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Blog - Page 3 of 9 - Andy Saiden
Video

Video: Tadom Warrior Sprint 2015

Had a blast at the Tadom Warrior Sprint 2015 event, It was not by any means difficult however it was enjoyable. Having obstacles back to back as the course itself was around 3km only. Here is my POV video from the event.

 

 

Cycling

Klang Premier Century Ride 2015

Before entering the Klang Premier Century Ride 2015 I had heard from my team-mates about the danger of this event due the condition of the roads in Klang. However I chose to brush it off and register anyway. This being only by third event I had ever registered for, as previously I had only done one proper century ride an another 128km enduride. Also I do find it strange that they call it a century ride when the total distance was only 122km. Most probably the organisers lack the understanding the methodology of a century ride.

Anyway before flagging off, I had done some research on the route, which was very flat, and I had imagined it to be fast paced and difficult for riders to breakaway from the main peloton. The elevation gain for the total ride was only around 100 meters. This meant it would be difficult to see any breakaways and was certainly built for a sprint finish. 

The event started on time, flagging off from the Premier Hotel at exactly 7am. The cloudy and cool weather made the ride very pleasant as it stayed that way through out the day. However the entire race was far from pleasant. Due to the horrid road conditions in the Klang area,  right after the flag off I had to be on my toes as riders would be swerving left and right to avoid pot holes and cracks on the road. About 20km into the race I had already had to avoid countless bottles rolling around on the road and also some very close calls where the front riders would jam their brakes. At one point my wheels were touching my team-mate, fortunately we both managed to stay up right.  

Upon reaching Banting town there was a left hand turn which immediately caused the peloton almost come to a immediate halt as there was a building which was still soaking in water as the fire fighters had just put out at fire. The road narrowed as we had to move aside to avoid the fire truck.

The burnt down building can be seen on the left hand side with fire fighters taking up a lane of the road. 

The next ordeal of the day was just before reaching Pantai Morib where a taxi had ignored the police and continued to drive along the road. A few of the riders who were going well over 40km/h in the opposite lane panicked which resulted in at 3 to 4 riders hitting ground. Not long after that we reached our first U-turn which was in all honesty a very tight squeeze. I had prepared for it and made sure to take the long way round the turn just be safe. Those who were stuck in the middle were forced to unclip and slowly push their bikes around the turn. 

Taxi driving right into the cyclist, however the video doesn’t do justice to show what happened further upfront 

Roughly around 50km into the ride we squeezed into a very small and uneven road which frankly was better suited for MTBs than it was for road bikes. To make matter worse these small roads were filled with potholes, sand, mud, as well as small bridges which caused a bit of a mayhem in the rear of the group. The Second U-Turn was not any better than the first, to make things worse the road which was already small now had ridders coming from the opposite direction. 

The final 20km was fast, and it did not help that the road conditions leading to the finish line was worse than ever. The speed was hovering around the high 40km/h and it was intense seeing a rider hit the ground after misjudging a speed hump, what made it worse was his bike bounced off the ground and hit another rider to his left which caused a domino effect to the back. I was a bit shaken up by the incident but but my team-mates snapped me back and I continued to pedal along with the peloton. 

As we were approaching the final 5km, everyone started to feel the need to move forward, a train on the right was trying to get forward fast, however that ended up in great catastrophe as riders collided, I jammed by brakes almost rode over a few bottles and Garmins rolling around.

Klang Premiere Century Ride 2015   001At this point I told myself to just keep myself out of trouble as I did not have the experience to be part of a bunch sprint towards the finish, I eased off  a bit to keep myself somewhere in the middle of the peloton and as I saw the finishing line coming up in the last few hundred meters. A massive crash happened right in front of me, I jammed my brakes and came to a screeching halt. Unclipped and moved aside to make sure not be obstacle for the other rides coming up from behind.

