Friday 5:30am: Land at Changi airport, Singapore, grab my bike which made it in one piece, breeze through customs, buy a cup of morning coffee & I was in a taxi by 6am on my way to Gillie's house.
I have never met or even spoken to Gillie & Rina. Only a couple of emails. Both have been very generous & accommodated me for the 4 days I have been staying in Singapore. Thank you Gillie & Rina !
10:30am: Bike is built & the guys have organised a pre-race recce ride on the course. It was that hot & humid I broke out in a lather of sweat just putting my shoes on! "This is going to be great"
Course description: 10kms, some wide trails, lots of tight twisting single track, some rough, technical climbs with rough down hills. Overall a tough trail with potential to be even better with more riders & work. The final km or so of single track into the transition area was just awesome.
During the casual ride I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the local riders & some from the Philipines. The Phillipino riders dominated the race results in solo & teams.
Saturday (RACE DAY): So the race is due to start at 5pm. Cut off time 2pm. Distance to finish 100kms. Solo riders about 95. Weather: looks like it could rain a little.
I spotted Tinker Juarez kicking back so I walked over to say G'day. A really down to earth, genuine, nice guy. We just talked cycling shit for a bit then I had to go for a warm up ride.
Warm up ride: This is an interesting concept as I am sweating my butt off just putting my helmet on. As I was rolling around I pulled up beside some dude on a Twenty-9 full carbon hardtail. "Hey Gary, that is a sweet looking ride!" Gary Fisher replied with an evil kind of laugh & mentioned that it still needed to be pedalled & he was completely unprepared for the race.
As Gary & I rolled up to the start line it was already thick of starters. I looked at him & said we needed to get up to the front of the start. A few "maaf / excuse me's" later we were up the front. Phew.
Mountain biking has such a passionate following in this area. The race atmosphere, energy & smiles in the staring peloton was one of the best I had experienced. I felt honoured to be a part of this race with so many passionate mountain bikers!
3hrs into the race: A really bad arsed electrical storm smashed the course. Within minutes of the rain starting there were water rapids on the trails. Lightening strikes came in rapid succession & so close there was more than mud in my nix.
3hrs:30min: Race cancelled :o(( I managed to be part way around my 7th lap. I told Tinker I was about to put in an attack & that he was saved by the storm hehehe... He has been sick for a couple of weeks & still smashed out some awesome lap times.
Summary: Even with the race being cut short due to safety concerns (which I agree was a very sensible decision) it has been well worth the time & small amount of effort to participate. I would love to be a part of this race & festival again next year.
I will have a few photos once I get back to Oz.