Amazing Ride – we had guys, gals, people over 60, people as young as Lawrence Loh, people who had only months ago not ridden more than 200km at one time crushing 600km…..amazing. 31 riders lined up to ride 600km in less than 40 hours. For many it marked the full series of AUDAX rides including a 200km, 300km, 400km and finally the 600km. Those riders have now earned the distinction of Super Randonneur. In 1952, the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) created an honorific recognizing randonneurs who had completed, the ACP 200k, 300k, 400k and 600k brevets within a single calendar year. This honorific is called the Super Randonneur Award. While this achievement is not likely to land you a new job or a date with someone special, it is still very recognized and respected in the long distance cycling community. As you all know it is not easy….be proud but maybe hold off on running out and getting it tattooed on your bicep. Singapore AUDAX members can request a medallion which be available in September 2015. The medallion design is changed every Paris-Brest-Paris year such as this year. For this specific 600km ride there is an individual medallion which will be distributed at our medallion presentation next Sunday April 26th from 3pm – 6pm at Boomarang Riverside Point.
First and most importantly it is important to pay tribute to our safety team under the leadership of John Koh. All of these people spent their entire weekend to follow our groups and provide a safe environment for us to complete this challenge. Whether it was using the bright vehicle lights to illuminate pitch dark roadways or by blocking riders from the up-an-coming F1 drivers in Malaysia, these teams enhanced rider security tremendously. Thank you John, Lionel, Alice, OK Heng, Kelvin, Gerard and Jason. Without the safety you and your team provided, we could not have done this ride.
We rolled on time at 5:30am from Singapore and had little challenges crossing the border into Malaysia. The coastal route took riders from Singapore past Melaka to Alor Gajah. This route was chosen for the visibility, safety and ideally most enjoyable path for the riders. After doing a small loop in Alor Gajah the riders headed back towards Melaka where they could spend a bit of time at Hotel Super Cowboy. The roads were in good condition and despite the heat there were a number of areas with good shade to keep the riders cooler than normal. The first day we hit 43 degrees Celsius.
The entire group was very close together until the first stop in Pontian. Many opted for McDonald’s for a hearty breakfast to help tackle the remaining 510km. It seemed that group 2 was plagued with a number of punctures. Group 1 was fortunate not having one puncture the entire ride. There were some crazy sections like the hills outside Batu Pahat….some people were gunning for Strava segments whilst others were thinking about the remaining 420km to ride.
Hee Haw- Welcome to the Hotel Super Cowboy
Despite the lack of sarsaparilla, cowboys, cowgirls, beer, whiskey and most other things associated with cowboys, we chose a new hotel for the AUDAX 600km….this year we stopped at Hotel Super Cowboy on the side of the highway in Melaka. Compared to past experiences, this hotel was exceptionally good. It was clean, had hot and cold water and even soap in the shower. It is also located very close to Domino’s pizza and a Chinese variety store that sells good beer. Upon arriving at Hotel Super Cowboy the majority of the ride was completed. Riders took some time to clean up, eat, rest and get ready to roll on the way back to Singapore.
With such a massive group doing such a challenge really everybody deserves an award. Unfortunately Singapore Audax is a not-for-profit organization so we need to identify only a few winners who will enjoy a pair of Audax socks.
For a full description of the awards you can go here AWARDS
The Lundy Worker Award has special meaning on this type of ride. If you don’t know who Lundy is then you can just think it was that person at the front most of the time, fixing flats, singing, helping pushing riders along, etc. It is easy to be a hero for 200, 300 or maybe even 400 kilometers but this 600km is a different animal…(well so I thought. before Wesley’s inability to get tired) In all of the groups there were heroes who took extensive pulls on the front to get their team safely back to the finish point in Singapore.
In Group 1 there were three Lundys! In ways they may have been battling for a pair of socks over the 600km distance but in the end they all won and dragged the rest of us along with them. Rare was there a moment when Bryce Benat, Wes Hughes or Phil Versteegen were not on the front. Their exceptional workloads really helped the first group get through this ride in almost record time. If we did not set a record it was because these guys were so strong, by the time we reached the stops, the rest of the group was dead from trying to hang on and needed longer breaks to recover. Congrats gents and thanks for your solid effort on the road. Wes actually never looked tired and I am pretty sure he is ready for PBP and maybe something even bigger! Bryce and Phil actually finished with a Faber loop to burn off their excess energy!
