Cycling is like life. Cycling with no goal is meaningless. What meaning is there cycling in circles? Or living aimlessly? Meaning comes from direction and destination. Join me in my life's journey on a mountain bike :)

Blogging since 2003. Thank you for reading :))

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Misinterpreted, missed adventure

Feb distance: 225 km

Changi, 72 km. I help a friend who’s organising a ride which is labelled “intermediate”. Over 30 people show up, including one who wobbles and swerves every few metres. I'm a sweeper. We barely cycle a few hundred metres when he crashes. Misadventure. By that time, everyone else is out of sight. He feels bad to hold us sweepers back and pulls out of the ride. I report this to the organiser, who replies that the ride is stated as “intermediate”. Perhaps, to that cyclist, "intermediate" meant being able to balance on a bike for a short distance. What a pity, spending time and money travelling all the way and renting a bike for a missed adventure. The rest of the ride has its excitement too, with people stopping to take photos and phone calls. It’s hard sweeping a ride like this, on winding park connectors. Several times we lose sight of the cyclists in front and don’t know which way to turn. Fortunately, no one gets lost or hurt. The two Hungarian kids who show up are real sports, no fuss from them. They cycle better than some of the adults.

Feb 2010 is the driest since Singapore's weather records started in 1869. It's hot, hardly any rain falls and one gets wet from sweat - but with a breeze as fast as one can ride, cycing is, well, a breeze :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hard work

Mandai, 56 km. I see a long train of cyclist across the road. Might as well do some sprint training. I cycle till the end of the road and U-turn to cross to the other side. My rule is simple: I overtake cyclists, cyclists don’t overtake me. The hard work begins. I overtake uphill and downhill. I keep up the pace and cycle just below my lactate threshold. There are volunteers by the roadside, almost all of them are alert. Standing in the sun shine, they point the way and some shout encouragement.

I pass MTBs, roadies, foldies and a single speed ridden by a guy in rolled up jeans and clips. A handful of them pull away from be because they beat the red lights while I didn’t, but I overtake them all. It doesn't matter I’m older than all of them or that some of them have fancier equipment (Pinarello, anyone?) than mine.

I cycle till I’m almost out of water then head home.

It’s just like at work. More and more stuff ends up with me, even huge stuff that had belonged elsewhere. It’s taken a heavy toll. To work “part time” is to work 9-hour days plus an hour for lunch. Against the odds, I beat ‘em.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cloudy and overcast

Woodlands, 49 km. The weather dithers. Sun beats down, hides behind a cloud, peaks out again, repeat. I check out the weather radar online. It'll be down for two months. The 3-hour nowcast has bad news (how there's a nowcast without weather radar escapes me). Half of the country is under thunder-and-lightning clouds, the other half is under clouds which may burst with rain. I cycle anyway, asking for trouble. Not because I want to, but because I desperately must ride today. An escape for a few hours. Escape with my life, I do.

A white car stops in its tracks at a blind corner; the monkey-brained driver looking at monkeys. I yell "blind corner" but the driver probably didn't catch the obvious. I pass a 3m long snake, which, despite its much smaller head, has enough sense to get off the road unlike aforesaid driver. Midway through the ride, rain drifts down. I see the edge of the black clouds. I sprint. The rain drops intensify into the "plop plop" type and I seek refuge at a bus stop. Of course, I'd cleaned and lubed my drive train. When the rain lightens up, I scurry off. A car, black as death, wanders about aimlessly ahead, then drifts to a stop. With wet rims, brakepads and road, my bike slews as I brake hard.

Gracefully, I come to a halt. I find my voice. "Hellooo! Dangerous!" I could've smacked into death's butt, bounce off and be run over by the car behind. A minor detail, of course, to the man at the wheel (I hesitate to use the word "driver" as I still believe drivers supposedly pass tests before they're allowed to operate their lethal weapons).

On the home stretch, I see a green twig, with most of it curly-wurly on the road and its head raised to see what's coming. It's a tiny snake. What does this portend of the future, or am I reading, thinking too much?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Tired of being tired

Woodlands, 48 km. It's been a hard and long week. I make a dent in my sleep deficit yesterday and try to reclaim more of my due today. I don't ride in the morning, don't have a proper lunch (too tired) and when it's too hot, I sleep. I get up, try to get more sleep and feel tired of being tired. Time to roll out the 1.95 inch tyres. The sun blazes. No excuses. On with the sun block, forget the contact lenses and sunglasses and cataract risks. Barely a km out, I feel hungry and I see dark clouds. Darn it, will I get drenched? Wretched fretting, I leave behind as I ride. That's all I can do. As it turns out, all's well that ends well. The hunger pangs pass. It's a cloudy day, I don't let the pedestrian and dangerous driver get to me, I draft a bust at 41 km/h and get home in one piece. Next week would be one of the most critical in my entire working life. Bring it on!