“every morning there’s a halo hanging
from the corner of my girlfriends 4 poster bed”
Sugar Ray’s upbeat pop rock wakes me from my all too short slumber. It’s 3.15 – possibly the earliest that I’ve ever purposely woken up – and there is no halo hanging from the bed. Instead, there is a big bag of doom with a side of cannot-be-arsed. 3.15am FFS.
Whats the rationale for this torturously early start? Trifactor. One of the few companies that seem able to get a road closed in Singapore and so we need to get along and support a local Organiser. This years race looked interesting – with aero bars finally being banned and a new course round Nicholl Highway – so a few lost hours of sleep seems a fair price for a race on home soil. I’ve also been invited on a ride with the Australian Prime Minister today but priorities! Racing > Politics any day!
The Club Invitational race kicked off at 4.45am – with around 25 riders from all the major clubs in Singapore. Pierre is riding for Anza and Will representing Direct Asia. The Open race is due to start 10 minutes later with riders being sent off in 7 waves. Due to a time slippage, the 1st wave gets sent off with the Club Race which proves decisive later in the rankings.
Will put the hammer down early in the club race and soloed off the front for the first 45 minutes – building a gap of upto 25 seconds at one point. Pierre marshaled the pack behind and then launched the decisive attack when Will got caught – splitting the group in 2. With 2 great sprinters in the group (Elyas Cycleworx and SEA Games selfie king Vincent Ang), PA was always going to have challenges and so attacked again at 1km to go. Sadly it wasn’t to be and Elyas came home 1st (although he was in the Open race) with Vincent Ang winning the Club Invitational. PA came 6th and Will 7th.
Back in the Open race, I was due to go in wave 3 along with about 100 others. A scan of the group showed a few decent riders and I suggested that we hammer the start to try and get rid off the rest as early as possible. The horn went and I immediately gunned it. By the first u-turn at 1km, the pack was already down to 6 riders and we’d reduced this to just 4 riders by the 3km point. We had 2 from Geylang Racing, 1 from Integrated Racing and myself. A good group and one that worked well together to build a decent lead over the peleton.
We lost the Integrated Racing guy at a uturn on the 2nd lap when he almost got taken out by a back marker from a slower group. It felt like a much safer race this year with the aero bars gone but a lot of shouting was still necessary to get people to keep left.
With him gone, it was just myself and the Geylang boys for the rest of the race and we rolled along at a 39 average. A couple of guys from other waves jumped on the back off the group but for most of it, there was just the 3 of us working. The course was an out and back on Nichol Highway with a brief excursion into Republic Avenue. Total of 7km and we did 8 laps.
On the 2nd last lap, I ramped it up on the Nichol Highway bridge to determine who still had legs and could see 1 Geylang was stronger than the other. I went again on the bridge full gas on the final lap to try and split the group but then got caught in traffic before a turn which enabled the stronger Geylang to get back on my wheel. I went again on the uphill around 500m before the end but couldn’t shake him and he blew past me about 10m before the line. Still, I was happy with 2nd in the wave. In the overall, Elyas and the riders that started alongside the Club Race had an advantage of a much stronger peleton to pull them and so my time was good enough for 4th overall only.
Still it was a great event. The new course was a bit of a cracker and hopefully others can start using the same for future events. Organization was efficient and it was much safer than previous years. We’ll worth that 3.15 start!