Monthly Archives: July 2014

RTI is on a break

Summer holidays are on us in full force & the RTI editorial team is taking a much needed break over the coming 2 weeks.

Enjoy the TdF and do share with us (anzacycling.rti.ed@gmail.com)  if you’ve been somewhere interesting yourself.  We welcome reader submitted stories and pictures!

rti break

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We’re all going on a summer holiday!

Summer HolidayIt seems that ANZA Cyclists are departing the island for their summer vacations and the count at Food Canopy on Saturday mornings is declining.  But before you all go, here’s a few things to think about.

Social Thursday – August 28th, location TBA

Before you all go though, mark your diaries for August 28th when we’ll be holding a Quiz night and a sale of past ANZA Cycling kit. 

Racing Reminders

There are a few races coming up.  On the 2nd and 3rd of August Dirtraction are running the Singapore Celebration Series with Individual Time Trials on the 2nd and Team Time Trials on the 3rd.  If you fancy the TTT, start looking around for your teams of 4 but if you don’t have 3 other people lined up we’ll be doing our best to try to matchmake you with similar speeded individuals closer to the event.

The 10th of August sees Cycosport visit the Pasir Gudang Circuit Race in Johor for some cycling circuit action and September 27th and 28th is the culmination of this years Cycosport calendar with the Desaru cup.

For those that like it dirty, we’ve also got the Dirtraction mountain bike carnival race on 17th August.

Finally, a new addition, there will be another Malaysia Century ride in Malaka on 26th October, so another chance to have fun in the sun in Malaysia, truly asia!

All these are in the club cycling calendar, conveniently located <HERE>

Future Trips

As I mentioned last week, we’re going to be tapping a few lucky winners on the shoulder and asking them to help make an annual trips calendar happen, but if you don’t get asked, and want to help, don’t be shy, just let us know at anzacycling.rti.ed@gmail.com. Wherever the summer should take you this year…

Let’s be careful out there!

 

From Weekend Warrior to King of the Road?

With less than 2 weeks until I get on the plane to Paris, the training for L’Etape is all over bar the climbing of one final trip to Genting Sempah for 3 laps of the 17km ascent and then we’re officially tapering for the event.

Over the last 6 months I’ve been asked almost every weekend whether I thought having a coach was worth it and whether I was seeing any results.  Taking those in reverse order, I’ve clearly seen results.  At the start of the year I was struggling to ride with an output of 180 watts for more than 20 minutes.  Yesterday I rode at Athletes Lab a pyramid starting at 180 ramping up through 190, 200, 220 and 240 before coming back to 180 over a 1 hour ride and I wasn’t out of breath at any point.  On top of that, because I’m riding in one way or another 4-5 days a week, where I briefly saw a weight of 72kg just after Christmas, this morning I saw 64.9kg.  So My power output has gone up maybe 20% and my weight has come down nearly 10%, all good number when you’re about to do 4,400m of ascent over 148km.

The first question is trickier to answer, and depends on your own attitude to being told what to do.  For me, having a coach has been worthwhile, but I’m the sort of person who can spend days researching training plans, chosing one, putting it on paper or in the garmin and then completely ignoring it on the road. On the other hand, as soon as somebody else tells me to do it I’ll do the best I can to do exactly what I’m told.  I would guess that I have done exactly what my coach has prescribed 80%-90% of the time in the last 6 months except maybe the odd Saturday where I decided riding with my mates was more important than sticking to the plan.

Perhaps a more important question is have I enjoyed it, and the answer to that is a resounding yes.  While I’ve spent more days in the last 6 months than in the preceeding 2 years with aching legs that feel like they have been put through the mill, I think I have seen trophies or personal bests almost every time I have uploaded a ride on Strava and this constant display of improvement has been hugely motivating.  Sure there are bad days, and because of the weekday schedule, I reckon I’ve had more than my fair share of Saturday rides where I’ve just felt exhausted, but by Monday after a lie in on Sunday and a couple of Margharitas, we’re back on track.

