Monthly Archives: September 2015

Missing your racing fix after Nongsa? – other options available

The hellish haze resulted in Saturday’s Cycosports Nongsa race  getting cancelled yesterday. Sad news for the local racing community but definitely the right decision from a health perspective.

For those brave souls that have an itching in their thigh muscles and a desperate need to smash the competition/get dropped on the 1st hill, there’s a few options on the horizon.

OCBC Sprint Series: 16th October
This one is a bit of a mystery with a Facebook page appearing earlier this week in very low key fashion. It’s a unique format involving 1km sprints around the highly technical go-carting track at Turf City. It’s a night event with qualifying rounds and then a knock out format. Could be interesting and something that becomes a regular event if well supported.
https://www.facebook.com/OCBC-Super-Sprint-2015-1492470854402085/timeline/

Johor Megaride : 10th October
Again, a bit of an unknown quantity. This one starts down by the Pasir Gudang motor bike track in Johor – a site that we’re all intimate with from the Cycosports race series. However the event then takes us all the way up to Senai for a 100km race before ending back at Pasir Gudang. Entry is only $50 so it’s worth a gamble!
https://www.facebook.com/events/845075345586312/

Cycosports Centaurs jungle cross: 11th October
A new Cyclo-Cross, MTB , Fat Bike race event from the good people at Cycosports. This one is at the new Centaurs Jungle Trail located at Turf City. Great racing for all levels including a kids race. The location is superb, decent food, coffee and the video of the course looks fun. Well worth a trip down for a fun morning of racing.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1663655040536260/

Masters Tour of Chiang Mai: October 23-26
A classic event now in its 5th year. The MTCM is one of the best multi day events in the region with 4 days in the mountains round the beautiful city of Chiang Mai. A great course, strong field and some excellent bikes shops and food this one is well recommended. There’s always a decent sized contingent from Singapore going along.
http://masterstourofchiangmai.com/

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No news is good news?

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All too familiar a feeling on our roads.

A brief lull at RTI towers, no races to report, no major events, and even those that were planned for last weekend were postponed due to the clouds of smoke from the burning forests in Indonesia.

Just a couple of announcements.

  1. Good luck to Our membership director, Neridah as she sets off for 508 miles in America. Check out the profile, and you can follow The Tasnedian Devil on facebook.profile
  1. Roads shot to pieces for F1. To many closures to list, but cut through middle road (I think) on you way back from Changi if that’s where you are headed tomorrow.
  1. Not long to Bintan. For those of you tackling the Red Road to Hell in a few weeks, it’s probably time you started arranging some group rides with your ANZA team mates. I’m not riding it this year, so it would be great if somebody who is would take up the baton for Cat 3 this year.
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Don’t tell me you haven’t all thought this when you pass the camera on the way to Sentosa.

And then finally, I saw this cartoon on facebook which lead me to think I could fill a few pages with cartoons using the power of Google.  It proved surprisingly hard, so I thought I’d ask you lot out there in reader land if you’d like to submit your favourite cycling related cartoons to anzacycling.rti.ed@gmail.com and we’ll start a regular cartoon of the week entry to give you a laugh.

I like the fact I had no accidents to report, so as usual, lets be carful out there.

Andrew

Hazy Days

hazy daysThe haze is back, but we won’t let it keep us down at RTI towers.  Taking our lead from the hardy cycling Singaporean in this photo, we have pressed on with your weekly edition, and all in electronic format so there is no risk of you burning it to add to the smog.

This week we have tales from the dark side as our mountain bikers have returned from the mud with prizes.  And for those of you who have knocked of an Ironman or two and are wondering what is next, we have a story of triumph of man over distance from Matt Lock who has come back from the Ultra520 (and no, 520 isn’t the number of people in the race!) with a superb podium which in a sign of things to come we will claim for ANZA since he is, after all, a member.

Do take the time to read Pete Bennett’s excellent report from Haute Route. We published it late last Friday and probably didn’t get the recognition that it deserved. It’s a quality bit of writing – one of our finest ever submissions!

Keep your eyes on the ANZA facebook for any news of weekend rides, we have only cancelled a Saturday once, but the PSI isn’t looking good at the moment.

 

No other road closures that we’re aware of, so as always, keep your eyes on the road, if you can see it, and the club mates around your, and…

Let’s be careful out there.
Andrew

Singapore MTB National Championships and Carnival

Phil Routley

Lor Asrama was again the venue for the 2015 Singapore Mountain Bike Carnival and this year it was combined to include the OCBC Singapore National Mountain Bike Championship.

