[PELOTON] [Up]
2001 [NTU ROAD RACE]
2002 [SWEET CHARITY TRI] [NTU ROAD RACE] [SENTOSA ROAD RACE] [TEAM TIME TRIAL] [LIM CHU KANG ROAD RACE]
[SENTOSA POINTS RACE] [VIETNAM PRE-ASEAN GAMES CYCLING RACE] [PESTA PENANG ROAD RACE]
[JOHOR BAHRU CRITERIUM]
2003 [LIM CHU KANG ROAD RACE] [TEAM TIME TRIAL] [CHANGI BUSINESS PARK ROAD RACE]
[MDHS SPRINTER SELANGOR ROAD RACE] [INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL] [SAN JOSE TEAM TIME TRIAL]
[JELAJAH TRENGGANU] [THAILAND ANTI DRUG TOUR] [SENTOSA ROAD RACE]
2004 [MARINA SOUTH ROAD RACE] [INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL] [CHANGI BUSINESS PARK ROAD RACE]
[NTU ROAD RACE] [TEAM TIME TRIAL] [LIM CHU KANG ROAD RACE]
2005 [CHANGI BUSINESS PARK ROAD RACE] [NTU ROAD RACE] [MARINA SOUTH ROAD RACE]
2006 [TEAM TIME TRIAL]

2008 [TEAM TIME TRIAL]
2009 [OCBC CYCLE SINGAPORE]

2010 [TEAM TIME TRIAL]

THE TOOTH-ACHY RACE,
11th MAY, 2003

THE MAJILIS DAERAH HULU SELANGOR SPRINTER
(MDHS SPRINTER)
The nerve was being its sensitive self again. With every pulse throb, an ionic impulse would lance brainward from my gums. I wondered how I could overcome that sensitivity thinking maybe I should wash out the cavity with saline hoping the ions would mess up the nerve's conductivity. But where was I going to get saline at the start line of a road race in the middle of the Malay Peninsula?


Thinking of Saline

Here I was in what is supposedly my recovery week, standing at the start of another race. This time I was in Malaysia. In the town of Kuala Kubu Bahru(KKB) of the district of Hulu Selangor. The district was celebrating its 25th anniversary and the district council had decided on festivities. The major event being this bike race they called the "Sprinter" and with big coin on offer. I have never been in a bike race with such big prizes - not that I was going to see any of it. I need to sort my training out first and then maybe in a year or two...

I had done nothing but rest since coming back from Thailand. Ok, not strictly true. I had to remove my left wisdom teeth because the lower one was impinging on the neighboring molar and causing a cavity. The cavity was big enough to see on x-rays. One of the complications picked up while I was on treatment for my chipped incisor.

"It should only take half an hour," was what the dentist said.

Yeah, right. I entered the theatre at 11:30 a.m. and left at 1:45 p.m. The dentist had promised to fill up the cavity at the same time but upon removing the wisdom tooth, she gave me the good news: yep, I gotta wait till the swelling went down in a month before any cavity work could be done. Not that I cared that much at that moment. I was more concerned of getting my hands on some pain-killers in case the dope she pumped into my gums wore off. I should have cared. Within a day, the exposed cavity would be niggling at me day and night. She also gave me the last minute bonus - do I want the upper wisdom tooth taken out at the same time? When I was meeting her for the first review, she had made no mention of this - I was given 30 seconds to make up my mind. Oh, what the hell, I'd lose weight, wouldn't I? So out it goes.

I drifted out of my reverie and back to watching the start line. Some local dancers had taken to the front of the stage. I glanced around and looked at the field. For a change, we were not going to be starting with Malaysian juniors. Thank goodness. No squirrels. Also, I was in the Open Category. Most riders were in the "Amateur" Category starting after us. Actually, I would stand a better chance of smelling the Big Coin were I to play in the Amateur ranks - heck, I am an AMATEUR. But pride says I must stay with the Elite, the Tour de Langkawi riders, the best that Malaysia had to offer...and get my ass whipped.

I recognized the top Malaysian riders, Shahrulneezam, Seong Hoon and Robert Lee. Nick Swallow, Eddy Cheah, Arab, Junaidi, Colin Pearson and Samuel Yang were in the field as well. I glanced around some more and saw a Malaysian guy with missing incisors. A brother-in-arms.

I had to wait for ages before the NUH pharmacy gave me my prescription. I had time to go back to work while waiting for them to give me: 1 bottle of mouth-wash, 5 days worth of penicillin and 5 days worth of Ibuprofen. I think the mouth-wash and penicillin were not worth it but the Ibuprofen...man, that is going to come in handy someday. But it just seemed like overkill to take Ibuprofen for a niggling tooth-ache.