As Greg Lemond said in his foreword to the hardback of The Velominati’s Rules”Must ride like [an] Eagle, feeling like Superman, one day per week or [the] training program is shit”  And there is always one day a week where I feel great and have to curb my enthusiasm or I’ll breeze right past the day’s program.

The ultimate test will be in 2 weeks of course, but I have already told my coach that I want to keep him on until the Tour de Bintan to have one more crack at actually finishing in the front peloton 🙂

So final update to come, but from my experience, if you have a big goal, don’t do all the work yourself, get some help from somebody who knows what they are doing!

EtapeHappy riding!

Time Trials are back (and they’re free for ANZA members)

Time trials. The race of truth and all that.

anza ttt

You against the clock. Alone with nothing but the over-extended heart beat thumping in your ears. The thoughtful organisers have even ensured that beautiful scenery won’t get a chance to distract as you’ll be racing up & down the Changi straight (again).

Those fine fellows at Dirtraction have reintroduced Time Trials back to Singapore after an overly long absence. The National Championships will take place in November but before that we have the majesty of 2 Time Trials in August.

ITT : August 2nd

TTT: August 3rd

Registration details can be found at: http://dirtraction.com/events/singapore-celebration-series-2014/

The more successful these events are, the higher the likelihood of more time trials happening again. To encourage ANZA members to participate, the committee have agreed that we will refund the entry fee for any team that competes in the TTT event where all members (either in a 2 or 4 person team) are paying ANZA members. So, if you’ve never done a TTT before then now’s a great chance to give it a shot at zero cost. Get 2 or 4 mates together and give it a shot. If you don’t have mates then let us know and we’ll try and do some matchmaking via the Facebook page.

Dust off the aero bars, blow the cobwebs off the skin suit and polish up those shoe covers. TT season is finally back.

 

Under The Helmet | David Cox

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Who are you?

David Cox. Former Road Director and currently a former cyclist.

Where are you from and how long have you been in Singapore?

England 5 years

How long you been riding?

Not long enough

Whats in your bike cabinet?

Not enough! Condor Italia, Condor Legerro, Cervelo R5, Avanti Corsa, Cinelli Bolt.

Greatest cycling achievement?

Surviving the Haute Route Alps without my knee falling off (that had to wait). Getting to the top of Taiwan KoM without getting off the bike.

Worst crash?

Me versus motorbike outside Kennington Police Station

Most embarrassing moment in life?

Fortunately most occurred before camera phones and so if you weren’t there you don’t need to know.

Most embarrassing moment on a bike?

Crashing on Orchard Road in front of a lot of people on my way to the Anza cycling AGM or crashing on the way back from the OCBC ride.

If your life was a film, what would it be?

Up in the Air

Motto in life?

I am always right.

Motto on the bike?

Take pride in your ride – it will keep you going.

Words of wisdom for the club members?

Enjoy yourself, ask questions and suggest ideas.

What’s the last song you’d play before a race to motivate yourself?

Theme to Top Gun / Highway to the Danger Zone (also from Top Gun).

If your life were a film, who would you want to play you?

Scarlett Johansson – for the leg shots! Otherwise Cristian Bale.

Favourite SG ride and why?

Kranji with a Killer Loop – Long enough sections without lights and there is always a something different to see; dogs, snakes, trucks, dunage ….

Where can you be found when not on the bike?

Changi Airport.

Best ride in the region that you have done?

Taiwan KoM

Cycling ambition still to be tackled?

Sub 4 hours on Taiwan KoM

3 words which best describe you?

Depends on the day of the week.

 

 

Not Another Kranji | Prison Loop

An old favorite but one that seems to be getting a lot less activity these days judging from Strava. The Changi Prison Loop is a good way of rounding out a TT practice session on Changi straight. With some mixed, rolling terrain it’ll certainly wake up the legs after the flat of the runway stretch!

changi loop

The loop itself is 22km  and will require a 36km average speed to beat the current  KOM leader. Looks easy on paper but the hills and increasing number of traffic lights make it a challenge.

