Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Eco-X Slack

"So what's it gonna be, Andrew? Easy race, ok?" ..... "OK, Ming, I just wanna enjoy it and finish it" ..... we decided that day to call ourselves Team Slack. Team Flounder sounded a wee bit too fishy. Team Slow Smurfs and Team Serious Angels were also in on the fun.

Went for one run with Ken a few days before the race to "loosen up" so we won't hurt too much on race day. After all, we're Slackers. We were even too slack to drive up to KL. The bus option sounded good cos we could sleep on the journey up, and didn't have to wake up too early on race day. We could also go comatose on the journey back.

Ken and I decided that the last thing we wanted to do was to get horribly lost. After the race briefing, we scouted out the first part of the biking leg and also the last leg of the race. We strategised about how we should build up a lead at the biking leg so we didn't have to struggle too much the rest of the race. Easy.

Race Day. We lined up on the second row, ready to put our plan to work. Countdown 5-4-3-2-1... foghorn goes off and so do we! We knew exactly where we were going from our recce the day before. Cool. Keep the leaders in sight and we'll be all set! Yeah Right.

They led us to a dead end after a super siong-a-lingam uphill push. Bugger! Checked map and took a gamble. Headed back downhill while the rest were still milling around. Passed the rest of the field who were panting up the killer slope... and found the marker! Phew!

Mountain biking! We were in our element! Boggy flats, slimy slopes, twisty, narrow trails in tight forest, cheong ah! Team Hammergel were very strong MTBers. Cocky too. The trail markers laid out by Nomad were notoriously easy to miss. When we lost the trail, Team SART came along and pointed us in the right direction. Indebted to them. We promised them we'd "give chance" on the running sections. Heh heh.

Dumped the bikes and off we went to the Waterfall on foot. Lost sight of team SART within 2 minutes. Promise Kept. Heh heh. Andrew and I were not getting it right going up the waterfall.....dang slimy rocks. It was a bitchin' hard scramble. Team Flounder. That's us. Ken made it look too easy. Got overtaken by 2 local teams! That's it... we were losing the lead we built up on our bikes.

Next destination. Abseil. The pace of the race suddenly took a turn for the siong-er. We were the 4th men's team and we could see it in Andrew's eyes when he said "is there prize money for 3rd place?" It was confirmed during the tarmac section when Andrew said "Ming. Hook up." Towrope Teddy strikes again.

I wrote on our map "2 hours" on a off-road section. Must be a mistake. Nope, no mistake... 2 hours without a flat section. Leg burning, lung bursting, knee wrecking, ankle twisting slopes. Passed Chi and his merry band of sprinters. Traded positions a couple of times with 4 Frenchmen "Rouge! Rouge! ...*slip* Merde!!"..... and caught up with team Hammerheadgel. Grrrr..... To cut a long story short, Sang Kancil beats Sombong Sapi in the rough stuff. Schweet victory.

It was a relief to reach the abseil point after another uphill scramble. .. and a butt slide down a 2 storey high sandwall. All downhill from here!

Run run run to the river where we were to pick up the bamboo raft. The grand plan was Andrew in front, where most strength was needed to steer the "craft". Ken was handed a wooden pole, and I was given a bamboo pole. "Wood in front, Bamboo behind".... errr... that means Andrew in the middle! Dang. Andrew wasn't complaining. He was happily splashing water on his face and shoulders while Ken and I were doing our dangdest best to avoid the bloody boulders.

Getting stuck on the fast flowing shallows became routine... Ken and Andrew would hop off and I'd push off with the bamboo pole. When we were REALLY stuck, we all got off and I had to yank the back of the raft. Not good. When a raft is freed, it goes downriver. Fast. Faster than a frikkin guy holding onto a long bamboo pole watching the raft and two laughing teammates float away. Nevermind.. just lie on your back and let the life vest float you downriver. NO LIFE VEST LAH! No wonder my ass was being pounded by the rocks on the shallows and I had gasping sinking feelings in the deep sections. Kanna sai... Andrew stopped laughing long enough to grad my (bamboo) pole and yanked me in as I floated by. Now I fully understand the expression ".... its not even funny".

2km run back to the finish. No teams in front to catch and no teams behind to outrun. Chatting as we jogged to the finish, we felt good. No cramps nor major Snafus. Luck was on our side as we were handed 3rd place.

Team Angels took1st place in their category, as usual. Was there a Dyke category, Max?

Slow Smurfs mosey'ed in. Janice's knees were shot. So was Nik's mood. Take care of those 6 knees, smurfs.