Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bukit Kutu @ KKB

RHB Mount Kinabalu Team went for another group training and teambuilding session on Saturday, 28 Sept 2013; this time, the team was trekking at Bukit Kutu, Kuala Kubu Baru. 

To celebrate RHB 100th Year Anniversary, 40 selected staff from RHB Group shall trek to the summit of Mount Kinabalu in the week of 28 October 2013.

Do click here to view 118 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

Who built the colonial bungalow at the peak of Bukit Kutu? … do scroll down the pages to find out.
 Stretching exercise before the start of the climb at Bukit Kutu at Kuala Kubu Baru

 All systems GO!

 A group photo just before the start of ascent at 9:15 a.m… yours truly (kC) in red at left

 Crossing a river … clean and clear water

 At the huge rock area

 Having lunch at the peak … The team takes about 3 hours to arrive here; the descending journey takes about 2.5 hours.

 The trekkers sitting on the rock are actually waiting for their turn to go to the top

 Another group photo at the peak

 The remain of the chimney of a ruined colonial bungalow

Do click here to read an interesting posting by EM Shiek (Blogsite: Variety if the Spice of Life) giving an account of an Englishman from Plymouth, Tony, who came here to look for the bungalow. The bungalow was built by British authorities for their staffs (e.g. Tony's grandfather) for recreation and relaxation on weekends and holidays. Tony's grandfather and grandmother used to stay in the bungalow during the 1920s and took pictures of the bungalow. 

 At around 4:30 p.m. … Having a simple but tasty dinner by the river

 Having a relaxing and nice dip in the cold water after hours of trekking up and down the mountain on a fairly hot day

Posted by KC Leong

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My TMBT Post-Race

Post-race Analysis of my bad leg cramps problem - after getting tips from Dr Pui San who was running in the same TMBT event, I finally figure out the reasons that hindered me in completing the TMBT race. I encountered terrible cramps in both my legs – the inner thigh, quadriceps, calf muscle and even my toes – all happened at the same time!

On race day, it was very hot and humid initially causing us to sweat profusely; then it became wet and cold when crossing river and streams, tricking our thirst centres that we do not need to drink that much.

Yours truly (kC, left) at the starting line ... photo courtesy of Vivien Tay

I realized on that day, I drank much less water compare to my normal training. I am using hydration bladder type and drinking from this method has one disadvantage as one could not assess or see how much has been finished (as compared to those two plastic bottles hanging in front of the chest type). I was not able to assess the remaining amount of water in the backpack by feeling the weight as it was packed to the brim with other mandatory survival items and food. 

When the sign of cramps surfaced at about 12:30 p.m., I went to pee (since 7:00 a.m.); with much less output, that reaffirmed the reasoning.

Yours truly (KC) after crossing the river and admiring the smooth rocks 
(photo courtesy of Weng)

What was obvious is the crossing of river and streams with the hot-cold, expand-contract of veins conditions which was not tested during training time. The actual reason that triggered the complete shutdown of body system in provoking muscle cramp of two legs was the DEHYDRATION problem. 

I do not think the leg muscles cramp was due to my fitness level as I have trained enough in the local hills and Gunung Nuang, Kuala Lumpur, in preparing for this event.

Backpack with pockets for two bottles ... photo courtesy of TMBT website

If I were to take the challenge again next year – I think I will – for the unfinished mission, one of the things I need to do is to change the hydration backpack system. I begin to appreciate the two-bottle system where each bottle can store different type of energy drinks appropriate for each unique mission.

I went to The Gardens, Mid-Valley to check: Salomon Trail Running backpack is selling at RM 639. It comes with two front bottle pockets (note: bottle not inclusive), a 1.5 litre bladder and intake tube for drinking; next to the bladder compartment is another compartment for storing other stuff.

Do click here for my first TMBT DNF story.

Posted by KC Leong

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Putrajaya Fireworks Competition Team USA

Putrajaya Fireworks Competitions Team USA, 15 Sept 2013, Sunday 10:00 p.m. I rushed back from TMBT Kota Kinabalu on Sunday evening and in time for another fantastic and artistic event. 

Do click here to view 91 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC) .

Do click here to view photos of other countries (Team China, Team Malaysia 2013).

Posted by KC Leong

Thursday, September 19, 2013

TMBT 100km Runners

To my TMBT 2013 comrades … imagine that it is almost close to mid-night and you are still soldering on in pitch darkness only to be guided by your headlamp heading uphill to the finishing line near to the posh hotel of Kota Kinabalu Heritage Hotel (KKHH). While you are still wondering how much longer to arrive there, you are motivated when you heard cheers from vehicles passing by that shouted “JiaYou” (加油 add more fuel). Then the song of Hotel California come into your mind … 

On a dark country ultra trail, cool wind of Mount Kinabalu in my hair 
Warm smell of my stinking body odour, rising up through the air 
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light 
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim 
I had to stop for the night 
And I was thinking to myself, 
"This could be Heaven or this could be Hell" 
Welcome to the Hotel California 
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place) 
Such a lovely face 
Plenty of food at Hotel Heritage ... before I continue for another 50km in the cold night.

BRAVO to the 100km challengers! May the strength be with YOU!

Enjoy the song, Hotel California by The Eagles ... click here or here.

TMBT 100km challengers near Hotel Heritage, Kota Kinabalu, after clocking 50km ... photo courtesy of Vivien Tay

Posted by KC Leong

Monday, September 16, 2013

TMBT 2013 - My DNF Story

After months of preparation in trail running, together with other runner friends, I finally set foot at the starting line of TMBT 2013 held at a remote village of Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, 14 Sept 2013.

