Out With a BANG [bang, hiss, bang, bang]!

bangBANG!  That was the sound of the first tube going in the foyer of the Park Royal hotel.

Nico had announced that he was leaving singapore and after arranging his leaving ride in KL, he left us guessing as to whether he was actually going to join us.  It was only with the help of car load of Mick, Macca and Hoops that he actually made it to the Park Royal hotel and the start of his farewell ride.NIK_1534

BANG! That was the sound of the second tube exploding as Mark Losi pumped away to the requisite 110psi.

At this point we decided to take the tyre off (For those Aussies out there, Tyre is english for tire).  Closer inspection revealed that the puncture I’d received riding back from Tanah Merah last week was in fact a slit in the sidewall, and those two tubes had served to prove that once the tyre is dead, its dead.

New tyre on (a tip for the less well travelled, always carry a spare tyre, you just never know) and I delve to the bottom of my bag for my last tube, always good to have a clean out anyway.  And we’re off for the quick climb to the summit of Frasers.

NIK_1536clunk, clunk, clunk! 15 minutes down the road my rear is flat again, but we’re getting pretty good at this now.  with some assistance from the blue hippo and the track pump retrieved from the team support car and much pontificating about what fatal flaw there must be in the manufacture of my Zipps we’re away again.

Now at this point I have a confession.  Back in the early days of being in Singapore when I was poor and it was hard to scrape the pennies together for my next s-works and entry to ku de ta, I used to repair my tubes.  Now I have just the slightest inkling that that last tube may have been pre-punctured, but don’t tell anybody…. shhh I said.

So the plan was that Raoul “wall climber” wanted the KOM on “The Wall” so after the warm up through KL, Craig set off to lead Raoul out for the climb.  Rumour has it, he beat his personal best but has some more improvement before he can claim the KOM, oh well, if that isn’t an excuse for a return trip then I don’t know what is.

NIK_1554Onwards to Evian and I have no idea who won that one – sorry guys, shout louder if you want recognition!

Water stops and the first of the manic descents.  Now I know Gravity is unstoppable, but I do think that blue hippo has some sort of unidentified advantage and I may hang weights on my bike for the next descent, now the simple stats are that I maxed out at 80.6km/h and I still couldn’t catch him, no matter how hard I peddled.  I wanted to cry foul but could hardly breathe.

NIK_1656At this point I’m starting to slip into survival mode “Do not overdo it! big climb coming!” going through my head so when the fast boys keep pushing the pace towards the KKB water stop I let the break happen and a few of us form the grupetto, and a very civilised bunch it was, until the desire to perform a rendition of the Full Monty overtook us.

Now for those of you who have climbed Frasers, you know that it is a climb that just keeps giving.  You would have to estimate that once it starts you are on an upward trajectory for 45km with the best saved to last.

WOOF! WOOF! SNARL!

SQUIRT! SQUIRT! TAKE THAT DOG!

OH SHIT THERE ARE 2 OF THEM!

SQUIRT! SQUIRT!

PHEW THEY ARE GONE!

With that little unwanted piece of excitement over we’re ready to climb the last 8km from The Gap to the clock tower. “Will I make it without cramp this time” I’m thinking but the legs are feeling ok, I took it easy, yep, did you hear that Mick, I took the first part easy 😉 the last section is maybe 6%-9% but it has km markers so you know you’re nearly there.

Yay! the legs made it, but it’s Ramadan and the restaurant isn’t open “What’s that? Another restaurant? Further up the hill?” Ok just a little further

AARRGGHHH!

CRAMP STRIKES

BUGGER BUGGER BUGGER

Ride on through to the top.  Higher than we’ve been before, but what about the clock tower photo I hear you say.  Don’t worry, we came back down for that.  Now, whose leaving ride was it again?  And damn that kit looks good even if I do say so myself!

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And we’re off, Noel, aka the blue hippo (we’ll make it stick I promise you Noel) has stated he wants the KOM for the descent.  We all agree he is missing a few marbles and take a more leisurely approach to the first 8km, having lost skin on this section of road before.

Now at The Gap we regrouped and set off again and after a while I have the usual thought going through my head.

“Bit slow this, come on guys we can do better than this”  So I come around the outside to up the pace just a little.

BANG!

You are kidding me, right! puncture number 4, but really getting pretty slick at this tube change thingy now and we’re off again.

“Bit slow this, come on guys we can do better than this”  So I come around the outside to up the pace just a little.

 

BANG!

Ok now I’ve had enough it’s all very well taking one for the team but I’m on 5 now and I content myself with rolling down behind the rest of the gang to the bottom where all I can do is thank Raoul for one of the best tows I’ve ever had all the way to KKB.

NIK_1812Now I confess at this point I got in the car as the thought of climbing up the steep side of Evian was not appealing and it isn’t as though I haven’t done it before afteral.

So I sat in the car laughing at Noel as every time he tried to get in position to take a photo he cramped up and abusing those fools who had decided to ride back up the hill.

Eventually the 4 man steam train started to break as Craig and Hoops were shelled off the back leaving Phil and Raoul to fight it out for Evian honors.

NIK_1858The photographer was going mad and it’s taken me hours to choose these, but as we took yet another of Raoul leading Phil, Phil finally snaps “You’re only taking photos when Raoul is in front”.  To which, Phil, I’m afraid there was only one possible response “Well you’d better F&*^!ng overtake him them” which seems to be the right level of intellectual stimulation as the result was impressive.  Phil went for it, NIK_1864and opened a gap that was never to be closed.  The top of evian was not a pretty sight.  Exhausted hot cyclists everywhere and I think this picture of Craig pretty much sums it up.  And that, my friends, pretty much brought to an end another great Frasers trip.  we hammered down Evian, with enough momentum that The Wall was hardly noticeable and stormed through KL back to The Park Royal where one or two cold beers might have been waiting for us.

NIK_1896With thanks to Mark for his usual outstanding level of hospitality, The Park Royal for looking after and putting up with us, and to all the guys for waiting for me 5 times.

NICO YOU WILL BE MISSED BUT WE SENT YOU OUT WITH A BANG!

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2 thoughts on “Out With a BANG [bang, hiss, bang, bang]!

  1. Great post. Line honours on Evian outbound belong to me but we’ll and truly put back in my place on Fraser ascent

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