Tag Archives: tour de bintan

What the Tour of Bintan taught me about trading

A few years ago I foolishly signed up to participate in the Tour of Bintan Gran Fondo with some colleagues, including OANDA’s regional CEO, a seasoned pro. I must confess to some trepidation, but I figured if Singapore is flat, then Bintan must be too. Clearly this was a terrible error on my part, further compounded by the fact that so many of my co-workers were keen cyclists, and several even competed in Ironman competitions for fun.

They had no problem getting out of bed at silly o’clock in the morning to train, but as a Kiwi used to long open roads and a variety of routes to choose from, doing lap after lap of the Red Dot was anathema to me. I have a low boredom threshold and I also like to sleep in on weekends, so this was far from my cup of tea.

I managed a grand total of one training ride in Singapore before traipsing over to Bintan with the group to train on the actual course a couple of weeks before the tour itself. My emotions ran higher than my pulse when I discovered that the earth was not flat on Bintan. Quite the opposite actually.

To cut a long story short, I was left behind by my colleagues halfway through, weakest lion cub peloton style, and as a result I completed the remaining 60km of the course perched on the back of scooter, clutching my precious bike as we sped along.

Photo courtesy of Fatih Muftih / Batam Pos.

With this fantastic preparation, I took my place on the morning of the tour, ready for my 150km “day out” in the tropics. I felt good about the rolling start right up until I reached the first hill. After that, the only cyclists who seemed to be going slower than me were those who had already crashed and lay sprawled on the side of the road. And I do mean literally on the side of the road – I never knew cycling was a blood sport.

I pedalled away, mostly on my own, throughout the day, making the time cut-offs, losing so many fluids that I actually stopped sweating. Going through terrain that resembled a volcanic scoria field in the blazing heat, I was almost delirious and hallucinating about a three-litre party bottle of coca cola. Full fat coca cola. (I never drink coke) Then it started to rain, and I mean really rain, at which point I yelled, “For #%$^@#% sake, could this day get any worse?” At this point a boat full of animals and a bearded man in robes floated past me.

A strange thing happened though. Eventually, I began to find my stride. Maybe my body was so dehydrated, I was osmosing the water through my skin. I started speeding up and by the second checkpoint I was flying, in my mind anyway. I got into a rhythm going up the long hills and coasted down the back, and I even started using the little robot thing on my handlebars to track my pace and speed.

Sure enough, some six hours after I started, I arrived at the finish line on my little Fuji. I say little because I am usually a front row prop in rugby and it sort of looked small on me. The feeling of achievement was really quite indescribable, as was the fear I would never be able to father children. Ever. I also went straight to a local shop and bought an unfeasibly large bottle of coke.

I will admit my training regime was perhaps lacking and maybe I should have put my ego and boredom quotient aside and done those laps of the island, but I did actually learn I had a lot more willpower and drive than I ever realised. I stopped being afraid of those long hills and started looking forward to them as I knew how I would tackle them before, and they stopped hurting quite so much, unlike my behind.

Trading is much the same. If you lose a lot of money, your bum will hurt as much as your ego and your wallet. If you go into it ill prepared and you don’t do the training, you won’t enjoy a good experience either. How you manage your risk and your losses comes down to mental attitude, and I promise you, that as a self-directed trader, you will lose money at some point. The trick lies in your attitude when that happens, managing your risk properly and losing a lot less than those times you make money.

At OANDA we won’t promise you unrealistic riches for little to no effort. We won’t tell you that you can make risk-free returns. Dedication, preparation and attitude can do that for you. Much like preparing for cycle tours. A recurring theme I see amongst you in these blog posts.

What we can promise you is a fantastic platform with some great products to trade. We will teach you to manage your risk and the correct mindset to be a self-directed trader. We WILL NOT allow you to use excessive leverage, and we’ll treat you the same whether you have SGD1k or SGD1mn. (OANDA was founded by two professors on this democratic principle)

At OANDA you will find down to earth, friendly people whose mission is to help you on your trading journey and to treat you with integrity and respect. Always. We look forward to meeting you soon.

Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst
OANDA Asia Pacific


Tour De Bintan | Cat 1

Donald MacDonald

My sixth TdB and its consistently my racing nemesis – usually ending in horrendous cramps in the never ending rollers out in the middle of nowhere. Except 2010 which ended in a gallon of blood and a shredded shin…

The April timing is new – a result of last years suffocating haze. However if anything, it makes the race harder as temperatures will be even more extreme. I’ve been preloading endurolytes for a week in a desperate attempt to outfox the cramps.

The Allied World CCN team were initially coming to the race with a bucketload of confidence following dominating performances in the recent Tour of Phuket and Ocbc Cycling Series. However half the team – including leaders Will and Pierre – got sick the week before which threw the plans up in the air. I racked up my best ever Crazies ride the weekend before getting sick the next day so my form is a bit of an unknown.

We’ve come with a team of 8 – pretty much the entire SG squad. Cat 1 is packed with talent this year and the main threats appear to be from the Aussie teams (Wormall CCs, Eddy Hollands), Mavs and the SwiftCarbon boys. Japanese Takei is also here, looking whippet thin.


I took the Thursday night ferry in an attempt to avoid the annual Friday morning Tanah Merah madness. This proved to be an inspired move with the ferry being deserted. A pleasant trip and it earned me a decent lie in on the Friday Am.


Friday’s TT was on a new course – 12km out and back with a few sharp hills and a hard headwind on the way out. Despite some dedicated training and a sweet, penis revealing skinsuit, I totally messed the ride up. I went out too hard and blew before halfway. The constant undulations and the corners threw me and I never hit any kind of rhythm. I ended up with a time of 19:00 – 30th in the positioning which was well down on expectation.

Pierre missed the podium by 1 second and came in apologising! Will had been sick all week and was disappointed with his ride. Adam proved to be our unexpected hero by pulling a Top 10 ride! The day’s bad news was compounded when Vic departed after the TT to deal with some family stuff. Bad day all round leading to a subdued dinner table.


STAGE 1 | 153 kms

The queen stage kicked off with the usual fan fair, anthems and speeches in a dilapidated bus station.

The team strategy was hatched and broadly aligned with the Mavs plan also. Make the Wormall team work as much as possible for 1st hundred 100kms…The first 50km ended up being very tactical. Overall speed wasn’t high but was peppered with regular attacks off the front from various groups. I got in a couple before bedding down towards the back of the group.


At 50km, Pierre got up the road with Ben, Yusoff, Will, Hoops and Andreas. This was good for us and we then tried managing the bunch to disrupt the chase – mostly led by Swift Carbon and Wormall. Takei took the front after hearing the Gap was at 2 minutes and quickly wound it up to 55.

The new double pass of the Red Road and April temperatures started its killing spree and the occasional bodies started popping off the back. I got my first cramps at 80km but was hopeful they’d be kept in check…

Bizarrely we passed a baby kitten sitting in the middle of the road. How 40 riders managed to avoid it was a mystery but I was grateful to see it walk away unscathed. A couple of roosters appeared later to add to the menagerie.

At 100km, we were on a fast downhill and some small gaps appeared. Takei gave Raoul a helpful small push to help close the gap. Somehow this sent Raoul shooting off the road at 60km and he ended up riding on the loose rock. Amazingly he kept the bike up although punctured and was now looking at a long solo ride home.

At 106km on a punchy rise, my legs succumbed to the long threatening cramps and I watched the peloton slowly easing out of sight. I did the remaining 45km solo and alone. Water support was non existent until the static station 20km from the end and I was cramping like crazy by then. </p><p> I eventually crawled in 20 minutes down on the leaders to discover that PA’s break had been caught and the big man had also cramped and dropped. Takei ended up taking the stage from a breakaway with Bastian. One consolation was that PA had grabbed the KoM jersey.


Sunburned as hell and with bizarrely cramping hands, an afternoon of junk food, crisps and electrolytes was swiftly ordered.

STAGE 2 | 107kms

Breakfast didn’t give me much confidence. The legs were still shaky and appetite weak. A few salt tabs on the start line helped matters and I was feeling spritely by the time we rolled through the Nirwana roundabout.

