Monthly Archives: August 2015

Is it really nearly Christmas?

cycling santa1Well it seems it is nearly Christmas, or so our diligent club secretary tells us.

Getting in there early to avoid any charges that we didn’t give you enough time to plan.  The club Christmas Party is planned for Saturday 12th December, so please save the date in your diaries to celebrate before you all head off to different parts of the world.

More importantly start thinking about who you want to nominate for frivolous awards, or what antics you need to get up to to be nominated.  More info will be available in the coming weeks.

This week we had the club TT championships, full details are in the post below dedicated to this.  Congratulations to our new club champions (no names, you have to read!)

We also have an awesome writeup of what it’s like to ride 1230km from Paris to Brest and back again in a single ride.  Read on if your backside aches after an RTI, feel his pain.

There are a host of road closures this Sunday which we have detailed below for you, so the Sunday Social will be taking a slightly different route to the west coast, Dave and me are still bickering about the best way there but we’ll sort it out by Sunday .

The first ever OCBC Speedway event is part of this weekends proceedings. It kicks off at 12.30 Saturday at National Stadium (next to Nichol highway) for those interested in coming along and watching some high speed shenanigans.

The committee met this week and one of the topics we have long talked about reviving is having a more formal “Ride Captain” structure to try to reign in some of the more rebellious behaviors that we often see and to help keep the bunches safe.  We may be tapping a few people on the shoulder to ask if they would take on a slightly more formal role of el capitan of their bunch, but if you have a strong feeling that you’d like to be involved, do drop Stafford, our Road Director and email at cyclingroad@anza.org.sg with an essay on why you are qualified, your CV and an undraped photo.  On second thoughts forget the essay and CV.  The ride captain would, amongst other things, be asked to take part in the first aid sessions so that we can have somebody in a bunch who knows what to do in an emergency.

Finally, a reminder to new members, and some older ones who still haven’t signed up, that the club offers free medical bracelets from OneLifeiD so that we can make sure in an emergency we can get in touch with somebody and also get you bike back home 😉  Click [here] for the information on that.

With that, read on, enjoy, and…
Let’s be careful out there!
Andrew

 

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1230km in France – PBP, the ride that the word EPIC was invented for

By Arran Pearson

image7It is not well known but within the club are a bunch of intrepid souls (let’s just call them fools) for whom a RTI is something that you do as a warm up before breakfast and if it doesn’t involve at least one border crossing and multiple stops at godforsaken petrol stations then its almost not worth putting the ride on Strava!  These are the riders who moonlight with the Singapore Audax club – the local branch of a Paris based organization of cyclists dedicated to the art of ‘going long’.

Self Sufficient
Self Sufficient

Audax is based on the ideals of self sufficiency and riding over an established route within a pre-determined time.  The objective is to finish within the stated cutoff time – generally its worked out to be approximately 15km/hr which sounds easy until you remember that this also includes rest time.

This year saw the 18th running of the most famous Audax event – the 1200km (actually 1230 – the 30 is important) Paris-Brest-Paris which has been running since 1891 and is the longest running cycling event in existence with the current every four year format being started in 1931.  Participants have up to 90 hours to complete the course (unless you’re a complete nutter and have self selected the 84 or 80 hour cutoffs) – if you’re a minute late then you DNF.  Ouch.

In order to qualify to ride PBP you have to have completed a 200, 300, 400 and 600 km Audax ride within the 12 months preceding – so no matter the bike and the err… body type on display, all riders (over 6000 of them) have been able to successfully complete the qualifying rides making PBP one of the largest gathering of cycling crazies on the planet.

image5Andy Bennet, Andrew Philippou, John Cross and I along with some 20 others from the Singapore Audax club all arrived in Paris at least a day before and spent some time getting acclimatized (unsuccessfully – Europe has a different definition of Summer to Singapore) before lining up at our designated start time of 19:45 Sunday night.  Our plan was to keep our group together until Brest (1/2 way) and then re-assess depending on how we all felt.

image6Ok, so that plan lasted about 15 minutes as our start wave (some 400 cyclists) quickly sorted out depending on the preferred speed.  With 1200+ km to travel and a strong wind blasting into our faces getting into a nice big group soon became more important than trying to keep track of where various individuals were.  By the first checkpoint (130km in) Andy Bennet and I had lost track of Andrew and John and decided to grab a quick snack and just push on – the other plan of sticking to a nice steady 22-25km/h was also out the window as we went through 130km in a touch under 4 hours!

