Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mount Rinjani

The Trip: Trekking up Mount Rinjani of Indonesia by Rambo Chan (second from right) and team.
Team Size: 6 trekkers
Date: 14 to 18 April 2010
. Rambo Chan
Rambo Chan and team did the Senaru village/ Plawagan 1/ Segara Anak/ Plawagan Sembalun / Sembalun Lawang route. According to Rambo Chan, Mount Rinjani is the most scenic mountain that he has trekked so far with breathtaking views of the mountains, the lakes and the nature.

Yes!! I shall plan for this trekking trip. Interested to join me? Do write to me ... KC

Mount Rinjani

Please click here to view the featured-length photo album (600 photos) by courtesy of Rambo Chan.
If you do not have the time, do click here for a condensed version (one-sixth) extracted by yours truly (KC) from Rambo Chan's photo album.

Camping in the open

A relaxing dip in the hotspring to invigorate and re-charge the bodies (at 2,000m above sea level)
. Dinner by the picturesque lakeside

Rambo Chan was the Team Lead for the Gunung Kutu trekking. Assisted by Rocky Dan, it was quite a record to have 52 trekkers in that trip. I presume that must be the good name of Rambo and Rocky that draw the crowds.
Please click here for Gunung Kutu trip on Saturday 11 July 2009.
. .

Witnessing a fierce eruption with ashes covering the surrounding areas

The trusted support crew

Walking on soft volcanic ground

(Extracted from Internet)
Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). It rises to 3,726 metres (12,224 ft), making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia, and similar in height to Mount Fuji.

The 6km by 8km oval-shaped caldera is filled partially by a crater lake known as Segara Anak ('Child of the Sea') and is approximately 200m above sea level and estimated at being around 200m deep. The caldera also contains hot springs.

Calm, serene and breathtakingly beautiful

Colourful sunrise

Recent Eruption

The first historical eruption occurred in September 1847. The most recent eruption of Mount Rinjani was in May 2010.

Rinjani erupted three times on 22 May 2010 with activity continuing until early 23 May. According to the volcano's official monitoring agency, ash from Mount Barujari has been reported as rising up to two km into the atmosphere and has damaged crops. The volcano is not currently threatening villagers. Lava flowed into the caldera lake, pushing its temperature up from 21°C to 35°C, while smoke spread 12 km.
When the sun rises in the morning, the obscuring mist lifts slowly to reveal a thin veil of mist hovering round the mountain
Rambo Chan (left) posing with team members and support crew
Posted by KC

With consent from Rambo Chan

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

EBC Dinner_Karaoke

Thanks to Sharon Tan, one of the EBC team members, for organizing this superb dinner/karaoke session on Saturday 22 May 2010 evening. Staging it at the famous Oriental Pavilion at Jaya33, Petaling Jaya was indeed a great idea.

During the dinner/karaoke session, much like trekking, the group has a slow start in ascending the hills but after the engines have been warmed up, and when approaching the peak, suddenly, all the adrenalin was pumping and the energy levels soared.

Not only that the EBC team members are united in trekking, we are also a closely-knit group in karaoke sessions.
Please click here to view photos taken by yours truly (KC) ... click SlideShow; hit F11 key.

Alexis, WongFK, Rocky, SC Yong, Joseph

The full momentum of the singing session was just started with the help of a few glasses of wine after the sumptuous dinner. Thanks to Sharon and PK Chan for sharing their superb wine. Unfortunately, the fun and heighten mood that we took sometime to elevate to the next higher level was suddenly dampen when the waitress indicated it was time to call it a day (night) way before 12 mid-night.

We were amused when PK Chan said we only sing one-quarter of each song trying to clear all the backlog of songs that have been programmed.

Yee Choi, WongFK, Rocky

More singing stars are discovered that evening: Fiona and Alexis could sing very well particularly Alexis who sang with a sweet and clear voice that is very pleasant to hear. Together, they perform a duet with the song “I have never been to me” by Charlene:

… Oh, I've been to Nice and the isle of Greece
when I sipped champagne on a yacht
I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo
and showed them what I've got …

Another person that could sing very well is Jayne Aw but she was not present on that evening.

Fiona and Alexis

When the song, “The Young Ones” by Cliff Richard was played, they all said in unison “it is KC’s song” much to my amusement though I was more appropriately labeled the “young once”.