My biggest concern of the day was getting dropped on the first rollers to Checkpoint Charlie. To counteract this, I took the front and set the pace up the old KOM climb – thereby ensuring it was a manageable speed for me. Next challenge was the proper KoM at 20km. PA had to score Top points in the KoM and we had to stop Wormall getting any to ensure that his jersey was safe. Unfortunately the Wormall boys did a 3 man lead out which we just missed. PA took 4th for our 1st bit of bad luck for the day.


Bad luck struck again at 40km when Pierres chain snapped – a relatively common occupancy for the big dude.

I got off the front a few times – including a 10 minuter through the local township. The screaming kids more than made up for the screaming legs. Eventually Clarson and some SwiftCarbon boys came over to me but I was burnt and popped on the next decent climb to be reabsorbed into the peleton.

Bad luck #3 struck at 80km when a road full of glass suddenly appeared. Adam – still Top 10 – was taken out along with Kahu. He went on to lose 5 minutes. Will also picked up a slow front wheel puncture which put paid to the sprint.

I dropped just before the KoM and cruised home with Adam. A tough weekends racing with little to show for it – beyond the sunburn and a multitude of empty beer cans.

Overall, the TT and Sunday were good but Saturday remains too gruelling and reliant on avoiding cramps. The gouging costs – in particular the 1000% markup on water in the restaurant – left a bad taste in the mouth. Still, it’s a classic event in the local calendar and I’m sure we’ll all be back next April.


Tour of Bintan | Ladies

Kari Nore

From the Crit

Dave and the Ladies SquadWith a sore throat and feeling weak and feverish I was wallowing in self-pity on Friday. Friday morning I wasn’t even a sure starter for the Crit. I was thinking perhaps it best that I rest up and save my strength for Stage 1. However caught up in the moment and having enjoyed cheering on the Cat 2 waves as they flew past our little ANZA camp, I didn’t really want to miss out.

The women’s competition was small (28 starters) however the quality of the field was very good.  Mavs had fielded a team four strong girls (Grace, Serene, Sarah Clark and new girl Veronika). There was also Christina Liew from Cycledelic, Sarah Jeanne Fraser, super-triathlete Kath Haesner, and some unknowns in a big team called Project 852 down from Hong Kong.

We were four ANZA girls (Lizzie, Lenka, Vanessa and I) and we nervously grilled the Cat 2 boys for tips on the course before lining up for our start.

I didn’t know it at the time, however it was even before the Crit started that I got the first of what was to be many pieces of good luck. Serene Lee’s (one of Mavs’ strongest) bike had not shown up at the venue. She was forced to sit it out and thus was taken out of the running for the GC.

And then we were off! The neutralized wave started at a sensible pace and we quickly discovered what the boys had described, the route was definitely hilly and there were lots of twists and turns. This was going to be hard! There were plenty of spectators lined up along the roadside and congregating at various vantage points, which certainly added an element of excitement.

Suddenly the first lap was completed and the race was ‘live’! Sarah Fraser and Grace from Mavs instantly broke away at full sprint. ‘Bloody Hell its game on already’ I thought  dismayed but I didn’t think twice about taking off after them. They put some distance on me as the course wound up the hill and around the turns, and by the time I reached the top they were 30-40m away and I was feeling the pain of being a little unwell + a sprint up a hill and I was breathing very heavily. I knew I didn’t have the strength to be the one to catch them. No problem, I thought, plan B, I shall just fade back a little and merge with the peloton. I looked behind me for the rest of the girls. ‘SHITE, where the Hell is the Peloton??’ I had assumed that we had all gone together with the break, but as it turned out the peloton was much further behind me than I was behind the lead girls.

For the next couple of hundred meters I was reflecting on how I had gotten myself into this pickle and trying to decide on what Plan B should be.

Then suddenly Kath Haesner appeared (this was my second piece of good luck). She’d chased alone from the peloton. Kath is strong; she put her head down and powered away at a quick and steady pace. I jumped on behind and things were looking up again. I took some turns at the front in the early laps but we soon established that we went much faster when she was leading. We had glimpses of the girls in front, but we soon lost the girls behind. On the last lap Ståle and Kaz (Saxobank) called out some times for us; the breakaway girls were only ten seconds in front, the peloton was more than ninety seconds behind.

