road riding in Penang | Malaysia


2005 Desaru Half-Ironman Triathlon, Part II
Desaru, Johor, 17 September 2005

story and photos by Teoh Ween Sze with additional reporting by Finian Lee and Ong Kai Seng
(Link to Part I in Articles section)

Saturday, 17 September: I woke up early as the room was so chilly, and found out that there are also two early risers (Finian and Corey). We were required to report to the race site at around 9:00am (now, it was supposed to be 8:00 am, but this is Malaysia and we are after all Malaysian ...). We had a rather unappetising breakfast, although that didn't matter much as I didn't have much of an appetite anyway. It was then time to wake up Red Shorts and Sleeping Machine (yeah….sleep and sleep).

We got ready and Finian, Corey and Red Shorts started cycling towards the race sites while Sleeping Machine and I drove the car there. Got myself body marked, (as seen from pic below ... ) before doing the normal touristy thingy, i.e. taking lots of pics.

We walked around the transition area checking out the pretty cool bikes which was hung up on poles. I decided to take the plunge and do my warm up swim at around 9:35am, which was kinda last minute, considering we were supposed to be out of the sea by 9:45am, but then again, I would not have bothered to go down if I did not have to do some nature thingy .....

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Azalina did the opening and cake cutting stuff, since it's the 10th anniversary of the Desaru Half IronMan Triathlon race, you see. At 10:00am, you see this wall of people standing at the beach waiting for the start - and off we went!

I ran down the beach, jumped in and all I could see was this wall of swimmers in front of me. In the water, all you could see was the kicking of legs and the disturbance in the water from the kicks (in a way it was good, at least some directional leverage). I had to literally climb over the wall of swimmers to get in front as I could not even squeeze in between the swimmers and they were going a bit too slow for my pace (I mean after all, this is a race, right?). Man, this is brutal, I got whacked in the head by some swimmers who apparently started throwing their arms around in the freestyle manner. If that wasn't enough, I got kicked a few times in the ribs by people who used breakstroke kicks and there were also some irritating swimmers who decided to pull your leg or rather keep on touching the legs (man, I already moved aside for that whoever idiot swimmer to bypass me and NO, just rather follow and keep on touching my leg, IDIOT!).

Now, there was something really strange about the swimming course. Ok, I understand the need for a 1km loop and all, but why did the organiser design such an odd loop, which was non-linear and I overshot the course, not ONCE but TWICE. Furthermore, we had to run on the beach after first loop just to jump into the sea again for the second loop. Would someone be so kind to explain to this newbie? Anyway, I just swam for what I was worth, and completed my first loop in time of 22 mins (dang, overshot my target time) and completed my 2km swim in around 39 mins. I wanted to keep as close to the buoys as possible so I did not overshoot the course, but I did anyway as the markings weren't really clear.

I ran out of the water to the cheers of Sleeping Machine and hurried to the transition area to pass the relay band to Finian who was anxiously waiting for me there. He pushed off on his bike and I just waited around there for Kai Seng to bring me my stuff from the car while trying to catch my breath and regain my orientation. For your information, the Eating Machine needed to complete 90km bike by doing a 30km loop 3 times. We estimated for him take around an hour for each loop, so Kai Seng decides to eat his lunch and we head over to the restaurant.

To his dismay, the buffet lunch wouldn't start until noon and they are not doing offering ala carte menus. So we had to resort to going to the mini market in the hotel and buying some biscuits and "mee-in-a-cup" instead. I was paying for my purchases of drinks when I noticed that somehow, Kai Seng had managed to charm the hotel restaurant lady into cooking some "Mee Goreng" for him (note to self: Must check with him how he does that ... ). As I was not feeling that hungry, I decided to forgo lunch and hit the souvenir stalls (bought myself quite some stuff). Meanwhile, our runner was finishing his lunch before returning to the chalet to change into his gear.

We saw Finian and Red Shorts and they managed to pass their water bottles to me for safekeeping. They were doing a great job in the bike section. We hung around long enough to take pictures of Fin, Yeang and Corey cycling as they zipped pass us. Finian starts suffering by the 3rd loop and I can imagine how horrible it is, the heat is bad, really bad, I'm so thankful that I'm not cycling in this heat (or running for that matters). I should pass this thing over to Finian to describe his cycling experience.

Red Shorts.

Next: Part III - 3 hour of cycling pain


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