Tag Archives: dirtraction

Lorong Asrama Mountain Bike Carnival

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.

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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.

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Big thanks to ANZA for supporting the team on the day.

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SCF Time Trials | Open Category

After too long a break, it was great to see some Time Trial action back on Singapore soil. Kudos to the Dirtraction organisers for giving us yet more reasons to buy aero booties and new pointy hats.

I love a good TT. The pageantry of putting on the pseudo sado-masochistic gear, the wide eyed letchery at some kids Lightweight Autobahn disc wheel followed by an hour of frantic suffering behind the sheen of the full face helmet.

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My practise runs were poor – ~2 minutes slower than last year – and I was worried. Like any man, I blamed the bike and put it in for a full service the week before the race. A $600 bill (new tub, headset, bottom bracket, cassette and chain) gave me expensive hope that maybe one of those things had been slowing me down. Hope springs from the weirdest places when you’ve got shit form…

Saturday was the Open TT. 36km – 3 times up and down Changi airport straight. With a start time of 10.16, a full face helmet and a smashing looking new Direct Asia skin suit, it was going to be a scorching face melter of a ride. I felt ok and the ride and my HR zones were almost back to where they should be, but I turned in a disappointing 40km average (2km/hr slower than my National ITT) to finish in 51.40. Good enough for 7th in Open only which was a massive disappointment. Pierre Alain managed 5th, Guillame Rondy 6th & Peter Bennett 11th but the day had been dominated by two Kenyan national riders that turned up and put minutes into the field.

After rolling home in full aero kit, my head was thumping and the legs felt dubious. I was scheduled for the TTT Duo with Pierre on the Sunday so some serious recovery and HTFU was required. Massage, compression pants and my first ever ice bath did the trick and by evening I was feeling human.

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5,45am Sunday and I spun out to Changi w Pierre Alain. We were scheduled to start at 7.46 and the difference in temperature was noticeable and much welcomed. I timed my warm up perfectly to finish at 7.40 – only to find that we’d then been delayed to 8.05 start which was a bit of a spanner in the works.

The duo is pretty high pressure. In a quad team, there’s the ability to hide if you’re on a bad day but you’re fully exposed in the 2 man and there’s a palpable fear of letting your wingman down. It’s a very thin line – basically if one of you blows up then the race is over for both.

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PA is a legend in Singapore for his immense power and ability to suffer & so people were already wishing me the best of luck in surviving the onslaught on his wheel. In TT’s, PAs over-exuberance is also known and so I took us out of the start gate to stop him going too hard in the 1st 2 kms. The two teams immediately behind were Singha-Infinite and Kenyan National riders so pressure was on not to go out too fast and blow up later.

We’d “agreed” to target a 44km rolling average at the start which I secretly had doubts about achieving but we took it up to 44-45km on the 1st lap and held it relatively easily. I felt good – my HR was an average of 172 and was able to share the workload 50:50 with the Swiss precision pain machine. The only negative moment came when my aero bottle popped out at the end of the 1st lap and I was left with no water – however, like a great team mate PA came to my rescue and we shared a single bottle during the race.

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Lap 2 went smoothly. we could see Singha-Infinite weren’t really gaining time and so our confidence was building. I started to lose it on lap 3 and PA probably did 70% of the work on the lap – especially the last 3 km when he took it up closer to 50 km/hr at times. We crossed the line in 48.06 – an average of 43.8km/hr which totally exceeded expectations & had lap times ahead of the Quad winners! Amazingly with Singha and Kenyan Nationals, it was still only good enough for 3rd on the day.

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All in all, it was a great day and felt like redemption after the disappointing Saturday. With the work starting on Terminal 5, it’s said that this will be the last ever TT on the legendary Changi straight. If so, it felt great to have Team Direct Asia-ANZA deliver such a strong performance on the last ever race here. Lets hope the new road is even better.

Roll on the National TT in November!

Time Trials are back (and they’re free for ANZA members)

Time trials. The race of truth and all that.

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You against the clock. Alone with nothing but the over-extended heart beat thumping in your ears. The thoughtful organisers have even ensured that beautiful scenery won’t get a chance to distract as you’ll be racing up & down the Changi straight (again).

Those fine fellows at Dirtraction have reintroduced Time Trials back to Singapore after an overly long absence. The National Championships will take place in November but before that we have the majesty of 2 Time Trials in August.

ITT : August 2nd

TTT: August 3rd

Registration details can be found at: http://dirtraction.com/events/singapore-celebration-series-2014/

The more successful these events are, the higher the likelihood of more time trials happening again. To encourage ANZA members to participate, the committee have agreed that we will refund the entry fee for any team that competes in the TTT event where all members (either in a 2 or 4 person team) are paying ANZA members. So, if you’ve never done a TTT before then now’s a great chance to give it a shot at zero cost. Get 2 or 4 mates together and give it a shot. If you don’t have mates then let us know and we’ll try and do some matchmaking via the Facebook page.

Dust off the aero bars, blow the cobwebs off the skin suit and polish up those shoe covers. TT season is finally back.