With 500m to go we finally caught Sarah and Grace but we were no match for their race smarts and sprint power. It was Sarah, Grace, Kath and then me over the line in fourth place. The peloton and the rest of ANZA’s girls rolled over two minutes after us.

I had given it everything and was really happy with the result. I felt so bad that I had to lie on the grass and try not to throw up.

I didn’t realise until afterwards that Lenka had crashed just before the finish line. Luckily she and her bike were ok and both escaped with flesh wounds and she bravely jumped back on her bike to cross the line in still a good time.  A girl went down right in front of her and much to Lenka’s horror she rode straight over the top of the fallen rider.

Its always fun to hear someone else’s perspective and I discovered later from one of the girls in Project 852 that she and her teammates had had no idea that there was a breakaway group at all….

Rider of the day: Kath Haesner for reeling in the break Sarah and Grace had made on us in the Crit.

Honourable mention: The Cat 2 guys for staying a bit longer at the Crit venue to cheer us girls on.

Stage 1.

Ladies SquadAfter a shocking nights’ sleep I trudged to breakfast like it was my own execution. I was still under siege from my cold and Stage 1 was looming. This was going to hurt!!

The peloton got off to a sensible start, taking it a little easy as we warmed up and ‘got to know’ each other. Grace from Mavs punctured after just 20km, but this was not the last we would see of her. As it often seems to be, the intensity and the pace picked up as the terrain became harder. We hit the Red Road and the stakes were suddenly raised. It was the first opportunity to split the ‘women from the girls’. Lizzie and I were riding comfortably in the front part half of the peloton, and I was confident that Lenka was still with the main group, however I was worried about Vanessa, who had had limited time to train due to heavy work commitments.

We might have lost a few girls on the Red Road however I’m pretty sure most of them caught us again as the pace slowed dramatically as we rode along the coast. Grace was back in the game after changing wheels and hustling hard to catch us.

It was here that our water support appeared and there were many thirsty girls looking for full bottles. Our water support was in fact excellent for the entire Stage 1. One only had to put up a hand and a bottle was instantly there.

After the first ACE sprint our pace dropped down to the low 20s and I genuinely began to worry that the Cat 3 peloton would catch us up. Sarah Fraser tried a couple of moves to fire us up, with some success, but then around the 50km mark she called out for an allen key. I had no idea what was wrong but she spent the next few kms hanging on to the support car whilst someone fiddled with her bike.

Kath Haesner was clearly starting to become worried that we might never make it to the finish line if we didn’t start riding faster. So she took the front again and with good support from a strong 852 girl the pace picked up significantly. We were off racing again!!

It was a few km later that I saw Sarah again riding beside me. I did a little double take and saw that she lost her seat! She was alternating between standing and sitting on her cross bar and pedaling. I was impressed but I knew with 70+km to go that she wouldn’t last long and that her stage was pretty much over (more good luck for my cause!).

Kath was doing a super job of time-trialing off the front and her pace had us whizzing over the little rollers for many kilometers. At one stage she moved ahead of us and put about fifty meters between herself and peloton. We were all starting to fatigue a little and I think if she had decided to press on and leave us behind then we might have all been prepared to let her go. Instead however she eased back and rejoined us. Perhaps there was just still too long left in the race to try to go it alone.

It was around this time that we starting picking up Cat 2 guys who had dropped off the main group. Every couple of kms or so we whizzed by another guy. ANZA seemed to be overrepresented and I think we passed/picked up between six and eight ANZA Cat 2 guys.

Meanwhile I had been ‘cramp management’ for quite some time. Several times I came within a hairs’ breath of ‘death cramps’, in particular nearly seizing up completely on the last KOM. Luckily for me Lizzie was always riding nearby, looking strong and steady and as cool as a cucumber. She was there to tell me to buck up and suck it up which definitely helped me grit my teeth and keep forcing my legs to go round. It also helped that a number of other girls were clearly also suffering. A few were rubbing their thighs, others were shaking their legs, and our pace over the rollers had slowed significantly. It seemed like no one was keen to push hard up a hill anymore, not even Kath.

