Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mr Sanguine

Beep! Sms from the Devil aka Gan? "Hi. In calcutta now with terence. Chk out - have been taking photos of their clinics, but they need video too. Interested?"

Sms reply : "How did you guys get to learn bout this? This year might be quite tough. Have lots of backlog stuff to finish like.....[blah blah blah]....So quite unlikely. But do show pictures."

As promised, Mr Sanguine (aka Southpark and the pilot-who-saw-lights-flashing-in-the-sky-in-my-alien-video) distributed an email asking us to check out his photos. That was when I realised he'd started a photo and rambling blog just in Dec 05 (well, aren't all blogs one's window for rambling?). I clicked on Mr Sanguine's Blog and just as I'd expected.....bloody genius! Having seen some delectable teasers he took of aviation and travel photos, his photo documentary of Calcutta was just amazing. Made me hair stand! Hats off, big time, Southpark!!!

Mr Sanguine, Pauline and the Devil had embarked on a photo trip documenting the works of Calcutta Rescue, an NGO operating in Kolkata aiming to improve the health and quality of life of socially disadvantaged populations. It just goes to show the power of visuals.....whether they be photos or moving pictures....there's no better way at tugging at the heartstrings of the common folk than meaningful images, more so if they're beautifully shot!

Wonder when I'll get to see Gan's collection of photos? Hmmm....

The photo above is just one of several that Mr Sanguine had taken at my knotty affair. I personally like the silhouette piece of Chuckie above. For lack of a face, suffice to say for now that Charlene is a friend, an ex-house and band mate who gave up her day job in search of happiness as a singer and a star! Her performance haunts, late evenings either at Acid Bar down at Emerald Hill or Ballymoon's at Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade. You MUST go drown yourself in that voice of simply melts your heart and soul! Upcoming blog : Music, Sax..and all that jazz!

Dun forget to click on Mr Sanguine's blog and Calcutta Rescue!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Concrete running? Blah.....

This adventure race account just about sums up my sentiments about joining a race which is predominantly concrete-running.

Anecdote of Ace Adventure Challenge III, 15th October 2005 (Dusk to Dawn race)

Ming of Team JAFT (Just Another Fuck-ed Up Team) reports....(he be the mean, hairyman in the middle)...

Start Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Big splash steam challenge Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Pillion 2 on a bike Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Abseil at Fort road Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run 3 on a Kayak Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Team Orienteering

Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Jumar Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Abseil Run Run Almost Kena Death by Orea Cookie Stagger Stagger Finish!


Signs that this was going to be a f***** up race for us...

1. Team "44"....not that we were overly superstitious...

2. The 11th hour, organisers couldn't get a permit for any form of major cycling, save for the team biathlon! No good for habitual mountain bikers, since that was our only talent. Gulp!

3. Our team : 2 ladies and 1 man; 2 with bad knees and 1 recovering from a slip-disc operation. Way to go, "Team Handicap"!

Despite the odds, we still had a f****** good time! Things I'd chose to selectively remember :-

....After jumping into the pool 1/2 hour into the race, Ming's glasses took a tumbling into the waters below! As if we needed an additional we were partially blind! During the next task to fill a couple of empty bottles with water from the sea, our poor visually handicapped buddy tripped over a sand step! Back to the water, we go....

....After Becks and I failed miserably to untie knots in Karamazov Brother man-on-shoulder position using our hands, feet, teeth etc., I had no choice but to carry Ming on me shoulders while he tried his limbs and luck taking on the knotty affair. Some American chap standing next to us looked at me, looked at Ming, took a second look at me in disbelief, and then at Ming with a disappointing remark, " that a girl underneath you? shame on you"...hee hee....

....Becks and I took turns being pillon-ed by Ming on a bike during the Team Biathlon leg, even though we didn't plan on doing that...nor did we think we were capable of doing so. And just when we'd gotten the hang of it, Andrew overtakes us ferrying Ken on his handlebar and Rina on his bikeframe! Wonder how they "manage à trois"? We were quite surprised to see them behind us as they were the strong team which left us in their midnight dust as they blast forward from the start line. One wrong turn can set you back quite a bit! can we forget the finest moment : the team kayak! We were given a 2-seater kayak and 2 oars, and 3 of us were to kayak some distance over low-tide muddy Kallang conditions to an overhead bridge to dump our passport into a pale being lowered by someone at the top of the bridge. Becks sat in the middle of the boat, nervously repeating those same lines "ahhhhh..ahhhh......don't capsize ok?"! It felt like we were holding giant spatulas, propelling ourselves forward through a thick chocolate fudge. When we finally arrived back at shore, we were literally knee deep in quickmud, and had to use hand and feet to literally crawl out of the muddy mess! And to make things worse, we were a far cry from the sweet smelling aroma of cocoa. I can just smell it now! Lovely!

Wonder why the results for this race are 3 months late? Ah well, dun matter. We knew we were doomed from the start since concrete running thankfully wasn't bread and butter to us....but like many other races before this one, it was the comraderie that pulled us through with a big smile on our faces. I say, Comrades, let's do mud again sometime!


