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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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