3:30 in the morning – Sunday – and the alarm clock rings. Time to get ready for the Super Challenge. I collected my bib number, shirt, helmet stickers and bicycle tag on Friday at the F1 pit building, so I know were to go. I was asked to contribute to the fundraising effort for the Dover Park Hospice and join their Sunflower Riders, which I was pleased to do. I decorated my bike with Sunflowers on Saturday, and checked the brakes, tyre pressure, lights etc, so I was ready.
The roads were empty, and dry, and the temperature a pleasant 26 degrees. As I cycled towards town, I came across a mixture of loud party people leaving the nightspots and eager cyclists heading for the Marina Bay area. Quite a few of the cars heading towards the city had bicycles on their racks. I arrived at 4:30 and joined the SuperChallenge crowd. Tien Sien from Dover Park Hospice was soon there to cheer me along. There were already lots of riders queueing up for the ride. What a well equipped bunch of people, with very fancy, shiny bikes that looked brand new, and made mine look like an antique! The Sunflowers got quite a few friendly remarks.Teams of cyclists, with matching jerseys, were taking it very seriously, talking tactics. But it was a friendly, carnival atmosphere, with music, a master of ceremonies and instructions blaring out. The energy drink I had prepared at home was really too sweet, so I was pleased to get some water from attendants. Soon after 05:15 we were off, at quite a good pace. The cycling teams quickly got into their slip-streams, and were moving quickly. It was not easy to fit in, but I realised what an advantage drafting can be. Anyway, I got into my rythm, and cycled up to the expressway, and down the road towards Changi. I was overtaking quite a few cyclists, but was also overtaken by many. I was pleased to reach the U-turn at the end of the first leg, and again the second U-turn that sent us back towards Changi. At that point, I was getting tired, and I was alone on the road. I had no idea where I was in the pack. I could smell the East Coast Park food stalls getting their fryers ready. It got a bit boring, and I was getting worried I was going to get cramps in my legs, so I slowed down a bit. Energy bars seemed to help and I was now heading back towards Marina Bay. I was not pleased to see that we had to ride to the top of the expressway bridge again. This seemed cruel. By now, there were lots of cyclists stopped by the roadside, having a rest, nursing their cramps and pumping up their flats. I kept going, and even had some energy to accelerate – the thought of the finishing line approaching is a great incentive. Daylight was rising and I could see the ships beyond the beach. The view of the city from the top of the expressway was spectacular. And then, it was downhill to the finishing line. After a little while, I met with the friendly DPH crowd, Tien Sien, Stella Wee and the other Sunflower riders, Dr Angel Lee (MD), Daryl Tan (Corp Comms Exec), Joyce Chan (Volunteer), Ian Chiang (Son of former DPH patient) for photographs in the VIP area. And then, it was the 10km ride home. It had been a lovely experience. Next year, I should get a LKCMedicine team together.
The OCBC results came out the day after. I was 217th out of 1309, in a time of 1h47min for 62.2 km, or an average speed of 34km/h. I was quite pleased with this result.