Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Team Equation + FUBAR 

If I could turn Team BechaKennyLingers into an equation, it would read something like this...

Becha (Rebecca) + Kenny (Lopez) + Lingers (Merciless) =
Start sadly at end of pack + play catchup in the middle = wonder how the story ends?

Team BechaKennyLingers...quite a mouthful!
All you need is to add a pinch of FUBAR to the scale and there's no telling which way it will tip! 
Let's check out Team BechaKennyLingers' track record...

SAC 2005 : We got seriously lost on day 1 (major navigational FUBAR, despite map hanging around Kenny's neck), but made up for it on day 2 and 3. Ended up middle-ish in the pack. First time multi-day-racing. Excused!

AAC 2007 : Despite the 2-female-1-semi-male disadvantage and starting out at the end of the pack, we slowly caught up on the biking leg and unexpectedly happily settled for 4th position. Now, that's a happy ending in our books!

SAC 2008 : Ken + I (team 1) and Becks + Foo (team 2) raced together. This time, it was the FOObar (see specky guy in photo below) which led us to Horlan! Only 2 of us were left standing at the end of the race (with 1/3 hailing from Team BechaKennyLingers). The other suffered heat stroke and the third had knee problems. :P

BTW, I learnt the word  "Horlan" from Joanne Soo during her race briefing. We would make good examples of Horlan-victims.

Team BechaKennyLingers (with FOO-bar making special guest appearance)
Will AAC 2011 be the year that Team BechaKennyLingers gets to see a happy ending?....

That depends on the amount of FUBAR we add to the equation. 

[CAUTION : Don't try these FUBAR techniques in any adventure race! You will so regret it!]

FUBAR #1 : Training? What's that?

The odds were stacked up way high against us before the race even started. Our only male team member Kenny was MIA - last seen at SAC 2011 in May this year. All we heard was that Ken was busy traveling for work and had put in a good 5 km of treadmill running! Ken's famous last words, "I ran and it felt good!"

Good job Ken! Let's hope your new compression calf-lings will make up for the other 40 km. The only saving grace was that Ken was scheduled to be at the airport by 630pm on race day to catch a flight back to Hong Kong. The cut-off time at the 2nd last checkpoint was 6 pm. Joanne has a track record of overestimating our ability to finish within the cut-off time. Go figure. But never mind, blind optimism may just be the carrot that will make Ken haul his ass to the finish line with great haste!

Training-wise, Becks and I didn't fare that much better. With joint practice sessions (obviously without Ken) that you can count with a vibram five finger shoe, the self-proclaimed "Aunties" were resigned to expecting a "fun race with no pressure". 

The usual suspects at the startline
What was our goal? Every team's gotta have one. BechaKenny's initial goal was to come in top 10 in a field of 23 Mixed Teams! Lingers was skeptical. Upon closer scrutiny, we realised the Mixed category comprised heavy weight competitors,  the "who's who" in local AR. With racers half our age but twice or trice our fitness level, we decided to downgrade our expectations a notch to "let's aim to complete the race!". Oh and one more caveat, "try not to come in last, ok?"! 
The starting horn sounds off! We're off. Run, run, run!

5 minutes into the race, we turned around and "hey, where is everybody?" Not a single soul in sight! "We're the LAST team once again?" How demoralising - but predictable!

Team BechaKennyLingers close to the end of the pack after flag off....

"Remember, sustainable", we consoled one another. Surprisingly, Wilson and Grace were behind us - but that was because they had teamed up with AR newbie Daphne and were showing her the ropes. They eventually caught up at the critical CP 7 (Wilson's second home) and came in third! Life is not fair! :P Wonder what our excuse was? Maybe age was catching up...

But...slowly but surely, we start to overtake quite a few teams during the run from the MacRitchie startpoint to the Rifle Range bike pick-up point. We run past a poor lass crouching by the trailside, trying to puke. Ok, let's try not to go there.

