September 24, 2013
Alzure Mahshar (left), Ian Chin (Center), Adam Faroze (Right) - Photo credit Greg Thistlethwait
Asia’s Best Trail Rider Crowned At Malaysia’s First Enduro Mountain Biking Race
Ian Chin (top male rider) and Jonie Sua (top female rider) came out on top in the sun baked trails of Bukit Kiara.
Sweat. Speed. Smiles. 159 participants, representing 19 countries, with an average age of 35, braved five race stages, across 16km of Asia’s finest jungle single track trails, that included technical downhill sections, a flowing series of jumps and 900 metres of energy sapping climbing.
14,000+ views on Facebook. 1,000 litres of water. 600 cans of Redbull. 1.000 sandwiches. Despite over 20 bike mechanical emergencies, there were only 3 stiches given, and 85% of riders finished the race grinning ear to ear.
In the men’s category, Ian Chin topped an all Malaysian podium, which featured fellow Penang based shredders Alzure Mahshar and Adam Faroze. Jonie Sua took home the honours in the female category, leading from the front having also won Saturday’s time trail stage.
Raising the bar for Asian mountain biking, Enduro Asia MTB follows the global standards outlined by the Enduro World Series (EWS). Aiming to unite riders and racer under one fun, action orientated format, Malaysia’s first enduro race was won by a downhill rider racing an XC trail bike. Weekend warriors rode with seasoned professionals on a race course designed by riders for riders.
*For any queries, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org
An Awesome Support From Our Sponsors
A massive thanks goes to the top brands that have been supporting the event such as Ayam Brand Malaysia, Banshee Bikes, Fakawi Banshee Bikes, e*thirteen Components, Formula Brakes, Funn, GoingFull Sdn Bhd, Go Pro Malaysia, Hammer Nutrition, KHS Cycle, Niner Bikes, Red Bull Europe, Shaves2U, Sime Darby Healthcare, Spinergy Wheels, Zero2Hero, and 2ndSkin race apparel.
A token of appreciation as well to Jalan Landscape Negara (JLN) for allowing us access to Bukit Kiara and to the Trails Association of Selengor and Kuala Lumpur (TRAKS) for ensuring that the trails were in mint condition for the riders, and to all of our volunteers who did a fantastic job to provide a safe, welcoming racing environment.
- 155 riders including 5 females
- Age: from 17 to 55, average 35 - 18% are under 30, 19% over 40
- 63% are between 30 & 40
- 48% are from Malaysia, 19 nationalities in total (Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA)
- 25,000+ views on Facebook
- 1,000 litres of Spritzer water
- 600 cans of Redbull
- 1.000 Ayam Brand sandwiches
- only 3 stitches given
- 85% of riders finished the race, grinning from hear to hear
September 22, 2013
Singapore to Kiara: An Enduro Adventure
“The grin on your face” is how every good MTB trail ride ends: a mix of adrenaline and exhaustion knowing you gave 100% on that last ride. After spending a couple of weeks in Europe getting grin-inducing rides in the Alps and Tuscan hills, I was ready for something new around Singapore. Turning to Google for help, only one relevant result came up, but what an opportunity! The first ever Enduro Asia MTB event held September 20-21 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, only a short drive from Singapore, and open for registration. A wire transfer, a hotel booking, and I was set.
Since I hadn’t ridden the trails in KL at Bukit Kiara before, I decided to take a day off work and try them out before the main event on Saturday and Sunday. So on Thursday evening, with my bike & gear in the car, petrol 75% full (Singaporeans will understand), I set off for Malaysia.
Friday morning, I was ready to start my adventure. How do you find out about the trails at Bukit Kiara? Point your bike uphill, and start pedaling. Once you’ve had enough of going up, point your bike down one of the many trail options, go as fast as you can/dare. The trails are varied, and well maintained. There’s a good mix of technical switchbacks, and speedy sections to make everyone happy. The longest trail offer the best riders a solid 8-10 minutes downhill ride.
Repeat until either your legs (uphill) or forearms (downhill) can’t take it anymore. In the afternoon I met some of the local riders, and organizers of the event: Sam Middlehurst, Alan Knowles, Olivier Falcoz, and many more. A great crew that generously offered useful tidbits on the different trails, and race course designed to meet the global standards of the Enduro World Series.
