Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Nusa-Iskandar MTB Adventure ride 2012

Woke up 4am, had a "as slow as possible" ride to conserve energy towards Kranji MRT. Unfortunately, it included riding through Mandai Road...

Special Thanks to Family that gave some White cards for faster clearing of customs! Thank you Kenneth from PurebikesAsia for the PowerGel, William from TropiCare for Goodie bag storage, Owen from Crest Pursuit Cycling Apparel for organizing the bus from customs to race venue and back! Shout out to SMU riders, Ben from Shimano, Organisers, my fellow NTU Teammates and everyone else that shared the sufferings along the way!

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Start line! I'm nowhere near! =(

Crazy amount of riders, some 1040 riders in fact! MAD!

Once the race started, had to wait a little since I was in the middle, than a slow increase in speed to ~35km/h drafting a guy in front. Was wondering if I wanted to increase my speed, but thought otherwise. It was a long ride(68km) ahead after all.

The 5km road start seemed all too short as the whole group of riders came to an almost complete standstill when there was a bottle neck where only one person can move across a narrow bridge. As you can imagine, 1000 to 1 will cause havoc... Eventually people found alternative routes and more alternative routes and it was pretty unpleasant as the people who rode slowly got ahead and choked up the trail all over again.

Afterwards, it was the first climb some 150m in elevation and yet another choke point. But this time i waited about 8minutes to enter a really impossible apparently "World Class" downhill section, I walked through about half of it, injured my ankle, got some vines entwined into the rear hubs that wasted so much time! Once I was on my bike riding and not walking it was really scary skidding about downhill at speed, and to add to my fear, a guy ahead was lying on the floor in pain...

After I got used to the skidding I started to enjoy the downhill only to have it end and a short road section and steep hill and downhill and routes around the palm plantation and again and again!

The pit stops were the highlights of the race, volunteers rush to your side, checkpoint stick, peeled open banana, F1 quick refill of water and off you go! At the third checkpoint I was offered what seemed like a can of redbull and I grabbed it for it seemed too good to be true. I drank half and wondered if I was drinking too much at one go...

My thoughts replied almost instantly as a stitch on my right abdomen started voicing out its concern, I could push my pace anymore and just maintained.

The most torturous parts had to be the insanely steep, long and loose inclines. I knew I had trained for a long ride but was the training sufficient? About two thirds of the way in, I started pushing myself, I wanted to finish the race with nothing left... I overtook many during the climbs, where most were pushing, I wanted to finish badly without pushing my bike and kept telling myself I could do it. Than came a steeper than usual climb where the clean lines were taken by riders pushing up, leaving me with lots of loose ground to climb. 

I eventually spun out, put my left leg down and that leg cramped! The hamstring/thigh muscle that cramps forces your legs to straighten putting me in pain and I had to stop. I put my right leg down and that cramped too! The pain of two of  your major muscles pulling is quite something, so much that it made me tear. I had to stop and take a rest.

Unsatisfied, i continued my way up pushing my bike. Strangely I could still go on at a decent pace but was really careful to not put too much exertion on my hamstrings/thighs. At the base of the next incline, I didn't want to push my luck and ride up, as I wanted to finish the race!! So I just dismounted and pushed. To my surprise up the time I reach the top, my stitch had subsided and happy I could go on.

I took at slightly longer rest at the 2nd last pit with 2 bananas and a drink, and bit down hard to dig deep and find a higher pace. "Botak hill" dawned on me and it was yet another climb, with the sun at it's peak, no vegetation to shield you and as if the ground was reflecting even more sun to somehow melt you. I pedaled on. Granny gear, no one ahead and behind me. It was a lonely climb where I was wondering what about a quote I saw somewhere. was it Lance Armstrong?
Why do you do it(cycling) if it is so painful? -reporter
Are you kidding? I do it for the pain. -LA

Just before the last checkpoint my triceps started showing signs of cramping and I had to stop halfway downhill. Never had so many cramps before! Crazy! At last checkpoint 6! 5km to end point! downhill, left, right, the road! I have never been so happy to see road! Once on the road, i got into "time trial" position and spun that crank so hard. playing mind games again. The guy ahead is number 100th if I overtake him I get a medal! I overtook 5 guys haha. I finished 242nd and was so spent! And just got off the bike and stoned.

The team won 2 helmets from the lucky draw, a picture with Shimano staff and a long ride home later, it was over! Thank you loving family for supporting me when I got home! One heck of a ride!

Oh ya, if you wanna check out the stats of the ride:

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