Maybe in future trekking trips, the group can sing while trekking together. Not only that we train on physical fitness, we could also train on the power of vocals. Songs such as ‘Seasons in the Sun”, “Top of the World”, “Rocky Mountains High”, “Down by the River”, “Sunshine on my shoulders”, etc would be motivating and uplifting that echo in the distance.

Yeah, the EBC group is looking forward to more EBC dinner/karaoke sessions.
Click here for previous social gatherings (scroll down the pages; click Older Posts).

Joseph, Sharon Tan, Angeline, PK Chan, Fiona

Next Trekking Trips

While having dinner, the group discussed about the preparatory activities leading to the coming trekking trip to Mount Fuji Japan from 26 July 2010. The Team Lead for this trekking trip is Yee Choi, an ultra-marathoner and a diver. Working in Japan during his younger days, he speaks Japanese and he is the most suitable person to lead the team.

The group also discussed about the mother-of-all Climbathons (in Malaysia) for the challenge at Mount Kinabalu on 23 October 2010 as half of the team members are taking part in this event. Click here

The group also explores and plans the next trekking destinations for next year/season.

Note: EBC = Mount Everest Base Camp team @ 24 October 2009 … click here for previous postings (scroll down the pages; click Older Posts).

p.s. Returning home from the dinner/karaoke session, after sleeping for four hours, I continued with the trekking trip to Gunung Nuang via Janda Baik the following morning on Sunday 23 May 2010 … quite an incredible feat … :-)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gunung Nuang via Janda Baik (2)

The good points of this trail:

1. The terrain is not too steep

2. There is a good waterfall at the second stream; deepest is about four feet

3. The trail is clearly visible

4. No tricky split paths

5. At the Kampung Bukit Tinggi town area, more choices for restaurant food; the price is reasonable.

Please click here to view photos by courtesy of WENG.

The not so good point of this trail:

1. Before entering into the forest, the trail is almost been overgrown with tall lalang

2. Many leeches (but you will know when they bite you as it itches)

3. Before reaching the waterfall, there are a few areas where the trail is blocked by the falling bamboos. One has to crawl to proceed with the journey.

4. The car parking area: parking by the side of the gravel road, the area is of limited space that can only accommodate about 10 cars.

Relaxing at the peak of Gunung Nuang

Improvements require:

1. Looks like we need volunteers to cut those fallen bamboos (to open the path) and to cut the overgrown lalang to ensure that they do not engulf the entire trail.

2. At the car park area, that requires tractor to clear the space so that more cars could park there.

Posted by KC

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gunung Nuang via Janda Baik

The team went for a trekking trip this morning, Sunday 23 May 2010. Lead by Chiew Hong and Weng -- both seasoned trekkers -- the team consists of 31 members trekking up Gunung Nuang via Janda Baik (Kampung Bukit Tinggi, Karak Highways).

Crossing the first stream. In this trek, the team has to cross two streams

A group photo before the start of trekking

Passing by an orchard ... in July, during the durian season, trekking here would be much more exciting

Certain stretch is full of over-grown lalang

Clear blue sky -- superb day for trekking; however, it was raining and gloomy almost the whole of yesterday. Yours truly (KC) is in the photo.

The peak with a view - Right in the middle is Genting Highlands

Refreshment break at the peak of Gunung Nuang. One way up is three hours, which is much easier as compared to starting from Pangsoon of Ulu Langat (that requires 5.5 hours)

Anti-leeches socks

Messy situation -- the full-blown leech is salt-laden for ease in removal. Many leeches in this trail !! When the shoes were removed, the socks of this trekker was full of blood.

Posing with the signature structure at the peak of Gunung Nuang

The majestic waterfall which is located along the second stream

Weng -- Photos by courtesy of Weng.
Work in progress to process the photo album. Stay tune for more photos.
Posted by KC

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NB 875 Off-road Running Shoes

It just happened uncontrollably. On my way descending from the peak during Gunung Angsi Climbathon (8 May 2010) click here, I was wary of the slippery ground. However, there was one sloping surface – no matter how careful I tried – when I stepped on it, and immediately, I slipped and fell.

The problem: I was wearing a pair of road running shoes. I was not wearing the usual trekking shoes as they are clumsy and not suitable for running. However, the road running shoes are not suitable for off-road challenge. I have a new requirement now where both the native running and trekking shoes are not suitable.

The weekend after the climbathon, I went to a New Balance outlet at Mid-Valley The Gardens to see how I could overcome the problem. I was glad to see that they have the type of shoes for off-road running.

New Balance 875 off-road running shoes

This is the new pair of New Balance off-road running shoes that I bought. List price is RM 320.

