akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Wednesday 4 May 2016

20.03.2016: Spartan Race Super 2016

Sunburn, muscle soreness, skin abrasion and headache from March Equinox heat. All trumped by the high feeling of brotherhood and togetherness.

Venue: Canary Gardens, Bandar Bestari Klang.

Team NCUK.Whattt?
Capt Izham
(and team Bekamer, Zakuan, on his favourite couch at home)

The seven of us, whom we had known each other back in our college days in Shah Alam formed a team for the Super leg of the Spartan Race. An eclectic mix of triathletes, marathoners, CrossFitter and other mid-life crises outlets achievers.

Izham, Hairul and myself took part as individuals in the Sprint leg October last year in different heats. In our quest towards achieving the Trifecta (finishing the Sprint, Super and Beast courses), we decided to team up and enjoined by others as well.

What's beneficial in being this team is that we got the privilege of getting in the early heat, taking advantage of Izham's early registration. Indeed, it is quite an important one as the date coincides with the year's March Equinox, set to be the hottest day of the year. The best of it all, we were reunited after more than 20 years since college, and I'd say the bond is strengthen right there along the course with brotherhood and camaraderie.

muddy barbwire crawl
The objective of this leg was met; we stayed (strolled) together from the start until the end. All the way along the 13 km trail and trenches over (and under some) 20+ obstacles.

I prepared more of my upper body strength primarily doing pull-ups, chin-ups and biceps. Basically with the aim of clearing the rope climb obstacle which I failed miserably during the Sprint event. The other obstacles requiring upper body strength are the walls. 8 ft., 10 ft. and inverted walls. Overall I did better than Sprint in general although it could be better. I cleared the walls with a little help, but perhaps with 80% of my own effort. Believe me, to get that 20% more is quite a daunting task. For that I thank my team members for their literal support.

I'm happy to report that I was only a feet away from hitting the bell on the rope climb. Didn't manage to clear the obstacle, but almost there. Miles better that not being able to even lift myself up during Sprint. Hats off to Hairul and Ashraf for their victory against the rope's bell.

I found myself in a much better shape against many of the obstacles also featured in Sprint event; in part because of familiarity, but most of it due to the time spent at the gym and around the track at Kombes Paroi. The other thing that made it much more bearable is that we didn't run all along the course. Yes, we walked. Hehe. Of course, finishing the whole course in 5 hours is nothing much to shout about. Alas, we did it. Together.
*except for maybe the last few obstacles where Hairul sprinted off to catch up with the time; he had to get back home ASAP to fetch his boys for their afternoon events.

There were a few more additional obstacles not featured in Sprint leg; among them the Tyrolean Traverse, of which I had the same fate with my rope climb. Almost hitting the bell, but my hands just could not bear the grip anymore and I gracefully fell down on my back to the smelly bed of mud. Another one in my list to be cleared off during the Beast leg later this year.

Izham's pair of Salomons gave up on him from the 3rd kilometer on the course. We had to resort to on-the-trail McGyver fix. It lasted up until the 12th km, which is not bad at all. We went in the muddy trails, over numerous trenches and through the course obstacles, stopping at several places to refasten the makeshift broad lacing made out of the cordon tapes.

There was a circulation issued by the Meteorological Department notifying the general public on the heatwave and March equinox a few days before the event day. Coincidentally, the event date is on the March equinox so it was making quite a stir among the participants. Taking cue from the worried cries on social media, the organiser announced that they are going to fortify the 6 water stations along the route. That in itself means that we won't have to bring along our hydration belts/packs on our waists/backs. Cold water and Lucozade were provided in adequate amount (well at least for our morning heat).

We finished at about 1.00 pm, and marched straight to the photo booth for the team's victory photo after collecting our medals. Before getting to the shower area, we collected our Finisher t-shirt and bags. In the end, I decided not to have shower at site, but to get a proper shower at my hotel room in Klang as I have arranged earlier for a late check-out.
trifoota featuring Izham's Salomon
The t-shirt and bag collection were two places where the organisers failed quite miserably. We were handed a simple cutout red ribbon upon getting our finisher medals as a token for exchange at the t-shirt counter. Immediately I thought that it is a bad idea as it can't be controlled especially when I could easily pick up about ten of those red ribbons on the ground right there and exchange for equal number of t-shirts.
Of course I didn't, I'm a Spartan. Albeit, some did and poor Spartans for the later heats were left with bigger sizes to collect (as mere souvenirs or maybe repurposed as a wall decor). The sizing for this time is much different than the Super. The M size that I had last time was a bit tight, so I opted for an L. Fortunately my former teammate Sudi was around and he told me that it is a bit bigger compared to before. So I got myself an M size t-shirt, and it fits me just nice although a bit short.

two-third of the trifecta
I got my bag at the chaotic bag counter quite easily as I could spot it from the outside, hung by the wall together with a friend's. Different story for many fellow Spartans though. Some found theirs appallingly laid outside the bag tent, and some separated from the bags checked in together, and some unlucky souls had their belongings lost.

Overall I think this Super leg is a mix of improvements from the previous Sprint but marred by lagging in some of the things they did okay before. I'm hoping that the next event - Beast - (which by default is a must due to the allure of completing the Trifecta) would be an avenue for the organiser to prove their mantle in getting things right if not better.
And of course on my part to get much better in clearing the obstacles, with minimum burpees to pay.


more photos in here.

Spartans wash their clothes themselves

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