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This is where the torture begins

For those of you who are aware that Nik, Ling & myself recently took part in the Eco-Xcapade adventure race in KL as a team and who might be interested to know how we fared, here's the result of the race.

At Checkpoint 1, we were ranked 31st out of 31 teams due to an unfortunate passport jinx (yes, we dropped our passport again!!) but at the end, 7 hours and 20 minutes later, we came in 13th overall out of 31 teams, beating 6 teams in the men category, 9 teams in the mixed category and all the women's team (none completed the race). Not too bad at all, considering we had 2 more passport jinx throughout the rest of the race. :)

For an anecdote about my lil' (though Nik would say #$%@) experience, read on:

Race : Eco-Xcapade

Date : 30th Sep

Venue : Somewhere near Batu Caves (1 hour from KL city), amidst lush rainforest and beautiful waterfalls (not that we noticed, given our state of mind)..

Disciplines : Trail running, river running, mountain biking, obstacle course, rock-climbing, navigation, high ropes course.

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The Story Of Us......(Of Team Ouch)

Start-line : Flag off at 7:30am sharp. Total of 31 teams took part and thus there was a mad rush to Checkpoint 1.

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Run, Run Away

Checkpoint 1: Ran for like 15 minutes through the fields, up some really steep hills and slid down some really muddy slopes and ended up at the river where we had to some river crossings cum thrashing. And just 20m away from Checkpoint 1, I realised that our team passport is missing. Felt darn demoralised and Nik was nice enough to volunteer to back-track to look for it. Think it came out of my pocket while we were sliding in the mud. Lost like over 10 minutes looking for the passport and finally found it.

Therefore, at Checkpoint 1, we were ranked last and a good 10-15 minutes behind everyone else!!

Checkpoint 2 : Waterfall. Ran through some storm drains and into the river and from there, we had to look everywhere for the red tape markings, which is supposed to lead us the way. And because we lost everybody else and the red tape markings were pretty difficult to find, we spent quite a good amount of time looking for them everywhere. Ended up at a waterfall after some river thrashing and trail running for 20 mins.

Checkpoint 3 : Orang Asli Village. As we were told that we might not make the cut-off time at the next check-point due to our earlier delay, we ran as fast as we could and got there in pretty good time, just about 15 mins. And it's another case of a lot of uphill and downhill but not too siong lah.

Checkpoint 4 - Campsite. Ran another good 15 minutes before we arrived at a campsite near a river. Ling was told to jump into the river and to retrieve a light-stick that's at the bottom of the pool. Supposed to be a Mystery Test for us though we still can't see the mystery in that?

Checkpoint 5 - Rock-climbing. Told to put on our harness and helmet and to run to the climbing section. The slopes were so steep & slippery that at some point, I couldn't get a grip to get up at all and there were a lot of bum-supporting & pushing here...:) When we reached there, had to wait a good 30 minutes there, feeding mossies and leeches before we could take our turn toclimb. There was only one rope so there was a major bottleneck, not neglecting the fact that our wait was due to the lost passport incident too.

Checkpoint 6 : Campsite again. Told to keep our helmets on and to thrash down the river till we saw the next marking. As there were no trails by the side of the river, we were literally thrashing in the river and we fell a couple of times. Good thing for the helmets else a few of us would be invalids by now! Took us a good 50 minutes to finally spot the marking, which was at a waterfall. Decided to take some time to do a leech-check as well as to clear our poor shoes of all the sand from the river.

Checkpoint 7 :Waterfall. Following this, we had to go through the storm drains once again (which we thoroughly enjoyed) and back to our checkpoint 1.

Checkpoint 8 : Tunnel. The race marshal next pointed to this really high pylon at the other side of the river and told us to make our way there. We found the trail that leads there and man, it was really, really steep and once again, the bum pushing had to come in.:)

Checkpoint 9 : Navigation Test. Then came the next Mystery Test, which is navigation from point to point within the area. We were told to take down all the symbols at each point and hand it in to the marshal at the checkpoint. When we were done with that, we realized that we had forgotten to take down the symbol at the very first navigation point so was back-track time again (actually, for Nik only lah...poor guy!). And then, we were made to climb down this 10m rickety wooden ladder down a dark and foreboding tunnel, which was really fun & quite scary cos one slip will meant a fall to death (so we thought). And when we reached at the bottom of the tunnel, we found ourselves like 500m from the start line and started sprinting like hell to the next checkpoint.