While I was in the dentists'. They covered my chest with thick cloths and covered my eyes at the same time. I think they didn't want to scare me with their equipment. To be honest. I would have preferred to see what they were putting into my mouth. I did not feel any pain throughout the procedure. But it was very nervous. The feel of pliers and drills hammering away at part of your bone - controlled trauma. The feel of scalpel cutting away your gums - you don't feel pain, but you can feel the pressure as the gums are torn away. Yep, no pain, but I was covered in sweat and my body tensed throughout the procedure. When they took the cloths off, my undershirt was quite damp. I rather not go through this again.

Wheee! The klaxon is off and the boys are attacking through the town. Malaysian riders are aggressive and that's why they are some of the best in the region. As we made our way through the town, there was no quarter given. Guys were cutting corners and flying. Rolling start? Rolling stones on a jam session is more like it.

The Pen's central region is always rolling. What's more, Hulu Selangor was the foothills of the Main Range and KKB was an hour's drive from Fraser's Hill. While Peter Sharman, Arab, Samuel and myself had driven up from Singapore the previous day, we had observed that the race route was up and down or false flat. Throw in the humidity and this would be a killer of a race.

My friends from QuickRelease had warned me that there was nothing to eat and do at KKB. They also said that there were no good hotels in town. True. We stayed at the Sri Melati, the best hotel in KKB, where the rooms had no windows and they did not bother to plaster the outside walls - the brickwork was bare. Barest of luxuries it was true, but it was a good thing I had called beforehand to reserve rooms otherwise, we would have had to sleep in the car. All hotels in the town were booked full because of the race and many more racers were staying in the 22nd Commando Camp just out of town. Nick, Eddy and other Singaporeans actually stayed in KL and drove up to KKB the morning of the race.

I wondered whether that would have been a better alternative. I did not get to sleep much that night because of the intelligent design of the building's sewage system. They had a pipe from an upper story toilet running right past my bed where the pillows were. Someone upstairs must have had the good news with food poisoning or peritonitus because they wouldn't stop flushing the Porcelain Throne. Whooosssh! Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle.... All night long. And when my friends upstairs weren't pumping the throne, my room-mate, Samuel would be snoring. Ok, another thing to bring next time - ear-plugs.


General Feel of KKB: check out the switches

At this moment I wonder if all of us have a pain and suffering threshold. If you think of it as a cup, there is only so much you can do before that cup fills up and then you're toast. Every other aspect of your life contributes a little bit to the stuff in that cup; domestic troubles, lousy love life and tooth-aches are just some of the things that contribute to the cup. Its a mental thing. And when you start a race with that mental cup half-full, you're only going to be able to do so much. The trick is to learn to ignore the pain and so avoid filling the cup up. Some of my best performances have been when everything in my life was perfect and I had the mental discipline to focus on my goal and not the pain in my body.

Not today though. The toothy would not go away and I kept losing focus - do NOT LOSE that wheel in front of you! An 87km race of up and down and sharp cornering. I lasted about 65. Well, at least I lasted that long. Damn. The Amateurs raced only 57km. I could have mixed it up there. OTOH, there was an obscenely large pile-up in the Amateurs. Sze Kwun and Geoffrey of QuickRelease told me that it took out about 30 guys. That's crazy. So I guess I'm glad I was in the Elite - I'd rather be spanked than go pavement surfing.

Samuel could not stop gushing about the Malaysian's power and strength after the race. He ended up 8th. Not bad in such a stellar field. Colin Pearson and Eddy Cheah did well too. They were in a second chase pack. Eddy is getting stronger this year. I did not notice him last year as I did not race much but he has improved. I used to be able to drop him - now the tables are turned! I need to get a coach.

Peter Sharman, who drove us up scored 2nd place in his veteran's category. This is amazing. Why? The night before, he was guzzling beer. I think he finished about half a dozen cans of Tiger the previous evening. Furthermore, he got mis-directed at the turn about and when he realised he had to turn, the peloton was already about one km in front of him! He managed to chase them down with 5km to go and still had enough in his legs to go for 2nd place. That is simply amazing.

Ok, now for two weeks of low volume and low intensity before I start on my new training plan with the aim to peak in September/October for the whole slew of races in that time. Till next time!

Comments or criticism can be sent to sting@teamabsolut.net
 

This page was last updated on 5/02/09
Page designed by tinkerlabs © 2000
Any questions on the site to be directed to webmaster@teamabsolut.net