Prison Loop starts at the end of Changi straight – where we typically regroup after the sprint. It heads north up the straight all the way through to Changi Village. Stay on the main road all the way to the bottom of the hill on Loyang Avenue. At the junction take a left onto Loyang Way which is where things start getting interesting.

Loyang is mostly shaded by trees but the constant up and down brings little respite. If you’re able to notice the WW2 memorial chapel, army base and surprisingly large prison then you’re clearly not going hard enough. The road eventually links you straight into  Upper Changi Road North.  A quick left at the end then takes you over the TPE and into a fast downhill on Upper Changi Road East. Somewhere around here is an SIA training facility where the stewardesses learn their craft so it’s sometimes some fine scenery on the downhill…

Hard left at Xilin Avenue and that just leaves a 3km blast past the country club back to the end of Changi straight. Recover, breathe and go round again!

Word From the Sponsors | DirectAsia.Com

Serious Paine in Phuket
Jeff Paine

The cycling scene is Singapore is great. There are a large number of cyclists in different groups at varying skill levels. The roads are some of the best in the world and finding a pothole here can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Despite all the wonders of cycling in Singapore, it becomes an inevitable desire to see other great cycling destinations around Asia. There are so many good choices that you could keep yourself busy for years choosing new destinations. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam all have exciting cycling opportunities for the Singapore- based cyclist. Like most things, these opportunities come along with risks. While it is important to plan and prepare for overseas cycling adventures, it is advisable to plan for the risks along with all the fun parts of your cycling travels.

I have lived in Singapore for 16 years and started road cycling around eight years ago. Like most cyclists I was keen to try new terrains after cycling mind-numbing round-the-islands (RTIs) for years and having done far too many loops of trusty Mount Faber. Tapping into a regional network of cycling friends, I have managed to take some amazing cycling trips to Vietnam, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan. Usually these trips fall on one of the many public holidays in Singapore in order to give you enough time to travel and get some quality kilometers on the foreign roads. My wife and I have developed a well-honed system for these travels: I dismantle and pack the bikes and she does everything else. This includes arranging air tickets, hotel, ground transport to the airport and any other things that need to be done. Pretty fair trade I would say. One of the other things she did organize was our travel insurance. It was something I gave very little thought too but something she had the intelligence to arrange given the multitude of issues that could arise as you embark on an overseas cycling journey. In December 2013, I had a first hand experience that would highlight how important travel insurance was for such an overseas cycling trip. After a ride on December 30th, 2013 I will never travel or ride again without travel insurance.

Phuket Thailand is a great place for cycling. I have been actively cycling there for a number of years and know enough different routes to keep an active cyclist busy for a month. For the past five years we have traveled to Phuket with a group of friends for a holiday that would provide an excellent mix of riding, eating, drinking and lounging around on the beautiful beaches of Thailand. December 2013 was no different and once again we were back in Phuket for some serious cycling fun. We had done a few shorter rides and on Monday December 30th we had decided to go for the big one: Phuket- Krabi – Phuket – or “PKP” as we call it, 335km of riding that would connect us to another major tourist spot and back to Phuket…all within one day. We set off early in the morning in order to return for a celebratory dinner on Surin Beach later that evening. The ride was going very well and for the most part we enjoyed it so much we stopped to take some pictures along the way at some beautiful places in Phang Nga and Krabi. We arrived in Krabi for a relaxing lunch around noon before starting the 165km ride back to Phuket. At 2pm we set off with our tired legs and full stomachs on the return leg back to Phuket. A few untimely punctures put us a bit behind schedule. Given that the daylight disappears by 7pm our goal was to finish most of the ride before 7pm and coast home in familiar territory around Surin Beach. We stopped for a short break in the city of Phang Nga, a nice little town around 80km away from Surin Beach. One final push to get the ride done and it was almost 6pm. The pace was nice and steady as the aim was now to get back in time for some serious food and wine with our families and friends.