The second checkpoint came and went and by now the pace had settled a bit and the ride was actually enjoyable – the larger groups had mostly broken up and it was simply a line of red lights stretching out into the dark as far as the eye could see only broken up every now again by brief sections through small villages where no matter what time of the day or night, locals were sitting out in front of their houses shouting ‘Allez’ and providing water and snacks to hungry riders – an amazing display of hospitality from a country which, lets be honest, is not necessarily known for the warmth of its people!

Night became dawn became day and whilst there are no super long or steep hills, the countryside is best described as ‘rolling’ – you were either ascending or descending the entire ride (in total there’s approximately 11500m of elevation gain in the ride).

image1Andy and I had our first major rest stop at about the 450km mark (dinner on the second day) and I stupidly decided to push on rather than take the option of a rest in the hotel room we’d booked.  This section was quite awful – some real climbing and the toll of more than 24hrs or so in the saddle weighed on me and I had more than one moment where I seriously considered pulling out.  Luckily the ANZA social media squad was on the case and had picked up the despondency in a couple of my posts and were rallying hard which, along with a well rested Andy catching me got me through to the next stop at about the 520km mark where I finally had a refreshing 3hr sleep.

From there it was a mostly downhill run into Brest only spoilt by the sight of people riding up the hill we were riding down… nothing spoils a long descent more than knowing that in a couple of hours you’re going to be riding back up!

After more food in Brest (650km in under 34 hrs) Andy and I were off again on the return trip.  We even managed to collect another member of our group who had hit a car earlier in the race and decided to ride with us back to Paris rather than going down into Brest (he still did more than 1000km despite a slipped disk and the accident!).

Implement of torture?
Implement of torture?

By now, everything had become routine.  Get to the checkpoint, register, eat more food than feels comfortable and then head off and try and ignore the pain until everything warms up again – I don’t know about the others but the worst times for me were the ½ hour or so immediately after a checkpoint.  Everything hurt and anything that was in contact with the bike hurt more!

The one remedy to sore joints though was to get into a position where you had to concentrate so hard that everything else faded away – for me this came in the form of a three man race team that passed me at about the 1100 km mark… I was alone (ate to much at the previous checkpoint trying to refuel and had been dropped like a stone), I was tired and even though the end was ‘in sight’ it was still a good 4 hours away!  But then, a team raced past and I decided to try and jump on the back… well turned out to be a ride reminiscent of an East Coast blast as we sped along narrow bumpy road at about 40km/h in the dark.  Funny the pain in my nether regions was completely forgotten by this point in the quest to simply hang on!

A quick snack at the last checkpoint (where I managed to find Andy again and persuade him that I needed just a little sit before heading out again) and it was off for the remaining 60km for what looked like a relatively easy final potter.  So.  Garmin elevation maps lie people!  This had some of the steepest climbs of the whole course and most of that was in the final 30km.  Nice.

Anyway Andy and I crossed the line together in 79hrs at about 3am in the morning.  The final horror was that the finishing point had run out of beer… oh well!  The funny part was that the conversation for the last 30km was about how stupid we were and that we would never do this again however, by lunch time the next day this had morphed into what we would do differently the next time and who would be up for London-Edinburgh-London in 2017!

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The Prize

PBP is a truly tough ride – actually a lot tougher than I had imagined it to be but it is one of the best experiences I’ve had on a bicycle.  You see its not just a silly bunch of nutters riding bikes a long way… lining the entire route are local villagers who have dragged the family out (usually along with a bunch of cheese, pastries, coffee water and baguettes for passing cyclists) just to see and cheer you on.  At least 3 of the villages which weren’t hosting checkpoints had small fairs running to welcome the passing crowds and the villages that hosted a checkpoint had gone all out to make you feel welcome.  Additionally the ride attracts all nationalities, bikes and body types – it truly shows what a diverse hobby we have and best of all… everyone is in a good mood!

Even for those not inclined to ride it, visiting the area during PBP time is quite special.  Who knows, I may see you there in four years?

 

Road Closures Everywhere!

Without a care in the world, and without even consulting us, OCBC are closing our regular Sunday Social Ride roads.  So if you are out on Sunday Morning between 1am and midday, you can expect almost the entire east coast through to the south west at Keppel to be closed.  Details and maps below courtesy of Dave “Ride Report” Powell.

