The first time my family and I traveled to Kuching was in March 2017, purpose was to visit a university that had accepted my son’s application for a Bachelor degree in electrical engineering. Unfortunately for me, I had a bad sore through and was running an uncomfortable fever during the trip, food wasn’t particularly exciting in my condition and walkabouts in the city on a sunny day, well, you know how the rest of the day went.
Fast forward a year to April 2018, I signed up for the Bayan Atuh Trail Ultra 50K in Kuching organised by Grit Event Management, the same weekend as Cameron Ultra 2018. I had no expectations of how the event would turn out for me, my only qualifications (similar distance and total ascent) were having previously completed TMBT 50K in 2016/2017, Cameron Ultra 55K in 2017 and BUTM 2018 50K.
I did however have one concern and that exactly a year ago, during Cameron Ultra, I suffered searing knee pain on both legs after the 15km mark only to struggle the remaining 36km with something I later learned was Iliotibial band syndrome, commonly referred to as ITBS. I had logged 7,700m of climbs that month without sufficient rest in between.
Visit Bayan Atuh Trail Ultra’s official Facebook page for many more race day photos to wet your appetite for their 2019 edition. 50K flagged-off in the dark and also finished the same so I relied on the photo sets from various photographers to see what I had missed that day.
15 hours and close to 50km later at Bayan Atuh Trail Ultra, my total climb for July 2018 came to 9,100m (1,400m more than the previous year), and I was relieved and delighted at the same time to have finished the grueling race with no injury other than much needed rest to make up for how early we began our journey from the hotel to the jetty to the start line.
Because this was Grit’s first ultra trail event, curiosities arose as to whether this 50K was easier or tougher than TMBT’s 50k. I made the comparison purely for fun as we all know numbers alone only provide one side of a race course’s story — the other side needs to be lived out however challenging it becomes in reality.