In the sport worshiped in the Land of the Free, there is a well-known rule. The ‘Three-Strikes-You’re-Out’ Rule. Well, I thought my chances are over even before the Endurance Cycling @ Hong Kah Town started. The initial plan by the organisers was that we need to cycle 8 laps circumventing the newly constructed 3km Brickland Road in 1.5hrs. That puts the average pace at 16km/hr. That’s as easy as sitting down for a buffet for two hours straight as that pace is still within my personal best.
First strike: Then I discovered that the actual route is about 3.5km a lap. Oh my! The stakes have been raised a bit higher as this new pace is about 19km/hr. All right cool, I can still do this.
Second strike: Then yesterday, the organisers decided, hmm, this is too easy for these cyclists. (I invented this so don’t sue me please.) They decided to shorten the cut-off time to an hour, a 30mins or 1800secs less. That put the new pace at a mind-boggling 28km/hr.
Now that is trouble.
Not only is that pace outside my personal best, I can only achieve that speed if I cycle at my maximum and according to the rule of human physiology, that is impossible for an overweight Humpty Dumpty like me, riding an old-piece-of-junk (OPOJ) with creaking gears, to maintain that high pace for a complete hour.
And to add to the conundrum, I’ve brazenly and with full of confidence, shot my mouth off by deciding to dedicate the medal awarded if I can complete that 8 laps withing 1hour to a wise albeit a bit wrinkly nenek tua, who has an unnatural fear of cycling, in the hope she will pick up this wonderful sport. Hey, I didn’t know they will raise the bar this high.
Well so much for an introduction.
So when we; my two buddies and I, reached the racing venue, my goal for today is to give my best and come out from all of this injury free. I’m also aiming to break my previous highest average speed of 22.69km/hr. It will be a big bonus if I can complete the 28km (according to my friend’s cycle computer) within 60mins and to get that medal so that I don’t need bear the brunt of all the teasing coming my way this Monday by the wise and albeit forgetful nenek tua.
As the race progressed, I noticed that Brickland Road seems flat and this uplifted my spirits a little bit. But alas, my hopes were dashed when approaching the U-turn, a gradual upslope threatened to derail all my plans. It was really tough and even at my lightest gears, I was climbing slower than a crawling tortoise. My OPOJ was groaning under my weight. My mind began to hallucinate as the thought of climbing that slope seven more times was really daunting. It even came to a stage that maybe I should just dismount my OPOJ and push it up the slope.
Aside from the slope, the course is quite flat like my botak head so it certainly helped to mitigate the problems I had pedaling up the slope. The support from the volunteers were awesome and for a moment I felt like was in the Tour de France challenging for the Maillot Jaune. In the end, I completed the eight laps in 1hr 3mins, 3mins outside of the cut-off time. But the organisers were gracious enough to award the medal to all finishers, considering the amount of effort and sweat the cyclists expended, and for that I am really grateful.
For me, I know I have given my all and that is satisfying enough.
A big thank you also goes out to the two First-Aiders who came to my aid after my thick tree trunks of thighs decided to cramp up exactly after I finished. They went out of their way to remove my shoes and socks and offered to massage my thighs but I declined. They had helped enough and I sent them off to help other cyclists in need.
The last thank you is for the organiser of this wonderful event and to my two buddies for their company and completing the course.
And to reward myself after a hard day of work, I indulged in purchasing a basic bicycle computer, or in layman term, a speedometer. Now I can keep track of my speed while cycling and have an accurate measurement of distance rather than rely solely on Mapmyrun.
Gonna sleep happily now.