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We passed the giant monk that is always a great thing to see when coming or going to Phang Nga. My riding partner had to get back for a business call and finished the ride in Phang Nga. Therefore the last 80km would be on my own. After giving me all his lights, tubes and luck, I took off with hopes of being home by 9pm for dinner. Flying by the Big Monk (pictured) meant only 60km to go and only 23km to the bridge that connected Phang Nga to Phuket. I was feeling good…could taste the pasta and wine going down nicely after I upload this big ride to Strava.. 50km to go and I was in the section I would describe as ‘dark and gravelly’ – dark because the highway lights on the Highway 402 do not cover the area and gravelly because there was always gravel kicking around and I never understood where it came from. I was almost through the section…it was 6:45pm and the last fragments of light were quickly disappearing.

If you have been to Thailand you know that motorcycles represent a key form of transport for locals and foreigners alike. Actually, one of the things I tell first time cyclists in Phuket is how safe it is given that cars are so accustomed to riding around the motorcycles that they would rarely knock you over if you ride like a motorcycle. Motorcycles also operate differently in Thailand than in most other countries. On motor highways for instance, it is very common to see motorcycles riding the wrong way against traffic in the shoulder lane. As a long time cyclist in Phuket you know this and you just avoid them by pulling out a bit further…after my ride on December 30th I will need to adjust how I describe cycling in Phuket slightly.

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I could sense the Sarasin Bridge in the near distance…only 10km to go and it was almost as good as being home for me. I saw a motorcycle approaching in the distance in the dark and gravelly section. He had a light shining brightly and I had my flickering little bike lights on the front and back to ensure that the world could see me. As usual I checked to ensure no cars were approaching from the back and then eased out to give the motorbike enough space to pass me.
The next thing I remember is hearing a strong cracking noise, smelling smoke and rubber burning and seeing the bottom of my downtube as I flew through the air before I landed on my knees and collapsed to the road. It took me a few minutes to figure out what happened. I looked backwards to see a helmetless man lying on the main highway, his motorcycle stopped but the engine still running, my bike still back there with my flickering bike lights, pure darkness. My knees…open and exposed with blood running down my shins. The dark and gravelly section was empty…there was nobody around. He was passed out, I was dazed and confused and not sure what happened. Somehow I was able to grab my bike pump and Garmin, both of which had flown from my bike, and roll off the main highway and into the ditch. It was dark and quiet and nobody was around. After a few minutes, a lady on a scooter approached (again driving the wrong way on the shoulder the way everybody does). She was moving slowly and came to a stop when she had seen the fallen older man and me with my bloodied knees screaming in English ‘help me’. While she did not speak English she definitely was able to assess that the situation was bad and started to make phone calls.

At this point I fell asleep or passed out and the next time I awoke policemen and ambulance drivers surrounded us. They quickly loaded us in the primitive ambulances and took us to a small hospital in Klok Kloi near Phang Nga Thailand. After a rough ride we arrived in the hospital most likely at 7:30pm. I was terrified. Nobody spoke English, my knees looked disastrous, I had no idea where my phone, money and ID were and I was in shock from having a head-on collision with a motorcycle. My bike was also gone. After what seemed like an hour the medical staff realized that I needed to go to the Bangkok International Hospital in Phuket Town given the extent of my injuries. So after some basic cleanup they loaded me back in a more sophisticated ambulance to make the 60km ride into Phuket Town. I managed somehow to find my phone and was sending messages back to family and friends to meet me at the hospital in Phuket Town.

After what felt like hours I arrived in the hospital into a waiting room. My friends and family were yet to arrive so I sat patiently talking to the nurses as they provided me with basic treatment. I had never been in a hospital in Thailand so this was a new experience for me. A hospital representative approached to check in on me and ask me a few basic questions: name, nationality, what happened…etc. He then asked me how I was going to pay for any treatment I would receive. That was a great question…I honestly had no idea as this was new too me. Surely I was insured…I work at a major global MNC in Singapore and maybe even have other coverage. I did not know the answer to that question as that was part of my wife’s department. Without insurance I always had the luxury of using my credit card to ensure payment but one thing was clear for sure – without some form of payment or guarantee I would not be going anywhere out of my waiting room area.