20km to go! 10km to go!! 1 km to go!! I was at the front with 900m to go, side by side with an 852. 500m to go! We flew around the bend and down the straight. At 100m to go I was pedaling like crazy but the eight or ten girls behind me all swished past seemingly effortlessly.  I was on the far left and I could see Lizzie storming at great pace down the far right. She was amazing, and whizzed over for third place. A terrific result on what is without a doubt the toughest stage of the tour. Mavs took first and second, and Grace won the Yellow jersey for Stage Two.

I had nothing left and was totally wiped out. I had had to give everything plus some to push through my cold. I stumbled into the staging area and stood there for a while, dithering and staring blankly, before I was saved by Raoul, who clearly recognizing a dribbling mess when he saw one, took my bike from me and pointed me in the direction of the drinks tent.

Sarah Fraser rolled in only about ten minutes after the peloton. No one could believe she’d managed to do so well for so long with no seat.

Lenka rolled in couple of minutes after that. And then after a little while Vanessa was also safely home. The heat and the hills and the distance make Stage One an incredible physical challenge. Just to get through is an achievement.

It’s after days like that that you appreciate the simple things. My long hot shower was wonderful. The huge bowl of hot chips that Ståle and I gobbled up (smothered in so much salt that on an ordinary day it would have stopped my heart in an instant) tasted divine. And I spent a lovely two hours lying comatose in my room.

Despite all this I still felt awful with my cold stubbornly hanging around. I was very envious of all the happy chatting and laughing people exchanging war stories at the event dinner on Saturday. I felt like a zombie in comparison.

Rider of the day: Kath Haesner for picking up the pace and time-trialing off the front, pulling the peloton along for the better part of the last 70 kms.

Honourable mention: Sarah Clark (Mavs) for giving up her wheel at the 20km mark and soloing the remaining 115km after her stronger teammate Grace punctured.

Question mark? Did Sarah Fraser really ride the 80km to the finish line without a seat or was she pulled by motorbikes for much of the way as alleged by team Project 852?

At the end of Stage 1 I was in third place behind Grace and Kath Haesner, and we still had our two minute jump on the rest of the field.

Stage 2:

I’d slept a bit better, but I was still feeling sorry for myself and I dragged my heels to breakfast. Knowledge is power they say and there was a great relief in knowing that Stage 2 is a significantly easier ride than Stage 1.

The Mavs had the Yellow jersey and it was clear right from the start that they would protect it aggressively. Sarah Clark took the lead and set a nice and easy pace of around 30km. With the clouds taking the sting out of the sun and the practically flat terrain, it was shaping up to be a lovely Sunday recovery ride.

Before the 54km ACE sprint Christina Liew clearly grew tired of the status quo. She led her team in wave after wave of aggressive attacks. We were all forced to sit up and take notice – we had a race on our hands after all and everyone was on guard. The 852 girls also threw their bit into the mix, and started doing their own surging. The group was alive and kms were flying by.

Lizzie and I were riding sensibly. We had our eyes glued on the Mavs and on Sarah Fraser in the Green (she had borrowed Laura’s bike). We stayed away from the front and let Mavs do the work in closing the breaks. Their need to protect Grace’s Yellow was perfect for us.

Before I knew it we were at the Check Point. Just 15km to go! As the peloton slowed down to carefully negotiate the speed bumps Christina pushed through for another attack. She was not going to let us relax for a second.

Seven kms to go and disaster struck!! Lizzie went down on one of the steep climbs after clipping another girl. I was behind but managed to move out of the way. The peloton did the ‘gentlemanly’ thing and slowed right down to make sure she was ok. ‘Keep going’ Lizzie shouted to me. So I jumped back on and raced back to the spot I’d been holding near the front of the peloton. I had my fingers crossed that all Lizzie needed to do was to pick up her bike and jump on and get going.

We dropped four or five girls doing some crazy speeds through the hills of the last section; however they did well to catch us again on the straight before the turnoff to the hotel.

2km to go and there was still at least ten to twelve girls left in the peloton and Kath was bringing us home at a steady pace. There was nothing to be gained by breaking too soon – it was definitely going to be a last minute sprint to the finish.

200m to go and it is me, Serene and Christina side by side. Then GO! GO! GO! The two strongest sprinters in the field, Grace and Sarah, came from behind and powered past us with ease. It was impressive to watch how quickly they blasted away. Serene was next but was losing ground fast to the two leaders, and I rolled over in fourth after giving it everything I could.