I can’t say for certain how many riders went down. But there were at least 10 bikes on the ground from what I can recall. According to the a few riders it would seem that it was caused by a stationary car which was parked on the left hand side of the road. Not being able to avoid the stationary car the rider smashed into it and went down causing other behind to also topple over. And on the right hand side of the road in the heat of battling for the sprint a few riders had their handle bar lock up which also resulted in a crash. IMG_20150524_101509

Normally I would be walking away with a sense of happiness and satisfaction after completing an event like this. however this would be the first one that I walked away feeling a bit sad and angry after seeing so many riders go down and also my fellow team mates hitting the ground.  The route set by the organiser is not safe and I would advise any fellow riders reading to please stay away from this event. Unless they change the route this will certainly be my very first and last Klang Premier Century Ride. 

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Cycling

What To Bring On A Bike Ride

Regardless of how far you will be riding your bike, there a few essentials that you should not leave home without. It might seems excessive at first, however this will prevent you from being stranded in the middle of nowhere and not being able to pedal home.

I will not cover all the items that you can bring along, however I will concentrate on the essentials you will need. These are the items that are always with me on any ride.

What to bring on a bike ride

1. Spare tubes

One of the most essential item to bring on a ride is the spare tubes. Now personally I would carry two tubes when going on long rides alone or when riding in a small group. As the unluckiest of days could result in two punctures in a day. During larger group rides, you can make do with just one spare tube. As in case of emergency there is always someone with an extra tube. Also a good tip would be to check the spare tubes that you bring along to ensure that they not faulty.

2. CO2 Inflator/ Hand Pump

Now with a new tube in place you will need to re inflate the tires again. Personally I prefer to carry around a CO2 inflator instead of a conventional hand pump. The reason for this is that it takes less space and inflates the tire almost instantly when triggered. However there is a downside to using CO2, the first is that you have only chance at getting right while inflating the tire, and secondly they are a bit most costly in the long run. Be sure to carry an extra canister of CO2, in case the first one leaks or you have two separate punctures. Also bring along a presta valve adapter so that you can use the air pumps at the petrol stations. 

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3.  Tire Levers

Tire levers are probably the least glamorous item on the list yet very essential to remove the inner tube quickly and to place the tire back in place.

4. Multi Tool

A multi-tool will help you in many ways, having one with a complete set of hex keys, screw drivers and chain cutter will serve you in almost any situation you may encounter while out riding. It could be anything from changing the saddle height, tightening the brakes to cutting a broken chain. This little multi-tool will is a swiss knife to a cyclist.

Multi Tool Cycling

Birzman Multi-Tool

5. Mobile Phone

Besides tracking your ride using the Strava, the mobile phone will be useful to call for help in case of an emergency, get directions if you get lost, or even give out your location to loved ones using  Life 360Family Locator and Sygic Family Locator.  You can download these apps for free from the Google Play store.

6. Water Proof Case

The weather is always unpredictable so the last thing you want is getting your mobile phone wet. A water proof case will help keep your phone dry from sweat and rain. If you cant get a hold of a water proof case then a sandwich bag will surfiest.

7. Saddle Bag

Now you could stuff most of the items down the rear pockets of your jersey, however there is only so much you can squeeze into the 3 pockets. So if you don’t have enough space for all of the items, then a saddle bag would be a good addition.

My Topeak saddle bag fits almost everything except my mobile phone which I slot into my back pocket. Even with all the items there is still room for a few energy gels.

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8. Photo ID & Cash/Credit Card.

Also don’t forget to bring along a photo ID and some cash or credit card to pay for your coffee when you are out riding with your friends. The photo ID and credit card can be easily slotted in behind your mobile phone and placed in the water proof case.

I hope this small list will help give an idea on what to bring on a bike ride. Again these are the bare essentials and you can add more things to the list depending on how far you are cycling and what are the weather conditions in your area.

Fuji Sportif 2.1
Cycling

My First Road Bike

Growing up my parents introduced me to cycling fairly early, I was handed down a red bicycle which had what I called Swedish styled brakes, where you had to pedal backwards so that the brakes would engage the rear wheel. Till today I can still recall the scrapes and burns from falling off the bike for those first few attempts on learning how to balance myself on two wheels. And when the moment finally came, when the bicycle was well balanced and travel just as I wanted it to go, the feeling was spectacular, a sense of freedom.