Luckily for me my friends and wife all arrived to intercept this hospital representative. Also a bonus was that my wife had arranged travel insurance that covered such instances when abroad. Working with the representative at the hospital, we called our insurance provider (DirectAsia.com) hotline who immediately worked with the hospital administration team to provide what is called a Letter of Guarantee- basically stating that they would cover up to a certain amount of costs for any medical treatment provided to me. Despite all the bad things that had happened over the past two hours, I saw a bit of hope after learning first that we had insurance and secondly that my wife knew who to call in a time of emergency. I was ignorant to both facts prior to this experience.
Having friends and family and being back at a modern hospital like Bangkok International in Phuket put my mind at ease. I was taken to an operating theater to repair damaged cartilage in my left knee- the knee that took the full impact of the sidecar on the motorcycle, and to get some stitches on my right knee, which served as a landing pad after during the accident. Subsequently it turned out that I had damaged cartilage on my knee, a torn quadriceps muscle which would require a major surgery and a follow up surgery in March 2014 to remove excessive scarring.
Medical costs can be high. We do not have kids and in general are young, healthy and fit people. Therefore our exposure to medical facilities has been minimal in our 16 years in Asia. The past few months have been an eye opener. My knee injury is now costing in excess of S$200,000 and the follow up physiotherapy costs and doctor visits are still ongoing as of late March 2014! I was surprised to learn that the coverage provided for me at work was not nearly as comprehensive as the coverage provided by the travel insurance we had at DirectAsia.com. (keeping in mind I work for a company listed on the Dow Jones Index- a major MNC)….I was surprised. DirectAsia.com has also been extremely helpful and customer friendly post accident. As you go through the rehabilitation process the last thing you want or need is complications on who is covering what and when will you get paid, etc. Luckily we have had excellent service from DirectAsia.com.

Even today I continue to deal with the aftermath of this accident. I am not yet able to ride again as I am still going through the healing process of three surgeries. I also need to get a new bike as my old one was completely destroyed by the accident. I was pleased to learn that the travel insurance also provided some coverage for the cost of the bike! I have taken the time to learn more about the insurance given how crucial it has been for our family over the past three months. When I consider the coverage and protection we have under our policy with DirectAsia, the premiums are extremely reasonable. As someone who travels with groups of cyclists many times of year, I now make a few suggestions that I offer to you here:

1. Get good insurance from a provider such as DirectAsia.com
2. Have the contact numbers handy– a plastic bag in your rear pockets or even taped to your bike – if you ever need them time is usually in short supply – share them with your cycling group in the unlucky chance your are unconscious
3. Watch out for motorcycles and avoid riding after 5pm in Thailand (there is actually a law in Thailand that you cannot ride a bicycle after 6 pm)

In the end this has been a tremendous learning experience for me. I am still dealing with the aftermath of the accident as I have yet to fully physically recover. I was disheartened to learn that the driver of the motorcycle was heavily intoxicated when he ran into me. I am looking forward to getting back on the bike and getting back to Thailand and other great locations. One addition to my plastic bag in my jersey back pocket is my DirectAsia.com policy number along with the number to call in case of emergency- which my friends will also know. Get travel insurance….it is good for your family, your bike and your long term health!

A bit about Jeff Paine :

Originally from Canada I have lived in Singapore for the past 16 years. I have enjoyed cycling around Asia for the past eight years and regularly take part in local and regional cycling races. Most exciting cycling experiences include completing the Paris-Brest-Paris in 2011 and the Trans Malaysia Express (TME) ride from Thailand to Singapore in 43 hours in 2012. Now in training for Paris-Brest-Paris 2015 (well when I recover).