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SwiftCarbon Neutrogen TT bike

A common question after the exertions of Saturday’s club championship TIme Trial was ” how much time do you reckon a TT bike would give on the course”.

My view is that the TT bike alone probably gave ~2% benefit over Saturday’s course – at least a 1 minute advantage over clip on bars in the end. Plus, they just make your pictures look a lot cooler!

“Free speed” doesn’t come for free. However, club sponsor Swift Carbon offer an absolutely stunning TT bike – the Neutrogen. As with all SwiftCarbon bikes and frames, 15% discounts are available to Anza members.

 

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ANZA Cycling members receive 15% off SwiftCarbon retail products upon presentation of a valid membership card. Contact kaz@swiftcarbon.com for more info.

Click here for a review and more pictures of this beautiful bike:

http://tribomb.com/review.php?ID=236#.VdmsLYbXeK0

 

Anza Championship TT | Open category

Donald Macdonald

In theory, the logistics for the TT looked simple. Hook up with Pierre and Raoul, ride 5km to the bus pick up and then get an easy bus ride to the TT with plenty of spare time to warm up. The reality involved a missed bus, a chase to the border, an incursion with immigration officials after we took the wrong lane and a briefly lost Employment Pass. It bordered on Mister Bean farce at times. Umpteen apologies to the crowd that took the bus and spent an hour waiting in scenic JB for our eventual arrival…

Eventually we made it to Pasir Gudang but had less than 15 minutes to the start which made the warm up less than optimal. One lap of the track and one lap of the bathroom and I was as ready as I was gonna be…

This race was the 1st outing for the new Allied World CCN team kit and pressure was on for a result – especially with Allied World main man Iain MacLeod in attendance! The overcast weather was a boon but I still found myself dripping with sweat behind the full visor helmet by lap 5.

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As with every TT, I said that I’d temper the 1st lap and not go out too hard. I did feel like I was holding back on lap 1 but managed a 41 average. By lap 2 though, I found that there was definitely less in the tank and I was never going to be upping the pace. A 5.44 lap, Became a 5.52 and then a 6.05 pretty quickly…

Not much to say about the race. 10 laps of the 3.8km circuit but with the constantly changing gradient and wind, I found it impossible to get into a good rhythm and was never able to grind it out like a Changi TT. I was happy with the consistent lap times which were all mostly within a 5 second range of each other. The only minor moment of excitement coming when my bar tape completely unravelled and I peeled it off mid race.

The high number of riders on the track also allowed the chance to regularly pick off rabbits on the road which gave a bit of a buzz. Pierre did the same to me on lap 5 when he came past and immediately dropped me like a bomb.

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I made it to 6th in Open at the end. 4 minutes behind Pierre and about 2 minutes off the podium. 1:00:03 for the 38km – although I then also did an extra lap as I wasn’t sure that I’d done 10!

First outing in the new kit and 1st podiums – with PA taking Open victory and Hish 3rd in Masters. A good day topped off with some fine Anza beers.

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The event itself seemed like a great success despite the limited numbers (60) registered. Some fine promotion by Megan had pulled in a sizable women’s field and we had a lot of riders trying their first TT and first race. One brave soul even completed the course on a hybrid which took real guts!

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some stellar performances were also laid down by Alexander Jaeschke, Stale Nore, Phil Routley, Peter Mcquade and many others – showing that a dedicated TT bike was not essential for a good time.

Overall club champions 2015 were as follows:

Ladies:

  • 1st: Neridah Lock
  • 2nd: Laura Gordon
  • 3rd: Megan Kinder

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Mens:

  • 1st: Pierre Alain Scherwey
  • 2nd: Donald Macdonald
  • 3rd: Alexander Jaeschke

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Many thanks to Anza committee for supporting the idea and putting considerable funds behind it.

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New ANZA Club Socks | Its your choice…

At RTI HQ, we don’t shy away from life’s biggest questions. Good vs Evil,  Shimano vs Campy, Pussycat Dolls Vs Girls Generation – who’s hotter? etc… The BIG stuff!

Today, we ponder that eternal question – White socks or Black?

The results of this one may have cataclysmic impact on the world around us – as it will decide what those good people at Babici produce for the new club socks.

