AUDAX 600 2017 is done and what an amazing weekend of fun on the roads. We had a large group started and the idea of staying together as one group was good for the first 90 km when we arrived at the Pontian McDonalds. At that time, some of the newer riders were starting to crack from the blistering pace after sitting on the Wheel-of-Hon. As we pushed off from McDonald’s on the way to Batu Pahat the group splintered into most likely four groups. There was the Group of Hon, the Smart Group (guys who have done this before and realized that sitting on Steven’s wheel is not smart), along with two groups of people who were blowing up.
It was blazing hot as we left Batu Pahat on the way to Pagoh where we would have some lunch. During lunch the clouds started to come in so we quickly saddled up to head to Labis. After a quick stop at the Labis Caltex we pushed on through Chaah and the clouds were getting very dark. When we arrived at the Yong Peng bus stop the rain was coming down in buckets!
Four of us sat in the bus stop waiting for the rain to stop….the night was coming soon. We pushed off for the final push into Kluang we arrived at 9pm for some much-needed food and drink. That was one scary and dark experience! Everybody rested up as we were pushing off at 4am on Sunday.
Sunday morning came very quickly and we were heading in the direction of Mersing. By this time, we had a big group of 10 riders. Steven was almost done the entire ride and there were a couple of other smaller groups still on the road in varying conditions. It was dark and hilly. The roads were very nice and the ride from Kluang towards Mersing is a great route. Many people were asking where the 3200m of climbing comes from on the AUDAX 600km…well this is where they come from. Seeing the rolling hills in the early hours of the day was a beautiful site. Similar to last year, we stopped for some food and drink on the road….we stopped only 6 km to the turn to Kota Tinggi. A puncture and some empty water bottles caused the group to stop to the Bah Ku Te stand…. only 15km to go to the next final stop in Kota Tinggi.
As we sat at the Petron station looking at the remaining 40km most of the riders were running on adrenaline. We pushed off at a pace that seemed a bit speedy for the final 40 but reality quickly set in and we all slowed down again. By the time we rolled to the bus stop to meet Hafiz most riders were empty of water and energy. Now all we had to do is roll over the bridge and get through immigration. The ride was over and it was time for an emergency beverage!
Congratulations to Steven Hon who rode the entire ride without stopping for sleep. Steven pushed on and finished the entire ride in 28 hours! That is amazing and probably the fastest time for this new route designed by Patrick Williams. Steven did tons of front time on the first day before many of the riders pulled into Kluang for some rest and recovery. Amazing ride Steven!
As per usual we have three awards: the Lundy Worker Award, the Silk Smile Award and the JFT AUDAX Spirit Award. If we ever have a Hon Punisher Award he would have won that one easily.
As mentioned above Steven decided to roll on through the entire ride and skip sleep and rest in Kluang. With Steven gone Linton Nash quickly stepped up and did monster amounts of front time. In addition to working hard, Linton also fixed punctures, gave water to dry riders, and overall kept the group moving strong on the road. Congratulations Linton on winning the Lundy Worker Award and thanks for all your help getting us all home safely.
Lim Ke Wei is the winner of the JFT AUDAX Spirit Award. In all of the years I have done AUDAX rides I have never seen anyone more dedicated to finishing the task than Ke Wei. He did the 600km solo, unsupported, and he slept only two hours in Kluang before leaving solo at 1am. The group passed him so many times it was like he was magic. (we stopped for rest, he did not, we caught him, we stopped, repeat)….Congratulations to Ke Wei….what a super strong rider.
The Silk Smile Award is usually the toughest one to call on the AUDAX 600 as smiles are very rare during the ride. The one exceptional standout was Honfei Chong. Honfei is in much better fitness this year so instead of just ‘looking at Andy or Julian’s rear wheel’ last year he was pulling and pushing the pace and very happy about it. Congratulations Honfei!
All of the award winners win a pair of Singapore AUDAX socks!
Congratulations to all the finishers! The results will be out by Thursday this week.