I shall use them for hill training and later, leading to the Mount Kinabalu Climbathon on 23 Oct 2010; or possibly, wear them for the coming Mount Fuji Japan trekking on 26 July 2010.

I went for a test run on Wednesday morning (19 May) at the rubberized track of MPSJ (Subang Jaya) outdoor stadium with this pair of shoes.

My observation:

This pair of shoes is light and flexible, provide excellent fit and perform just like running shoes despite having different design and grip at the bottom sole. It gives reasonably comfortable cushioning when walking. Nevertheless, the feel for lack of cushioning is obvious together with higher level of knee jerk when I started to run on the rubberized track.

Anyway, I should not complain too much as any shoes will provide cushion and protection for our feet compared to running barefoot, just like our famous barefoot runner, Tan Wah Seng who run marathons in barefoot.

Since this is the first time I am wearing an off-road shoe to run, I need other brands to make a comparison. Overall, I should think it is Okay since the ground on the trail is softer than tarmac.


Lead by Chiew Hong and Weng (both Mount Fuji Japan trekking and Mount KK Climbathon challengers), the team shall go for a trekking trip to the peak of Gunung Nuang via Janda Baik (Bukit Tinggi, Karak Highway) on coming Sunday 23 May 2010.

Extracted from runners website:

Runner's World Review:

The 875 delivers excellent all-weather traction by using outsole lugs made from both hard and sticky rubber spaced far enough apart that they don't get clogged with mud or slush. While the shoe does best on trails, some testers were surprised how well it did on pavement. New Balance improved the fit of the upper by adding overlays that embrace the foot more securely. Yet, even with the additional material, the 875 managed to lose half an ounce. Recommended for runners who run on wet, sloppy trails or who are in need of top-notch traction and an excellent fit.

Wear Tester Reviews:

"The shoes offered oversized lugs that overcame mud and soft ground with ease." - Mark Hauswith, 28, East Lansing

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tendering Bib Numbers

After seeing Su allocated with the fantastic bib number in Gunung Angi Climbathon on 8 May 2010, all the runners in our group were somewhat excited admiring the good bib number. It is indeed a good idea to have special bib numbers to lighten up the event.

I associate it with the car number registration system in Malaysia. It is indeed an expansive endeavor to acquire such good numbers where the owners have to tender and keenly compete for highest bids.

Each number above start with minimum tendering amount of RM 2,000 (this is BKS series of car registration number for Selangor state in April 2010)

In running events, the organizers could also issue special bib numbers for tendering. I am sure all those discerning runners who would want to have a memorable run to go with special numbers. In this case, it adds on to the fun of running in the event. It boasts one moral and enthusiasm when running in that event too.

The organizer may consider having special photo sessions for runners with special bib numbers. I am sure that would be a much sought after programme by the runners. Besides, the extra money collected by the organizers would either be contributed to charitable organizations or increase the fees income for organizing the event.

Su with the much admired bib number at Gunung Angsi Climbathon on 8 May 2010

Of course, the die hard or purist runners would think this exercise is a waste of money. Anyway, one man's meat is another man's poison. The analogy could be similar to wearing a pair of shorts from pasar malam costing only RM 5 as compared to wearing a pair of designer running shorts from Nike costing RM 150. Other than practicality, it is about feeling good of owning a branded product or something special.

As to how much is the fair minimum tendering price, we can work out a simple formula: while the car number plate would be there prominently display for an average of 10 years, the bib numbers are only display for about few hours depending whether it is a 10km or half or full marathon. Just distribute on a pro-rata basis with the effective hours of display, that would be the base tendering price.

Successful bidders for BKS series: Number 1 at RM 70,000; number 10 at RM 11,200 !!!

Here are a few recommendations of the special numbers:

0000, 1111, 2222 to 9999 = The tasteful, intelligent and sophisticated runners

8888 = Businessman runners

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 = The aspiring runners (trying to be top 10 finalists)

007 = Action-pack runners

5354 = Don't-give-a-damn runner (direct translation: neither here nor there)

9394 = Outgoing and charismatic runner (direct translation: play here, play there; playboy number)

3268 = Businessman runner (direct translation: businesses prosper)

1197 = Have s** will travel runner (direct translation: every day play male geni***)

So, organizers and runners, what do you think?

Do click here for previous posting on tendering car registration number.

By KC :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thomas Cup

Malaysia Against China (Friday 14 May 2010)

The Chinese players were just too strong for our boys at the Thomas Cup semi-finals. Despite all their very best effort to put up a good fight in the court, Malaysia lost in three straight matches that enable China to enter into finals against Indonesia.

