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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guess why I am doing this?

A lot of my friends and colleagues are asking, why is Jack so into cycling now? It is supposed to be a simple health and fitness thing. Why this need to go overboard... LOL. What is this BikeTrials?

Well, it started off as a health and fitness thing...

Since June this year, I have discovered a whole new world of cycling which I had never thought possible. Don't get me wrong, I mean I am well aware of the cycling scene. I know about the Tour de France and in fact, I was involved in the organisation of Le Tour de Langkawi since it's inception in 1996 until 1999; but I was never "aware" or have envisioned mountain biking to be what it is today.

Just like how I used to play foosball. It started out as a casual table-soccer game. One thing lead to another, it became necessary to learn and master techniques and shots to improve the game. Before I know it, I started to participate in foosball tournments as a measure of self improvement. I guess it is a natural progression for me.

So, it is in this respect, that I am taking mountain biking a tad more seriously. I guess there is a need for me to see some sort of progression and improvement in my techniques and skills as a biker; I guess fulfilling a form of personal satisfaction. And BikeTrial is the ultimate cycling sport where one is required to master and demonstrate one's control of the bike.

Just like learning the "push-kick" shot or any "shots" in foosball, I am now learning the very basic biking skill of "track-stand". Hopefully, I will be able to progress to the more advance skill of hopping, pivot, pedal-kicks, etc.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Guess what I did on Wednesday?

I trashed my bike! Injured my knee! Bang up my nose and lips, and bruised my chest! LOL...

George, Joe and I decided to follow KC to Melaka yesterday. While he conducted a presentation in Renaissances Hotel, George, Joe and I went mountain biking somewhere behind Puteri resort in Ayer Keroh, Melaka.

We parked at the Puteri Resort car park. It was the perfect place to get the gears and bike ready. Of course, something good had to happen. George's rear wheel tire had a flat. After getting the puncture fixed, we headed into what turned out to be a rubber estate.

This was the first time we went on this trail. The muddy double track was easy enough to follow and we basically went on blind in no particular direction. Then Joe noticed the red and white tape tied to some of the branches and trees. They were remnants of a previous hash held there. So basically, we just followed these markers and went on a hell of a ride.

Joe the Oracle recorded our tracks and trails. This would be very useful when we return to this place with the rest of the Wild Geeks!

After the rubber estate, the trail took us into a banana and papaya plantation. It was while cycling down a dirt road in the banana plantation, when I almost completely crashed into the bushes! The downhill was so much fun that I did not want to use the brakes at all! I only braked at the last minute... LOL. George was quite worried as I almost nail him as well.

When we reached the papaya part, I noticed a nice uphill, which meant a nice downhill, when you are the top of the hill... LOL.

And so, I told George and Joe that I wanted to do this downhill. Basically, I walked up the hill watching out for any potentially dangerous holes or rocks along the way.

The first downhill went fantastically well! So I had to do it again! George managed to captured a nice video of it.... :-) And then we got George and Joe doing it as well... LOL. It was fun!

After George's and Joe's turn, we headed up the same hill with the intention of continuing on with our cross-country ride. Joe consulted his GPS and said that we were headed the wrong way and should be heading back down to the other side. So we doubled back and of course, I was looking forward to hitting the downhill the third time!!!

It was this third time that I crashed and burned! Lifted off nicely on a jump, but bad landing on the front wheel caused me to be flung forward into the bushes and landed on my face. Of all things, I decided to choose a different line and basically did not handle it well at all... hahaha.

Anyway, I got up and after George gave me the once over, I went back and did the downhill a fourth time! Damn, from the photos and videos, the downhill looked like flat ground.... Btw... I clocked 41.1km/h on this downhill... HAhaha...

Anyway, my plan next is to make sure I am wearing elbow and knee guards for my next foolhardy downhill! And if I can afford it, a full face helmet!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Guess what I bought today?

Great news!

I have finally bought myself a 3 liters bladder for RM55 to put in my backpack to replace the defective one from High Sierra! I told my vendor about the problem with the bladder joint in my back pack without mentioning the brand name. Guess what? To my surprise, he said that it must be the High Sierra hydration pack, as they have problems with the bladder joints!

Hahaha! I dunno why, but I felt better when he mentioned that... sort of like a feeling of being vindicated... LOL.

I filled the new no-brand bladder up, testing for leakage. Worked great!

