Monday, October 29, 2012

A Dream That Survived The Dreamer

We have a number of shops selling sports products in Kota Kinabalu—a wide variety of sports gears ranging from footwear, outfits and accessories. But it's strange that some famous products are not readily available here, such as 2XU compression tights and outfits specifically for triathlons. It's true that one can buy online, but sometimes it's hard to know if a sportswear would fit comfortably without trying it on first. It would be best to have a shop selling these products here in KK.

That was basically why my friend, the late Andrew Voon, dreamt of opening a sports outlet in KK to bring these products closer to our local sports folks. He spent some months diligently preparing for the venture with a friend, researching on the products and laying the foundation on how best to bring them in to KK. Regretfully, however, his dream did not materialise because of his untimely death last year.

Teo Chen Lung—the born Kipas King who beat me in the sprint triathlon in Miri last year—the friend who had envisioned the sports outlet together with Andrew, spent the next year or so seeing the dream dying with the dreamer, until one fine day when he suddenly decided to revive it again. He brought in Paul and Douglas, and putting their heads together, they embarked on making the dream a reality.

After months of proper planning, Performance Sportz was officially opened for business yesterday morning. A dream that had survived the dreamer. It wasn't a grand opening accompanied by the kompangs or dragon dance. No—it was a quiet little affair and attended by close friends.

To mark the occasion, the owners organised a fun event, i.e. a choice between a 10km run or an approximate 32km cycling starting at about 6am at the car park of Performance Sportz at the Likas Golf Driving Range. It was a small crowd; mostly familiar faces. Before the start, we spent a few minutes taking photos.

It was just about getting bright, and it was a beautiful morning. The majestic Mt Kinabalu could be seen in the yonder. Sarah literally stood out from the rest; it's not easy to miss someone in such a bright outfit. Erwan was obviously pleased that he was among the ladies.

And when the ladies adopted a different pose, Erwan decided to mimic their pose too. I hope he did not get into trouble with the missus when he reached home after the run.

In the end, we were duly flagged off. Indeed the workout started as a fun run—we were doing a mild 5:45 mins space. We started out to the main road and made our way to the coastal highway through Jalan Istiadat. After passing the traffic lights, we crossed to the other side of the road. We were all still going at a slow pace.

And then kiasuness struck! Somehow, the pace became 5:30 mins, then 5:15 mins; and when we reached the coastal highway, we were mainly running sub-5mins pace. At first, I was in front of the pack, but I had to ease up a bit as I did not plan to burn out too soon. As expected Sarah eased to the leading position and was cruising at a neat 4:50 mins pace. Of course that was an extremely slow pace for Fabian, but on this morning, he was just playing the role of a marshal for the organiser. Upon reaching the long bridge, however, he suddenly increased his pace and ran up the slope to the roundabout on the other side. There, he stopped and ushered the rest to go along the outer perimeter of the roundabout.

Looking at my Garmin, I noticed that it was a under 5km at that point, so I decided to run a little further to the other side. I had intended to run a minimum 10km. The rest turned at that roundabout, and although I was not there to see the return leg, I can imagine how everyone must have raced against each other! Of course I have mentioned before that kiasuness is a terrible disease!

By the time I got back to the bridge again, the front pack was already out of sight. I had by then slowed down to about 5:15 mins pace. Along the way back to the finish line, I overtook some other runners who were also familiar faces on the road.

When I arrived at Performance Sportz again, all the animals were already there. Sarah, as expected, was the first to finish, followed by Judy, and then later Hana although she took the other route through the hills with Darren. 

Erwan won the men's category, but I think it must have been because he was trying very hard to impress all the ladies! He was followed by Dr Liaw and Joe.

* I have been informed that although these were the three men's winners, I got the order wrong! Actually, Joe was first, Dr Liaw second, and Erwan was third. I think I was influenced by the fact that Erwan was the most intimidating of them all!

There were only 3 cyclists, led by Paul. And they, too, ended up burning rubber on the road. Take it from me, folks, don't ever believe Paul when he says we're riding "slow and easy".

 After we had finished, we were all invited to a light refreshment. And while were were happily chit-chatting during the fellowship, we were pleasantly surprised when the organiser announced that they're giving away some token prizes to the winners of the run.

Thus the winners were duly announced one by one; and each time a name was called out, I started whining—that these people should be banned from future events. I was teasing them, of course. But suddenly my name was also called out for a special category for running more than I was supposed to! At first Teo couldn't decide if it was a DNF (did not finish), but eventually, being the creative joker that he is, he settled for a DNFIdid not follow instruction! For my achievement of DNFI, I won a plastic bottle, yay!

Doug had the honour of giving away the prizes. After all the winners—and one whiner—had been announced, we took a group photo, each proudly holding our prizes for a short kiasu-filled excitement!

Then later, Dr Helen turned up at the party. She indulged in some light refreshments too, but eventually was brave enough to try out one of the bikes on display.

What was she thinking? She may not realise it, but it's too late now—the Kipas King will never let her off the hook so easily. He will haunt her till kingdom come until she buys a bike from him!

Well, the dream has become a reality. While I was driving home, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of nostalgia. Andrew would have been proud of this day. Somehow I'm convinced that he is seeing all this and smiling from wherever he is at now...


Tri-Nerd said...

Hi Corny, Thank you for the wonderful piece of writing. True to every single word. Thank you for being there!

Teo said...

Cheers Corny for blogging about us..... Special Prize DNFI can indeed do wonders hahaha. Its just a start, more events n products are ON DA WAY. Special thanks to my business partners, Douglas and Paul.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for write up Corny.

Reminds me of Andrew. RIP bruh!

Anonymous said...

FYI, Corny that post was from me.

Cornelius said...

Thanks, folks, for your comments. I'm hoping that this is gonna be a good boost for runners, swimmers and cyclists in KK. More events can usually attract more interest in these sports.

By the way, Teo, be gentle with Helen please!