It’s only been a month since we were last in JB for a “circuit race” and here we go again. This one was different though. For new boys – Kayuh Johor – this was their inaugural event & the “circuit” turned out to be a couple of loops of a 35km circuit round JB’s new Iskandar region and the Legoland park.
The usual SG faces showed up at Wheelock Place at 6am and we had an impressive peleton of ~25 riders riding up together with Mavs, ex-Cannasia/Cycle Training Asia, Direct Asia and ANZA well represented. Boldly carrying the ANZA/DA flag were Pierre, Don, Guillame Rondy, Mark Scoular, Nico Las and Pete Macca.
The ride over the causeway was a 45km trek and largely uneventful apart from one of our contingent being taken for deep questioning at SG immigration. Malaysia petrol station toilets also proved unable to cope with the onslaught of racers pre-race nerves. Not pretty.
The race circuit was a bit complex and seemed to consist of a lot of roundabouts, u-turns and a unexpectedly large number of long slow uphill drags. The wind and heat were throwing in nasty comments from the side. The roads were open but police were handling the roundabouts and there were evil looking cones around to help mark the course…more on them later.
Open Category consisted of ~70 riders. A large MYR 1500 prize pot pulled in a lot of local teams and so the start line was packed and suitably excited. A lap with the VVIPs round a big fountain & we were off!
The race started at a hectic pace and I had an average of ~50km/hr for the 1st 10km – pushing over 500 watts. The cones immediately became a factor with riders weaving in an out of them to try and move up the peleton. After each roundabout the field stretched out massively and splits rapidly started forming as the elastic snapped.
About 15km in, we had our 1st accident with the cones and 2 guys went down hard. 1 rider was unconscious for a while but eventually recovered & both were left with just a bad case of road rash. Pete Macca was riding with his camera and got footage of both crashes here. http://youtu.be/sexGWGKZna8 and http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=akIECa8q9Ek.
Crappy placing had me near the back of the remaining peleton. After being in the red too often coming out of roundabouts, I ended up in the 2nd group about 15km in and we puttered on trying to keep the lead pack in sight – hoping that eventually they might slow (never happened!). We kept this up till about 45km, when one of the police officers accidentally sent us the wrong way down one of the roads and we got lost. 5 minutes of some extreme fkng swearing later, a few of us then headed back to the start to watch the finish sprints.
A 2nd crash came in soon after – again a victim of a cone strike. The poor Lapierre guy (Harish) was sporting a cut on the head and what looked like a broken collarbone. Clearly in pain, we felt bad for the guy. 3-Nil to the cones so far.
The juniors race came into the finish soon after. The sprint was unique in that I saw the breakaway arrive from the left of the finish & then the main peleton arrived about 1 minute later coming in from completely the opposite direction!
The Open field arrived soon after and was led in by one of the MY local pros – probably 400m ahead of the main field. Around 30 others came in a bunch sprint – with Pierre around 10th.
Some quick drinks and red bull and we all rode back for the border. The heat started taking its toll and there were a few cramping on the ride back to Woodlands. JB traffic did it’s usual best to kill us but was ultimately unsuccesful.
Whilst the race had some sketchy moments with the cones and signage, it was great to see a new entrant try and put on races in the region. Kayuh Johor has 4 more races scheduled next year and I’d definitely go back. Malaysia Boleh!
Unique race pack too…