In the lead up to the race there was some healthy discussion between the organisers and representatives from the local MTB community on the course design, the outcome was a vastly improved track which included 50% more single track over the original course and a shortened circuit of 6kms.
Those competing in the Nationals were sent off first followed by the solo riders and teams competing in the MTB Carnival race

Arran Pearson and I opted for the mildly crazy 6 hour Solo category as a means to getting some km’s under the belt, while Mike Lehpamer (Super Masters – 3 lap race) and Chris Clarke (Masters – 4 lap race) took the more sane approach and competed in the Nationals.
With all riders starting only minutes apart and racing the same course the invariable bottle neck of riders occurred as they entered the first section of single track. For those in the Nationals this meant a trail of riders to navigate as they lapped them in the latter stages of the race.

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If you want to perform well in endurance racing it essentially boils down to riding consistently (fast) and avoiding mechanicals. I managed to untick both boxes on lap 1 when my rear shock decided to blow out. At first I thought I had a slow flat and decided to nurse the bike back to the start before I realised the shock was completely blown. I passed Mick on the way back (I’m younger I guess) and relayed the news.

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When I arrived back in the pits, the shock still wasn’t holding air, with Recovery Plan A out the window it was onto Plan B and over to see the Santa Cruz distributors to ask if I could borrow a demo bike (for 6 more hours), they were not so thrilled on that idea with looks of concern and muttering something about I better not crash it and deciding instead to swap out my reach shock. Given I crashed later in the race their concerns were justified. As the boys from SC were looking to swap out the shock this was when they realised the canister was loose and the cause of the issue. With that fixed I was back in the race on my own bike but with now well over 5 minutes lost.

Arran and I were racing self-supported which logistically meant we had left an eski (no beers – my bad) at the start line so we could grab more water when needed and keep going, sadly after 5 laps and 2.5 hours I’d pretty much exhausted my water for the day and realized I’d have to pit and find some new water supplies. Thankfully for me Arran had had enough racing and was sitting on said eski, after a quick chit chat and finding I was currently in 2nd place Arran refilled my bottles and I kept going.

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With temperatures now at over 40+ and around 200m of elevation over a 6km circuit, fatigue and cramps were kicking in and mistakes started to come. Ultimately it was a tough race over a solid course.

Results
Mick Lehpamer, reformed smoker and one time backup to Pseudo Echo, finished 11th in Super Masters
Chris Clarke put in a very solid performance in a strong field, finishing 4th in Masters

Arran retired after 5 laps but still finished 18th in Mens Open Solo and I managed 3rd place with 12 laps but frustratingly 2 minutes behind 2nd place and 13 minutes behind 1st place.

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Congratulations to DirTraction for pulling together yet another MTB Carnival in Singapore and a big thanks to the sponsors for supporting the event, especially TIMBUK2, Sony, Buff, SPY+ who have supported the event for a number of years with awesome prizes

Conquering the Canadian Cascades…

By Matt Lock

At the beginning of August 2015 I competed in the Ultra520K Canada [formerly Ultraman] race; an invitational, solo, triathlon format over three consecutive days. The race centres around Penticton in British Columbia; it provides the most stunning scenery as the ride(s) and run legs take you through sections of this major mountain range of western North America.

The three-day format included:

Day One:                   10km swim + 149.6km bike
Day Two:                   276km bike
Day Three:                84.4km run

Whilst I have competed in numerous Iron distance events and RAAM, the training for this event saw a steep increase in volume with particular emphasis on the swim and bike legs. The logistics of organizing a support crew [including paddler] were also a key consideration.

As I, and the other 24 invited athletes and crew assembled at the swim start a rather emotional speech was given from the race director which was followed by a rather ‘funky’ version of the `Canadian anthem. This set the scene for the swim start; a point-to-point lake swim with a paddler by your side. Then, we were off…

Whilst swimming is not my strongest discipline I came out of the water in a very respectable 5th place with a time of 3.09 hours. It had however, taken its toll…. I came to the conclusion after Day One that ‘next time’ I would take on more nutrition and hydration; I was not in a good way as I took off for the first bike leg.

It was only after I had rolled off the start line that I truly realised the state I was in. With my pulse was screaming, my legs felt disassociated from my body and I was out of breath. This is where experience became a crucial factor of survival in the high temperatures and long climbs. That said, it still took almost 80km’s and a lot of great support from my crew to finally settle in, take in some nutrition and finish in 4th place overall.