Monday, January 23, 2006

Penang Jamboree 2005 - Ready for More?

Penang MTB Jamboree 3 - 4 December 2005
Saturday : Penang Heritage Experience on Wheels
Sunday : Ready for More?
560 participants!!!

Each year at the Jamboree, the overall number of cyclists increases by leaps and bounds, while the number of visiting Singaporean bikers decreases. In Dec 2005, many of our regular Singaporean hardcore biker dudes and dudettes chose to endure a different kind of suffering : the Stanchart marathon! So, between the devil and the deep blue sea, a rock and a hard place, travelling miles in search of torture when you can embrace it fully back get the drift, it's a plausible explanation for the absence of sg bikers. As for me, it was a no-brainer since I try to avoid concrete running as much as I can! You will see why in an upcoming blog from fellow teammate, Mingloid who summarised our adventure race-turned-overnight-marathon very succinctly.

Team Slow Smurf, many dressed in blue, once again took the red-eye Sri Maju bus. This time round, Eric proposed we dump Hotel Waterfall for a 3-star Naza Hotel along Tanjong Tokong, which was a tad bit further to get to the start/finish area, but had an enticing beachfront (which I never even set foot on)! All in all, it was a good decision, as the hotel didn't look that grubby, staff were alright, except I had to teach the receptionist how to open their own safety box....not forgetting the hot water boiler in Chris' room containing brown liquid resembling water running off from our mud-infested bike wheels.

Having missed the first day's heritage ride, we made up for it by covering as many Penang food joints as possible as part of our plan to carbo-load for the next day's ride. After a hearty breakfast, we took the scenic chinese cemetary route to the registration centre, after which I attempted to lead Flanker and Fadzil to Gary's bikeshop near Komptar to purchase some powerbars and gels. My "feel the force, Ling" efforts were eventually rewarded, after taking several detours off the beaten track. Back at the hotel, Chris, Ming, Eric, Jason and I hopped on a "Air Hitam" private bus which took us to every place in Penang, but Air Hitam! The driver even had time to stop in the middle of a road for a driver-to-driver chat! I forget some Malaysians subscribe to a different time : rubbertime! Abandoning our quest to cover Air Hitam, we joined Chris' cousins for some intestine porridge, the first dish on our Penang food checklist! Not catching any shuteye the night before watching a lame violent VCD in the bus, we tried to make up for lost sleep before the bonfire and briefing at night. All I could remember was the "No Helmet, No Ride" rule, which was highlighted in the pre-ride biker's chant as the VIP leading the peleton seemed to be lacking in that headgear!

Just as well we skipped Air Hitam as the initial concrete ride brought us through the gates of the famous Kek Lok Si temple, reputedly the largest temple in SE Asia. I remembered chatting with Dave Chillon on the flats, and then this teenager who lives up Penang Hill during the hillclimb - who reassured me that the peak of the hill was imminent.....once again, I have to get used to the lies. Ming joined me for most of the ride, and we eventually caught up with the Singaporean pack - Jason, Nik and Eric - after reaching the top of Die-Ger hill (or Tiger Hill)!

The year before, I could ride up almost all of the concrete Penang Hill route. This year, the off-road uphill was a real killer! Needless to say, the downhills are equally disastrous! Being a real chicken (puah....puk puk), I pushed up and down the steep and muddy slopes upon the command of my near-cramping twitching legs and soar thumb (don't think I fixed my brake levers properly)! I let my self-preservation instincts do the rest! That was how I was able to return in one piece. No guts, so did I deserve the glory? Wished I could try the slopes again at my own time, though it would be a good idea to have an ambulance standby.

And so we've done it again.....there, and back the words of Bilbo Baggins. Wonder what corny title KOTRT will devise for the 2006 jamboree! I live for these roll-eye moments! hee hee

Photos above courtesy of Nik and Linda
Nik's Album
Linda's Album
Other Albums from the KOTRT Gallery

Friday, January 20, 2006

Penang Jamboree 2005 - Ready for More? (Trailer 2)

Slides below presented by Linda See, an organiser, the sponsorship scout who managed to get the 3M and Canon in as sponsors, AND the winner of Queen of Overall Mountain Bike Jamboree...hats off big time!

Linda invited Pling and moi to join the 3M Canon team! That's the first time I've ever asked to wear a sponsored jersey! And it was a respectable, sleeveless jersey that looks real cool and feels cool too, designed by none other than Linda herself! Felt soooooooo honoured (pass that tissue will ya?)

I came in 86 out of 560 participants, but somehow was lucky to have gotten a prize again for the ladies category, even though I'm sure there were other ladies who put up a good fight or who could have kicked me ass anytime but who chose to take the ride at a more leisurely pace! :P

And so I've become the owner of another cool memorabilia - a wooden plaque with me name and title engraved - not forgetting the other useful prizes like a Canon Powershot camera, 2 watches (love the baby blue one) and another Indocafe hamper! Gee whiz! Thanks so much to the organisers!!! Love ya all! Smooooooches!

So...are you really really "Ready for More"?