Group two also had multiple Lundys. Theo Matsas flew in to Singapore for a birthday party and ended up doing the 600km ride as a bonus. Theo is in training for RAAM 2015 as part of the team with Ned and Mat Lock…..and it looks like he is in good form as he pulled the massive group for the last 230km home. This is an incredible effort for a 600km distance. Alongside of Theo was Super Randonneur Peter Whitfield. This guy is a machine….he also was on the front for the 230km finale and most likely entirely in his big gears.
An important part of AUDAX spirit is to encourage others and help them to complete the ride. On almost every AUDAX ride there is someone who suffers or has a bad day. Well this weekend was no different and there was plenty of suffering witnessed in all the groups. Adam Brooks was having a bad day from KM 75 where he had to stop and spend some quality time at the Petronas loo. He missed the group at McDonalds only to rejoin when group 1 was blazing along at 33-35km/hour. It was getting hot….Adam was back with the group but he does not like the heat. He plowed on….feeling a bit better when we hit Melaka as the pace dialed back. After completing the loop in Alor Gajah and nearing a beer at Hotel Super Cowboy Adam pressed on and was feeling better….he even smiled a bit. Departing Hotel Super Cowboy- After a quick rest and a group agreement to dial the speed back a bit (which lasted a whopping 10km) Adam was back in suffering mode after the pace ramped up again to 33-35. He managed to hang on to the brisk pace that was set all the way until 50km to the border. At that stage his ankle gave way and the group stopped at the petrol station to see if we could get ice. The rest of the group sat on the ground listening and raising eyebrows as Adam was screeching in pain in the back of the van where John Koh was treating him. We are not sure what John did but something worked for Adam and he was back in the saddle. Once again group 1 agreed to dial the pace back and once again that lasted for a few kilometers. Back into suffer mode Adam went. We ultimately made it across the border to the official finish at Kranji MRT. Adam made it! The group celebrated and went to find a beer (there are none at Kranji MRT station – the last time that will be the finish). With the lack of beer and a few KMs short on his Garmin, Adam saddled up and followed the small group of other Strava addicts through Kranji in search of Kudos. The pace at this point was slowed to around 22km as Adam and others were carrying bags and backpacks. Destination – Boomarang for food and beers. Adam continued to suffer (and whinge) all the way….he flirted with taking a cab within 15km of Boomarang….he was suffering but pressed on. It is not easy to suffer through more than 500km of riding…especially in the heat. After refueling Adam managed to get back on the bike to finalize the 600km mark on his Garmin. Epic day of suffering. The JFT AUDAX Spirit Award goes to Dan Smith who supported Adam for 400+km to get him through to the end. Dan ensured Adam had a wheel to sit on most of the ride, reminded the group to keep the pace in check and even used reverse psychology on Adam at Boomarang which put him back on the bike to get the missing nine kilometers done. Awesome job Dan!
Last but not least is the Silk Smile Award. The biggest smile over the weekend was definitely from Atiq who is the Manager at Hotel Super Cowboy. Unfortunately for Atiq he does not qualify for awards as he had no bike… so the 2nd biggest smile was on the face of Shirley Teo. Always cheerful, Shirley was snapping photos of group 1 before they departed Hotel Super Cowboy. Her positive attitude definitely sent the group 1 people off on a positive note as they set out into the dark night on the way back to Singapore. The lack of smiles is not a reflection of the quality of life at the Hotel Super Cowboy….people were a bit tired and potentially a bit grumpy.
If you would like to see some pictures from various photographers on the April 2015 AUDAX you can click here:
The Evolution of the AUDAX 600km
It is amazing to think that we had 31 riders for the 2015 AUDAX 600km ride. There is no doubt the long distance cycling is growing in popularity. The last AUDAX 600km ride in Singapore was in November 2010. Below you can see some photos from the last Singapore AUDAX 600km ride in November 2010.
Thank you again to our support team, the riders and Atiq….we will return to Hotel Super Cowboy.