Saturday - Prologue Day
Bikes are first checked, followed by a rider briefing from Sam Middlehurst - Chief Enduro Officer - and off go, 160 riders for our first timed run that will determine which of 4 groups I’ll set off on race day. Starting point is half way to Bukit Kiara top. The race starts with some uphill… Push, pedal, do whatever it takes to get to the top, then the downhill section: rocks, roots, as fast as possible while avoiding punctures or other mechanical failures, never a given. But Saturday is a beautiful sunny, dry day, and I get down in one piece in a time good enough to place me in the 1st wave on race day. I want more!
So off I go to practice a couple runs for the next day, and fall, resulting in a contused little finger… Most importantly, the bike’s fine, and I head home nursing an increasingly purple/green looking appendage.
Sunday - Race day
Bike and rider are ready. Finger? When all else fails, “duct it”, aspirin and it’s good to go. Weather looking overcast, but no rain, always a positive when riding over roots. Another bike check, and at 10:10am the 1st wave starts off. The 5 timed downhill sections are done on a first come first served basis. I make it up the hill in decent time and start segment 1, 2, 3. Going great, feeling good. Then after stage 3. I take a wrong turn, pedal up the mountain to find out I was supposed to go a different route. Back down the hill, and up the right way… Extra exercise, just what I needed! Starting to feel exhausted, pins and needles in arms and legs.
Whereas all previous stages ended halfway down Bukit Kiara, stage 4 takes us back to the starting point at the bottom. Then 1 hour time allowance to get back to the top for the final stage 5. Starting to look forward to the end at that point! A quick rest before taking the last, longest and fastest downhill stage. After a brief uphill section (another one!) it’s down, down, down with plenty of jumps/drops for good measure. Full disclosure: I take the chicken run for the “big rock” gap jump. Keep pedaling and give it all you have for the last few twists and turns before the finish gate, and of course, “the big grin”.
Exhausted, out of breath, tired, but soon enough, I can’t help but wonder: When can I do this again?!
What an experience. 3 fun filled days at a great location. Thank you KL for Bukit Kiara, and thank you team Enduro Asia MTB for organizing such a great event.
Time to pack up, and head home. I look forward to my next biking adventure in South East Asia.
Raphael Jaggy (SUI) - GC Ranking: 27th/159
September 22, 2013
Saturday - Prologue
Long before the race weekend, the local MTB scene here in KL had been buzzing with talk about the forthcoming Enduro Asia MTB race, being held on the legendary Bukit Kiara trails. Who was and wasn’t riding, what race tactics to employ, what bike to ride, tyres to choose. With this being the first race of its kind in the region, it seemed no-one had any previous experience of enduro racing, and thus no real advantage over anyone else. The field would be open and anything could happen.
Normally when I’ve competed in XC races you can spot the guys who would win, before the race starts. Racer’s build, slim physique, all about maximising the power-to-weight ratio, and invariably riding a carbon hardtail. With the Enduro however it was clear that it wasn’t going to be so clear. Some of the big name DH riders were in town, and no doubt would be able to shred the descents, however, would they still be able to do that after 16km of trail riding on the big bikes? Likewise, some of the “carbon hardtail crowd” would find the distance no issue, and can handle a bike well too… could they also be in contention?
This was going to be a chance for us weekend warriors to test ourselves against some of the most talented downhill riders in Malaysia, but with us KL-based riders having the advantage of knowing the local trails already.
Saturday’s prologue started with a well-received briefing, all the riders learning about the rules of engagement, priority of passing and so on. After which was the mad scramble out of the carpark, and up the hill toward the top of the course. Lots of friendly chat with the other riders on the way up, generally about how bloody hot it was. Before long we joined the line of riders to take our best shot at the seeding run, a 1km blast down the latter half of one of the race stages, but with the added twist of an initial 30m climb.
Now although the prologue was simply to split the 160 riders into groups of 4 and stagger the large number through the race stages, with the prologue time not counting toward the overall result, most of us once at the start gate treated this as a race in itself. It was hard not to - the first climb I took at a ‘faster than normal’ pace for me, and before I knew it, I was commencing the descent with my heart-rate way up near maximum. I kept mentally reminding myself to keep in control, a single crash would cost more time than just going a little slower would add.