I awoke the next day feeling rested, with strong legs and in good spirits. After the first 30km and a small navigational set back I settled in and pushed on for the next 100km’s. The second half of the course featured a blend of steep climbs and long, straight sections with a solid, hot head wind as company. The athletes were fairly strung out by this stage and I had made my way back to 4th position by the time the climbing started.

Canada_520With the days ride due to conclude in Princeton the last 40km involved an ‘out and back’ with the first half being uphill, with a head wind. I was  ‘repaid’ for this torture with the inevitable second half being downhill, with a tailwind. Buoyed on by my crew I went ‘all in’ for the finish and secured 3rd place for the day with only a few hundred metres to spare.

The final leg was a ‘point to point’, 84.4km run from Princeton back to Penticton. The first 30km were on tarmac roads with the balance being on dirt roads that led all of the athletes up and over the mountain range. Feeling rested and ready [but for the result of some unexpected saddle chaffing] I soon settled into 4th place and around the halfway mark moved into 3rd place; a position I would maintain until crossing the finish line. After some amazing support from my crew, I secured 3rd place overall [age groupers] with a run time of 7.58 hours and fortified a podium place at my debut event.

I want to thank my crew, all those who supported me [near and far] with a special thanks to my wife Neridah who sets the benchmark for being an amazing Crew Chief and wife!

Haute Route 2015 – The Beautiful Brutal one

Peter Bennett

I’ll sum up the Alps Haute Route in a few words for you: Amazing. Horrible. Fantastic. Terrible. Awesome. Brutal. Beautiful. Sadistic. Wonderful. Hideous. Excellent. Gruesome. Magnificent. Horrendous. Phenomenal.

Phenomenal. That’s it. That’s the word I was searching for two hours into climbing the Croix de Fer. And when I hit 80 kmph on the descent from Alpe d’Huez. When my hands were shaking with cold on the descent of the Bonette and when I couldn’t catch my breath on the summit of the Madeleine. When I listened to an alpine horn through the mists on the Izoard and when my legs went numb with exhaustion on Les Deux Alps.

This High Route through the French Alps is phenomenal. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in sport and very, very certainly the most rewarding. It tested my fitness like nothing else. It tested my mental strength too and never – ever – did it get boring. I reached a near-spiritual high on the graceful ascent of the Galibier and a hypothermic low when I had to change a tube in freezing rain with chattering teeth and uncontrollable shaking hands on the descent of the Izoard.

It was only half way through this year’s Alps Haute when I ran out of adjectives. I’d nowhere else to go other than to the linguistic equivalent of gels, bananas, fruit cake, muesli bars and full fat coke, which, as it happens, were in abundance at the top of each mountain, laid on by the brilliant organisers.

There are three things that make the Haute Route Special. First, the organisation, which is fantastic from beginning to end. Nuff said, no argument. Glitches happen in life and they did here too; who cares. Second is the physical challenge of the route – 850km over 21 mountains, and 20,000 metres climbed all in seven days without a break…you be the judge…; and third is the scenery.
And it is this that reflects why we are here. Yes, it is a race and yes it is a challenge. But the French Alps are beautiful – staggeringly beautiful – and also very hard to ride up on a bike. That is what makes them so famous on the Tour and has now filtered down to us at the amateur level – we’re blessed that we can take them on.

The scenery in Haute is jaw-dropping spectacular, ranging from the unimaginable beauty of a dawn sun hitting the sides of the Galibier and the Lautaret valley, to the stunning scenic views at the top of Croix de Fer and back down to the merely magnificent vista from the Izoard as the thunder clouds roll in. I don’t want anyone to underestimate this – these are the best set of scenic views in sport. I challenge anyone to counter.

When riding the valleys we can see the majesty of the cols all around and when tempo riding the ascents on the sides, we pass through picture perfect villages, ski resorts and pastures that looked forgotten sometimes by the outside world. This is France at its very, very best.

hr1Why we ride

Climbing mountains that were carved by glaciers takes on a few forms but they generally fall into a particular pattern. First a long, slow incline up the U-shaped valley, that’s the time you want to be in a pack and not be riding by yourself; if you are unlucky, you’ll have steep section of a couple of ks to get to a hanging valley…try 12% at the bottom of the Croix de Fer. Then the long drag in a V-shaped valley to the summit – a steady grade, not too steep but enough to kill the nerve endings in the legs. Across a flat section, maybe even a downhill bit at a tarn and perhaps alongside a glacial lake just begging to be swum in and finally an inevitable zig-zag up the arête ridge at the back before crossing the col. It’s fascinating stuff if you are into geology. It’s not that fascinating when you are on a bike: it’s either 10C or 30C, and are 25kms into a 30km climb, your legs are screaming and your lungs bursting. By the top you are cursing any glacial god’s name that comes to mind and a few more besides.

