Since I started my fitness regime last May, I have sought after little mini achievements just to see where I am in my quest to be totally fit and healthy. Having run my first 10k Marathon in June 2010, I was elated and just this weekend, was another first. 🙂
I participated in the LE TUA 100 – Over The Hills and Far Away Ride (I should have read more into the tagline, cause it only really dawned on me during the ride… yes, through much huffing, puffing and sweat pouring)
This was my very first official group ride event. Since cycling in August 2010 when I started cycling a lot, most of my rides were solos and lately with a couple of cycling enthusiast groups namely PCC (Pedalholics Cycling Club) the crazy bunch of speedsters and climbers on weekend through Taman Tun & Bukit Damansara; and Team IR (Independent Racers) on some of their long training rides on weekends. :) So, despite that, entering into an official cycling event was new to me!
Thanks to a new cycling friend, Poh Seng from Team IR I got my registration in place a month before the event. After that, I kept the thoughts about the event at the back of my head, away while I busied myself with work and family. It only became a bit surreal for me as we got closer to the date and the fact that I was actually going to be doing it! Thanks to much discussion and sharing with Fazli, we just went as prepared as we could ever be for a couple of group riding novices and decided to just enjoy the whole experience.
I was worried that I was not going to be able to sleep the night before, but thanks to a couple shots of tequila with, coincidently a couple of cycling mates as well, I dozed off as soon as my head hit the pillow. The next day, fresh and raring to go, I was out the doors to join the carpool towards the event in Shah Alam.
We were told to expect 700 riders at the event and the numbers did not dissappoint. For me, it was my first experience and definately the biggest event of "men-in-tights-with-padding-on crotch" that I have ever attended. I myself was with my new cycling jersey covering my none too ideal physique (soon… soon I will get to were I want to be).
Oh ya, they wanted to keep reminding us that this was "NOT A RACE", to ensure the heroes and gung-hos among us do not go speed-crazy. Not like that message was gonna faze me in anyway whatsoever (I’d just feel great finishing without the help of the support car). Well, I was also kind of glad that this was so, as my first ride should be.
Anyway, meeting a couple more friends there was very pleasant and comforting. It didn’t feel so foreign and having everyone at such ease, I myself found my own comfort zone… Ride for FUN.
The ride (not race), started at 8:15am and everyone went nice and calm, jokes, laughter and all. We had a pace vehicle keeping us company at the start of the route for almost about 20km (I guess, cause I was never fast enough to have ridden in front).
The route took us from Shah Alam towards the direction of Kuala Selangor and the Sime Darby plantations. The start of the route was very much big roads and highways, which gradually became smaller routes through kampungs on the Bukit Jelutong route.
My favourite section of the ride was a gradual accent up the first KOM (King of Mountain) stretch with a scenic view of the palm oil plantations as we climbed. As we twisted and turned uphill, we could just see riders ahead of us riding up the incline and as I got to that point, I in turn, saw riders below. Those were great moments where you catch a brief experience of what seasoned riders go through. Absolutely breathtaking.
The start of the ride through the kampungs didn’t require a lot of effort, so I did most of my overtaking manoeuvres here, err… perhaps they were more like practices (but was overtaken later at the climbs… I admit, I not on par yet… :P…) Also, applied some drafting, which was interesting to try out as well.
Did I mention that I was not really aware of the extent of the number of climbs we had to endure at the start of the race? Well, some of the climbs were very, very steep, but fortunately they were as short as they were steep, so I held it there and climbed without getting off the bike.
I especially enjoyed one point where we were riding up and over Bukit Jelutong’s rolling hills and we could see the wavy roads from a distance! Intimidating to the sight, I guess this is what they meant by breaking the "phsychological barrier". Interestingly enough, as soon as we hit the incline, it wasn’t that bad. With momentum, I realised I could hit the middle of the climb before I had to really depend on pure leg power!
Anyway, about 30km away from the end, I starting feeling low on fuel. Popped my first Power Gel at that point and did another 15km before I realised I needed another one cause all the climbs had me spent! Though the hunger pangs didn’t go away, I had the energy for the rest of the route.
Towards the end of the ride, I was just cruising to the end, not even thinking if I had a good time or I didn’t. All I knew is that I pushed as much as I had and I rode proud till the finishing line. Elated and happy to have done my first official group riding event.
I was given a medal which showed I was in 375 placing, not too shabby considering there were about 700++ riders that day! :) Well, I shall be looking forward to more events like this, and at least now I have an event to benchmark with (if I ever have to ask how hard the ride would be)… 😀
My trusty bike… Delilah :D