Grace from Mavs took line honours and first placing in the GC. Terrific riding from her in each stage! I beat Kath Haesner over the line in the sprint finish meaning I ended up with second over in in the GC and Kath took 3rd.

It was a terrible shame that Lizzie fell. She’d done brilliantly in the Stage 1 sprint finish and would have no doubt shone again in the sprint for the line in Stage 2. It turned out that she needed some minor work done on her bike and that cost her several minutes. Lenka selflessly waited with her and rolled over the line just after Lizzie. Vanessa backed up well after a long day yesterday and she too made it safely home.

Rider of the day: Christina (Cycledelic) for turning a chilled Sunday ride into a proper race with her relentless attacks in the second half.

Honorable mention: Sarah Clark (Mavs) for protecting her team’s Yellow jersey all day.

Tour of Bintan | Ladies Too

Lizzie Hodges


Lizzie CritFinally escaping from the guarded fences of school, Uncle whisked me to Tanah Merah, where it was distinctly more calm than Facebook had shown it to have been earlier that morning.  Unlike the earlier athletes, with the help of Jeanne at Metasports and Sindo ferries, I was going directly to Tanjung Pinang.  This proved to be a Very Good Idea.  Apart from the temperature ont he ferry being ARCTIC!  Two hrs of ferry ride and 5 minutes of walking took me into the old Dutch Colonial Governors’ building that was race HQ for the crit.

I’m told everyone in the first wave qualified for cat 2 (45 out of top 50 raced…), but the second wave for cat 2 was a bit more crazy, as peoples’ bikes hadn’t made it down from Nirwana on the trucks (Oops!).  Craig’s campaign for the green jersey started well and he emerged from the crit wearing his prize.

All in all it was a good course despite the #fuckoffmassiverooster which appeared during one lap.  The rooster failed to respond to any of my screams but fortunately was #fuckoffmassive enough for everybody to avoid.

Nico with the LadiesKari made a smart decision and decided to hang onto the recently turned pro triathlete Kathryn’s wheel.  As a result she came in 4th.  Lenka unfortunately decided to demonstrate the protective properties of rapha kit by taking a dive towards the end and is willing to demonstrate this through a look where the road rash ends exam at the drinks on the 20th.

As it turned out the most hair raising part of the crit was the bus ride back to Nirwana where we spent two on a rickety bus with no headlights.  So fearful were we that there were dudes standing at the windscreen shining their iPhone screens out to warn oncoming cars of our approach.  All I could think was Bed, remember to shower, bed, zzzz.

bintan lady1

Day 2.

As expected day 2 was long and hot! [Not Hot and wet… That’s nice if you’re with a lady, but it ain’t no good if you’re in the jungle.? Ed.] The women got a special treat of 135km not 150km and Kari beat off her cramping legs to stay with me and the front half of the women’s  peloton, which despite small and frequent mini-attacks, stayed together for most of the stage.  There was a large squad from Project 852, a team from Hong Kong (+852 geddit Ed.) who it turns out are a collection of smaller teams who ride under the same name for bigger stuff.  They were lovely girls and fairly safe to ride with too, unlike a particular girl who wore black and *** kit( but that’s enough of that Ed.)   So we all played very nicely!

The highlight was SJ Hollands riding EIGHTY kelometers with no saddle after her seatpost snapped early in the race.

The guest mav came in first, Serene second, myself 3rd.  Back to Nirwana for naps, showers, more hydrating of various styles, buckets of popcorn and the Saturday night dinner behind the beach.  Craig had secured the Green Jersey for the final day by securing more points, well done Craig.

Tip for the future if you are in Cat 1…  I hear you don’t bother asking PA if he wants water when you are his domestique; the answer is always of course, of course!

Day 3

A good day, with no rain (only before breakfast), but reasonably hot again.

Rick requires some attention because no one could reposition his dislocated shoulder!

SJ got disqualified since apparently her EIGHTY KM without a saddle may have required some moped assistance.  I’m not sure how they allowed her still to place 2nd in the sprint ACE but she was still allowed to race stage 2 but without a GC position.