Becks noticed that the once-chatty Ken suddenly went quiet when we passed the Jelutong Bridge, probably less than 5 km into the run. I'm guessing he must have started feeling the ill-effects of not having trained (harder, if at all?). But our dear Kenny silently soldiered on....

FUBAR #2 : Harnessing a Power I needed

After having not touched my Camp G-string harness for sometime, it felt a little tight around my hips. Ahem. The straps were not adjustable so I decided that a baggy harness worn hipster style was the way to go - comfortable, non-constricting and...well, I didn't have much of a choice at that time.

The newer version of the old Camp Harness which I own...mine has no belay loop...
How wrong I was! Throughout the first half of the race, the harness somehow kept sliding south. At times, I felt like I was running with my underwear slipping down my ass! I was trying all means to prevent it from falling off, whilst maintaining running pace :  Clip leg loop to waist harness. Clip harness to backpack. Tuck in harness into shorts! Fumbled again! Arghhh! Not working! I decided this was one skill I had to "harness" - the chi of harness-running! 

Good thing now I know : if it slips. that means I didn't gain that much weight after all! :)

FUBAR #3 : Fatigue = Stupid Fall = Flowering Knee 

After picking up our bikes (phew!!!!), we were ready to rock and roll! We were in our element. After some bike portaging through a "lonkang" under the highway bridge, we rode onto part of the abandoned railway track. 

A mens team crosses a drain (and I thought rat-infested drains were behind us)
Team BechaKennyLingers jump into the big longkaw...
Kenny helping Becha up the slope....Teamwork at work....
Becha in turn giving Kenny a hand....I take the path on the left (not my drooping harness)..
Thankfully, the vibration mode brought on by riding on those big-ass rocks was short-lived. We were soon directed towards a downslope leading towards the entrance to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve bike park. Our playground! Yayz!

BechaLingers, with Kenny playing catch up
Kenny finally catches up
Not taking any chances, both Becks and I pushed our bikes down. I turned around just in time to catch Ken's impressive endo down the gravelly slope.

A mens team making their way down the slope that Ken felt so inclined to ride down....
Ken picked himself up rather quickly as if nothing happened. His right knee however, started to flower and wept red nectar. We suggested that Ken licks  his wounds before setting off but no, Ken said he could soldier on! And soldier on we did!

FUBAR #4 : F***! A Flat? Chainsuck? Clamps and Cramps...

For most part in the BT trail, we were riding alone. Where was everybody? Ah...we bump into Team Sunny Side Up (Sarge, Kee Ling and Jonie) upfront...and somewhere not too far behind us was Team Prana (Ming, Fiona and Charles).

Upon reaching the big open field at Dairy Farm, we were told only 1 team member needed to complete some rock scrambling up the natural rock followed by an abseil. Becha volunteered, seeing that Ken had to clean that knee and I had to adjust my harness.

Mens team waiting to belay their abseiling partner
When I got into the belay position hidden behind some trees, lo and behold I was surprised to bump into super dooper racers Lynda Scott (of Team Hammer) and Luke Su (of Team Just Trippin'). I was told they had been waiting for their teammates to appear from the rocks above for the past 10 to 15 mins or so. Luke pointed out that Lynda's team was in first position, Luke's team in 2nd position, and if I was queuing up behind them, that meant that our team was...3rd???? 

Nah....that can't be! Where did all the other 20+ teams ahead of us disappear to? We were told some did not take the MTBing trail route but an alternative route...somehow the facts just didn't add up.
After Becha rejoined the team and we set off in the direction of Boulder City, the lady at the next CP confirms that we are indeed in third position! Becha's eyes widened. Oh, oh....change of game plan. Only 2 words left in our action plan : cheong ah!

Becha...full of hope....

But lady luck did not stay on our side for long. She probably had to run off for a 3 pm pedicure appointment!

Shortly after passing the team omarsen bridge enroute to the Mandai, Bluebones suffered a flat rear tire! Awwww....Bluebones! Not now?????? It took all 3 active members to change the tube in my own personal record time.