A whole day on the Haute is exhausting. The whole week unfathomably hard. I’m lucky enough to have competed in many cycling stage races but nothing compares with Haute for us weekend warriors while time and again I found myself comparing the Haute to triathlons and particularly the two Ironman events I’ve done.

Indeed, I often heard my subconscious mind talking to my conscious mind halfway through an ascent about which is more difficult – an Ironman or the Haute Route? And the answer is the Haute Route. Definitely the Haute Route but it wasn’t without a bit of a debate. In the red corner, an Ironman lasts longer and takes a bigger effort to complete on any single day. You burn more calories in an Ironman than in a single day’s Haute stage for example and the range of skills required to swim, time trial and run is greater than riding up and down a few bumps.

But the blue corner fights back with the Haute being a seven-day event with the intensity of fighting your way up three or four cols in a day straining every muscle fibre in your body. Most stages finish on a mountain top, meaning you can’t stop and walk as a triathlete can in running the marathon leg, and controlling your bike on a mountain descent is nothing short of raw skill yet at the same time doesn’t exactly provide a mental break.

As hard as they are, an Ironman event is over and done with inside 12 hours whereas the Haute goes on and on. And on and on and on. That’s the clincher. And as my sub and conscious minds take it out to the pub car park to sort it out once and for all, I’d offer that the Haute easily takes the scenery prize too. That makes it a double winner.

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It never got boring…the view from the top of the Galibier

To complete a Haute, and next year there will be four of them to choose from, one has to be fit, experienced and competent to start with. It isn’t for beginners. Yet beyond the basics, in another way, it doesn’t matter how good a cyclist you are – it is just as difficult if you finish first or finish last, it just takes longer if you are at the back but it is just a big a test for both because the output is the same. It’s ironic then that the hilliest event in amateur cycling is also its greatest leveller. During this year’s event I had just the same conversations about good patches, bad patches, sore legs, feeling strong, feeling cold, feeling great with the riders in the top ten as I did in the bottom ten. And everyone ended the day smiling; it’s not just the promo pictures that show this, it’s real.

This combines to make a fourth bullet point that makes the Haute Route so special – the comrade of the pack. When I was stuck on the freezing descent of the Izoard with a flat, I lost count of the number of people who shouted across whether I was okay before one guy stopped after just a few minutes to lend a hand. Having a chat on the road with an unknown neighbour happened thrice daily and ‘how was your ride?’ was the question I asked and was asked most at the end of every stage to anyone nearby, even those with hairy legs. What a fantastic feeling to finish every day on.

And that doubles down to my awesome ANZA team mates, David Cox and Vicki Goodwin. Two years ago, DC finished with a seriously screwed up knee and then had to cancel his entry for last year as he was on crutches so this was his Haute Route Redemption ride. That he rode it at all was staggering; that he finished 76th overall was incredible and that he rode it with such confidence was inspirational.

hr3Vic and Dave at Les Deux Alpes

That is, except for the time trial day of course when I beat him fair and square over 12km up the Col de Granon…the TT day was also when DC supplied the biggest BS line of the trip, bless him, at first admitting to me he couldn’t get his power going, and looking red-faced and puffing like a monkey on heat when I saw him, then attempting to say he wasn’t really trying very hard when he realised he’d been Uncled by 40 seconds. In the ‘race of truth’, nice try Looooooser. In fact this turned out to be a bit of a pattern as when he was then chicked by Vicki on stage seven he claimed his knee was hurting. Yea, right……

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Dave on the TT course full gas.                                                 A red-faced Spider monkey

At least I have the grace to admit that I was passed with honour 20 times over by Vicki, who appears to me to be (a) one of the coolest cycling chicks in the world, and (b) by her own admission have a screw loose somewhere as she is now on the Dolomites Haute. That (a) and (b) are almost certainly connected is a moot point; it’s point (c) that had me bamboozled – she can descend an alpine mountain like a pro wearing dishwashing gloves [lest I be accused of a sexist comment here, read on…]. Even when I started ahead of her at the top of the Bonette and Aravis I couldn’t get near her as she freakin’ flew past me. And it’s not her only quality as her climbing skills led her to seventh overall in the Womens’ GC by the end and the trash talk every night was top quality. What a great cyclist, what a great woman and what a great team mate to have.

