of the race due to the heat and also mechanical failure but am glad they were ok. Both Roy and Yen Erl completed their maiden Powerman too. Overall, though a very tough event, I enjoyed it very much. Although it requires more physical demand of the body, it is actually fun. Just make sure we train for it. And as for me, I only had a few super short brick session on the stationary bike and trainer a couple of weeks leading to the event. It was certainly not enough but am glad some experience help pulled me through.

The finisher medal with Sword at the background.

As for now, I am just glad I completed Powerman 2013 without any injuries as I continue my form and momentum into my very important Comrades qualifier race at the Penang Bridge International Marathon in slightly less than 2 weeks time. Will I be able to "F" it?

* All photos here credited to respective photographers. Thanks a lot to them.

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