Full Article of SJ2011

The Full Article Write Up by Mr. David Sze.

Sepang MTB Jamboree 2011

Date    : 11th December 2011
Venue : Sepang International Circuit (SIC)
Time    : 0700-1430 hrs
Jamboree Route around SIC

Jamboree Route Elevation & Distance

The Beginning
On the 11th Dec of 2011, I took part in my first Mountain Bike(MTB) Jamboree. I took up MT Biking in March 2010 where the three of us friends bought the same Mountain bike together from the same store. It has taken a while before I finally decided to participate in a Jamboree. The following is a brief account of my participation in my inaugural MTB Jamboree, Sepang Jamboree 2011.

Pre -Race training
The actual “intensive” training that I did was done 3 weeks before the actual jamboree. My cycling buddy and I  cycled up Bukit Dinding in Taman Setiawangsa. The distance from the entrance to the top of the hill is 2.5 km and it is 100% pure uphill cycling.  We would go up and down the hill twice per visit.  All in all we went up Bukit Dinding every weekend for three weekends preceding the Jamboree.

Early morning Fright
Got up at 6:30 am. The previous night I had already prepared all the attire and attached the bike rack to the back of my car. I set off at about 7:00 am thinking that it would take me about 45 minutes to reach my destination. I had printed out the directions to SIC using Google map and printed out the route in detail on several A4 sheets of paper detailing every road turning. As it turned out the roads in Google map was not updated and from Dengkil onwards I was lost. In the end I had to rely on the road signs to lead me to SIC.  I reached SIC later than planned at about 8:10 am. The Jamboree was planned to kick off at 8:30 am.  Now I had another problem, I could not find the actual meeting place (car park) as there were so many car parks in SIC.  I spotted another Kancil who was also lost.  Eventually we asked one of the personnel in the car park and thankfully he knew about the event and gave us directions to the location. Another couple of tense minutes of driving around the SIC, we found the correct car park and there was already a big bunch of cyclists waiting in anticipation at the starting line.  One of the female organisers told me to park my car beside the road, quickly register and then to drive to the designated car park area.  I ran in to find the registration counter.  Once done I ran back to the car with my goody bag and proceeded to drive to the car park which was about another 150 metres away.  I busied getting my bike off the rack and got myself changed for the race.  I quickly strapped my participant number on to the front of my bike and cycled to the starting line.  At this time the crowd of cyclists had built up and I was way towards the end of the starting pack.

PreRace Briefing
I had missed the pre-race briefing and in my haste, I had left my mobile phone and camera in my car.  I was thinking to myself:  “My first MTB Jamboree and I had no way of capturing the events for rememberance”
Waiting for the start of the "race". Me (in orange) with
Edward (in black) and son (in red & white) in the centre of pic

Starting Line.
It was at the starting line that I finally caught up with my cycling buddy, Edward and son who had taken the tolled highway to SIC.  I quickly asked about the salient points from the pre-race briefing.  My buddy answered that the mobile phone numbers of the persons-in-charge at the three checkpoints were printed behind our participant number.  We were supposed to call them if ever we got lost. “Great! I left my mobile in my car, so the emergency numbers were of no use to me!”
And we are off!
There was a short delay as the organizers were waiting for the arrival of the superbikes to lead the start of the Jamboree.  After a short wait the “race” got started amidst sprays of colorful glitter and paper from the handheld tubes shot up to the cloudy and windy morning sky. “What a fantastic day for a Sunday morning ride!” I was thinking to myself while waiting for the start of the Jamboree. The sun was hidden behind the clouds and there was a constant cool breeze.  I pushed forward from the back of the pack such that I was in the middle of the pack. I thought to myself, better not be at the back of the pack just in case I get lost. At least there would still be cyclists whom I could follow. It was a wonderful experience as hundreds of bicycles thundered along the bitumen road.  I meant it when I said “thundered” along the road as you could hear the loud sound of the bicycle tyres as they scrambled down the bitumen road.  I kept pushing hard to get as far forward as I could as I was anticipating myself to slow down after the second check point.  It was rather difficult as there were so many of us. After a short ride on the road we were in the oil palm estate trails.