My run started well - I quickly caught up with the rider in front, despite having lost a little time on the first climb. After being stuck behind the guy around a couple of the switchbacks on Shriner’s trail, he pulled off the track at a flat open area which let me blast down the following “Angel” section, and make up for lost time. A clean run down the old Carnival trail and round the tight switchbacks led to the little climb - off the bike again, and try as best as I could to run (ok, trot maybe) up over the rooty steps, and take the left turn into the final downhill section of the route.
As I jumped back on the bike and mashed on the pedals to get moving, disaster struck - the chain had been jumping all over the place, and had firmly wedged itself behind the cassette and also locked up the cranks. I had no choice but to run, coast and where possible push off from the trees down the last segment to the finish line. A disappointing mechanical problem, but ultimately it didn’t matter - I had done enough to make it into the first wave of riders for the race day.
Sunday - Enduro Race Day
There was a relaxed atmosphere at the start/finish area on the second day of the event, as most people now had some kind of idea of how the event worked, & what the trail conditions were going to be like. We had also seen the standard of riding put on show, and who the race favourites were going to be. With all of them in the first wave of riders, it was announced in the briefing that the first stage would have a slightly longer interval of 30 seconds between riders, rather than the 20 seconds for all the other stages & waves. Good news.
Stage 1 was the one I was most nervous about. A rocky chute half-way down the course could easily catch out riders, and would be unforgiving in a crash. I weaved my way down the initial switchbacks and soon hit the steep turn into the chute. My hesitancy cost me - I didn’t even make it to the final rocky section, getting my front wheel hung up and I almost went over the bars. I just managed to get the back wheel back down, and quickly jumped off the bike, running over the rocks. One of the many photographers who were hungry to witness a good crash shouted that he’d got it all on camera - well I’m glad someone was happy!
I needed to make up some time, so blasted on the pedals down the rest of the course - a tight corner over a bridge, some rooty flats, another ladder bridge past the pond, and on up a short climb. The stage designers had chosen to set the finish timer at the top of a nasty, steep little climb - no choice but to push the bike up as quick as I could and through the stage gate. Ironically the highest heart rate I recorded all day was pushing up this tiny climb, in a predominantly downhill race!
Up at the starting gate for Stage 2, the pack was already thinning out with riders catching their breath, and some already nursing bruises from stage 1. I took the opportunity to get going on this next run with no rider ahead of me, as there had been a gap between groups riding together. Stage 2 comprised the 2k and Apollo trails in a single run, both sinuous singletracks at a gentle gradient, and a very pedally stage. Trail conditions were just perfect - tons of grip through the corners, and even the often slippery “triple terrace” chute half-way down seemed easier than normal. I had a good clean run, no hold-ups or mistakes this time, and felt happier than before.
With the time limits allowed for the Liaison stages between the timed stages being fairly generous, I opted to push up much of the hill, chatting with mates along the way. By now we had early indications of the race leaders from the live timing system - Ronan Jezequel had stormed stages 1 and 2, and the Penang riders Ian Chin, Adam Faroze & Zure, had shown that they were in the running for the top places too despite having had limited time to learn the trails. Impressive skills.
Stage 3 kicked off from near the top of the Twin Peaks climb. Initially the track had a slight climb before going through a clearing at the very summit of the hill - no time to enjoy the view! Descending the TNT, Dirty Deeds and Lower Short trails it was a blast - a roller-coaster of switchback turns and fast open corners, with the only straight section of trail being the short gravel track in the middle.
Another clean, fast run in the bag - and with the welcome sight of a drinks station after the finish gate to re-hydrate, and take a break.
