Category Archives: Uncategorized

DNG #38: T1 + The Bike

Out of the water, I felt good running up the beach. Reached behind to lift the zipper of the Roka and split the suit so the upper half was off. (Little did I know I’d forget the rest of it!)

image

It was a long run to the Transition Zone, and thankfully they had laid  carpet on top of the extremely hot cobbled surface that was there the day before during bike check in.

Transition 1 (a.k.a. T1)

Saw the majority of the bikes still on their racks, which was a good sign that most people were still in the water. I had a relatively smooth transition. Maybe too smooth, because I didnt realise I still had the bottom half of my Roka swim skin on during the bike leg! Doh!

Mike was a welcome sight at the bike mounting line. Somehow dropped the Clif bar I stuffed in my back pocket as I was running through. Mike yelled out “leave it!” and I was more than happy to, but a helpful volunteer came by and passed it to me. Shoved it back into the rear pocket and climbed onto the bike.

Lesson: Make sure everything is taped on. Pockets suck.

image

Adrenaline was still going and I managed to find Jeremy ahead of me after a bit. The enthusiastic volunteers really helped, with their cheering and bright smiles. I maintained 30 – 32kph pace in the lead up to the 3 loops. Not sure what Roro was doing at transition, but he eventually came by after a few km and was off in the distance pretty quickly.

image
Still feeling relatively fresh

In the first loop, Aylwin came by too and I managed to tail him till the second loop when I started to feel the legs slipping away. Still, seeing and hearing all the TriEdge folks made it feel much less lonely.

At approximately 60km, things just fell off a cliff. I hadn’t managed to keep to 1 gel every 30 minutes as I just felt too full. Only grabbed an extra bottle on one of the laps. Didn’t feel like I needed that much liquid either. That may have been a mistake as the cramps started to come at the end of the bike ride.

image
Couldn't stay down on the aerobars for very long at all. 😦

With all the messing about with my seat, seat position, aero bar position and even cleats in the past weeks, it would take a miracle for me to escape unscathed from this 90km. No miracles that day. I had to get my ass off the saddle every 5 minutes or so to ease the soreness in my inner quads and sitbones.

Lesson: Get a proper bikefit. Early. (Better yet, get a TT bike AND get it fitted)

image
It just got harder and harder to keep to the target pace

I saw the lead I had from the swim over most people fizzle away as many of them passed me. The crosswinds also picked up as the day passed,so it just got progressively more miserable. Practically crawled back to T2.

I’m not sure what exactly is wrong with my riding, because even with the hours I’ve put in on the bike, the improvement doesn’t seem to have materialised. Not enough hours? Bike not fitted properly? It’s been very frustrating trying to fix this piece of the puzzle. 

Advertisements

DNG #17: Saturday Macritchie Runs

One of the things that was new to me when I joined the team was cross country running. Before Tri Edge, my idea of training for runs was pounding the pavement for longer and longer distances.

image
The squad runs together at the start, then breaks up into smaller groups depending on your workout for the day

My knees hated me for it. Although they still hate me now, they do it less often, and with less venom than when I was abusing them with minimalist shoes (remember vibrams?), no less.

image
The view this morning

These days, it’s trail running shoes (though sometimes I experiment with “minimalist” trail shoes too, but more on that another time) and it’s around the Macritchie Reservoir trails.

image
This morning's route

Coach Mike says a kilometre around Macritchie is worth double that on the pavement. I was initially skeptical, but now I’m a believer. It’s the mix of uphill and descents on an irregular surface than constantly forces your body to adapt that makes every run so effective.

image
It's important to come early to get clear enough trails to run. Bigger groups and slower walkers tend to stream in from 8am onward.