To top it off, one of my colleagues is going to Bangkok on Wednesday, he is nice enough to help me bring the defective High Sierra bladder back to the shop in Bangkok to see if they will exchange it. I am certainly keeping my finger crossed, but I do not have high hopes... LOL

The other thing I bought was a pair of goggles! Its a made in Taiwan product, so you guess right, its cheap! I got it for RM30.

My son, Jordan, looking very stiff wearing the helmet with the goggle attached.

More relax... not worried that the helmet was going to slide off... LOL.

My daughter, testing the goggle out...

Knee and elbow guard! The next items on my shopping list... LOL

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Guess what I have gotten myself into?

It all started with me declaring myself to be overweight in June this year. Then my purchase of a mountain bike in the hope of using it as one of my means to loose weight.

I spent RM400 on an Exitway - Mr Sub mountain bike, a really heavy "hardtail" (see... now I am talking biking jargons... LOL... must be progress), that I personally referred to as the "Lorry" bike! LOL.

Since buying the bike and riding to so many places these past months, I have discovered some must-buy gears for anyone wanting to go mountain biking on a budget!

One of the things I needed was a bicycle lock to lock my bike when I carry it behind my pick-up. So it was a must have item for me. The lock has seen better days since! The RM25 lock still works, but has lost it's casing after a week! Made in Taiwan! Quality?

I also bought a Cateye tail light for night riding for RM34. Excellent quality!

Aside from the bike, the next single most important thing I bought was the SixSixOne Helmet!

I spent RM120 for this notorious US brand but made in China helmet that after the first day of use, the protective foam just came loose! I think I have a big head... Hahahaha... Check it out below! Quality? Sucks, I guess, but still usable as a protective helmet as long as I fasten the strap properly. I will not recommend anyone to buy this though.

After a few cross-country rides, I realized that a set of gloves would be an important piece of safety equipment to have, especially on downhills!

So I dished out a reasonable RM80 to get this nice pair of SixSixOne gloves, which has since save me from a lot of potentially nasty cuts and bruises on my hands! Quality stuff, yeah! A must buy for all bikers!

Liters of water are a must for cross-country biking. A friend of mine managed to get a 2 liters High Sierra branded hydration back-pack for me from Bangkok, Thailand, for RM110.

On the day I was going to use it, while filling in water, the bloody water bag was leaking profusely at the joint between the bag and the "straw"! Quality sucks big time! Major disappointment!

So now I am just using the back-pack to carry a spare bottle of water! Sad? Pathetic? Hell yeah! Still bloody sore about it! High Sierra sucks man!

About a week ago, I bought myself a nice pair of padded cycling pants! Since I started cycling, I have torn more than 5 pairs of shorts.

For RM110, I have basically reinforced my ass and save myself from a whole bunch of nagging from my wife regarding torn or split shorts... LOL.

A couple of months back, a friend gave me some MTB videos to watch! Man... my first thoughts were, "What? How the heck did that guy do that?" I was referring to Ryan Leech! Man... that guy is inhuman! Ryan Leech is the king of trial riding! Check out this video on YouTube!

Since then, I have been trying to learn track-standing, hopping and jumping on my bike! One of the painful lessons I learnt was that you gotta watch out for your shin hitting the pedals!

Which is why I bought this RM18 shin guard 2 days ago!

Check it out! I have yet to try them on. Probably gonna do it next opportunity I get.

Since I started MTB, I have amassed a whole bunch of stuff, some defective and disappointing and some really lifting and useful.

All in all I have not spent a whole lot of money. Including a child seat, a cyclometer, fixing a crooked crank and a broken headset, and 3 set of punctured tubes, I have spent only a total of RM 1277! (Btw, learning jumping and hopping are expensive if your bike's parts are only good for normal biking. I could have save RM200 if I hadn't tried jumping and hopping like an overgrown clown... LOL)

So what have I achieved since the time I bought the bike? Did I loose weight? Unfortunately, I did not loose weight! So what did I gain? I became a Superhero... that's what! LOL...

Just fooling around after a ride on the KL-Putrajaya highway in Sri Petaling... :-)

Basically, I now have more stamina. I do not feel lethargic from lack of exercise. I feel healthier. But most importantly... now at 44 years old, I can track stand reasonably well, hop like a bunny and jump over speed bumps... LOL.... HAHahhaa..

It's just gonna get better from here on... LOL!