Penang Jamboree 2005 - Ready for More? (Trailer 1)

A map that will lead you to hidden treasures ... a land up north, not so far away...

Are you ready for more?...

From hereon, I shall let the diagrams below do the talking (all maps courtesy of Ming's GPS - in case you need to put a face to a GPS-button pusher, look no further than the guy with a moustache above)... above map was extracted from KOTRT website.

Below : Little explanatory note for me....

Above : Yellow line is the contour plot of Sunday's trailride, which was supposedly longer than the 2004 trail! Holy cow!

Above : Elevation and Distance chart. Just imagine - BT Hill is only 163.63m. We cycled up more than 4 x Bukit Timah Hill elevation within more than 4 x Bukit Timah BikeTrail distance! Need I say more? Watch out for Trailer 2....coming to you soon on a blog near you...

More articles on 2004 Jamboree

I think Singapore would be ideal for a heritage and food hunt like this one! Anyone interested in helping me organise a Singapore Mountain Bike Jamboree?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Penang Jamboree 2004 - See U Dare

Penang MTB Jamboree 4 -5 December 2005
Saturday : Penang Food and Heritage Cycle Hunt
Sunday : See U Dare
450 participants

We were dared, we dared and they saw us dare. Reeks of corn spilling out of one's ears...but I love it! And here goes Episode 3 of this 4-part jamboree saga....looooooooooook....more pixtures.....

That's true fellowship when you can join forces with neighbouring mountain bikers who were strangers just seconds ago....and ride for a common get to the finish line first! Ok, that's not the point....and the politically correct thing to say was that it was the journey that mattered....blah blah blah. But I really had loads of fun, riding through the back streets of Penang looking for checkpoints and clues. Came across so many familiar streets that were glossed over when one is driving.

This was not a race, for Chendol shake....but having been brainwashed by the Singaporean system, gia su us zipaadidoda-ed through all the checkpoints and flew to the finish line, only to find several of our answers marked with a "x". Ouch! We may be fast, but not very smart!
Later that afternoon, Ailing, Fatmah and I were entertained by Derek, one of the organisers, who dutifully fattened us up, in true Penang style, with the most sinful food you can think of! The more lard, the tastier it got! A dozen foodstalls later, it was time to go for a spin, a pre-ride tour if you will of the following day's torture programme. After the tarmac climb, the 4-wheel driver negotiated narrow offroad paths meant for bicycles. One false move would see us careening off steep cliffs. But Derek kept his eyes peeled on the road, while we kept ours on the stunning view that surrounded us.

It was probably the first time I took notice of the fine details. In the past years that I've ridden past the same spot, all I took in was a blurred 2-second optical brush of panoramic splendour while at all times keeping that eye on the ruts that may set anyone back by another 10 minutes...

Ahhh...the funicular train that takes you up to the top of Penang Hill...a one-way ticket for many hard-core downhillers who don their full masked helmets and fancy elbow and knee pads after alighting the tram, and bombing all the way down Penang Hill! Gee whizzzzzz!

These are the die-hard folks who come back year after year, for all that adrenalin rush and excitement. Many were corned and haven't returned since. Heh heh!

Lioe (aka Mr M&M) made history by being the most sporting Singaporean to have graced the jamboree pre-ride dancing parade! Great way to release all the unspoken stress of trying to kick each other's butt under the guise of a "but it's just a friendly ride, not a competition"!

Let the ride begin! Like a swarm of bees, we buzzed off, grouping and regrouping with familiar faces until you hit the one-hill climb! Unless you set off together in a group, you may not bump into another familar soul for hours until the next food checkpoint!

My aim that year was simple : after 2 years of pushing, I said to myself : you better wake up your idea silly girl! No matter how shitty you feel, don't you dare put your feet down! And I'm proud to say that I think I may have cycled all the way to the top with only a couple of stops! I would have pat myself in the back, but then by the time I reached the top, I would have keeled over and fallen backwards if I even attempted to! But it was exhilirating racing against was pure mental, and so was I...

This was the first time I'd ever gotten a plaque and the Indocafe hamper for the "Queen Up Dare" title! Yippie yie yeah! But then that's coz Firefly is so anorexic and once I get started, there's no stopping me from attempting to outdo meself on the bike!

In my opinion though, these events bring out the true fellowship of mountain bikers!

You meet your friends from across the causeway, fellow bikers who know what 100% unadulterated pain feels like...

....and then you laugh at each other when you endo with a mouthful of dirt, while someone else is stuffing himself with chicken pie with the aid of grimey fingers partially covered with grimey half--fingered gloves.... offer your salts to someone who's become a permanent bike obstacle as a result of some pretty nasty cramps...

...and marvel at how beautiful the view is, while your adrenalin gets all pumped up as you brush past your fellow biker to the finish line...

And that's why we just can't get enough of this....

I shall leave you with this article about one incredible lady, Linda See, who's one of the toughest gals I know! She's clinched the overall ladies title each year without fail since it's inception. Take me hat off to her!

Wana see more photos of sadomasochism? Look no further....

My Album
Fatmah's Album
Winnie's Album