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As cool as…                                                                                           Didn’t see much of this vehicle

 

hr8Help!

The bits and pieces of seven days in the Alps

Stage 1 (Nice to Auron).
A nice roll out in Nice. 15km of nervous neutral riding out to the first timing mat but there was only one or two touches of wheels and maybe a puncture or two, including one for the dude with only one leg and one arm. The Col de Nice was perhaps the easiest col we faced all week and just warmed us up as a rain shower came, then the Portes which was the first real test and split the pack to smithereens. Your heroes were in the first group but when Unc saw he was at 350W just to stay with the pack on the first hill past the mat, a sense of ‘screw this’ came over him and he fell back to a more leisurely pace. Lesson number one learned on this day: get with a group in the valley – it saves energy for the final climbs. And lesson number two…if you get given a gas canister by a so called “friend”, check it doesn’t have a hole in it. By the time we’d reached the Ascent of Auron, a big feeling of ‘what have we let ourselves in for’ was upon us. It then rained all night, which really cheered us up.

VG: Best bit: Finishing the stage. Worst bit: Hitting the wall with jet lag
DC: Best bit: Cresting the Col de Nice. Worst bit: False flat between before the start of the Auron climb; then getting chicked on the flat.
PB: Best bit: Getting through the nervous 15km neutralised zone in Nice without a hitch. Worst bit: Not being able to change a flat inside the timing zone then discovering my team mate had given me a used gas canister [he’ll remain nameless for fear of retribution].

Stage 2 (150km from Auron to Briancon).
I have one word: cold. In fact, I have two words: very cold. I’ll turn it into three: very feckin’ cold. The ride started in Auron cold, got colder in the descent to the start and we only warmed up on the first ascent to Bonette. The organisers had warned us that the entire day would see driving rain and possibly strong winds on the Bonette and although you can wear as many layers as a tropics-dweller has in his drawer, it is never enough. The Bonette climb is very, very long but the gradient not that bad except toward the end but at least it stayed dry. The descent is fab as it is equally long, has sweeping wide corners and lots of visibility for the scaredy cat descenders.

The Col de Vars is the opposite – nasty, brutish and short, it arrived with all the elegance of a boxer with gloves on arriving at a Swan Lake performance. Yuk. And then there is the Izoard, the dream killer with the moon landscape…that is if we could have seen it. By the time we were on it, the clouds had rolled in and the rain had started while the thunder rattled round the mountain peaks.

At the top, a howling wind joined its friends and the descent to Brianscon, which should have been the swansong for the day of climbing turned into a fight to keep the bike from shaking itself to bits with our shivering arms. Vicki put one in the eye for the cycling winter clothing market by wearing a poncho and dish washing gloves to keep out the cold and the rain – a genius idea that I was secretly envious of. Unc suffered a second puncture when almost home while Dave was close to hypothermia by stage end. Within five mins of the end of the stage, we all were in [separate] hot showers…just glad that one is over.

VG: Best bit: Up and down the Col de Vars when it didn’t rain like we thought it would. Worst bit: Descending the Izoard wearing dish gloves
DC: Best bit: Descending the Bonette and then descending Izoard on Emma Pooley’s wheel. Worst bit: The 5km rise to Cerre Chevalier after the Izoard descent when in deep hypothermia
PB: Best bit: Descending the Bonette. Worst bit: Trying to change a tube 10km from home in the freezing rain and with hands shaking uncontrollably from the cold.

Stage 3 (the 12km time trial).
The set off times were 20 seconds apart per rider and done in reverse order. Vicki was first off, then PB then DC and thankfully the sun was out. It was a bit nippy but once the sun hit the banks it soon warmed up. The course was 12km long with a flat half k at the bottom then about 7% to the top and all fairly steady gradient. It was a powerman’s TT course so I sat at 320W while Dave fiddled about with his HR monitor and Vicki just put her head down and rode like she stole it. Awesome ride, breathless at the top and finally we got to see the Alps. Dave was heard to mutter “Ooooo Pete you are so strong” at one point.

VG: Best bit: The sun came out! Worst bit: 2km from the top
DC: Best bit: 2 km from the top. Worst bit: the first 5km
PB: Best bit: Finding out I’d beaten Dave. Hahahahahahaha! Worst bit: I only got passed by one rider and he did so with about 500 metres remaining. Curses!