The fans at the Putra Stadium, Kuala Lumpur were most sporting. They gave the Malaysian team their utmost support. They roared and cheered with approval with every possible point that favour Malaysia that created an electrifying atmosphere in the stadium.

Clash of the Titans: The much awaited match between Dato LeeCW and LinDan finally took place after Beijing Olympics. No doubt about it, Lin Dan’s pace is just too fast for LeeCW. He hardly smashed hard to win the two straight games.
Please click here to view photos by courtesy of Hon You, who went to Putra Stadium to witness the live action.

11 - 5: This is an interesting number. We only scored 5 points when the Chinese players had reached mid-way of each game. We were trailing all the time, which is bad news for making any breakthrough to win. It was a night of bashing by the Chinese players sending our two exasperated single players sprawling on the floor numerous times. Quite interestingly, Wong Choong Han’s match was lively delivering elegant and accurate cross-court shots. For all the straight games in the three matches, our boys only got half the match points.

We took 25 years to achieve the dream of regaining the Thomas Cup in 1992. Does it mean we need another 25 years? With the defeat, Malaysia's saga on eyeing the Thomas Cup continues...

According to Hon You, who went to buy tickets for this semi-final on Friday 14 May, only the Platinum seats were available. The catch – each ticket costs RM 3,000 !!!

Malaysia against Denmark (Wednesday, 12 May 2010)

While watching Malaysia playing against Denmark last night, Wedn 12 May, I began to know why Malaysia lost to Japan in the Thomas Cup: the Nigerian team was not playing and gave Malaysia a walk-over. Malaysia needs the punching bags as warm up sessions. Obviously, after the frustrating warm up session with Japan (that we lost), playing against Denmark last night finally got the players in top gears.

The spectators who were in the Bukit Jalil stadium definitely got their money's worth on the gate fees when supporting and shouting at the top of their lungs from 6:00 p.m. until 11:15 p.m. when Hafiz, who is playing in the fifth and final match, finally won.

As usual, our favourites, Dato LeeCW and our first doubles performed handsomely as expected. They gave Malaysia a great start with a 2-0 lead. The 3K (Koo Kien Keat - Tan Boon Heong) guy's performance is better now that he did not sit on the court occasionally and play. Besides, he does not look that arrogant anymore. Quite interestingly, LeeCW beat Gade (Denmark first single) at 21-17, 21-17. And our first double won the first game at 21-17 also. The standards to lose are also quite consistent.

I was feeling better when watching Wong Choong Hann last night: I was expecting him to lose and not as in the previous night against Japan expecting him to win -- and he lost. Of course, he lives up to my expectation -- he actually lost. Leading at 20 -17 (with one more point to win), he could also lose.

The second double: BAM or the chief coach made the right move by replacing the other unfortunate player with a Chinese player similar in size with Sammo Hung (when he is young, maybe). This Hoon guy is good, fast and made less mistakes. However, the Zakry guy (original player of second double pair) made a lot of unbelievable mistakes.

Watching Hafiz playing was most satisfying after two roller coaster rides that crashed earlier -- the second single and second doubles. Hafiz was compose, confident and as cool as cucumber (4C) -- just like before -- but this time, he played marvelously with good defense and good smashes with shuttles landed in the correct court. The supporters are solidly behind him with resounding cheers whenever he scored a point. I too cheered from the comfort of my house. The atmosphere then was now-or-never; otherwise, we will have to wait for the next Thomas Cup tournament to cheer.

Million thanks to Hafiz. Now that we will have chance to watch LeeCW against LinDan on Friday evening for a repeat of showdown in Beijing Olympic that favored LinDan.

It was indeed a happy ending last night supporting my home country. I slept well too compared to the previous night.

Malaysia last won the prestigious Thomas Cup in 1992 staged in Kuala Lumpur. Do you think we can go against all odds? Emulating the past Works Minister, Samy Vellu, the distinguished toastmaster from Speaker’s Dream Toastmaster Club, Loghandran, always said, “Where there is a will, there is a highway (way)”.

KC :-)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gunung Angsi Climbathon Photos

Gunung Angsi Climbathon is the third and final leg of the "Sirkit Cabaran Mendaki Gunung" organises by Majlis Belia Negeri Sembilan.

The first event of the circuit was held at Gunung Tampin, Tampin on 6 March 2010; second event was held at Gunung Datuk, Rembau on 10 April 2010.

