Thursday 26 November 2015

Staying fit OffShore

Lunges with flanges
To help fund my travels I work a FIFO roster in the offshore oil and gas industry. Living and working in a confined space such as an offshore platform, I'm always conscious of keeping my body moving and building strength. During a normal day I walk about 5km/day,  climb around 50 flights of stairs and use the gym and focus on both leg and upper body resistance training. It definitely pays off once I'm  back on dry land and allows me to get straight back on the bike without too much re-conditioning required.

In case you don't do enough stair walking on the platform each day - Hit the helideck at sunset for a wander and some open air time.

some rues I follow;
1) Walk outside a lot each day
2) Don't eat too much (the food is very good here!!)
3) Hit the gym and treadmill most nights 

Many of the guys here use 'fit-bit' to count their steps and sets of stairs each day. I haven't joined the fit-bit gang yet, but I think the highest recorded steps (whilst working) in a day is well over 20,000 including 200 flights of stairs!

Monday 26 October 2015

AFL Asia Champs 2015

Unwilling to hang up my boots just yet, I was lucky enough to play in another Asian Championships with the Philippine Eagles. 
This years event took place at the Harrow International School in Bangkok, Thailand and was superbly organised and run by the Thailand Tigers .
One of the biggest features of this years event was the introduction of divisions. The 2 completely separated groups allowed the smaller or emerging footy playing countries to play off for a title leaving the more established clubs to fight it out for the division 1 title. The Laos Elephants were victorious in the second division, while the Hong Kong Dragons prevailed in the premier division.

The Philippine Eagles finished with a 1 & 3 record for the day with 2 of those loses by under a goal. The narrow loss against eventual finalists Malaysia Warriors included an after the siren goal by the eagles which was disallowed.  But football is a game of heart breaking decisions and although we didn't make the semi finals, we were exceptionally competitive in all games.

Next years championships are in Vietnam and I already know it will be difficult not to be tempted to play again with the Swans hosting. Gotta love footy in in Asia.

(Pics courtesy Philippine Eagles, Derek Ackary & Michael Edge)

Sunday 20 September 2015

Miri Bakam Challenge 2015

Hosted by the Miri Mountain Bike Club, the 2015 Bakam challenge took place at the Borneo-tropical-rainforest-resort just outside Miri in the mountains at Lambir National Park.
As much as I appreciate all the hard work the club put into organizing this event, the run was a bit of a disaster with many competitors getting lost. In fact a majority of the competitors in my category (vets) failed to complete the run and the placings were awarded based on the bike leg only. (I snatched 3rd :) ).
In anycse - the bike leg was great. A tough 20km course through forest and palm oil plantations.
I managed to complete the run leg (by following a well orientated member of MMBC) and really enjoyed the run leg too. 6km of jungle running in Borneo is probably equivalent to a 1/2 M. Seriously tough.!

Sorry about the strange caeram angle - trying out a new helmet mount which didn't sit too well ..
Things done well: - Mountain Bike Course. Marshaling. Location. Lunch!
Not so well: Run leg markers. Pre race briefing - didnt explain the course well enough

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Reebok Spartan Race Singapore/Malaysia

I've tried a few things in my life. In fact pretty much everything involving sport in Asia. But I'm officially excited about this! 

Being a first timer - and looking at the incredible challenges on offer my training starts now to get me over the line in Singapore in November! 

And if you're getting inspired looking at the official media page, just follow my blog Asia Sporting Life, leave a comment and you could win a 
Free race entry code for the Reebok Spartan Race Singapore
  November 15th 2015

Saturday in Saigon

Working between Miri, Manila and KL this week allowed me to sneak in a short stop over in Saigon to catch up with some old mates at the Vietnam Swans.
Training is on Saturdays at the RMIT campus sports grounds - as it has been for many years now.  Turn out was good and after a typically intensive training run we played a 12 a side scratch match to tune the boys up for their tilt at the indo china cup in Laos next week.
Like all clubs in Asia, the Swans go through their ups and downs but the last few years has seen a strong core group lead by the awesome Milner brothers, help carry the team to the top of the 2015 AFL Asia Ladder which included taking out the 2015 Manila Cup. Good luck in Luang Prabang and at the Asia Champs in Thailand in October gents.

I got a few laughs wearing my 2011 kit.. !