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First time we saw that Alps…on the TT above Briancon-Cerre Chevalier

Stage 4 (1 million kms from Serre Chevalier to Les Deux Alps)
Wow, just wow. This was the queen stage only made possible by a landslide and a road closure that also messed up the TdF route this year. It’s wow on so many different levels: 1. The distance – 165kms through the Alps; 2. The cols we climb roll off the tongue: Lautaret, Galibier, Telegraphe, Croix de Fer, Les Deux Alpes…any student of the TdF knows the climbs are steeped in history, myth and legend. On any given day, these two were enough and then we were honoured by clear blue skies and an ascent to the summit of Galibier that I’ll be recalling when I’m at the pearly gates: pale summer sun glancing the rumbling sides of the Lautaret valley and as we approached the Desgrange headstone, a single, quiet alphorn playing a quiet sonnet. To call it breathtaking is the understatement of the year.

The descent of the Galibier is long and cold in shade, then a short ramp to the top of the Telegraphe before a steeper descent where Unc’s crap descending skills came to the fore. Then the beast. The Croix de Fer. 30km long at 5% but reverse out the short downhill bits and that becomes a myth itself. This thing goes on forever and you can see the top from about 10km out, creaking your neck upwards to see just how far there is to go. Cruel and unusual punishment which is entirely voluntary. The downslope from the Croix is massive fun, only tempered at the steep parts by the knowledge that we had to come up these bits the next day, then the valley past Alpe D’Huez (“thank God I don’t have to get up that mo-fo,” was what I said to my valley riding buddy). I spoke too soon: the ramp up to the base of Les Deux Alps, then the climb to the resort was just as sadistic. 165km done and one of the hardest days on the bike ever. Brilliant.

VG: Best bit: Climbing the Galibier. Worst bit: Missing the podium by [just] four mins
DC: Best bit: the Switchbacks on the Galibier ascent. Worst bit: Almost throwing up and the fear of the unknown on the Croix de Fer.
PB: Best bit: Climbing the Galibier particularly toward the top and looking down the valley toward Brianscon. Worst bit: My crap descending skills becoming apparent on the Telegraphe.

Stage 5: (115km from Les Deux Alpes to La Toussuire)
If that was the queen day, what the heck was this? Bang, straight into the Col de Sarenne. Not a very well known climb as it’s only been used on the Tour once and only going down it but it was hard as hell – technically the hardest of the week at 13km long and an average gradient of 7.5%, and especially so with legs not warmed up and dulled by yesterday’s monster. Timing stopped at the peak so a trundle across the plateau to the top of Alpe d’Huez where we took the back road down to the dam and the start of the Croix de Fer for the second time.

As predicted from yesterday’s recce, this was a brute of a climb coming up from the Bourg d’Oisans side and only let up once we reached the lake and the Col de Glandon turnoff. A fantastic descent and close to the bottom was a forlorn DC sitting by the roadside and complaining about his broken nipples. The problem a boy has.

The climb to the ski station of La Toussuire was the last one of the day and sans the 12% gradient the organisers had talked about the night before – phew. It didn’t make much difference though – the 8% gradient killed any hope of an easy finish although it did flatten out at the top so we all managed a little bit of a sprint finish and pretended we’d just won a stage in the Tour.

VG: Best bit: Smoking my PB on the final climb. Worst bit: dumbed down neutralised descents again and the restaurant that ran out of food.
DC: Best bit: Aggressive descent into the foot of Toussiere on an unknown Mavic wheel. Worst bit: very long climb up the Croix de Fer with a tacoed wheel and rubbing brakes.
PB: Best bit: Sprinting across the line in La Toussiere. Worst bit: Bottom of the Croix de Fer knowing I had it all to do.

Stage 6: (156km La Toussuire to Megeve)
The Col de Chaussy is the one that typifies hairpin bend climbing in the Alpes and is amazing as a shot from the air; on the road, it isn’t that difficult, at least compared with some of the other climbs we’ve done by now. After this, the fabled Madeleine with its staggering views from the top and it’s long, long road to the summit. But the killer of the day was the Col des Saisies, another lesser known and used climb, perhaps made famous by Floyd Landis’ mad solo attack the year he got busted for drugs.