Checkpoint 10: Obstacle Course. While we were back at the race site, we were made to go through a few obstacles ala army SOC-style, with the high walls, shaky wooden planks to walk on, crawl under barb-wires and all. Was really fun for all of us and a good break too from all the running. We then proceeded to our bike parking lot to collect our bikes to start our biking discipline.

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No one told me I had to do SOC again!

"It's ok Beykha, I wasn't
using that ear anyway!"

Checkpoint 11 : After like 5 minutes of biking, we once again realised that we've left our passport behind and Ling raced back to retrieve it. Soon we were on our way again, and after a while, we found ourselves in the midst of some quarry and were made to bike up this impossible steep slope that seems never to end. We managed to bike like 3/4 of the way and had to push the rest. But nonetheless, I'm proud to say that we were way ahead of a lot of people at this leg as all of us are bikers and are pretty good at it. Think some of them didn't even get to bike at all and were pushing right at the start. Took us like 30 minutes to finally reach all the way to the top, under the blazing hot sun. At this point, Nik & myself had wanted to give up cos we were $%#@ tired. But Ling, being the all cheerful her, encouraged us on and not wanting to disappoint her, decided to try to finish the race.

Checkpoint 12: And man, did we start to it regret big time! We were told it would be downhill biking all the way but the trails were impossible to bike. It's was single track, sometimes not even possible to walk and it's terribly slippery and narrow and a fall off the ridge would have hurt real bad. So, in the end, we ended up pushing our bikes nearly all the way instead and even that, we slipped and fell a couple of times. Finally came to the bottom of the downhill 'ride' and found ourselves next to a river. Was told to follow the river all the way down till we see the next marking again.

Checkpoint 13 : Thus began our worst nightmare! As there were no trails at the side of the river at all, we were forced to haul our bikes down the fast-flowing white-water river. Ended up swimming with our bikes a couple of times when the water got too deep. Darn dangerous and so physically tiring and demanding. Wanted to really quit at this point of time but there was no way out and the only way is to go on. Soon, Ling and myself were complaining about hurting knees and Ling found that she couldn't bend her knees anymore. We were nearly on the verge of tears due to fatigue. But onward we still went and it was only after 1 and a half hours in the river that,we finally saw the Marshall and boy, did our hearts leap for joy!!!

Checkpoint 14 : But not for long again as we were told to haul our bikes up to a pylon that is standing 200m high with an elevation of 90 degrees!! I could hardly walk up the slope myself as it was muddy, steep and slippery, much less haul our bikes up with us. After a few falls, we decide that it's impossible and I just lay there, face down in the mud and wanted to cry. Nik tried to help Ling with her bike and while I was waiting down there, another guy from another team saw my pathetic face and offered to help me haul my bike up. I was ever so grateful and soon as other teams were having loads of difficulty too, we saw all the guys from different teams forming a human chain along the slope to pass the bikes up. I think it was a remarkable good show of sportsmanship and made the whole experience feel really nice.

Thereafter, we were made to ride down some slopes which is the last biking leg for all of us and boy, are we glad to finally get on our saddle for a change.:) Quite challenging at some downhill but nothing that we couldn't handle.

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Beks & Ling on more familiar equipment


Checkpoint 15 : Ropes Course. Finally reached the race site again and spirits were running high as this is our last checkpoint. Was told to put on our harness and our eyes and minds were more focused on the BBQ food that was laid at the table near us. Was made to climb up to quite a height with the ropes, walk across some rope bridges, nothing really scary, unless one was scared of heights, and ended off with a flying fox which was supposed to be the highlight of the day but because we were so tired by then, couldn't really enjoy it at all.

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If you have to ask..nevermind

Checkpoint 16 : Ran to the finish line to hand in our passport to find that lo and behold, we could't find our passport again. Poor Nik had to run back to Checkpoint 15 to look for our passport and we finally found it in his bag instead....another passport jinx!! :)

After that, all we could do is to rush for the food and have some miserly chicken wing and leftover rice but it sure tasted good at that time!

Comments or criticism can be send to Beykha@teamabsolut.net


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