Back to the racing…  Gotta admit, I was scared coming over those cobbles but pleasantly surprised that the legs  could still take more pain despite my mini TT 😦 (maybe its all in the mind) but as it turns out, dry cobbles are ok!

[Ed.  to prevent wild confusion I need to interject here that Lizzie took a tumble, hence the mini TT, and hence the following comments]

Lizzie and KariKari ended up 2nd GC (well done!) I am enjoying my new skinless shoulder blade (but am impressed my new ANZA top didn’t shred),  Lenka had fun (she’s next to me as I type this so that’s straight out of her mouth) and after being introduced to speeds of 60+kmh by Cherriman in KL Laura’s bike made it to the podium in Bintan.  Next time Laura should be riding it 😉  Ned held onto her 2nd place in Fondo, and significantly closed the gap on the 1st place rider (told to me by beaming hubby!).

Race over, now just to chill out for the party ferries, pooooool time!

Nico’s now doing recovery run laps in the pool in front of us, is this the new Franza training? High cadence drills?

Bintan or Bust!

It’s that time of year again.  You have all followed Crankpunk’s advice on what to do in the last week so your pencil is as sharp as…  Ladies I’m not sure what you sharpen in the last week, but I’m sure you’ll let me know over the weekend.

In Cat 1, Team DirectAsia have 2,342 riders in their team, so they plan to just man mark every other rider out of the race before launching Pierre at the finish line.  There are 4 ANZA ladies racing (Kari, don’t forget to tell Metasport your team unless you are deliberately going incognito, ninja style), 10 Cat 2 men, so that has the making of a really good squad and 18 in Cat 3, so again some team tactics are a distinct possibility.  Let’s see if we can come home with some jerseys 🙂

Pseudo Singapore Nationals
Last week we brought you the news that the nationals had been cancelled.  The good news is that Kent has stepped in to fill the void left by the nationals being cancelled to put on what looks like being a fun weekend just over the border.  Don has the lowdown on that in this post ——>>>> <click here> So take your race tuned legs for a spin one more time.

Road Report
Thanks to Dave “Road Report” Powell for the following wise words:

Singapore:  Saturday and Sunday – none, although there are new road works at the Jalan Buroh / West Coast Hwy junction.  That’s the funny roundabout with traffic lights on the Kranji ride.  They are diverting lanes for the construction of a flyover.  Kranji and Reverse Kranji rides take note.

Bintan:  Expect the roads to be filled with crazy lycra clad cyclists hell bent on destroying themselves and each other in the hot and hellish rolling roads that make up the Tour de Bintan.  On the plus side, you can safely ignore traffic lights regardless of colour (nothing new for some).

Take care out there

You’ve seen the lights on Orchard Road, you’ve seen the ‘tree’ at Vivo City, that can only mean one thing, it’s Christmas time and so I’ll finish with a couple of important announcements relating to the Christmas Party.

A reminder that the Christmas Party will be on Saturday 13th December and in the morning we will have a special Krismas Kranji.  Dress up in your best Santa Outfit and deck the top tubes with boughs of holly.  Prizes will be awarded for best dressed and best decorated.

Speaking of prizes, as in previous years, we want nominations for the following official categories, but also feel free to make any other serious or not-so-serious award nominations.  Please send any nominations stating the category, who you are nominating and brief note on why you think they deserve the award to committee@anzacycling.com or anzacycling.rti.ed@gmail.com

  • Club Member of the Year,
  • Triathlete of the Year (separate awards for male and female)
  • MTB of the Year (separate awards for male and female)
  • Road Rider of the Year  (separate awards for male and female)
  • Most improved rider  (separate awards for male and female)

Good luck to everybody going to Bintan this weekend, and…
Let’s be careful out there!

Final Pre-Bintan Notes for Cat 3

TdB LogoI want to start with an apology to the Cat 3 participants from ANZA.  When I said I’d help coordinate the training I wanted to do much much more, but then work trips and holidays crushed that leaving Chris Rawlings to step in and destroying any structure that I had in my own training, so this weekend will be (again) a leap into the unknown.  I just hope I make it past my customary 100km blow up point.