I think after Chaussy and Madeleine, many people had forgotten about it, which they shouldn’t have done cos it was freakin’ hard. Again. Unc really started to feel the fatigue setting in, DC was complaining about his knee so was presumably getting passed left and right and even Queen Super Vic was feeling the strain. After 150km, we were beat. The only consolation was the downhill finish and as it turns out group ride into Megeve. This ended as being potentially the most difficult stage for many on what even the old timers were calling the most difficult Haute ever.

VG: Best bit: Best view from the top of the Madeleine and subsequent decent. Worst bit: last couple of ks of Col de Saises.
DC: Best bit: Catching the guys that dropped me on the flat on the way up Saisies and then descending toward Mageve. Worst bit: Long flat section done alone with such low motivation that I was signing Daniel Bedingfield in my head.
PB: Best bit: clicking up through the gears at the top of the Madeleine. Worst bit: 2 km from the top of the Madelaine when I realised I’d clicked up through the gears way too early

Stage 7 (130km Megeve to Geneva)
Phew. The easiest day of the Haute and because of the long valley between the two climbs of the day, a sense of this being the easiest too. The cols of Aravis and Croix Fry were the two most difficult of the day, followed by a long valley section that saw some enormous groups form. With local riders at the front hurtling through the small villages, this turned out to be technically the hardest bit of the whole trip.

The nasty sting in the tail of the Col des Pitons (aka Saleve) that overlooks Geneva was tempered by an easier gradient and knowing it was downhill to the finish from there. What a fantastic feeling. Descended the Pitons with a Velosophe beer in my back pocket – the best way, if not the most sensible way – to finish a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant Haute Route.

VG: Best bit: Cold Velosophe beer at the top of Saleve after timing stopped. Worst bit: Surviving team mate attack [no idea what she is talking about here. Ed]
DC: Best bit: Enjoying tapping out a relative slow pace to the summit of the Pitons and being met with a beer. Worst bit: concern about recurrence of the knee injury.
PB: Best bit: Finishing. Worst bit: Losing the big group in the valley. Schoolboy error.

Racing season

coffee feetupRacing season is the favourite time of year for the ANZA RTI editors!

Not because we love to race – but because it makes our weekly job so much easier! The races suddenly provide plenty of interesting things to write about and (gasp!) people actually submitting in material for us to publish!

This time we’ve got a write up on last weekend’s local festival of cycling – the OCBC Cycle Event. Guillaume Rondy also gives us a run (and swim/bike) of what happened at the Ironman World Championships.

If you’re a dirty beast & riding the National MTB Championships on Sunday then good luck. Send us your reports!

OCBC Cycle 2015

Donald MacDonald

The OCBC Cycle excitement started on Friday evening this year and didn’t involve a bike. After a long briefing on the new Ocbc Speedway event, we proceeded to a live draw for the qualifying heats on the Saturday. Controversially, the 2 Mavs teams and 2 Joyriders teams both ended up in the same heats racing themselves. There was some serious chuckling on the Anza chat boards that night…!

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Speedway was a knockout contest on the 500m stretch of road at National Stadium – basically a hotdog course of 10 laps from 1 roundabout to the other. Each team had 4 riders – with the 1st 2 riders doing the initial 5 laps before handing over relay style to the last 2 riders. Winning time is taken on the 4th rider.

The speedway started in earnest at 12.30 with our first heat against Geylang, Ascenders, Arrivo Prima and T3. Our plan was to avoid any snarl ups in a transition by coming in ahead of the pack – which we achieved through a Will/Pierre combined attack. That left Raoul and myself to simply not mess up and just maintain the gap and extend if we could. I was worried ahead of the race as I’m a dodgy cornerer but struck cornering gold during the race & was even able to pass people on the roundabout! We ended up being beaten by the young Geylang guys in the sprint but we’re still easily half a lap up on everyone else.

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The other heats didn’t go so well for the Anza teams – both of whom had some tough opposition to overcome. Anza One (Hoops, Victor, Chris von Elling, Frank) were neck and neck for 2nd place in heat 2 at the lap 5 changeover point. However both teams inexplicably didn’t come in for the changeover and did an extra lap. Anza ended up disqualified later for not doing the right total number of laps.

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Anza Eruption (Kahu, Hish, Colin Ives, Pete Macca) were against the combined might of Mavs A and B and it just sadly was too much for them.

In the lengthy gaps between heats, we retired to the excellent pit set up in the sports stadium carpark. It had a great atmosphere but eventually the 3 hour gap without coffee led us to the local mall – with cleats and bikes in tow on the escalator!

