Regrets, I’ve had a few…
Frank Sinatra – My Way
Frankie probably wasn’t talking about my trip to T3 Bikes in March but he should’ve been. I specifically remember specing out the bars/stem for my new Neil Pryde team bike and the question coming “do you ever do triathlon and need clip-on bars“. Obviously I said Fck No and rapidly selected the flimsiest (lightest) possible/most expensive Zipp carbon bars in the store.
Fast forward 2 months to the start line of ToF. A 7km prologue on the same out and back course that we do every year. (The new 20km TT round the airport having been cancelled a few weeks back). Surprisingly, aero bars were allowed this year but my new bars are incompatible and I’m secretly pissed at my handlebar selection now. I know I’m not going to win and it frankly only makes 10 seconds difference but still…. To make up for it and give me the illusion that I’m taking it seriously, I’m still wearing a visor Kask helmet, aero booties and a full skin suit. 40 degree heat be damned!
Joining me for this years annual pilgrimage into the furnace that is Tour of Friendship are the following brave souls (actually there seem to be more but these are the ones that have shown themselves so far):
- Open Cat: Pierre, Peter Bennett, Dave Christenson, Raoul, Dave Cox and me (Don)
- 50s: Steven Wong, Bill Olver
- 40s: Nico Las, Klaus Gohra
- Youth: Nate Wallis
lizzie Hodges and Yusoff are also here but in Maverics Red with mismatched shoes so we’ll cut them out of the story – unless they win which we’ll claim as an Anza victory!
pre-race logistics have been surprisingly hassle free – apart from Singapore Air misplacing Nates bike. Due to some cunning negotiation, I’m also located in the Honeymoon Suite of the hotel for the 1st 2 nights. A fine looking room only pulled down by an incredibly foul smelling bathroom.
The prologue course is 7km with 2 u-turns and 2 minor overpass climbs. Average speed required to win would around 45 km/hr. There’s a strong headwind on the way back this year which destroys many of us.
In Open, Pierre and Dave Christenson are our top hopes and the rest of us are really here to carry their water. Pierre has somehow managed to crack his pedal so takes the start a bit gingerly.
nothing much to say on the TT. Full gas on the outward leg which is mostly downhill. Almost all of us overdo it and average 50km+ for this first section. The uturn at 2km brings a rude awakening as its straight into a strong headwind and lactate overload. I’m at 180 heart rate and breathing like an aroused Darth Vader behind the TT visor.
i struggle on and eventually finish in 10:06. 23rd out of 42. My best time yet by 6 seconds and not bad for having no aero bars. Dave Christenson beats me by a full minute for 2nd and Pierre sits in 6th. A good day for Direct Asia with podium action beckoning.
Despite getting his bike at midnight and having no warmup, Nate came through well and ended up 3rd in Youth.
Steven Wong maintained last years momentum and celebrated his birthday by taking 2nd in 50s. Bill also well inside top 10.
I’m writing this in a taxi now in the way to the next race hotel which turns out to be a 4 Star beauty. It says 42 degrees on the dashboard gauge. Tomorrow is going to be a beast.
thanks to Craig Sheppard for letting us steal his pictures. Will post a link to the results site when I know it.