Credit: OCBC Cycle

The OCBC Cycle was into its 11th year running, held on 12th May, two weeks after my Eco Run Half Marathon.  I first signed up in 2015, then in 2016. Yes, after I started taking an interest in running. Looking back, those were the two years where a lot of stuff were happening in the ‘active’ phase of my life.  But I was forced to take a hiatus from cycling in late 2016 because a bicycle accident broke two of my lumbar vertebrae (spine) and my left wrist as well.  I spent the last two-plus years trying to get back to my pre-injury form even though I couldn’t say I was in good form then.

Still, I had continued to run despite the setback. Cycling and obstacle courses had become almost impossible in the meantime because of the persistent pain I suffered at the back and tailbone as a result of the accident.

The event pack collection was held at OCBC Arena over two days before the actual event, in conjunction with the Expo @ OCBC Cycle. It took me only 5 minutes to collect. The expo boasted the latest cycling gadgets, accessories and sports merchandise on sale and there were indeed a lot of folks trying out some of the accessories. I only bought some energy gel for my running races and two led lights for the front and rear of my bike. I decided to stick to my old basic helmet bought off Lazada from 2015 though I was tempted to get a new, more fitting helmet. I didn’t have the budget.  For this event, there was also an online auction held in the evening, and the proceeds were donated to charity. I bid for the hydroflask and thought I would get it at $27. For the same price, because it was online (time lag), another bidder’s bid got through just milliseconds before me. So still, no hydration container for me on the bike to this day… yet.

Cyclists could also leave their bicycles in the hall overnight for free and save some hassle on the actual event day. I saw security guards, but it would still be at cyclists’ risks.  I decided not to take this offer.

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I had enrolled for the Sportive Ride 42 km. The other category is the Straits Times Ride – 23 km. About 6800 participants in total turned up that Sunday morning.

I got back to cycling only in early April due to my schedule. Another reason was also I needed to make time to get the bike back to Trek Technology to fix the front punctured tyre. (Ended up, I had to replace both!)

Checking my Strava, it was only on 10th Apr that I cycled 8.1 km in the safety of the connector park. Then other life events happened and also due to weather on some days, I ended up cycling a total of 54 km two weeks before the event, from 5 rides ranging from 3 km to 20 km. Then another 20 km ride on Tuesday before the event on Sunday, 12th May. I wouldn’t exactly advise on such low mileage before you do the 42 km sportive ride, but I believe I had benefited somewhat from all the training runs I had done this year. Plus, a bit of Faith – what is meant to be, would be. What I signed up for, I needed to commit and complete.

Again about 3 hours of sleep on the event morning, I loaded up my bike and reached the venue more than an hour before the official start time as requested by the organizer. But I could see that participants were streaming in still even near start time. It seemed like they were not as strict back in 2016.

The first wave started slightly late too. I was in wave C, but there were several sub-waves as I inched towards the start line with my bike. A few metres onwards, someone already fell off the bike somehow. I told myself to cycle slower this time and enjoy the view. There was not much scenery for most of the journey because it was dark. There were a lot of sharp turning, bends and curves and slopes, uphill and downhill, especially at the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. I stopped at one of the hydration points at the U-turn to get my thirst quenched with the 100 plus. After that, it was again non-stop until I reached the stadium.  The downhills were exhilarating, and I was going at a maximum speed of 71 km/hr at certain points according to Strava. The uphills were straining but this time too, I didn’t have to stop.

During this event, I enjoyed it because I went ‘slower.’  But it was probably a state of mind that I didn’t have any falls, unlike the past two previous events.  I ended up with a PB by my Garmin, 1:50 though it was about 40.6 km in total. The organizer did mention online it would be about 40.8 km due to certain limitation this year.

It was a pleasant experience considering everything that had happened in the last 3-4 weeks. I strongly recommend this event if you want to have the freedom of riding on Singapore roads and highways without interfering traffic lights and other vehicles.  The roads are closed for the cyclists, which also meant that you need to reach certain checkpoints by specific timing.  I managed to do the entire route without issue. The weather that morning was cooperative too, and it was cool mostly.

At the finishing point, I collected the medal, drank, and then walked the bike out of the stadium to the open area.  I had time to take a photo because there were only three persons in the queue at the time. All in all, it is an enjoyable day with my faithful Trek with its two new tyres.  Also, as part of the green initiative by OCBC Cycle, 140 trees were planted – 1 for every 50 cyclists. A little effort towards the green environment. Happy and Safe Riding.

 


KenJoe
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