At the Spotted Cow Post game watch the Eagles v Hawks

And squeezed in my favorite 'bridges' Run  - Thu Thiem, Saigon Bridge, Q2

Pre Game Fuel at Nhu Lan. 

Friday 24 July 2015

Cycling Tour of Vietnam # 3

Tour # 3
Mid 2016

Cycling buddies being sought for this epic trip of  life time which includes passing by the Hai Van pass and the worlds biggest caves! 
1) Bike 
2) Smart phone GPS & Charger
3) Spares
That's it!... Food and drinks are available on the road. 

The point of these rides is that they are unsupported but not unplanned. 
They retain a large element of unknown with out being unsafe. 
They remove some of the 'easy out' options in life to force you to test yourself.

Don't worry - I am always extremely well prepared and hardly ever get lost.!  :) 

If you have any doubt of the excitement to be realized by joining this ride with me then watch this Gopro footage descending the Hai Van Pass from last years tour.

I expect this trip to be the icing on the cake after 2 previous multi day tours and many single day tours which were all incredible in different ways. Actually I am quite unfamiliar with this region of Vietnam which adds to the excitement for me.

Monday 13 July 2015

Miri,Taman Awam, Seria, Brunei and other places...

Things I have seen and done exploring Miri and surrounds over the past week...

1 - RUN  to Taman Awam
2 - BIKE to Seria, Brunei.
3 - EAT Steam boat at 883 BBQ Buffett
4 - SING Karaoke at "The Island"

Taman Awan in a public space in Miri close to town - on the way to the airport. Although I live close I had not visited before... and I was quite impressed. It has a SkatePark, kids playgrounds, pool, walking paths and a cool elevated walkway.

The park features a series of elevated walk ways.. pretty cool actually.!
This week's ride went a little further into Brunei to Seria. However I was not quite aware of the strict fasting laws during Ramadan. No food to be eaten at cafe's or anywhere outdoors during day time. I bought a take out coffee and some eggs and hid in a bush to eat them. The laws are enforced by special police who will fine locals and foreigners if you break them. In hindsight, the extremely large snake I encountered on the ride over may have been a good meal option if I knew the difficulties getting a bite in Brunei.
The road to / from Brunei is flat but usually low traffic and relatively safe. I have avoided riding at night so far in Borneo, 1) because there is reportedly a high incidences of drink driving here..but 2) because of these guys. My understanding (may be wrong) from my time working in the desert in NW Australia was that snakes often come to the roads at night to soak up some of the heat still in the road surface after the sun goes down. When the roads are poorly lit the chances of running over one of these speed bumps is possibly a bit higher after sunset. And ALL the road kill I see is first thing in the morning- which sort of supports that theory right.
Anyway - Truth be known,  I more afraid of the drunk drivers that I am of snakes.
Road Kill Borneo Style - This guy was about 2m long 

..And for my whacky story of the week..drawing a very long bow to anything to do with sport.. This has been one of my high participation activities of late.
The talent pool is quite shallow in these parts - Karaoke at 'the Island' 

Sunday 21 June 2015

Fremantle Esplanade Skate Park

Skate parks are now dominated not by skate boards - but by scooters.
Over the past few months the boys have talked me into purchasing the best trick scooters for them - Shay rides the ENVY Prodigy , bought at the scooter hut and Levi's weapon of choice is the Grit Elite 2015.  We hit the new Esplanade Skate park  in Freo.. A brilliant venue right in middle of Fremantle.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Saturday morning (everywhere) in Australia...

'Working in Asia I miss a lot of the kids weekend sports. Its the worst thing about working abroad'.
But Today I woke up on Saturday morning back in my home town. I got the kids ready, took my daughter to netball and the boys to footy. While sport in Asia is all about  travelling, trekking and social football and cricket matches with transient friends, sport in Australia is about families, communities and  basically passing on what we know to our kids.
GPS confirms 6km covered in referring under 11's soccer match

Just so happens I timed this visit with the annual 'Dads match'... A great excuse to pack the boots and have a run after the Auskick games are over and the kids asking for money for the sausage sizzle. What a great day.  A great Saturday.

Levi is a spark in the forward line.
Favorite Position: Full Forward
Favorite Player - Fyfe.
Score today: 3 goals

The boots (and Vietnam swans shorts) get another run in the Annual Wembley Downs Dads match

WDFC Dads en masse
Sunday was more of the same with an early start in for a soccer match I was looking forward to more than any cup final or world cup fixture.  Wemley Downs 11s vs Joonadulp.

