Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Big Nite: First Nite Jamboree in Malaysian MTB history

It was Friday nite when I rushed back to hometown with wife right after work. It was an exciting weekend as the Nite Jamboree will be held the next evening. We got home around 9.30pm and quickly unload my bike and other stuffs from the car. Not long after that, I went to meet my ex-colleague from Bangkok at Malacca town. I got home around mid-night. It was quite tiring as I had to prepare myself for the next evening ride.

The next day, I woke up early and prepare my bike for the run. I did not manage to get ECC cycling jersey as the shop was closed that morning. They must have closed the shop to organize the big event! I came home and rested for a while before going for the Jamboree registration @ Dataran Bersejarah around 1pm. I had to go there twice for separate registration when AL's team cant make it.

Once AL and company arrived, they parked their expensive bikes @ my place and then they went of for check-in @ the hotel they booked earlier. I decided to take a short nap as I needed more rest before the terrifying nite ride.

At around 6.20pm, Kelvin arrived my place with his bike. He did some quick maintenance to his bike. AL, Awang and Alex arrived minutes later all of us rushed to prepare ourselves for the check-in. We decided not to drive there and we rode our bikes to the event venue instead due to the fact that it is only 3.8km away from my place.

When we arrived at the scene, there were not many riders around the starting grid. We checked-in and later we positioned ourselves at the front area near starting grid. This is to avoid as much bottle-necks as possible during jamboree and it is our no.1 enemy for killing our time. While waiting for the race to start, the organizer played nice songs and there was a Loy-Kratong dance by a pair of Thai Ladies from Chieng-Mai. I took the opportunity to do some stretching minutes before the race started.

At 8.30pm sharp, the organizer flag us off and we rode slowly along the highway escorted by motorcross bikes and a SUV. Policemen also assisted us to block the traffic so that the huge bunch of riders can cross the busy highway. We entered the offroad trail after few kilometres of highway ride. There was a small bottleneck as some are afraid to go to the first steep downhill section. I try to keep the pace and I could roughly estimate that there were about 60 - 70 riders in front of me.

I managed to pass several riders on each uphill sections at the oil palm plantation area but my right calf was cramp and I had to stop at Check-Point 1 (CP1). I rested for a while feeling sad because I could see riders passing through every second. I quickly refill the water and added the Booster Blitz to my hydration pack for the entire journey.

I continued to CP2 by keeping the RPM slowly so that my muscle does not overworked. I knew that I had to drink plenty of water to recover my musle and I slowly sipped the hose as I ride every few hundred metres. The Booster Blitz worked!

I regained some strength after less than half an hour and I felt so good to ride fast. I didnt stop for fuel @ CP2. From CP2 onwards, it was like a roller coaster ride at the single tracks. I charged my bike fast as there were less people on the singletrack trails. There were few DH sections whereby some riders in front of me crashed badly. I was able to avoid the contact and continued charging to CP3.

At CP3, I didnt stop as well as I could feel that my hydration pack still full with water. There I came across a big group riding into more technical sections. Since I am afraid to ride alone, I tried my best to keep the pace behind them. Soon after crossing some rubber plantation, paddy fields I landed at CP4 and I didnt stop for fuel because I still okay.

The chase was still on until CP5 when I again didnt stop for fuel(water and bananas) but I was having a minor problem right after the checkpoint because the batteries have caused my headlight to become quite dim. I knew I had to ride faster and faster before it runs out and all of a sudden, i felt cramp on my left thigh followed by the right thigh.

I stopped after few hundred metres near a rider who was having punctured front tire. I swiftly tried to replace the batteries but i couldn't open the cover! Oh my... I had to ask the man to open it for me. Once done, I thanked him and left the place. By this time, so many riders overtooked me already!

Lastly, I exited the plantation area to the highway and there I got the third cramp on both thighs! The RELA guy who was guarding the exit wanted to assist me but I told him that I was okay. We smiled. I rested just for few minutes before riding the last 5km tarmac stretch to the finish line. I was the 138th person to complete the jamboree and it took me exactly quite close to 3 hours.

It was a memorable event and it could have been better if my flashlight could last longer and my legs were without any cramps.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Final preparation: Nite Jamboree 2009

It was a quick decision to sell off my newly bought Velo saddle when I saw WTB Rocket-V being posted on BBS. I bought Velo because Rocket-V was out of stock at TScycle.

It was 2am when i saw the ads and I quickly texted the guy for negotiation. After exchanging few SMSes, we finally settled on the price and COD (cash on delivery) place. I got the saddle for RM80.00. That guy took it out from his new Giant bike.

Here's my WTB Rocket-V installed on my Kona seatpost. It is now ready for long hours ride of 45km stretch.

The next day, I managed to sell my Velo to a guy named Harry from UUM Kedah. I shipped to him my Velo via Post Laju. The same goes to my FSA XC 170 90mm stem.

I lost my pump recently @ Kiara with the LYN boys and it is much hassle to ride to petrol station everytime when I need to pump my tires. I got this Carbon Beto for RM40 from TSCycle. Lightweight and small enough to carry around for Jamboree / weekend rides:

Another sudden upgrade was the spokes for my wheelset. It was on Wednesday afternoon when I dropped by KSH TTDI bike shop for chain cleaner set. The seller named Leung informed me that all the sets have been sold out. Not a lucky day for me.

I then just asked him for fun about the DT-Swiss spokes whether the price is still the same or not but he replied "increased already". I am not surprised as usual because the prices will increase due to the local demand around Klang Valley. My spokes rusted after 1 year of riding. That really bothers me! I never like rusty parts.

I then negotiated with Leung to give me the old price so that I can help to clear his stocks fast, and it worked! LOL. I got the following package:-

Type: DT champion (for rough/tough usage without butted design)
Price: RM1xx.00 for a set of wheels (front and back) inclusive of lacing and truing

I collected one of the wheelset and the workmanship is not bad. The attached image depicts on how to identify genuine DT Spokes.

I hope to collect the other wheel (rear) in time so that I can rush back to Melaka early. Hope everything will be smooth for me to complete the Nite Jamboree, 24th Oct 2009!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nite Jamboree Preparation 02: Fuji Tahoe SL 2007's Cockpit Redefined!

After joining LowYat.net's MTB group for riding, I begin to realize that Kiara is like a Shaolin temple. Definately it is not an easy place to ride.

The climbs are non-stop, the down hill sections are killing and the single tracks with lots of roots, narrow path between trees, and the sudden drops are madness! This is what I can conclude in mixture of several trails for a half day ride.

The video below depicts how technical Kiara is...

In order for me to have better control at these challenging trails, I refined my bike further on the cockpit section as this is one of the most important area for bike handling.

The Stem...
Model: KCNC Bear Arm
Clamp size: 31.8mm clamp size,
Extension: 70mm stretch,
Rise: 5°
Material: 6061 - T6 Aluminium
Price: RM85

The Handlebar...
Model: Bontrager Crow Bar
Type: Low Riser - 25mm rise
Length: 600mm
Material: 6061 - T6 Custom Butted Aluminium
Price: RM45

After spending few hours removing the current components and replacing them with new ones, plus balancing of the bar, I could sense instant difference. I have yet to try it and hopefully the new XC+Trail riding style setup works.

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