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Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 6:52:32 AM
by yeow mei jyn
Nur Assyira Zainal Abidin tackling a tough section of the race track.
There were lots of thrills and spills as mountain bikes went skidding, skipping and speeding at a hill in Kuala Lumpur.
HAVING just forayed into mountain biking, I was excited to find out how a mountain bike race is organised in the jungles of Bukit Kiara, next to Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Event director Melody Tan of Quick Release Adventures said the 11th Edition of KL Mountain Bike Carnival saw 302 participants from 14 countries from Europe, the United States and Asia brave the challenge of racing on trails of Bukit Kiara last weekend.
The 2km course for the race covers a few technical bits such as “The Office” (with two drops), followed by an uphill climb through “Coronary Bypass” before you hit a steep valley in “Short Circuit”. Last but not least is the extremely challenging downhill section named “Triple Terrace’.
Conquering this course once is tiring enough, but if you have to do it three times over, you really have to push yourself to the limit. It’s a real adrenaline rush, but when you’re exhausted, you have to remind yourself to keep your composure and persevere. When you think you can, you really can!
To a newbie observing this race, the Triple Terrace seemed nerve-wrecking, requiring full concentration as you descend a steep unforgiving stretch over roots and rocks. The tiniest error would send you flying down the slope! It would take months of building up skills, confidence and courage before a newbie like myself would attempt this trail.
In the Women Sport category, Nur Assyira Zainal Abidin had been leading from the sprint at the start, but she kept skidding all over the place and Valerie Chai managed to overtake her at the end of The Office. From then on, Chai hung on to the lead.
Even in the heat of competition, Chai showed sportsmanship, or rather, sportswomanship, towards fellow racer Junainah Asma, checking on her condition after the latter had skidded off the trail.
Chai topped the Women’s Sport category in 41 minutes and 32 seconds for three laps and reaped the top prize of RM800. She had been training for three months for this carnival and successfully moved up from last year’s third place finish. However, she has no plans to move up to the Women’s Elite group just yet.
When racing on mountain bikes, one only hopes not to run into mechanical trouble. Chai experienced a “chain suck” moment – where the bike’s chain wraps around the chainring until something jams – as she was overtaking other riders and had to keep her composure to prevent an untoward incident.
Teoh Sue Ling, who finished fourth in the Women Sport category, said she had almost endo (fly unexpectedly over the handlebars) at the end of The Office (where it curves to the right). As she descended the most difficult part of the trail, aptly named the Triple Terrace, she had noticed a loose log and tried not to skid on it. Luckily, Teoh held her nerves, focussed on the trail and tried to lighten her grip on the brakes to roll through smoothly.
Teoh, who has been riding mountain bikes for almost two years, trained for over two months for this race. She loves mountain biking for the excitement and the challenge of getting through rough terrain. Plus, it brings her closer to nature as she rides through the jungles.
Kusmawati Yazid from Indonesia’s Polygon Factory Team has been the Women’s Elite winner for three years running, and she ripped the field apart, holding a strong lead to the finish three minutes ahead of the second rider.
For a day’s work at The Office, Kusmawati won the top prize of RM3,000 with a fast time of 41 minutes and 29 seconds for four laps around the 2km course in the Women’s Elite category. To keep ahead of the field, she said that her team coach keeps innovating their training program to improve on skills and endurance each year.
Even though she’s aced this route three times over, there’s no room for complacency. Kusmawati shall look forward to participating in the SEA Games this coming December, and will find out soon if she will participate in Langkawi’s International Mountain Bike Challenge at the end of September too. She has been mountain biking for 15 years and trains daily in the hills of Bandung, Indonesia.
The Women’s Elite category was clearly dominated by Indonesian riders, thanks to their diligent preparations and structured training in technical skills.
For more info, check: www.klmtbcarnival.com.my
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Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Mountain Bike, Bukit Kiara
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