Su with the much admiration bib number. If it is a car number plate, that would cost at least a few thousand Ringgit to tender for this number ... :-)

Please click here to view photos by courtesy of WENG.
L-R: Su, Shirley, Kiran, Mak, KC and Weng.

Starting point

A group photo before the start of event

At the obstacle course area

Arriving at the peak of Gunung Angsi ... Chiew Hong, ChooTS, Weng
Click here for Part 2, Part 1
Posted by KC

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Gunung Angsi Climbathon

The challenge is tough but fun and satisfying. For those nature lovers, it is indeed a truly challenging feat to take part in this Gunung Angsi Climbathon (near Seremban) on Saturday 8 May 2010.

Gunung Angsi is one of my favourite trekking trails. The distance is fairly long but the terrain is not too steep, superb for light training before embarking on a mission of any serious trekking trip.
Click here for previous postings of Gunung Angsi trekking.

After trekking up Gunung Ansi twice, quite interestingly, I could only remember the stream running parallel to the lower plain, the gradual gradient, the obstacle course and of course, the peak with a view to the surrounding areas.
Walking up slowly during trekking and climbing up swiftly during climbathon are totally different experience. During the climbathon, I began to remember more of the tough and tiring uphill terrain as it is a sure way of depleting one’s energy.
Waiting for moment of recognization: Top ten finalists of each category
We arrive at Ulu Bengdol Forest Recreation area, the starting point of the event at about 8 a.m., way ahead of the starting at 9:30 a.m. The group consists of Weng, Chiew Hong, Ms Su, LimFW, Peik Yah, Yee Choi, Roger Yee, Choo TS, Mak, Shirley, Kirandeep, Lai Kuan, and AB Tan. Members of the other group are Raymond Ng, Michelle Looi, Debbie, Kenny, Lydia, Hsing Ling, etc. In the forest recreation area, we could see there was a huge group of students pitching up tents at the campsite which was just next to the starting ground. The groups were then busy deciding and registering whether to take part in the Open or Veteran categories.

Women's finalists - (L-R): Lydia, Michelle Looi, Debbie, Su, Hsing Ling

Choosing Category – We made the right choice to register for Open Category though our ages fit into other category. We were told that Veteran category only runs half the distance. The interesting thing about runners is that we pay more for longer distance; as some would say, pay more to suffer more.

When the VIPs have arrived, we were pleasantly surprise that the race was started at 9:00 a.m., half hour early.

Twenty minutes into the race, the fast veteran runners were seen returning on a collision course when the rest of the slower runners were still ascending. While I was avoiding the wet ground below me, anther fast runner was also avoiding something at that very moment. Ouch ! Two of us were colliding in mid-air at a narrow jungle path !!!

A race would not be complete these days without the African runners

Water stations – For most road running events, a race would not be possible without water stations complete with isotonic drinks. In this event, other than the abundance of water from the stream, there is no water station!!! Find your own water! Anything relating to jungle has to be tough – the fittest survive.

For those who believe that they would be no tough Nepalese porters to carry the water to the peak to reward the runners for the amazing feat, they would carry at least two bottles of 500cc each of water. Many of the students were seen running without water and have to ask other runners for help.
All smile - Su receiving her prize money

While arriving at the peak, we were greeted by officials dishing out ribbons for certification marks. There was a group of Chinese trekkers having a picnic spread with lots of drinking water and food. Many were seen asking them for water. I heard the conversation: “Aiyo, how come there is no water (from the organizer) for the participants!”

While it is tiring to ascend going up against gravity, the descending journey was not easy either. Most runners would have finished the fuel – the water – running in a state of thirst while trotting down the slope carefully for fear of slip and fall. ChooTS, Su and I were seen bleeding at the legs knocking against obstacles.

Michelle Looi ... while Lydia is at the background waiting for her turn

The fast runners in the group are AB Tan, Yee Choi and Ms Su. While Su’s timing is 2hr 50min, securing her the top ten position in women’s group, the other two were about 10 minutes faster. By 12 noon, most of the runners would have returned from the tough challenge.

The prize presentation would then proceed with the top ten winners from each category of men and women. After much chatting excitedly about the event, the group adjourned to Seremban town for the famous seafood lunch. It was a memorable outing with tough challenge, good camaraderie and good food to reward the body systems for a day of intense activities.

Raymond (right) and friends. The top 4 womens are in this group

Work in progress to process the photos from Weng's camera (containing all the action shots).