Anyway enough of that.  If you have seen the <participant list> you will see that any plans we had to try to arrange which wave we were in have been thwarted as there are now only 2 waves for Cat 3.  The good news is that with 9 ANZA riders in each wave and the top 50 going through from each wave we all have a pretty good chance of making the cut for Sunday.

I have a few race tips but before that, if you haven’t already signed up for the Tour Dinner, then let me assure you that not only is it a really good opportunity to banter with your team mates after day 1 but it is also the best food you will get anywhere in Bintan Resorts that weekend.  Here is your link to book dinner tickets if you have not already <Tour Dinner>

The bad news for we Cat 3 folks is that we don’t start until 8.50am (9.50 Singapore Time) a time when most of us normally have or are getting ready to retire for breakfast under the shade of the CBTL canopys.  In short, we start at the equivalent of 10am SG Time, ride right through the heat of midday and through to 2.30 or later so IT WILL BE HOT, HOT, HOT!  Drink a lot and don’t think it will be a great idea to skip the water stops unless you know you can.  Cat 3 has mandatory water stops, so my advice is head straight for the furthest point in the water stop to avoid the scrum.

The Race Tips

I’m leaving this to last so you can all claim you ran out of time when you’re explaining to my why you completely ignored them.

EinsteinMy good friend Einstein  is credited with saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.  I, However disagree in my unending faith that eventually Cat 3 will be able to get to the start line together as a team, so here goes.

1. Let’s start the race together.  There are 9 ANZA riders in each wave.  Find each other, push through the bunch, they’ll grumble but they’ll make way if you say you’re getting to your team mate.

2. Be close to the front but not at the front.  Unless you plan to tow 120 people for 160km and then ride them all off your wheel, to quote Crankpunk below, if your chest is in the wind and you are not out on your own then you are in the wrong place.  In short, save your energy for when you really need it.

3. Don’t Chase a Team Mate!  If there is an ANZA man in a break, DO NOT HELP ANY EFFORT TO CHASE IT DOWN!  That way if he is caught, you might still be relatively fresh to have another go.

4. Communicate!  If you plan on making a break or crossing to a break with an ANZA man in it, let your team mates know and we can do our best to give you a gap.

5. Have Fun.  If things aren’t going your way, there has traditionally been a Margarita stall on the side of the road.  I’ve never spotted it, but if you’re all alone and you spot it, have one for me.

6. Consolidate quickly.  If you get dropped, find some other unfortunates and convince them to form a peloton with you.  I know from experience 60km on your own isn’t much fun when you have already blown up, so find some others or at the worst drop back to the Gran Fondo and ride with them.

6. BE SAFE AND COME HOME IN ONE PIECE.  Unless you are hiding something, none of us gets paid for this.

Good luck to you all.

Tour de Bintan Training

For those that didn’t make it to last night’s training planning night in Picotin, we did disseminate a hardcopy PDF plan on how best to train for the race.

If you’d like a copy (and are racing for ANZA in the event!) then drop  a note to cyclingroad@anza.org.sg  and we’ll send one out to you.

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Between now & Bintan, we’ll also be organising a few Killer Kranji sessions on Saturday’s specifically for those training for the race. These will cover all race categories & have some specific drills to help get you in top top shape for the annual pilgrimage to Nirwana.

Tour de Bintan Training Groups

Sticking with the racing theme, a few have asked about the clubs plans for Tour De Bintan training this year.

tdb cat2 training grp

For those planning on racing Category 2 this year, a private Facebook group has been created to plan some training for the team. The feeling being that the more the Cat 2 guys train together, the stronger the team spirit and a more agreement from all on who the protected riders should be. Access to the group is open to all ANZA members racing TdB (whether in Cat 1,2,3 or Ladies) – however we do request for only those that are interested in riding as a team and will be riding under ANZA colours in the race.

If interested then please approach Nico Las or any of the other Cat 2 regulars and they’ll get you added to the group.

For Ladies and Cat 3, we are currently earmarking a couple of potential leaders to assist with the training. Likely Mr Cherriman will take his usual charge for Cat 3 & we have a suitably talented person in mind for Ladies. Where possible, we’ll try to leverage some of the material and plans being developed in the Cat 2 group.

Bintan is 10 weeks away. Let the panic commence!