Stage 4 encompasses one of my favourite descents of the entire hill - from almost the peak, traversing all the way down the western flank of Bukit Kiara back down to the start/finish area, taking in Around the Mountain, Flintstones and Carnival trails. This was going to be a long stage, which if taken cleanly could help decide the top placing. Straight away I felt comfortable on familiar trails, happy with the speed I was carrying, nailing the lines on the trickier corners. I think it was because having done three stages already I was more relaxed, and the enduro format meant it did feel more like just having a ride with your mates and a bit of a blast on the descents, rather than all the pressure of a single race. Relaxing and having fun on the first part of the descent was great - but a flatter section lower down the hill meant getting back on the gas once more, pedalling as hard as I could to maintain speed. The notorious “Cheeky Creek” section had recently been re-built during a pre-race trailwork day, and was passed with ease. Finally bumping down the chutes of Carnival and a quick sprint across the finish line, I was utterly spent, I’d given everything I had.
After resting for 5 to 10 minutes, Alan “Captain Beyonce” Knowles reminded me that we had only 1 hour of time for the final Liaison stage back up to the summit, and that this late in the day it was going to take us a while. It did - although we did stop for some food, we utilised almost the full hour to make the trek to the start of Stage 5.
The first 100m were a steep drop down an old downhill track, with some rooty twists before spitting us out onto a climb. I had engaged the lowest gear I had ready for this, and grinded up as far as I could, legs now really suffering from the accumulated distance of the race. A sharp right-hand turn over a log drop, and I was on Shaolin trail - the downhiller’s delight. Now while I like to ride downhill trails fast, I wouldn’t consider myself a “downhiller”. I’ve never done a DH race and I’m not hugely confident over the big jumps, so this stage was where I knew I would lose time. In particular is the gap jump, with the landing on (or over) a large boulder, to bypass this jump I inevitably had to scrub all my speed, and then get back up to pace through the following berms. I salute all of the riders who jumped this intimidating feature.
After negotiating my way down, around & over the remaining jumps I was back on the same ground we’d covered during the prologue - now was time to make amends and try my best to have a clean shot at the lower part of the course. I caught up another rider at the exact same spot on Shriner’s trail as previously - and passed him at the same spot as well, mashing on the pedals like a madman to sprint away. A slight twinge of cramp from my calf told me I was pushing as hard as I could. Thankfully this time around my chain stayed put, and I could hook up the gears for the last sprint through some switchbacks, past another rider, and down the rocky corner to the finish line. I was finished - both the race was over, and my energy totally drained!
The results came in later in the day. I hadn’t been watching the live results during the race, preferring to just enjoy the ride, so it was a total surprise to get a podium place on Stage 4. As the final GC rankings were listed out it was clear that the Penang DH guys - Ian Chin, Zure and Adam Faroze had done enough to win the top 3 places. Ronan Jezequel had lost substantial time due to a puncture on Stage 4 and was out of contention, but that’s racing, and he’d taken 2 stage wins plus the prologue in his name. Coming in 4th place, I couldn’t have asked for a better race - I’d given everything I had, and was well satisfied.
The event was probably one of the best I have ever taken part in - very well run & organised, I was impressed with the electronic timing gates and live timing even in the middle of the forest. The attitude amongst the racers was friendly with more of a party atmosphere, the challenge being against the course more than against each other. The weather had been perfect, trail conditions sublime. So it only remains to be asked - when is the next one?!?
Phil Bee (UK) - GC Ranking: 4th/159
September 22, 2013First enduro event in Asia, Held in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Just a stones throw from a bustling city center are some of the best trails Malaysia has to offer. It caters for everyone, all the way from riders new to the sport to even downhill riders who have their own designated dh trails. This is reflected in the variety of bikes and riders that can be seen frequenting the trails there, all the way from the light carbon xc hard tails to full on dh sleds.Organizers put together a lovely set of 5 stages which they would later admit played into the hands of the more dh orientated riders. The 5 stages combined to give a total of 740m vertical elevation drop over 7.7km of trails. Total ground covered for the whole event is just shy of 20km with most riders taking between 3-4hrs to complete the course.Due to time constraints at work I only had one day to practice, it was the same for Ian Chin, we went up before the prologue to check out the tracks and continued practice in the evening. Big thanks to fellow Banshee rider Zure for showing us around and passing on some local knowledge along the way. Me and Ian completed all 5 tracks on Saturday, something we would regret on Sunday morning, legs were aching badly. Prologue, local guy Ronan was on top, shocker was in second place, Ian Chin just 2 seconds back. Zure was steady in 4th, I on the other hand had a front flat 1/3rd of the way in putting me 3 minutes back from the top guys.Race day, skies were gloomy in the morning threatening to rain. Luckily it held out, I know some of the locals were praying for rain, I wasn’t fussed either way just wasn’t looking forward going home after a muddy race. I was lucky to start in the first wave along with the other fast boys, also meant getting less of the killer mid day heat. Me and Ian stayed together throughout the race, keeping track of time on the liaison segments using up as much time as possible. (For the more geeky, check out my strava record of the race, heart rate graph says it all). Not so much a tactic but mainly due to our legs being shot from the day before, was a bit risky as riders from later starting waves were catching up.