The future is in your hands – make your choice below.

socks vote

They Breed Them Hard In The North

Donald MacDonald

I’m at a graveyard and I’m totally underdressed. These are the first thoughts that cross my mind when I join the Caithness Cycling club for their weekly 10 mile TT. The locals have described this as a decent night but at 12 degrees and a biting wind I have a different opinion. It’s cold as Fk and windier than a week on an all bean diet.

Im at the Graveyard for the weekly Caithness Cycle Club event with 20 others. I used to come here drinking when I was 16 so it’s a place with fond memories. It also allows me to crack an awkward ” will totally bury myself” line later after the ride…

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Caithness is where I grew up. It’s the most northerly part of the UK mainland and John O’Groats is just a few miles up the road. The Thurso TT is the most northerly race in the UK. Despite the entire county having less than 30,000 people, the local clubs still manage 2 TTs per week which is more than Singapore manage in a year! Apart from the cold and wind, the riding is pretty awesome with only 5 traffic lights within 100km!

The local boys are strong too with a couple from the region representing in the last Commonwealth games.

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Thanks go out to Robert Cormack of the Wick Wheelers for lending me a bike for the week. I’m on a borrowed Cannondale Steel Cyclocross bike with 33mm knobby tyres so I’m not going to win anything but have been looking forward to riding these TTs for a long time. i neglected to tell the wife that I’d actually timed the holiday flights to enable squeezing in both TTs during the holiday 🙂

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I’ve been here for 5 days and managed 350km of riding. Apart from the unbelievable cold, the riding has been awesome. You can easily go 5 hours without a traffic light and cars are at a minimum. The rough roads, hilly terrain and freezing cold winds make it hard going but the views are superb.

The TT starts at 7.30pm – it actually stays light till 11.30pm at this time of year. My mum escews conventional racing wisdom by giving me a massive dinner with sticky pudding about 90 minutes before the start and I’m feeling on the verge of barfing when I make it to sign in

The local boys are in decent shape and the number of TT bikes, aero helmets and overshoes make it clear that they take it seriously. They’re decent lads and give me some advice whilst helping pin the number. I’m dying from the cold and have redefined my aero priorities. I’m wearing a woolly hat and arm warmers rather than the usual skinsuit.

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TT itself is a standard out & back with a dead turn round the Marshall at 5 miles. It’s uphill most of the way out but the wind tonight is in the face on the return. As a guest, I’m one of the last out and following the faster local lads.

As always, I overdo the way out – thinking that the downhill on the way home would be easier. My 1 minute man doesn’t gain much much on the outer leg and despite riding on a tank, am getting confident of closing the gap on the return leg. Wishful thinking as I inevitably blow up in the return headwind. I finish the night in 26.20- good enough for 3rd and a shock for some when they see what I was riding.

A great night overall and superb to see a thriving scene in such hard conditions. If you’re ever up North then do bring your bike along – the riding is excellent!

I repeated the feat a couple of nights later when I joined rival club Wick Wheelers for their weekly 10. Their course was slightly flatter but the 40km+ wind on the way back made it the slowest TT of my life. Average speed was 42km out and <30km on the way back. Mental night where I came in 4th.

Thanks to the Caithness Cycling Club and Wick Wheelers for the hospitality and good racing.

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ANZA Club Championship – next week!

RTI is back from it’s extended summer break. Rather than bore you with what we’ve been up to, we’ll use today to push the upcoming Club Championship.

It’s now just 8 days to the ANZA Allied World TT Championship – taking place next week at at the Pasir Gudang circuit in JB. Places are still available for those interested in signing up.

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Just a reminder that this event is free for ANZA members – including entry and bus transfer travel. If you’re a financial member then simply click on the Photo above and use the code “anza”  during registration.

The TT is open to all clubs and individuals and it would be great to see more representation from our friends in Cannasia, Joyriders, Ascenders, Lapierre, Cycle Training Asia, 4T2 and the Mavs to make it an even more competitive day.

Pasir Gudang is a motor racing circuit with very wide corners. As it’s slightly hilly, owning a TT bike might not be any advantage and so we hope this encourages more members to take part. The circuit will be raced in the same direction as the previous Cycosports events & this will take out any sharp downhill corners.

The TT will have a full Cycosports award ceremony for all participants from all clubs. We’ll then do an additional ceremony purely for Anza participants to award the Anza Allied World Club champions. So if you do a great ride, you could potentially be going home with 2 trophies on the day!

Be awesome to see the members there in numbers for what promises to be a great days racing. This is the 1st club championship in years – don’t miss out on being part of it!