Atchafalaya Swamp

Sunday, March 29, 2009

On Cloud Nine

My smile says it all...

Folks, today I surprised even myself. The presence of expat Pat "Pig Pen" Brundson, Gary Choong of CycleWorx Singapore, Farizul, and some hard core athletes like Wan Shahidan did not deter me one bit. Back in '06 Gary made top 50 in the International Tour of Thailand (ITT) and will make some piss in their pants. And he made Top 50 IN THE OPEN CATEGORY, not some piss-ant "Veteran Class" shit. I was only nine places behind number one (Wan N). And seven places behind Gary. Yeee-haaa!

You heard that right, folks! Mat Salo with race number "V009" made tenth place. I was shocked. Which means I smoked some of 'em rider-athletes-cum-super-heroes that were once featured in newspapers...

After crossing the finishing line in almost two hours (there's one portion where you had to push up the bike up a 45-60 degree slope for 1 km, with no way to ride it, what with 200+ cyclists bottle necking the single-track - that's why it took so long) the marshalls at the finishing line said I came in tenth. I couldn't believe it so I grabbed the list to be sure.

Too bad there's no prizes for coming in tenth but knowing that I smoked some of 'em super-established guys?

It is indeed sweet, folks.

After crossing a small stream halfway through the race the whole bottom lip of my clipless shoes' got snagged. I had to look for some 'tali rafia' to hold it in place. If it had stayed intact - could I have been on the podium? Excuses, excuses...

Pre-Race: Leaving the house at 7.00 a.m.

Pre-Race in Sg. Buluh... all suited up.

My 15-year old first-born in the Open Class. He "DNF'd" at the last checkpoint due to a broken chain...

Pre-Race: Marshalls zooming past on their motocross bikes while I don my gloves and say a little prayer...

Me and Le Tua's pro Lim Yew Meng who came in second in the Open Class. Of course Yew Meng's in the same team with Indonesia's Number 1 and 2 rider Samai Amari and Tonton Susanto - participants in the recent LeTour DeLangkawi.

Strollin', Strollin' ...past the finish line...

Main sponsor's tent: Ng Joo Ngan's son- imcyclist.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Man In Mid-Life

Mat Salo in (poor) post training form, March 26, 2009. T minus 3 days to Race Day this weekend.

I guess like all men hitting the "magic 50" they start to do something "crazy" - and I'm certainly no exception to the rule.

Some take on mistresses or an extra wife, some will purchase a low-slung two-seater sports coupe, or a Mark Levinson (yes, Kim Catrall's hubby) hi-fi, or a big plasma TV. I wonder if going to umroh or haj is a consequence of mid-life too?

Back in '04 - GP Speda Race Series - note the "boghoi" factor

Me? As soon as I came back from Indonesia I decided to do something that I had not done since 2004: enter a goddamned MTB race. Back in '04 when I was not quite 45 I managed to complete 100 k on a road-bike. But that was five years and tens of thousands of sticks of cigarettes ago.

And I've also piled on the pounds, in case you haven't noticed.

Mean, but not-so-lean-nor-trim in '04

So this weekend I'll be competing in the men's "veteran" class (45 and above, of course) but for old-timers like us who couldn't get it up more than once a single night, the course is only over 15 km when normal UCI sanctioned cross-country MTB races would be at least 24 km or 4 laps on an average 6 km loop.

So why am I doing it? I don't really know dudes and dudettes.

Perhaps like all men in mid-life, we all start "losing it"?

Wish me luck this Sunday the 29th, eh?

If you're keen, it's near the old leprosy hospital in Sg. Buloh. Go here for directions.)

Brand New Shimano XT "clipless" installed at Joo Ngan yesterday.

Transferring "clipless" cleats from new to old shoes...