Stage 1 and 2 were over quickly, the flats seemed to last too long and the climbs seemed bigger. Collided with another rider on stage 1 landing a drop, shit happens, luckily no one was hurt. Stage 3 was my favorite, except the climb at the start, rest of the track was corners top to bottom, small berms, flat corners, just pure bliss. Stage 4 and 5 were the important ones, the long ones. I was betting that most riders would push all out from the get go and there was more time to be gained in the last two stages when others start to tire. Stage 4 was rough, happy I didn’t get a flat, legs were feeling better and coming right. Getting up to stage 5 was tough, took a slow walk up and had just a few minutes left of the time limit when reaching the top. I was getting sick of Ian Chin catching up with me on the fast few stages so insisted he went first on this last one. He had some bad luck and snapped his chain about 1/4 of the way in. I didn’t catch him till the last climb and even then he didn’t hold me up. Took us a leisurely 4 hours to complete the course.
Organizers didn’t announce any results till podium time, Ian was feeling crap with his broken chain, I knew I was pretty crap on the pedaling, didn’t think blasting it on the dh sections would have made up enough time. Stages 1-3 were a mix up between Ronan, Ian and Zure. Ronan suffered a mechanical in Stage 4 otherwise was looking very strong for the overall. Stage 5 was an extension of the prologue stage, Ronan showing his dominance again and stomping down an amazing time there, Zure in second and Me in third. Ian Chin still 4th with a broken chain, the boy is quick on the hike a bike sections! Was quite a shock when it was announced that I came 3rd overall as I only podiumed in one stage, only later did I learn my results, 6th, 6th, 5th , 6th and 3rd. No surprise Zure second overall with a 4th, 3rd, 9th, 3rd and 2nd. Ian the upset for the day shocking all the locals, 1st, 1st, 6th, 1st and 4th taking the overall win.Who said downhill riders can’t pedal!All in all its been a great come back from injury for me, raced national championships 3 weeks ago and came in 2nd there, mountain biking gods have been shining down on me. It’s been a long long year away from bikes, extremely happy to be back is an understatement. Up next is Asia Pacific Downhill Challenge in Bali, hopefully get a bit more strength back before that race, its going to be a pretty full on track.Strava Ride Record [Total elevation: read
September 22, 2013
On behalf of the team at Enduro Asia MTB, I would like to take this opportunity to extend a big thank you to every rider for helping to make Malaysia’s first enduro race such a success. It was fantastic to see so many riders coming together on the trails of Bukit Kiara. Whether it was to ride new trails, race for a podium spot, or simply to have fun on your bike, I hope you made some new friends and enjoyed spending the weekend out on your bike.
From a safety perspective, I am happy to report that we managed to avoid any serious accidents. That’s not to say that mother Kiara didn’t claim a few victims! But given the number of riders and the challenge you were faced with, I thank you for riding within your limits.
A high point for me personally was witnessing riders embodying the spirit of enduro out on the trails. Camaraderie between riders and looking out for your fellow competitor is the essence of this spirit. It is which was displayed throughout the event, and I truly hope that it continues at future Enduro Asia MTB events.
A big congratulation’s once again goes to the overall race winners, Ian Chin and Jonie Sua. We hope to see you defending your crowns at our next race. I can’t yet tell you where it will be, but I can promise that we will continue to create races for serious trail riders, in cool destinations on awesome terrain!
So until the next Enduro Asia MTB race, I hope to see you on the trails. Remember, ride it up to rip it down!
Sam Midllehurst - Chief Enduro Officer
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