Round island#2, from National Stadium to National Stadium (and Ang Mo Kio to Ang Mo Kio) 152 km. Since AR asked me to be a sweeper for this NPCC ride, I practice being a sweeper today, hanging around the back. After a few hours in the saddle, the agony of going slow builds: you spend more time in the saddle and brake a lot more. And you don't cycle at your own pace. And you stop to do some basic bicycle maintenance. Fiddling with bikes isn't that bad, but going slow is agonising.
At Lim Chu Kang Road, I can bear it no longer and take off on my own, past the cemeteries (two cemeteries, two nights in a row). I see lots of candles in some spots; elsewhere, it's dark and shadowy. I hear the sound of my breathing and the smooth working of my bicycle. There's nothing else on the road. Kind of spooky, but I try to ride faster than my fears. At Kranji, I stop and wait for the rest, just taking in the sight of Johore.
At Kranji, the roadie has a blowout. I stop to help, then ride like the wind to catch up - and then some. I push myself and my bicycle up and down the hills of Mandai Road. All of us get chewed up at the next official rest stop. At Pasir Ris, we get chewed out again because a couple of cyclists are unaccounted for. I feel bad about it all.
At Changi Coast Road, we are all good boys and girls. Even the dogs are well behaved; they bark but don't give chase. At Pasir Ris, one cyclist - from Singapore Mountain Bike Forum breaks away. I take the opportunity to do the same. Together, we tear down the roads above 30 km/h. Try as I did, I couldn't shake him off. It turns out he's modified his mountain bike with a road crank and 1 inch slicks. Well, on the actual ride (14 Jun), I guess I'll be too busy worrying about the newbie riders to agonise about anything else. I haven't lost a cyclist before and don't intend to start. Still, there are some interesting things about this ride: first time I've cycled with a police "escort" - a van that follows behind us. And I was wondering why vehicles were giving us a wide berth! Today is also the day I cross the 5,000 km mark on my Iron Horse.
Tech note Tonight, I wear Climalite. It feels more uncomfortable than cotton, but I'm game for trying new things. I don't regret it. I feel less sweaty. During my first round island, I wore cotton and it got soaked with sweat - it's heavy and it stinks.