By Phil Routley
Last weekend a few hundred riders gathered at Lor Asrama for the 2014 Singapore Mountain Bike Carnival, an 8hr enduro event that riders can race as a group or choose to go solo. This was my third outing with ANZA MTB and the plan this year was to race in the mixed quad category, Quad gives a far more sociable day out with the added benefit of ensuring our resident president Lynda Scott was locked into a team and that each team member got a little more rest between laps than you will get racing as a duo and way more if you are mad enough to race solo.
A week out from the race our team mate Donald MacDonald (don’t you edit this out Don) pulls out due to a business trip or was it last minute nerves? Lucky for us Arran Pearson had just arrived in Singapore and had hooked up with us for an ANZA MTB social ride the weekend prior to the race. Trying not to look desperate we begged him to join us. As it turns out Arran is a bike nut (aren’t we all?), he was tossing up between his fat tyre bike or something a bit more sensible, turns out sensible to Arran was a single speed custom built titanium hulk of a bike with water bags fixed to the frame already loaded with over 10 litres of water and additional racks for caring more luggage if he needed it…..kind of flies in the face of light bikes but this is racing in Singapore and amongst all the overpriced bike bling and abundance of fat tyre bikes Arran’s sensible option, or as Lynda put it “sensible as in your granny’s undies sensible” didn’t end up turning that many heads
Anyway a start time of 8am became 8:30am due to some trouble with the timing system, so yes I guess that makes it a 7 and half hour enduro. Technicalities aside I had the honor of volunteering for the first lap. Sitting at the start line i felt like the odd one out on my 26inch wheeled bike surrounded by 29ers, fat tyre bikes and a handful of 650b’s (27.5 inch tyres). Anyway once we are under way there was a group of around 20 riders out the front which quickly halved after the first hill and a slightly built 13 year old demonstrating what it is like to have youth on your side setting the pace.
The course isn’t overly technical, just under 9km in length, a few hills with the highest climb running at a 12% gradient and lasting about 400 metres but when ridden multiple times over 8 hours in the searing heat the course quickly tests your climbing ability and endurance…in fairness it’s a great course to introduce yourself to off road racing.
We got off to a strong start with some quick laps but unfortunately Mike Daish had allegedly been eating too many bagels as a result of his jetset life & suffered a flat tyre on his second lap, he blamed it on the loose rocks but regardless of whether he wanted to face the facts valuable time was lost and had to be made up. Seemingly a lot of other riders had also been eating too many bagels as there were flats suffered throughout the day by everyone.
A change in tactics saw us make up valuable time and start to fluster the team in first place as they realised we were closing back in on them. In the end we ran out of time, finishing in second place, equal on laps but around 9 minutes behind. A brilliant effort from everyone and another great event from the folks at Dirtraction.
Big thanks to ANZA for supporting the team on the day.