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September « 2009 « Caroline Koll's Blog


Archive for September, 2009

TBB’s top secret training bunker

Monday, September 28th, 2009

So while most people think that the secret Team TBB training camp is in Jeju, Korea, there is in fact another, in a very secret location in Singapore!











This weekend, a top secret training session took place in a bomb proof bunker somewhere in Singapore. Seriously, it has steel walls and IS bomb proof! The invited participants hailed from four different countries, including a Korean-American Kona qualifier, a hard-ass Texan, an ex-pat who speaks queen’s english but has spent more than a decade in Malaysia, and of course, me, of French-German descent from Benoni, South Africa.










Pre-dawn preparations…

Well, the purpose of the session was basically to see who had the most guts in withstanding the imposed test of toughness. Certainly a mental test this one. It started with a simple question being posed “Have you ever spent 4 hours on a turbo?” “Nope, should we try?” Well just turning legs for that amount of time could be a little challenging, but not challenging enough! So, a top level torturer was consulted in order to produce a real challenge….







Let’s GOOOOOO!!!!

So, the testing took place at dawn, in the bomb bunker. Participants were sealed in for the allocated time, with some serious guards at the entrance in case of attack or escape…








The mean guards laying down the law…


Preparation is the key to success, and so it was in this case! A countless number of bottles were required, as well as an individual assortment of anti-bonk nutrition (yes, it is possible to hit the wall on a turbo!), towels to mop up the blood bath. I was clever enough to bring a rain jacket to protect myself from the bio-hazardous splashing landing on me!








Protective gear…

Torture methods included special screenings of Ironman Japan and Tomb Raider, in an attempt to distract participants into weakness. I have no idea what happens in Tomb Raider, so I guess I am not that weak after all! Same goes for the pee break – only two participants successfully managed to hold it in, or sweat it out – the others had to beg mercy from the guards! I, proudly, did not have to pee for 4 hours, but successfully sweated ten towels to capacity despite consuming 91/2 water bottles. 








Torture for the weak minded

The session itself is really T.O.P. S.E.C.R.E.T, but I can say it lived up to expectation of not being a pleasant experience! At the end of the 4hrs, the clever three female participants negotiated with the guards a conditional parole – allowed out only if you complete a specified run. The Korean – American, training for an important mission in Kona chose to remain in the bunker a while longer, hoping that the additional torture would impress the guards, which it did, as when he negotiated his release he was allowed a much shorter run…










Nearly there…


Excited about my release, I headed out the door with enormous determination and great legs! Let’s just say I did get asked by spectators at the secret run location if I was “Ok?” “Are you in trouble?” “How many more times are you going to come past”…. well, quite a few actually – I am lost. Going well, so what the hell!

Invites are out for the bunker camp next year – anyone keen?

Singapore Fling

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


So I am not going to Kona because, not that I am ready for it this year anyway, because I have to overcome myself and climb higher on the learning curve that is the sport. I have never been to Kona even though it is the ultimate goal, it is not the only goal!

This has been a tough year for me personally, for a variety of reasons that have imposed themselves on me, and many a time it has been a challenge just to keep going, and keep trying, despite the voices calling for the easier, less demanding route. It is hard to pull yourself out of the big black hole when all seems hopeless, yet, I have had to do this more times than I can ever remember this year.

So, I have been put to work, for my fellow team mates, at TBB head quarters in Singapore for two weeks. This brought all sorts of anxieties for me – how on earth can one cycle here? Every road is a highway with a zillion traffic lights? Then there is the idea of being in an office the WHOLE day – a shock to someone who’s offfice is traditionally the great outdoors! Lunch is generally a cooked Asian meal, which is ok, although a bit on the spicy side for someone who prefers things a bit more temperate, and yes, I do get rather sleepy after this hot lunch!

It is strange, I have thought that sitting at a desk would be far easier on the body than sitting on a bike for 5 hours, but I have suffered sore butt, tight hamstrings and knotty shoulders!

So the point is, that going back to work has been far harder than I imagined, with the constant yearning to be outdoors and the realisation of how much the sport is my life. Sometimes though, sacrifices have to be made…

This weekend, I got to escape for a while and just thoroughly enjoyed my training, even though conditions are not close to perfect, and I have only managed to do about half of the training hours that I normally do! Pictured, is me at the pool close to where I am staying – it is a little shallow and I really have to scrunch up to effectuate a safe flip turn – but then again , I was just super pleased to be in the pool! I have had to limit my cycling to the turbo as it is just too crazy on the roads here, which is a pity as the surfaces are magnificent! Yesterday, I made it to the mint condition track, and as I was suffering through the heat and humidity, I just thought to myself, you are so lucky to be out here right now, even if it is not EXACTLY how you want it!

HELP! I’ve killed my Mother’s fern!

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I admit it. One of the few Bean talents is definitely not gardening! So I am looking after my Mom’s house (and plants) while she is on holiday…

The problem is this fern, in it’s hideous pot, that has lived in the bathroom for as long as I can remember. Sadly, no matter how little or much water I give it, fertiliser, sweet-talking, the fern is unhappy and it’s leaves are dying?

I took the fern out of the bathroom for photographic purposes, in the hope that someone out there will have some advice as to how to resusitate this plant before I get an earful as to how she has had this fern for 15 years???

So, some backround info on “Ferny” – He (Yes, I am sure it is a he!), lives in the bathroom and gets sunshine when the frosted window is open, otherwise lives on light bulb light or filtered natural light. I have watered him when his soil looked dry (about 3 times a week) and given him a bit of general garden fertiliser as a last resort. Ferny lives at an altitude of 1600m, in a very dry climate.
Below is a close up of Ferny’s leaves, no sign of any bugs???

If anyone has any ideas as to how to treat Ferny’s current illness I would greatly appreciate the input!!!