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Our semi final had Allied World CCN against Mavs A and Joyriders A and I was concerned about our chances. PA came screaming into the pits first cyclocross style and Raoul took off with a 5 second lead. Yusoff was next and then me. After a hard chase, I got back to the front 2 and Nick Swallow joined about ½ a lap later. Nick set a blistering pace and we simply couldn’t hold it. Brian and Strooper Joyriders were 100m behind and gaining fast.

Joyriders caught us by lap 3 and immediately started trying to dump us. We held on and even tried our own little dig on lap 4 but it was clearly going to be a sprint. Some smart placing on the last roundabout and they took us. One thing the event highlighted is our lack of sprint ability and the need to practice.

Joyriders went on to win the day – with the Geylang boys taking 2nd. An interesting fun event overall!

Stupid o’clock Sunday saw the more traditional Ocbc Cycle event take place – requiring a 3.30am alarm!

Due to our result in the Speedway, we were given tickets for the champions wave – along with the local pros down from the other asian countries. This gave about 50 of us a head start over the rest of the peleton – meaning clear roads the whole way.  The atmosphere at the start was great with 8000+ riders lining up for the event, podium cameras and drones all present. One of the local ministers also came down to shake some hands prompting a bit of confusion amongst the expat cyclists…

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The start was a bit confused with a car neutralizing us for a while before things heated up down by Marina Bay Sands. Speeds rapidly hit 50km/hr and people started popping out the back before we hit Keppel Viaduct.

With a wide open, empty Sheares Bridge and ECP! It was like a fantasy dream edition of the Crazies ride. The foreign pros were mostly quiet and the usual suspects made the pace. Pierre forced a breakaway at the midway point with Noel Mav and Lippy Joyrider. With the main teams represented, it was always going to stay away. Unbelievably Pierre even won the sprint into the national stadium! Will Pratt also did a fine job and led the bunch home in 4th place.

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The new course was excellent and the only dodgy bit being the last 300m into the stadium itself. The feeling of coming down the tunnel and into the light of the stadium was spectacular – even though it was completely empty.

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Some Anza group pictures with podium girls and a hunt for coffee rounded the event off nicely. Great job OCBC!

Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Guillaume Rondy 

This race was the result of a 7 month journey of hard training where I totalled about 10,000kms of swimming, cycling and running, trained in Singapore and Australia, competed in 3 70.3 races in Asia and Europe and 5 shorter multi-sport races in Singapore and Bintan. I averaged about 12 hours of training a week for these 7 months, won my age group in Singapore and Bintan triathlon and got 2nd or 3rd in all the other Asian races – Europe is another level…

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I got to become part of a fantastic triathlon team, and have had the immense privilege to become a brand ambassador to help me in the journey.

 Zell-am-See wasn’t the easiest place to get to but it was definitely worth the trip. I believe the photos spoke for themselves.

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I was aiming for a personal best given where I thought my current fitness was and I thought it was possible on this course.

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The race itself started well for me: I had the swim time I was aiming for roughly and set off on the bike leg feeling good. I pushed hard at the start as agreed with my coach and managed to get over the climb slightly ahead of schedule. I started the climb a bit harder than expected and disregarded the power numbers I was reading, justifying it to myself “It’s the World Champs, FULL GAS!!!”. That meant my power output was a bit high at the top of the climb, but I knew this would be averaged out with the descent. The first 5k of the descent were even steeper than the climb and you could smell brakes on carbon wheels all the way! Clearly confirmed triathletes are not made for descending and I managed to overtake quite a few people on the way down, always nice. The rest of the bike went well despite cramps in my thighs around the 75th kilometre and I was still hopeful for a PB when I started running.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as my breathing and stomach decided to play up. I couldn’t eat anything during the entire run and everytime I tried to push the pace I had to stop to get rid of stomach cramps. I very quickly realised today wasn’t a PB day, but decided to make the most of the atmosphere, seeing all my Singaporean friends and most importantly my family that was there to cheer me on. The finish time is good but not what I had trained so hard for, although I still managed to come 53rd in my age group. As my coach Arnaud​ said, great experience racing at such a high international level!

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 So although the race didn’t go as planned, I had a fantastic time before, during and after the event. The location was stunning, the team spirit was fantastic and the support from my family and Nix in particular was out of this world. I doubt that a lot of people also managed to see their wife 9 times during the event! It felt like she was everywhere and that made me get through the tough run so much faster.

 Now onto some rest for me, some training for Nix’s next race and planning next year’s events!

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