TMBT is the abbreviation for The Most Beautiful Thing … what at name! But for those who have participated in this event, they say it is The Most Brutally Torturous!

Do click here to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC).

Yours truly (KC Leong)

A convoy of buses, big and small, took almost two hours to travel from Kota Kinabalu to a remote village – Kampung Lingkubang, Kota Belud. There was no fanfare or pomp other than a few village folks playing the local gong in welcoming the runners.

The event started one hour behind schedule. Finally, when all the runners were assembled, Mr Aman Avtar, the Race Director, started the race at 8:00 a.m. with all categories – 25km, 50km and 100km – in one go instead of the staggered start.

The start of TMBT 2013

The runners were running happily after waited for so long only to realise that we have to queue to cross another river via the suspension bridge. At least another 30 min to 1 hour were wasted. The action only started after this point where the route took us to jungle trails, river crossing of chest deep, running pass padi fields; running alongside river, stepping through many streams, and going into wet jungle trail.

As highlighted by the organizer, the route is tougher this year. Other than running on the plain of padi field, the route took us to higher and higher ground. To me that was a manageable level as the training ground at Gunung Nuang, Kuala Lumpur was much tougher.

Come! Let me help You! The first river crossing

Something unexpected and dramatic happened to me after running for about four hours!  At about 15km distance, there was sign of leg muscle cramp. I was worried because after running for countless times on road or trail running, I only encountered one light cramp many years ago. I do not have any muscle relaxant spray or any medicine to relief the cramp. The higher I ascended the hill, very swiftly, the cramps developed into multiple areas – the inner thigh, quadriceps, calf muscle and even my toes. The bad news was that not only one leg but two! I tried to sit but the pull was painful; I tried to stand again but that did not help either. At the moment of distress, a few passing-by runners who were very helpful immediately took out their muscle relaxant spray and started to help. While sitting on the ground, one runner even help to stretch my legs.  Ms Yap gave me three Hammer brand anti-muscle cramp capsules; another lady runner even gave me a sweet-sour plum to suck that was good to relieving cramps. 

Beautiful scenery - running alongside padi field and river

After that, even a slight elevation to climb seemed to be a daunting task to me. I struggled to walk to Checkpoint 1 then to Checkpoint 2 and I decided to throw in the towel and I surrendered the bibs. At that moment, it started to rain heavily at 2:30 p.m. I finally arrived at Water-station 3 at 3pm. The torrential rain was raining heavily only to stop after 2.5 hours.

In that water-station, by that time, the number of DNF runners increased to almost 40 persons. After waited for 3 hours in cold wet clothing, I finally get the transport to the finishing point at the posh Kota Kinabalu Heritage Hotel, Kundasang area.

The villages are linked by many of these suspension bridge

Post-race Analysis
Training – I need to train harder in overcoming the hot-cold, expand-contract conditions when the shoes or legs are wet suspecting in causing the legs muscle cramp, and also precaution in preventing cramps early (to get some tips from triathletes). So the next time when I train at Gunung Nuang click here, for the four streams crossing, I have to find those deeper parts to cross ... :-)

ST crossing one of the streams

Event Organization – For an event that span across 100km with a complex network of trails in jungle, the organizer did a good job in successfully organized this event. The trails lined from one village to another and finally emerging at the finishing point. Other logistic issues are hotel accommodation, transport (airport to hotels; hotels to starting point), water-stations, medical, checkpoints, road and trail signage, baggage collection, activities at finishing point, overnight stay at finishing point, etc.

Carin Leong and friends

Areas for Improvement – In many runners’ opinion, the entire race organization rests heavily on one person, the Race Director. It would be good if there is a Command Response Centre where designated persons responsible for various activities such as transport, medical, etc. can handle the situation swiftly in a more focused manner.

With Ho at Checkpoint 1

Do click here for my TMBT 2012 ... and the Hotel Carlifornia (take notice of the spelling) at the finishing point.

Posted by KC Leong

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Zhineng USJ Centres 2013 Mid-Autumn

Zhineng Qigong USJ Centres 2013 Mid-Autumn Celebration at Wawasan Centre on Monday, 9 Sept 2013.

Do click here to view 199 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 Lanterns of creative ideas

 Lots of food to go around

 Lots of lucky draws prizes

 Signature food during the mooncake festival

 Food is served

 Tioh helping to serve the satay

 Practicing chi tunnel

 Chi tunnelling in progress

 An entertaining and fun game

 While the participants are passing the rubber-band without dropping, they have to perform the chi gong movement simultaneously

 The champion group ... with smile of satisfaction to receive the prizes

 The champion of lantern competition

 All ladies' pose

A group photo for the committee members ... yours truly (kC Leong) at front, right.

Posted by KC Leong

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Putrajaya Fireworks Competition Team China

Putrajaya Fireworks Competition Team China, 31 Aug 2013, Saturday at 10:00 p.m, … Team China also staged a 30-minute fireworks display on Day 2 of the event, the duration is similar to Team Malaysia on the eve of Merdeka Day. 

Compare to Team Malaysia, the fireworks of Team China exhibits lesser intensity and firepower. There were a few void moments where there were no fireworks been launched. We were relief to see later that the show continued.

Overall, Team Malaysia was better in term of more firepower, brighter, better patterns and bigger flames.

Do click here to view 95 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC).

Next fireworks competition: 
13 Sept 2013 – France 
14 Sept 2013 - Korea
15 Sept 2013 - Dubai
01 Oct 2013 – USA

(13-15 September - clash with TMBT Ultra Trail Marathon running event near to Mount Kinabalu where yours truly is participating)

Do click here to view Putrajaya Fireworks Competitions 2013 for Team Malaysia.

Posted by KC Leong