Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mount Telapak Burok Challenge 2012 - Race Report

I have so much to share, so many things to write, yet so little energy left after 2 stressful days. Alright, let's start with my race Mount Telapak Burok Challenge at Jeram Toi. I registered for this race one week before the closing date. Not that I don't wanna plan, I need to check with my ship's schedule before confirming my race, or else my registration fees will go to waste. I don't remember when was the last time I did trail running, with 2 weeks left to race this challenging course, I will dig whatever that's left in my tank to finish my very last race of this year. Before pushing off, I talked to my 2ndSkin Team to ask for their opinion. =)

 I was very sleepy while driving, so I turned on the air cond to create an annoyingly-cold condition so that it'll be too uncomfortable to sleep =p I arrived Jeram Toi approximately 5pm, late by 1 hour.

Checked the race map, wrapped it up with plastic just in case I need it when I'm lost.

Most of the participants camped near the podium area, I was the only one who slept in my car. I screened down a little for ventilation, and wrapped myself up with blanket while watching Ironman Kona 2012 before I dozed off. Due to my small built, I had enough space to stretch my legs =p  In a survival condition, economy of effort is important. Why bother setting up tents which can't keep u warm and vulnerable to thunderstorm? The car is the best place to sleep! Unless u come in a huge group, then you might need more space, so setting up tents are necessary.

 My mobile shelter =p

The flag off was delayed by a few minutes. I sprinted together with the Kenyans. I'm gonna share with u what I planned and what went wrong throughout the course. 

My Plan
In an off road race, whoever gets to the "chokepoint" or 'bottleneck" first, usually will win the race. I knew that I didn't have proper training for this race, so I'll race with strategy. I ran as hard as possible to the very first chokepoint - The Tunnel. I was in top 10 position, and I fell no less than 5 times to get there. Normally, the rank will not change after the chokepoint. Because in narrow and slippery trails, it is damn hard to overtake the runner in front UNLESS you've excess energy and skillful enough. At minute 31, I was walking and panting like an old man. Today's race was like running on Secret Recipe's chocolate indulgence, extremely slippery. Tress on left and right wasn't helpful, most of them are full of thorns! Not only it was steep enough to make me crawl, all the way from check point 2 to check point 3 has no descent at all! The organizers provide 2 ropes for certain steep climb, I rushed there to avoid "traffic jam". I was dead tired at CP3, I was hoping for some tress or roots for me to hold on. I said "THANK YOU" every time I get roots to help me climb. May be I was a little crazy already =p My compression socks helped me a lot! It protects me from thorns and leeches, and saved me from cramps. To not damage my 2ndSkin race shirt, I made myself a homemade race belt =p I came straight from my ship, so I didn't have all my race gears with me. This race was a survival one.
 I made 2 eyes for pins at both sides, then another knot I learned during my sailing lesson to shorten it.

What Went Wrong
I was wearing running shoes, the dumbest mistake. Actually, I didn't have my trail shoes with me. I left it in UPNM.  So it is not totally my mistake. Lock laces are meant for triathlon, not trail running. My left shoe stuck and left inside the mud, wasted a few seconds. =p With lock laces, the shoes can be released very easily for quick transition. In trail running, u need the traditional laces to snug your feet so that the mud won't accidentally take your shoes off =p If I was wearing gloves, it'll be easier for me to hold on tress and roots instead of crawling like a big baby, that'll give me a few minutes of advantage. Nutrition wise, remember to ask what type of water they offer. Normally organizers will just offer plain water, but this organizer is too kind to give us 100 plus at all the 3 check points. I took gels, and gels should be taken with plain water. Without plain water, my nutrition plan need to be changed.

 The damage. 

The extremely technical course really put my descending skills to test. Being overtaken by other competitors because of my tortoise pace descending was no fun at all! I changed my game plan, I rested during the descend, then punch hard on the final 3km on the road! I successfully caught them up and pulled away from them. Haha =p My mum was by the roadside telling me I'm ranking No9. 
Overall, I would say the organizing committee has done a good job, all the junctions are marked clearly, they managed to deliver all the water supply to every water stations on top of the hills! Thumbs up for them=)

Completed the run in 1 hour 27 minutes.

This is my very first time racing with a T-shirt instead of running vest.
The 2ndSkin Vaporskin technology kept me light and cool. I poured half bottle of 500ml on my body before flag off and I didn't feel the weight at all. Checkout 2ndSkin.  

My parents came to support me without telling me. It was a surprise.
The car was having problem before the my journey, they sent it for repair, even fueled it full tank for me. Thank you very much. 

Ranking No 9 Men Open 17 - 45.
There's so much to improve for my trail running techniques.

More pictures of Telapak Burok Challenge here

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