Bluebones, my trusted steed...but now not very cooperative! Naughty bike!

As BechaKenny cycles off, Bluebones dealt me another blow - chainsuck! F****! I shouted to BechaKenny but they were gone! After massaging the chain off the inside of the cogs, I managed to get him spinning again. Time to catch up with the rest...through the Track 15 / central catchment park connector onto Mandai Road, and up the gentle slope of Mandai road.

My legs....feeling....tired. 

I looked ahead. Ken...doing...well, leading pack. Somehow...cannot close gap? Why???

Becha overtakes me....

Becha (riding behind me) asks very politely, "Ling, are you able to ride faster?"

I replied, "er, no? I'm really tired...".

I catch a glimpse of her panic-stricken face as she cycles past me as we approach the Ulu Sembawang Park Connector.

Becks was probably thinking, "Oh no, am I the last one standing? Will I have to take on all the ropework at the end?"

It was only at CP7 that I realised my rear wheel was in wheel-clamp mode the whole time since I changed my tube back at Team Omarsen! Duh! My anal-retentive bike finally gets some reprieve after some wheel adjustment by our mechanic Ken.

We picked up the navigational maps at CP 7. Instructions were for all to venture forth on bikes to locate CP 7B, get the passport chopped, and return to CP 7.Out comes the compass, and navigator Ken studies the map.

Still in third place. Let's go!

The folks at CP 7 probably enjoying all the sufferfest!

Whilst ascending the little slope leading to a freshly cut path heading to Lor Asrama, Ken led out a shriek of pain! Finally, the Cramp Monster has launched a full scale attack! This time Kenny sounded REAL bad! Go back to FUBAR # 1 to learn what NOT to do to get to this ghastly stage! Miracle cure Yoko Yoko is applied non-sparingly, leaving no muscle unrubbed. The trouper once again decides to hobble forth. At this point, we kissed Mr Third Place goodbye - nice knowin' ya!

After making an important executive decision at a fork, Ken brings us safely to CP7B! Well done Ken! It was also at CP7B that Ken suffered another bout of cramp-onz! The Chainsuck monster also decides to attack Bluebones as well! 

I swear I could have heard Becks utter in her head, "Why me???" as the cramped Ken tries to fix Bluebones, while we in turn, try to fix his sorry legs. All was not lost as we made it back to CP7 without further delay.

FUBAR #5 : No Passport, No Chop 

Next up, Team Biathlon to CP7A. The rules were that we can only bring 1 bike and were forbidden to use the main road. We had spent precious minutes over coffee and email discussing how a 3-men team bi would work, and we were finally gonna put it into action. How exciting!

5 minutes into the route, I looked at the ground and thought I saw pieces of passport torn into shreds. I remarked to Becks, "Hey look at that? Poor team probably lost their passport".

Mother Hen Becks suddenly stopped in her tracks and asked, "where's our passport?" I gasped! "I left it back at CP7"! Arghhh!

Dropping the passport or leaving it behind is never a good thing. It cost us precious time wastage on other race occasions, and I didn't think I would make the same mistake multiple times! *slaps own face*

And so I ran all the way back to CP7 to retrieve the precious document! I could hear the clock tick-talking, chiding me for the silly mistake! Sigh...My bad!

FUBAR #6 : Did Navigational FUBAR Kill Kenny? 

The upside was - I must have given BechaKenny sometime to digest the map. We have been to Lor Asrama countless times but I still can't figure out how to connect all the familiar dots! Given my poor navigational skills, Boy was I glad I was not navigating!

As if things couldn't get any worse, about 15 minutes into the team biathlon and a few hills and junctions later, Ken remarks, "hey....waiddaminute...we've been here before! F****!"

