An early start on Saturday morning meant for the usual 6am alarm to get to the bus for a 7:00am (hard!) departure. 20 passengers ready on time and an easy boarder crossing on the way out and off we went. Toilet break was called around half way and our first stop was at a luxury (comparatively) petrol station with food, decent coffee and doughnuts for the brave, or hungry and lunch for those who didn’t pack one. The stop was not overly long and then onwards to Klang we went!
Arriving at the “dreamy” Dream Garden Hotel a wee bit early. Highly recommend you check out the view from the window if you ever get to stay.
We no longer needed to collect race packs as Mr Wong took the honours (Thank you!). Some non-ANZA jersey stowaways still needed to collect race packs so a small group of 5 set out to the start line, for a recce, while everyone else took in the sights and relaxed. An easy pace was kept for the afternoon riders, packs collected and everyone returned in just before a downpour erupted.
With a nice looking local eatery next door, the decision was easy, as they served cold beer. Seating 20 without a booking was a risky move but 2 tables secured and the food was ordered en mass! Soon after 8 everyone was in bed, or getting close. 5am start and 180km’s to look forward to.
Don’t know how everyone else slept but I was out like a light, and up early! (ed: I think Rick had a different POV, as the locals – had one helluva story to tell outside his window till 3am!!)
Breakfast and cutlery was BYO for those who read Laura’s Email 4, or 5, maybe it was 3? The bus was leaving at 6:00am and everyone looked perky and eager to get racing. We did not have the bus for the way back from the finish so that meant another 25km in everyone’s legs after the 180km. Everyone put that out of mind! Onward to the start line.
We alighted the bus and waved goodbye to that white, eerr grey and red haven with air conditioning and comfy seats, which apparently looks like a diet coke can.
Glen Kenny and myself rolled up to the start line early, but already we were 10 deep. Soon to be joined by the Mavs and Matadors! The other ANZA riders weren’t able to spot us so they were another 20 back.
Opening speech, Dignitaries, Anthem and a prayer done it was race time! Very soon after the announced 7:30am start time the horn was blown (for about 5 minutes) and everyone rolled off. Immediately there was a hustle and bustle for position behind the pace car and I found myself in good position. Sitting right by the front but not too close.
The pace car pulls away around km 25 and it’s all systems go, attacks start immediately. The pace is kept high and the attacks continue until a small group is given a free ride around km 30. The pace settles a little but is still unbelievable. I look over and Glen Kenny is right there asking if I saw the crash?! Nope, which crash? The one where a moped came sliding through the peloton sideways and took out around 10 people. Almost everyone gets back onto the peloton.
Reports of more crashes come but sitting at the pointy end I’m happy to be working and not avoiding crashes. Uncle Pete was behind a crash and so were some other comrades, Pete worked hard to get back on and the others were unable to hold his wheel so were left off the back.
Another group break around km60 and make it to the break. 30 odd riders 1 minute 10 seconds up the road is the news.
Nothing much happens in the peloton until km100 where the temperature starts to creep into the 30’s and another small group of 7 attempt to bridge over to the break. 4 make it and the pace lifts at the front. The peleton is riffle with arguing and sand baggers who wanted a free ride to the group sprint finish. Considerable efforts were put in by ANZA and Allied World colours for the later 60km’s of racing. Phil Routley puts in an attack at 5km to go, which raises the pace towards, at 3km to go the pace kicks again with fresh legs emerging at the front.
There was a safe but highly contested group finish and the peleton were glad to be done! Riders to finish in the peloton were Mr Kenny, Uncle Pete, Phil R, Sofianne and myself.
News later on comes that someone fell in front of Peter Tasevski and he walked away with a buckled front wheel. Good sport Rick stayed for safety in numbers and as Pete was out they ordered a cab, which turned out to be a local who had a van and was able to drive them back. Just as it was arriving Iain MacLeod, who made the mistake of stopping at km50 to take on water, was there to grab a lift as well. Lonely work way off the back meant a tactful retirement was made.
Ned and Phil Morris crossed the line together, thankful for the 180km’s to be done. [Ed: Still smiling]
From 20 starters we had 1 mechanical and 4 more tactical retirements.
Everyone raced well and put in solid efforts.
With everyone suitable wrecked from a long day in the saddle we all regrouped back at the Dream Garden and our departure time was set at 16:00. Tales of glory, misfortune and hurt were passed around, the bus was loaded, beers acquired and off we set. Sleep was the agenda on the way home until the first stop where KFC was devoured en mass. Heads up was then brought out and laughs were a plenty. The timing worked well and we crossed the border around 10:45pm.
Taxi’s for some, riding for others and the weekend was done! Another adventure with #Gordon’sGetaways a great success.