The other plus side is that the trails can look really pretty in the morning. The natural canopy also provides welcome shade as you tear through the trail. You’ll still get a good sweat going, but it feels much cooler than being out there on East Coast Park, for example.

image
The morning sun filtering through

The squad runs every saturday morning at 7am, and we meet at the taxi drop off point. Come join us for a free trial session. Trail is always free. 😉

DNG #13: Biking on Bintan

When you’re biking week after week on Singapore roads, things can get quite monotonous. So for the long weekend, the team organised a ride in Bintan.

image
Bintan cat is not amused

How different is Bintan from Singapore? The roads are less busy with fewer vehicles, and those that are on the road are less impatient. Kids will also cheer you on from their homes, schools, or even by the roadside. Life moves at a slower pace. The scenery isn’t exactly postcard-perfect, but there are little bits scattered around to distract you from the pain. Yes, the pain that a never-ending series of inclines and descents will inflict on you.
But how does one even get put together a ride on Bintan?

image
Boarding the ferry at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

First, you need to book tickets here. There’s an option to add on a bike. Make sure you select that.

image
Today's path of pain

Second, you’ll need to figure out what route you want to take. Try looking at the Bintan Triathlon or Metaman sprint course for inspiration.

image
Madi and our big, black van

Third, you may also want to hire a car and driver as a support vehicle. We had one with us, and it was great to be able to dump all our bags in the minivan, accessible whenever we needed to. Madi, our driver, held the rear in case anyone had mechanical issues, got lost or had to stop for whatever reason. He even sped ahead to junctions to help do some traffic control so we could turn safely. Having someone around in a support car really makes a difference. Wonder how we can get Madi to come to Singapore to support our weekly rides…

image
Riders in group 2, with Mari in the back holding up the peace sign

Ended off the ride at Nirwana with a quick dip in the pool and lunch. A shower has never felt so good…

Cost

The 2-way ferry ticket on economy class costs $70. Bringing your bike along will add $20 more. A driver for half a day will set you back about $150. Parking at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal starts at $1.07/hour.

“Pro tips”

Hydrate. Bintan has very little shelter in the form of trees and tall buildings. This means getting continually scorched by the sun. Either bring your own water, or buy chilled bottles from shops along the way.

image
One if the (rare) flats

Bring rupiah. Singapore dollars aren’t accepted anymore, unlike my previous visits to Bintan some years ago.

Steer clear of the restaurant on the upper floor of Nirwana, just outside the main reception area. Food was passable at best. Understaffed, everything took forever to arrive, apart from the bill. Saw a croissant passed off as Panini, the worst Aglio Olio ever, and my Philly Cheese Steak took forever and a day to arrive. The restaurant downstairs that serves a buffet (no waiting!) cost 360k rupiah, 5k less than what we eventually paid per head. Hear the food at Mayang Sari (2km from Nirwana?) is great too.

image
Front row seats mean more leg room

Get to the Bintan ferry terminal at least an hour before your boarding time. They have only one baggage check-in counter, and one counter to check your boarding pass. Front row seats give you legroom. If that fails, aisle seats let you stretch out one leg at least. Just don’t trip anyone. And if you’re so inclined, they serve beer on the ferry for carbo (re)loading.

image
My thirsty team mates

More pics to come when the team photog uploads them.

DNG #11: KO

There are days when I get home exhausted, and I barely have time to finish dinner before I am unconscious. Last night was one of those nights.

image
All part of the job

Reason? I’d pretty much done a triathlon in the course of the day. A lunch time run, afternoon recce on bicycle, and evening swim. Fell asleep just after last bit of sushi, and woke up with soya sauce and wasabi next to my feet.

DNG #10: A dirty sport

There’s a whole lot of nonsense that goes on in triathlon, especially in the swim leg. May or may not be deliberate, but you might find yourself being pulled back, elbowed, punched or worse while trying to move forward. Sometimes it can be quite overwhelming.

But here’s the dirt I was going to talk about – the gunk that gets on your gear in the course of training. On the bike, on the shoes, on the tri suits…

image
Might not be so obvious here, but the water is murky grey/brown

And it stinks to the high heavens too. Tri suits soaked in sweat that dry out can smell really, really bad. I feel bad to have to go near “clean” people after a race or training session. 😦

DNG #8: Southern Ridges

One thing about doing long runs/rides/swims is the monotony of it all. It’s even worse if you do the same route over and over again.

image
Autumn in the parking lot?

