The recent Haze in Singapore has made riding outdoors difficult. With the last 3 local races cancelled due to air quality, there was a heavy hint of scepticism when rumors of this event first leaked out. A dodgy looking Facebook page didn’t help matters. However, at $50 entry fee it looked worth a punt In case the pollution suddenly improved.
Allied World CCN sent over a strong team of 6 for the event – along with Anza’s Craig Cameron, Kahu and Hoops. The total field was around 250 with decent numbers of Mavs, Geylang Racing and Matadors lining up alongside the size able number of local Malaysians.
The course itself was a bit of a mystery. The profile clearly showed a lot of small climbs and it started/finished at Pasir Gudang but little was known beyond that. Even the race announcer seemed confused saying the distance was 100km++, 114km and 148km.
The race started with a 15km neutral section through the city which was a great opportunity to see who was in the field. Some of the local lads looked strong but there was also a lot of potential carnage creators in there. My personal favourite was the guy in full aero Casco helmet with visor but wearing trainers!
The speed ramped up significantly before the end of the neutral zone and we were close to 50km/hr at flag off. This immediately destroyed the peleton and we went from 250 riders down to 30. We had 6 riders in the group and so were felling pretty confident.
Our confidence allowed us to be aggressive and Raoul, Guillaume, Craig and Don were all off the front over the next 15km. Eventually Hish managed to get away with Ben Arnott Mav and they were allowed to build up a lead of 2 mins. The Mavs and AWA policed the front of the group to disrupt any serious chasing.
At around Km60, we turned into the famous Kulai rollers and almost immediately a crash split the group. A couple of Geylang riders touched wheels coming out of the saddle and also pulled down Craig Cameron. A frantic chase ensued for the riders caught behind for the next 10km. Hoops punctured around this time and headed back to the pack after an embarrassingly slow fix.
Just as the group started getting back, Bastian Mav launched another attack on one of the larger hills and this split the group to smithereens. Hish had just been caught in the break and he managed to hold the front pack of 7 riders along with Pierre.
Legend has it that around this time, there was also a dead body next to the road surrounded by Malaysia CSI police. I did see the police but was too busy dying myself to see the corpse.
The last 40km of the course proved to be mostly uphill with lots of little short punchy climbs. With temperatures of 35 degrees, it was also starting to take its toll. Kudos must go out to the MY police that did a great job stopping all the traffic in the city on the way back to the finish and had plenty of motorbike outriders protecting us. The only slight slip of the organizers was that the Mashalls did mis direct a few riders including Guilaume Rondy – resulting in 4 lost placings on the ranking.
Upfront, a local MY rider won the event in a sprint. He was the only one to actually know where the finish was! Pierre and Hish fought valiantly against 5 Mavs. Bastian Mav came 2nd with Pierre 4th in the photo finish with Nick Swallow. Hish rode in a few metres behind.
Raoul and Don had done a largely solo TTT over the past 40km and they led the next group over thanks to Rondys earlier misdirection 🙂
In total Allied World CCN had 6 riders in the top 15 places so not a bad morning for the team. We cleaned up and hopped on our little bus back. Sleep and then some celebratory beers soon followed in rapid succession.
Congrats to the Megaride Johor team for putting on a great race on a smashing course. For $50, with a medal and jersey the race was a bargain. The haze has clearly affected everyone’s fitness so it was also a timely wake up call that Bintan is only 4 weeks away!
Thanks to Lukman Ascender for the video of the day: