It’s the first race of the season. Pulau Indah, just west of KL. After the super smooth logistics we had come to expect from Gordon’s Getaways, ANZA lined up with a 20 strong showing at the start line.
The first 10K was nervous as you would expect with over 800 racers. The ANZA crew were proactive in looking after each other and we had great support from the Malaysian Police stopping the traffic at junctions. We felt like the pros!
By the 20km mark, the real contenders had broken away. The ANZA “solid” crew had formed a perfect pace line, punching along at 35km/h+. We looked round to see the rest of the peloton fanned out behind us! As you will see, this becomes a recurring theme.
At 50km, the inconsequential first water station flew past. Opps, weren’t we supposed to stop? Luckily we found the support car who was happy to refill bidons on the go.
For the first 100km the weather gods were kind with an overcast sky shielding us from worst the Malay sun could have thrown at us.
At this point, it is worth noting the 180km course was flat and I mean pan flat. My Garmin showed 270m of elevation gain over the whole course. Nonetheless, a small 40m climb just after the water station at 100km was enough to split the peloton.
Smaller groups formed. Jelte, Andrew and myself found ourselves in one. Once again we formed a pace line and pulled the rest of the smaller pack along, trying hard to pick off riders up ahead. Enough was enough!
No one else wanted to pull and we had picked up a fairly stiff headwind. We decided to slow our pace line right down in the hope that Ned, Yin, Honfei, Laura and Iain who we knew were behind us could get back on. We slowed to 25km/h before anyone else would take up the baton.
The headwind was taking its toll. Small groups had formed. At the 150km water station my lack of pre-race preparation meant a longer than normal stop to address a call on nature! Jelte kindly choose to wait, and just as we were about to set off, who should fly past but Ned (grinning and giving a colorful hand signal) with Yin and Honfei not far behind. We took that as a challenge to chase her down, so not for the first time it was head down into the wind….
The last 10km was a hell like no other. The cloud cover had gone and the sun as up high. Jelte had pushed on with a rider who had been wheel sucking for quite some time (sensible move). Ned and I were left.
I had nothing in the tank, and to an external observe we must have looked and sounded like grumpy old farts complaining about each and every body part that now screamed stop. Once gain the “Garmin law of Relativity” kicked in. As the finish line approached, the time taken for each 1km to roll over took longer and longer. By the last kilometer I had switched to watching the tenths of kilometers count down….
The relief of the finish line quickly switched to the need to cool down and rehydrate. Fortunately the organization was top notch with plenty of water, juice and other goodies available.
Overall a tough but wonderful race. Even in the middle, the ANZA solid crew did themselves and the club proud. A real chance to feel like a racer!