Now flash forward 25 years and I have just picked up my first road bike, I had never imagined that the world of cycling was a $6 billion dollar industry and that some bicycles would literally cost  you and an arm or a leg. Cycling as a kid was much simpler, it would either be a bicycle with with gear or one without. The BMX was my kid bike and then later on moved on to a mountain bike (MTB) as I grew up to a teenager. DSC_8739

Now the bike, which became my first road bike is a full aluminium framed Fuji Sportif 2.1, it came with a mix of Shimano Tiagra and Sora groupsets and carbon integrated forks. Weighing in 10.4KG it was definitely not the lightest bicycle, it was actually considered be on the heavy for some. Anyway it didn’t bother me one bit, as I knew I had the fitness to pedal and frankly it is the lightest bicycle I have ever owned. Now the Sportif is categorised as an endurance bike, which means the entire design of the frame has been worked around comfort and also to ease those steep climbs. This is perfect for the hardcore weekend warrior which I would classify myself as. 

Fuji Sportif 2.1

Fuji Sportif 2.1 Butted SL Aluminium Frame

Personally the first time I got the bike and started riding, it did feel a bit odd as I have been so adapted to sitting up straight like you would do on a conventional bicycle. But it didn’t take long to adjust to the more aggressive position you get while sitting on a road bike, just a few minutes later you realize that you are going so fast. It felt great, especially when I realized that I was going at speeds of 25 km/h or more. To a seasoned rider this is still considered slow but coming from those years riding a MTB it did feel fast. 

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Now about the bike, as for some reason here in Malaysia there seem to be a lack of larger sized bicycles. Not too sure why, as I generally do not consider myself as a tall person, heck I’m just average standing at a modest 177cm. The correct size for my height was to be somewhere between 54 to 56. The bike which I currently own is a 52 and  there had to be some slight modification done in order to get it fit my height properly. It’s getting technical but I cannot stress enough on how important it is to get the bike to fit your body, as the most expensive bike in the world would probably harm your body more than anything if it does not fit you. 

Fuji Sportif 2.1 Rear Derailleur

Shimano Tiagra Rear Derailleurs

Fuji Sportif 2.1

The Fuji Top Tube Cover

Now in order to compensate for the smaller frame on the bicycle, the seat post was raised quite high and also to make my arms more comfortable the handlebars needed to be pushed further front. Therefore the stem had to be longer, so the one that came with the bike was replaced. I have to say that I was glad I had my buddy Sean with me as it would have been a disaster if not for him. I had already read up on all the different cycling terminologies, sizing, and just cycling in general. However sadly some of the people in the store were more or less clueless when it comes to proper bike fitting. 

Fuji Sportif 2.1 Crankset

The Shimano Sora Front Derailleur.

All in all my road bike is fantastic, this entry level Fuji was definitely worth it and has so far clocked in a little over 650 km in just under 2 months. The next achievement on the list would be to complete a century ride which is 16o kilometres (100 miles). It would certainly be epic and will probably get a chance to complete that in the next month or so. I shall now wrap up this post and will be back with another post talking about my journey of becoming a cyclist and how no road bike is complete without clipless pedals.

Fuji Sportif 2.1

Fuji Sportif 2.1

General Photography

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1.8G DX Test

I’ve actually contemplated for quite some time now to buy a new lens, and as I have praised this lens many times before it was no surprise that the Nikon 35mm 1.8G DX would be my top for a prime lens along side my trusty 50mm f1.8.  This will not be a thorough review of the lens but just a short test run with the lens as I have yet had the time to full test the lens to its fullest potential.

So far its been great shooting with a prime lens again, as essentially with a 35mm on cropped sensor is actually  52mm focal length if it was a full frame camera.  From the very brief time I’ve had with the lens I can positively say that lens gives excellent image quality for each shot, it is a value for money lens as it does not cost an arm of leg, it’s fast with an aperture of f1.8 and has somewhat resistance to flaring.

On the negative side of the spectrum, the lens does not produce the best Bokehlicious images, but I have to say the images are very sharp indeed. Also there has been reports of chromatic aberration and colour fringing at large apertures. Despite it’s negative aspects,  I would still give this lens a two thumbs up.

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My brother, getting the fire started for our BBQ session

 

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My first grilled marshmallow and also testing the BOKEH

 

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My chicken looks really good, also very sharp and good at low light this lens.

 

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Nyummm more chicken.

 

 

Ruby the cat

Ruby the cat

 

 

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