Monday, January 31, 2011

Gugusan Adela MTB Ride 2011

My family and I stayed at the Pulai Desaru Beach Resort so that I didn't have to depart at 5 am from Singapore for the 8.30 am race start. So on the morning of the race I took my time and calmly drove to the race start. So calm that I found myself right at the back of the 550 registered racers behind the starting line!

It was a big effort to weave my way through the racers, some looking like they were out for a leisurely Sunday ride. Nevertheless, it was rather fun doing this except for a couple of of massive traffic jams traversing a deep culvert and log crossings.

Although it was drizzling and raining along some stretches, I actually enjoyed the cool weather. The trails were mainly the typical Malaysian palm oil plantation tracks and the greatest enemy in this condition being the green slippery moss, especially cornering at high speeds.

The trails were mostly rideable at surprisingly decent speeds, with a 500 metre stretch of knee high water logged trail that I had to carry my bike. There were many nice long climbs, except for a couple that were too steep. There were also some stretches that had clay-like mud that almost glued the tyres to the fork and chain stays.

My Scott Spark 10 racing machine was perfect, no chain suck (KMC X9SL with wet lube) and great traction (Nobby Nics with Stan's Tire Sealant). Although both brake pads were worn down to the metal towards the end of the race.

I rode for a while with 3 young men, one being a 16 year old boy on his Surly rigid single-speed 29er! Amazing fortitude and determination. Until I collided on the tarmac with one of them, but luckily I was unhurt but he had a big gash on his elbow and hip.

On the last hour, I was practically riding alone as had I managed to overtake the majority of the riders, and finished the 44 km race in just over 3 hours in 22th position. From Singapore 5-0, David Lucas was 15th and Morten Hansen 29th.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable ride despite (or perhaps because of?) the atrocious weather, wet and muddy trail conditions. The organisers did a commendable job, considering the challenging environmental conditions.

On a related note, the weather condition was the start of  major floods in the southern Malaysian states. Unrelenting rain had forced over 55,000 from their homes in Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Pahang, and cutting off Segamat town. Thousands of commuters going back to their hometowns for the Chinese New Year holidays were hampered by floods on trunk roads and sections of the North-South Expressway.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Singapore Windsurfing

The North-East Monsoon is here ... well, sort of. It has been a wet December and January, the winds are ok but not that consistent. Although I did get caught out in a classic NE wind 3 weeks ago in my full Formula rig (ie. 10 sqm sail, 1 metre wide board, 70 cm fin). I felt like the veins in my neck were going to burst at any moment, as I hung on for dear life. Not pleasant, but always cool when reflecting on the sailing heroics back on land.

Today was a nice windsurfing day. I was initially on the Formula, but quickly made a u-turn back the the club to down-size to my slalom rig. I think the wind was around 12 - 14 knots, but the gusts were too strong. I was all set to race in the Singapore Open Asian Windsurfing Championship today, but did not manage to because of a missing sail and a bruised/fractured rib cage. So I had a leisurely sail instead, whilst observing the race.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blood Donation Drive

In conjunction with the Singapore Red Cross Society, we organised a blood donation drive as part of NetApp's corporate social responsibility initiative. Our goal was 50 blood units for the day.
The event started at 11 am and ended around 6 pm. Out of the 92 potential donors that came and registered, the Red Cross managed to collect 58 blood units. I was quite surprised at the high rejection rate - low iron count, medication and travels to the UK (mad cow disease).

Just to be sure, I popped in an iron tablet before the rigorous screening tests and passed! The iron analyser indicated my iron count at "14" (minimum was 12.5).

My colleagues Aileen, Jennifer, Joanne, Karina and Shu Rong organised the drive flawlessly, especially impressive given that this was our first time organising an event of this nature.

The blood donation drive was a unique opportunity to give something back to the community, and at the same time socialize with colleagues, business partners, customers and friends. Feels good.