I am of course referring to 0530 on a Saturday morning. For those who frequent the Longhouse on a Saturday morning & wonder why some of ANZA,s finest come in looking all hot & bothered this is why [again, no not the picture, read on. Ed.]
Saturday 0530 from Rats Corner
Distance – approx. 45 km
Speed – variable, between fast & faster.
Perversely this has now turned into one of my favourite rides of the week. The meeting point allows you to witness the microcosm of Singapore society, the young & the beautiful coming out of the nightclubs chasing the elusive taxis interspersed by ‘Foreign Talent’ on the way home from Singapores largest tourist attraction often with a conquest in tow, no doubt looking at us & thinking ‘don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like this’ & we are thinking, she’s got more miles on the clock than my bike.
I digress, the waiting to start is part of the fun, who will show up, will some of the big hitters fancy an easier week?, all of these thoughts cross my mind as a steady stream of riders show up. They can be separated as the hunters & the hunted, I firmly fall into the hunted category. As one of the hunted positioning in the peleton is crucial, find yourself in between two hunters & the next 80 minutes is purgatory.
Roll out from Rats is steady & we work our way up Lower Delta Road picking up one of the RTI editorial team along the way. This is the calm before the storm, we descend to Brani Gate & head onto the Keppel Viaduct, speed starts to rise, conversations get less & gears click higher. Typically a nice & smooth pace line ensues with speed progressing as legs are flexed & heart rates creep higher. The Hunters are just warming up. The hunted are well & truly cooked. Thankfully we descend onto West Coast Highway for a brief respite before the next challenge, Clementi Road.
For those of you who are not familiar with this stretch it is typically a very pleasant rise from the Coast into the interior of Singapore, on a Saturday morning it is anything but pleasant, the hunters can now smell blood & these become the killing fields, the hunted do our best to hang on, red lights are our friend. Heart rate is off the scale, sweat is dripping down your nose, do not lose that wheel, do not lose that wheel, this road just keeps on giving as we steadily climb Upper Bukit Timah road & some respite along Woodlands road. By respite I mean we roll along at 40+ kph but at least its flat.
Heart rate is returning back to Human levels & we turn right onto Mandai Road, Legs to Brain – you must be joking right ! Hunters resume the chase, the first rise is relatively smooth with a few digs from the skinny people, again a red light is my friend. Second rise is designed to act as a launch pad for the strong skinny types to inflict more pain on those of us who are slightly rotund. This is a serious hanging onto the wheel in front challenge & if you lose it you are doomed, there is no saving red light at the top only a long lonely chase. If you make it to the top in the group there is definitely a sense of relief as you push hard down the other side & head for more respite on the downhill run to Sembawang road. Red light allows for a regroup & a drink,
The hunters survey the mornings work & decide to have a little fun on the Upper Thomson road stretch. Pace increases slightly up the hill, conversations re commence, hunters take stock of the mornings work & bang! one of them attacks, closely followed by others, nobody likes to queue for coffee ?
As you roll into the Longhouse a quick glance at the Garmin shows it was bloody hard but great fun & well worth setting the alarm for stupid o clock.
Dedicated to the Hunters, you know who you are & to my fellow Hunted – Chapeau .
If you haven’t tried this ride give it a go as part of your training, there are numerous drop off points which allow you to make it back to Longhouse for 0700
See you on Saturday