It suddenly dawned on the map reader that we've been going around in circles - ok correction, Ken reminded me it was only "one" circle - well, yeah, if I were an ant on the map, it would be insignificantly small, but it was a giant leap for team biath-"loners" in the friggin huge Lor Asrama playground! Good thing was the weather has been kind to us so far. But we seem to have run out of water! :P

At this point, everything was a blur to me. I remembered us asking a men's team for directions (who were equally lost), and then Ming showing Ken where he went wrong on the map.

But like all good teammates, Kenny admitted to his mistake and apologised for the costly navigational FUBAR. All was forgiven (but apparently not forgotten - now it's immortalised on blogspot! hahaha...). 

BechaKenny pushing bike (thankfully we spent more time riding than pushing our steeds)...

The bright side of things? We proved that 3-men leap frogging does work! :)

The rest of the race was quite smooth sailing actually. We eventually made it to Christchurch Secondary School whereby my rusty high school gymnastic skills proved rather useful when I volunteered to rock-climb and walk the high-wire elevated plank. We were all dreading the inevitable "jumar" finale that will kill many, many teams! But the "jumar" surprisingly never came! Heng ah!!!

A ladies team taking on the rockclimbing challenge...
Foo doing some mid-air karate kick...
Upon reaching Republic Poly, we had no clue where to go. Thankfully Just Trippin' Luke gave us directions to the bike drop off point at CP9, after which we had to run the RP perimeter through the mini-jungle in its backyard before hitting the finishline.

20 metres into the jungle, Ken's legs went on strike! "Come on Ken, we are so close to the end!!!" Inspired by the ending of the Lord of the Rings movie, I thought to myself, "if I can't carry you, at least I could tow you - ish?"

Being the weakest runner, I never imagined that I could be in a position to tow a teammate during an adventure race! But it felt good lending a lifeline to a teammate in need....probably not to get to the finish line, but so that he could meet his 6.30 pm deadline at the airport!:P

Kenny smiling whilst on his bike!
So, Who killed Kenny? See FUBAR explanations above. That being said, Kenny never really fully died to begin with. Despite the flowered knee, the crampfest, the navigational FUBAR and Mother Hen's repeated strategic nagging, Kenny survived without much complaint...and even managed to catch his flight back to Hong Kong on time! What a Super Trouper!

Final Thank Yous

On behalf of Team BechaKennyLingers, I would like to thank Joanne and her team of merry folk for adding lots of spice to our lives....and giving us reason to feel the pain, sweat, laughter and sense of accomplishment in completing yet another awesome race! I must say this is one of the easiest and more straight forward AAC races I've taken part in - thank you, thank you for omitting the JUMAR! hahaha...     

In hindsight, with the ladies category fielding only 4 teams, Becks and I could have formed an all-girl team and come in top 5 (if we finished)? Perhaps that may be an option for another time, but for now, despite all the FUBAR and having podium chances dangled in front of us and slowly fading into oblivion (sigh...), I'm just happy that I spent a good 5 hours + adventure racing with my fellow teammates KennyBecha...I wouldn't have had it any other way! *group hugs* 

And we even fulfilled our goal of finishing top 10! :)

Here are the detailed results...

Mixed Open Results
Mens Open Results

Womens Open Results

Thanks to the following photographers for taking the above photos. Click below to see the great photos they captured for this event.
Alexus Goh
Chin KK
Joanne Soo 
Steve Lim (Album 1)
Steve Lim (Album 2)
Steve Lim (Album 3)
Wayne Lai
Yew Weng 


Lynda said...

Well done you guys! Great report! :-)

LingtheMerciless said...

Thanks Lynda. If this is Lynda Scott, big congrats to your team for coming in 1st!!!!

PureBikes Racing said...

very nice race report!

LingtheMerciless said...

Thanks PureBikes Racing! And thanks for sharing this race report on facebook as well! See ya around!

Spartan300workout said...

Great job !, Congratulations ! Nice pics too, nice adventures and experience to have.

LingtheMerciless said...

Thks Spartan300workout!....glad u enjoyed the read! :)