The Team lost 3 -2 , but it was a great game against a top side and I got to see Shay score!

Saturday 13 June 2015

Biking Bali... (A good excuse to get off the beach)

A great way to see some of the island of Bali, see and sample the local coffee [on site], turn the legs over and in our case stumble across a once in 5 year burial ceremony, is to get on one of the many bike tours which all drive you up to the Kintimani crater edge and guide you on bikes back down to Ubud. A distance of about 30km. 
Its a great day out and the ride is suitable for anyone between 8 to 80 years old.
Bali Go Bike are one of many operators who will accommodate you. So I say.."get off the beach and give it a go!" 

7 types of coffee including the Luwak ' (digested) bean
A burial ceremony at one of the many temples we passed

Back to Bali

For the first time in around 10 years re-visited Bali. I only had a few days but long enough to get in a bike ride, a surf and a couple of morning runs along Kuta beach.
And the good news was the condition of Kuta beach. 'Clean Up' programs have definitely worked and the beach looked great. Local vendors were very adamant about removing all their rubbish and helping the tourists dispose of theirs. The early morning expat clean up crews were inaction and the general care and thoughtfulnessfor the environment was alive. About time no doubt.

For first time visitors or returning travellers like me, I highly recomend Changu. Its the next village north of seminyak. A throw back to 80's Bali, with dusty streets, great open front cafes and bars, hippess, pot, markets, motorbikes and an awesome surf beach!

This was the previous time I was in Bali competing in the Bali International Triathlon 2008

Sunday 17 May 2015

Age no issue...

I have started to think a lot lately about the inevitable decline of my physical abilities...not to mention all the other things that will decline with age... However today I was blown away by the performance of an over 55 gent who ran an incredible time for a 10km competition run.
The Miri City Run 2015 was a great day out and reported to have over 10,000 participants. The Men's Veterans (over 45) category was taken out in 37 minutes by said gentlemen pictured below. Having run a personal best of 43:54 I was overjoyed with my own performance & more than happy to be in the top 10. But it was the winning time that really impressed me. Good on ya mate - If I'm going anywhere near your speed at your age I'll be very satisfied.

smiling assassin who ran a 37 minute 10km

Monday 11 May 2015

Be the 1st Person .. (not the 2nd or 3rd person..)

I try to capture as much as Ican from behind the bars. (Of my bike that is!). Armed with my goPro, I'll ofetn record my commute to work, a weekend ride or any other activites Im doing. And in Asia its always possible you'll capture something crazy and extrordinaty. 

Sunday 26 April 2015

Alins work out program... with options

Warm up - Tread mill for up to 20 minutes (Option of skipping)

1 - Walking Lunges: Option with 5kg wieght over head)   21 - 15 - 9

2 - Sit Ups: Using inverted bench  30- 30- 30

3 - Squats/Push Press; Using bar, Squat + Push press with arms extended up. 21 - 15 - 9

4 - Plank: Hold for 60 seconds - x 3

5 - Dip Bar: Legs out horizontal, Hold until fail (time yourself) - x 3

6 - Push ups: Cheat by using knees (not toes)  21-15 - 9

Thursday 9 April 2015

Trip Home including the ride of the rich and famous

Back to Perth for a School Holiday visit - Hooked up with my mate Al and did the very enjoyable Westcoast > Fremantle > City Loop. Also known as the ride of the rich and famous.

Another great part of visit was trawling thru my old boxes of travel photos and scanning some keepers.  This shot gave me a warm fuzzy feeling....

(BMX WA State Champs - 1984)

Saturday 14 March 2015

ANZAC Day in Vietnam

If you're in or around Vietnam on ANZAC Day, get down to Vung Tau to watch the Vietnam Swans take on the Singapore Wombats in this years Asian AFL match up. And any other year check out the Swannies web site to see which team they have invited to the inaugral 'friendly'
I've played, attended and even umpired in these matches and I can confirm its a fantastic day all round. This year, as ANZAC Day falls on a Saturday, the games will follow the morning service at Long Tan.
I flew over from Malaysia to play in the 'Legends Match' and watch my team mates play in the Main Event.

