The 400km ride, held on April 23-24, was be many accounts a great experience. We were lucky have partly- to mostly-cloudy skies throughout the day and even enjoyed a short rain shower after 2pm to cool us off.
With Jeff Paine out of town for the weekend, Steven Hon took over organizational responsibilities and got the group of 11 riders on the road from Novena at 5:30am. By 6:30 the group was through customs on the road in Malaysia. It was agreed at the outset that we would stay together as a single group while in Malaysia. This worked until about 10am, when some of the faster riders quit looking over their shoulders as often and we ended up splitting into two groups until Kluang. By Kluang we had lost Terence Lee, but heard from him that he had slowed and was doing his own thing. After lunch in Kluang, the group did indeed stay together, with four riders continuing to do most of the front time in service to the group. The weather enabled us to keep a solid pace and, notwithstanding Ken Ng’s newfound love for punctures, we arrived back in Singapore with a 31 average at 6pm. From there, we headed around Admiralty to Yishun, where Steven identified a great food court that was spacious and surprisingly not crowded for a Saturday evening. All present agreed that this should become our official dinner stop for future 400s. After fried rice with egg, cereal prawn with broccoli, and assorted beverages, we hit the road around 7:30pm to complete the last 100 km. We all benefitted from following Steven and Dimitry Kabelyan, who selflessly traded the lead over and over again from Seletar around Changi to the CBD to bring us home in good time. Three and half hours later, most of us were done.
The Lundy Worker award goes to Steven Hon. He did a huge amount of front time, helping keep the pace up, but not so much that it broke people. [I only had to remind him once that it wasn’t a race!] Most importantly, once back in Singapore Steve had to strength to run away with Keith, a rider who proved too quick for the rest us during the last 100km. But instead Steven decided to hold back in order to ensure that the group maintained a decent pace till the end. Without Steve’s willingness to work for the group over the last 100km, several of us would probably have finished at least one hour later than we did. Honorable mention goes to Dimitry Kabelyan, who also worked a lot for the group.
The Silk Smiles award goes to newcomer Arnel Gonong. He’s only ever done 200km twice, but once back in SG I asked whether he wanted to do 400 and he said, “why not?” Any time I looked at Arnel on the road he was smiling. Even at the end of the ride, when it was just the two of us heading to Chua Chu Kang, he was still smiling, probably amazed that he had held on to Hon-san’s pace over the previous three-and-a-half hours.
The JFT Audax Spirit award goes to Chris Broughton. I think Chris just likes riding his bike. He stayed with the group as long as he wanted to, never once complaining about a pace that, during the 260-290km stretch, became quick. When he tired of the pace, he just slowed down and did his own thing. After stopping by his home for a quick phone recharge and a 10-minute nap, he jumped back on the bike and finished on this own terms. That’s what Audax is all about.
Look forward to seeing you at the 600 in early June!