First Check-Point (14 km)
Pic of me in background coming out of the oil palm
trails towards the first Check point (I think)
The ride was quick and challenging with a mix of short uphill and downhill trails. But there was a rather long uphill climb towards the end of Check Point 1. This was where I had to stop and pushed my bike up. Earlier I told myself as far as possible not to stop to rest and while going downhill to pedal hard to take advantage of the downhill and momentum. I found myself not following my own advice on the downhill as I was already tired after the uphill climb. I would just let the bike cruise downhill without pedaling.  I told myself to just keep moving and to try as much as possible not to stop to rest. Worst come to worst just get off the bike and push it. As I progressed I noted that there were a lot of sharp turns especially after the short downhill stretches.  On two occasions I saw riders overshooting the turns as they were coming down too fast.
We cycled out of the oil palm estate and onto a highway. We rode beside the highway against traffic and then turned into the dirt trail where we reached the first check point.  It was a relief to see the first check point. I got my colored validation sticker pasted onto the participation number and continued on to the second check point.  “Okay, first leg done, another 2 more legs to go!”  It was at this point that I started wondering how my cycling buddy and his son were doing.  I did not see them since the starting line.

Second check Point (14 km)
Into the oil palm trails again we cycled.  Soon after the first check point there was another tough uphill climb. I too had to get off my bike and pushed my bike uphill.  Somewhere in the middle of the ride, we encountered a group of riders and they were saying that they got lost and could not follow the road signs nor the shredded paper trail.  The riders were confused. After a brief moment we just pushed on ahead and hoped for the best. Luckily for us we did not get lost and reached the second check point.  To reach the second check point again we had to cycle on the highway against the car traffic. This time the ride on the highway was a lot shorter.  It was towards the second check point that I felt extremely hungry. My stomach was beginning to complain.  I did not take the Power Bar that was supplied to us in the goody bag.  In fact I did not even notice it as I was rushing to the starting line.  Here I was hungry and tired in the middle of the oil palm estate. I told myself to push on to the third check point.
Past the second check point, fewer riders could be seen by me. Whenever the riders passed, we would give words of encouragement.  It was here where I started complaining to the riders passing by that I was hungry and tired.  Most of them also complained that they were hungry too but one lone rider who was passing me stopped his bike and offered to share his last power bar with me.  It was a great relief as I could now munch on something.  I said to him, “You are a life saver man!”  We stopped to enjoy the power bar, we introduced ourselves and he then sped off after he had finished his half of the power bar. (Thanks Faiz!)

Third Check Point (9 km)
After that short fuel stop, with some additional energy in me I continued cycling to the third check point. I got the last colored sticker and I told myself, “Thats it, I am almost there! The tough uphill climbs are over. I am home free! This last leg is mostly downhill!”  With the encouragement from the organizers at the last check point,  I pushed onwards .
Queing up for grub after the lucky draw. At the white tent
in the background there is also a long queue lining up
for their turn in the lucky draw

The Finish Line
Finally I was onto the bitumen road and the last stretch was really good as it was downhill all the way to the finish line. Once I reached the finish line, there was a long queue of riders lining up to try their luck at the first lucky draw. I only managed to get another Power Bar. After that we headed to the buffet tent where everyone was also queuing up for the buffet lunch. Its incredible how delicious the food tasted especially when one is absolutely famished. It was only after I had gotten my plate of food and was almost finished with it that I saw my first glimpse of Edward.  I called to him and asked what had happened.  He told me his son had a tough time on the course and he had to wait for him.

The Lucky Draw
After lunch, we washed our bikes at the bike wash area and then we took a quick rinse in the toilet. Edward and his son went home early as his son was extremely tired and needed to rest. (Edward said that on reaching home his son made a beeline for his bed and slept.) Then came the main event: The lucky draws.  Everyone was relaxed and in a jovial mood in the car park and of course hoping that luck would be on their side to take home a lucky draw prize.  There were heaps and heaps of lucky draw prizes given away that Sunday afternoon.  I can say that a lot of people got a lucky prize be it big or small.  Of course everyone was eyeing the Grand Prizes of mountain bikes and bike frames.  I was aiming low and was hoping to win the Cateye hybrid headlight (solar/battery). After the last grand prize of Specialized FSR Bike Frame (worth RM4,862) was given off everyone dispersed and headed home.

I think I speak for all who participated in the Jamboree.  It was truly a feeling of a great sense of achievement as I reached the finish line. Take part in the "race" BUT do not over exert yourself was the thought at the back of my mind throughout the event and lastly, to try not to get in last (hee hee).  Everyone who completed the course got a finisher medal.  Thus ended my first ever Jamboree.