Vietnam has a habit of brining out the patrotism in me.. which I really would say I normally have a great sense of, however one cant helped but be moved and reflect on the stories and history you will undoubtable hear whilst in Vung TAu. This very ground infact is where the aussie diggers would play during R&R from the front lines during the Vietnam / American war.  Probably due to my attendence at many of these games, and my time living in southern Vietnam, I definately changed my perspective on that particular war, and of war in general. Although Im not willing to share my personal perspective here on a blog, suffice to say I developed a greater appreciation for those on ALL sides who have fought for their countries. 

Anyway, don't take my word for the ANZAC day frienship match - Please visit the Swannies web site for all the details.

Friday 13 March 2015

Biked to Brunei for brunch

Miri to Kuala Belait, just across the Brunei border, is around 65km. The border crossing takes a few minutes (for Australians anyway) as you need to get a visa - for $20. They only take Brunei currency so its good to prepare and grab some B$ before leaving Miri. The other reason for doing that is there is very limited drink stops between leaving Miri and KB. When you cross the border you may need to re-fuel at the one gas station you will pass. I ran dry and bonked too - by the time I got to KB I was spent and had to scoff 2 danishes and a sweet ice coffee to recover. The ride back was a breeze -admittedly I had a tail wind and with no visa to process coming back in, I was door to door in around 2;20 hrs.

The only high lights of this ride were the big bridge just before the border on the Malaysian side and KB itself was interesting, other wise its fairly flat and uninspiring scenery.

Monday 23 February 2015

Move to Malaysia. Biking Borneo

Another 3 years ticks by and another country posting - This time the east Malaysian state of Sarawak.
With limited things to do here, I suddenly have lots of time to run, ride and swim. My increased Strava activities can testify to to my decreased non strava activities. So this weekend I took on a round trip to Niah National Park.  Perfect for a first up 'Biking Borneo' experience.
Drivers; Having moved directly here from Manila, and prior to that Vietnam I have to say the drivers here are ultra conservative. So much so that sometimes, instead of passing a cyclist, they will slow down to cycling speed and wait  behind until the oncoming cars have passed. Then go around you with 3m clearance.!
I took the coast road out and the inland road back. Neither earth shattering spectacular but the roads were relatively quiet and air was clean!
Additionally, the Niah National park was very good and well worth the visit. Tourists often do this as a day trip (in cars and buses) from Miri. I stayed the night in the 'cave inn' (hahaha) hotel in Niah.
You can see my Trip advisor review on that. Enough said.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Manila Cycling - Rides around Manila-Batangas and Laguna

Tried and tested. For visitors and locals alike, without a doubt, categorically and indisputably, I give you  the absolute 3 best cycling road routes around Metro Manila! 
Warning, these rides are not for the faint hearted. All exceed well over 100km and over a 1000m of climbing. 
Ride #1 is a little under 200km 
Ride #2 to Tagatay is the most accessible and can be done in  1/2 day.
And ride #3 is over 200km and took me 12 hours +.  

These routes were completed after extensive planning and even a couple of failed attempts (i.e. I got lost, had mechanicals and punctures and had to abandon ride 1 at least twice before finally succedding).

But once understood, they are quite achievable, represent a great acheivment and all are a lot of fun!

1. 'Round the Bay in a day' - Laguna De Bay!

Stop at the cycling cafes at the 66km mark to re-fuel before the mountain stage.

There are 2 or 3 fantastic cafes in San Juan to stop and eat. The cafes are at the base of the first mountains. On any Saturday  or Sunday morning dozens of cyclists meet there or use the cafes as their turn around point. 

The historic arch is at about the half way mark. These towns are not commonly visited by tourists and you may be pleasantly surprised at how quaint and ancient looking some of the villages are. 

The ride includes many places to look back and see the amazing Manila skyline

2. Tagatay; Beautiful ride to the top of a volcano  - includes 30km climb

3. Stage 2 of 'Ronda Pilipinas 

This is an outstanding route with a tunnel, mountains, the ocean, volcanoes, horses and carts, rice fields, villages and more.! 

Saturday 3 January 2015

La Mesa Nature Reserve, Quezon City

After much delay I finally got to ride the famous La Mesa trails. It didn't disappoint. Absolutely beautiful area with mildly technical, but highly rewarding single trail.
I was particularly impressed by how clean the reserve is. No litter anywhere! A result no doubt of the strict park management which limits numbers of riders, insists on guides and collects funds for park management.
I am always happy to pay a few bucks if the money is being used right. This LINK gives all the details of getting there, cost and the rules.