This week, I swopped my weekly run route from Macritchie to the Southern Ridges. I’m sure I’ll talk about the virtues of Macritchie soon enough, but the Southern Ridges route is definitely more scenic.

image
What the route looks like on a map

It’s quite amazing to run this route as a driver, when you can’t wrap your head around how direct the route actually is. Driving from telok blangah to clementi feels a lot further than running.

image
One of several high vantage points on the route

The view helps distract you from the huffing and puffing, as you can see from the pics in this post.

image
Elevated walkways

It’s not all fun and games though. There are quite a few slopes and steps along the way.

image
Hortpark to Clementi

Nothing like inclines to get make you stronger though! (though it hurts like hell)

image
Want to take a shortcut? Here are some more stairs...

To make things more interesting, there are also a good number of trekkers/tourists along the way. Usually they’ll clear a path when they hear you coming. Doesn’t hurt to yell out a “thank you”!

image
Educational tour in progress

Total distance 2 ways is about 11+km dependong on where you start and end exactly. Clocked about 300m elevation gain.

image
Don't look down

And did I mention how pretty the route is?

With this entry, I’m already one post behind my original schedule. Looks like I’ll have to pull a double to make up soon. :p

DNG #7: Friday I’m in love (or the pool)

The weekend beckons, and to help welcome it, I have a swim set written out in all sorts of acronyms like 100k, 400mh, 200s, 200wd… But thanks to last minute work stuff that’s popped up and a tighter schedule, looks like swim is off.

image

Was just talking to a few people recently about how missing training makes me feel grumpy. Funny how once exercise becomes a routine, not doing it makes you feel like something is amiss. Even when you know it’s going to be a tough set.

image
Hahaha. Oww oww owwww...

On lighter weeks Fridays are rest days. This wasn’t planned to be a rest day, but that’s just how it is with commitments outside of training.

DNG #2: Sunday rides

The easiest way to explain what goes into the training for Danang is to show you what a typical week looks like. So here goes…

On Sundays, it’s usually a long-ish team ride of between 80-120km. That may seem long if you’ve never done anything more than cruise up and down East Coast Park in a rented bike. That’s maybe about 20km..?

image
Here's a 125km ride

But once you’ve tried out riding a road bike properly fitted for your body, the miles disappear a lot quicker and you get to see a lot more of Singapore than you normally would.

image
The Jetty in the West

The team starts off from Mandarin Gardens (affectionately known as MG) and takes us to Kallang, Balestier, Thomson, Mandai, Yishun, Punggol, Sengkang, Pasir Ris, Loyang, Changi, and ends at our homebase in Mana Mana at East Coast Park. Sometimes we throw in Kranji, NTU, West Coast for a bit of variety.

image
Out before the sun's up

Because of the relatively early start, I’ve been known to either chase the group because I arrive late (blame the snooze button), or do my own 100km+ ride on my own.

image
Sharing the road is a key part of road riding. Helps if you're not the only biker on the road.

The latter is psychologically quite draining because a) the sun is earth-scorchingly hot, and b) pedalling on your own on increasingly crowded roads can be quite intimidating, and conversely doing long stretches of long, empty straights can be quite monotonous. Like I said in my last post, the support of having other people alongside pushing hard is one of the key benefits of being part of a training squad.

image
Lining up for a photo at one of our Western rest stops

Once we’re done with the bike, 9 times out of 10 there’s a “brick” waiting, which means you change to running shoes and start pounding the hot asphalt. This is typically 15-30 min of running for me, but I suspect longer bricks are coming on in preparation for Danang.

Another chapter closed

Apparently it’s been 16 months, says person who made the connection.

Has it been that long?
Yes, actually felt even longer.
But no, it can’t have been. Where did the days go?

Lulled into a sense of comfort and complacency, like soft waves lapping on the beach. Slowly but surely eroding whatever it is it touches. Thankfully I remembered to wake up a little earlier this time.

Onward.