Pic taken in one of clearings heading towards the first
check point (I think)
Post Race
The next day I frantically searched the web for pictures of the race and luckily found some photos of me in them.  So it was an added bonus to find photos of me to keep for the album too. Yay!

I also found out later that week at work, that the winner of the grand prize Specialized bike frame was my colleague’s younger brother who had just recently started mountain biking. Lady luck shined on the “newbee” that Sunday afternoon.

Captured from http://public-awareness-kl.blogspot.com/2011/12/sepang-mtb-jamboree-2011.html

Quoted comment on this event.

Quoted comment on this event.

To the organizers of the Sepang Jamboree 11 Sept 2012

The event overall is a success -- very nice trail, challenging but rideable. Good organisation on the day itself and definitely one of the better catered lunches I have had at any of these events. The trail design with the external carpark loop worked to spread the riders out and closer to CP1, I was able to make it up the hills unimpeded by other riders.However, like all events, it can be improved. In the case of the Sepang Jamboree, it doesn't take much -- just attention to some details which will yield much improved participation enjoyment. So please take the following comments not as criticism but of hoped for improvements that will increase my enjoyment next year even more.1. Trail markings -- at the turns, there are markings at the beginning of the turn. That's fine when there isn't another turn at the same point that could be ambiguous. Confirmation markings at 10m intervals (or thereabouts) after the turns especially the ambiguous ones would help. As I got nearer to CP2 when riders were spread out, there were a few times I wasn't sure if I had made the right turn. There were a couple of occasions when fellow riders and I waited for each other for confirmation we were not lost.2. Exiting the trail -- when we exited the trail finally and reached the end of the downhill tarmac road, there was no signpost or marshal to tell riders to turn right and head back to the F1 Village. I knew where I was only because I had by chance parked my car at that junction. Later on as I was cleaning my bike at my car, I was constantly being asked by riders which way the finish was.In fact one group of the finishing riders had the inconvenience to time their right turn just as a whole stream of motorbikes exited the race that had just ended and had to wait at least a couple of minutes before being to get out of the junction.3. Race day information -- for out of town riders, we don't know which is the usual car park the gatherings are. Usually race organisers (in Johor where I ride regularly) will post the coordinates or some well known landmark that can be googled. Sepang is a sprawling site. A simple reference to the F1 village would have helped.4. Registration number changes -- my registration number changed 3 times. I can understand your desire to assign blocks that simplify on site registration logistics. But it is disconcerting. On the bright side I ended up with a number the cantonese would consider desirable (384) :)5. Registration the day before -- again, for out of town riders, not sure how easy it is to find Puchong. btw, I am an ex KL person but was a bit overwhelmed at how much Puchong has developed and expanded. Maybe a telephone hotline would help as out of towners may not have access to the internet. And my Garmin did have updated maps otherwise, I would have been at a loss. For overnight race stays, I usually prefer to collect my registration the day before and avoid the early morning race day scrambles unlike when I am participating in South Johor events (I am a Malaysian living in Singapore).6. The start from F1 Village -- that was one narrow gateway to funnel through during the start but went better than I had hoped -- about a minute to get past the gate from mid pack. Maybe one of the slip roads from the opposite side of the Perimeter road that filters left instead for next year?Finally, a big thank you to the CP volunteers. They are the face of the race and make all the difference to tire legs with their chirpy greetings.Once again, let me stress that the above is not meant as criticism but my hope that next year's jamboree will be even more enjoyable. Health and other factors permitting, I intend to make it back. Any chance you can reschedule outside of the monsoon?Best

Foo Chee Hei
From Chua Pei Chong :
Abel Yuen & Friends, thank you for organizing this event. I love it. The trail was amazingly fun to ride and coordinated with sufficient climbs (i love climbs!). No doubt the rain had made the tracks so muddy and slippery, well this is what we call mountain biking! As a feedback, a few additional arrow signage will really help at critical turns and junctions. I was not in the front pack and some of the junctions had wheel marks, so I followed it without getting lost. Those in the front pack may have turned at the wrong junctions. Lastly, the food served was special. Very nice chicken wings, buns, potatoes and the tasty bbq sauce! Hope to make it for next year's event. Again, a big hand and Thanks!