First race in 5 months after the Haze slit the jugular of the 2015 racing season – resulting in the cancellation of the original September edition of this race and many others.
The Cycosports organization was the expected smooth sailing (pun intended). The ferry terminal was quieter than usual and turnout was disappointingly lower than previous races. However Cat 1 had bucked the trend and increased in size with a sizable contingent from Integrated Racing for the 1st time. Good to see some new faces.
The start itself took place in a public park which resulted in a surreal trek through a vast array of Batam youth. Weird to see so many kids out at 7.30am playing badminton and doing military drills in the park. Even at 7.30, temperatures were high and the needle was rapidly heading into Scorchio territory.
Cat 1 rolled out for the 12km neutral zone with about 40 riders. The neutral zone was a swift reminder of how hilly Batam can be with a constant set of ups and downs.
Eventually we made it to the Course – a hilly 12km loop that we’d tackle 7 times – and swiftly commenced kicking the shit out of each other.
A pattern quickly established itself with a steady pace being set all the way to the climb then an increased pace over the 3 hills followed by a frantic chase on the downhill for those dropped on the climb. On each pass a few would fail to latch back on – resulting a slowly depleting peleton.
I’d been practising my hills at NTU and was confident at putting out 400 watts for about 90 seconds. This was fine for the first climb – but didn’t go so good for the 2nd and 3rd rollers which I’d completely forgot about. Of the 3, it always seemed to be the 3rd where I’d be gasping the most.
Lap 1 and 2 went well and I even took the KOM on lap 2 – leading to some short term hubris that I could just go for the KOM every lap. Lap 4 was tougher and needed a decent chase from a group of 6 of us to get back on. Lap 5 was when I finally popped in a big way. About 20 guys remained at that point but my legs were like jelly and I could do nothing but pant like a madman as they dropped me on the last hill.
I dragged a few Cat 3 guys round for their final lap before tackling my last lap solo. I took small solace that half the field had popped before me but it was still vaguely shameful to finish 5 mins behind the rest of my team.
Upfront, Nick Swallow had been on a stealthy break that most were unaware off since lap 4. Hish went for a break with Clarson on lap 6 but man of the day went to Ben Arnott who took the win after an attack “like a rocket” on the final circuit. The Allied World boys had come in 5th (Will) and then in various places in the rest of the Top 10. A well deserved clean sweep by the Mavs today – they came with strength-in-depth & a solid plan.
Post race entertainment included some dodgy Taylor Swift karaoke, beers and donuts to round off a fine days racing. The result wasn’t what we wanted but it was still great to be pinning numbers again. Thankfully there’s a slew of new races coming up so a shot at redemption should be imminent.
As always, many thanks to the good people of Cycosports for putting on another fantastic event.