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 :)

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sugar, ice and everything nice

Aug distance: 349 km

22-24 Aug, Malaysia (Malacca - Batu Pahat) - Singapore, 281 km

This is my third ride to raise funds to buy food for the poor. It's good to meet some old cycling pals, some of whom I met in 2010 for a charity ride in Sarawak. We catch up during lunch as we bus up to Malacca on 22 Aug. In the hotel, I catch up on some work.

Nightstop: Hatten Hotel

Proper concentration
23 Aug Malacca to Batu Pahat, 111 km.

One of my bidons is filled with Gatorade, mixed in what I hope is close to the recommended dose. I've read about running nutrition and apply it to cycling. It's not so good to drink plain water after all, I read. When my stomach feels odd after some bananas, only then do I drink water to dilute my stomach contents. Placebo or not, it works. I don't need to take long breaks; at a rest stop, I'm off after a few minutes.

When I run out, I refill with 100Plus. It's 6% concentration: within the recommended range. The escaping carbonation pops my bidon top. Twice. Tip:  don't top up to the brim.

Lunch is a half hour break, then I'm off. When I pass support car #1, I know I should stop at some point. I do when I see a 7-Eleven. I get a slurpee: sugar, slush, artificial colour and flavour, real nice. "Brain freeze!" I sit on the cool tiled floor then the shop staff passes me a stool. I need the break; with the headwind, I've laboured along at 20 km/h at some parts. I enjoy the aircon and move off when I see the first group pass by, then another.

I lead some cyclists to the hotel, abou 20 of us are there by 1.30 pm. I wait two hours for my bag. Well, at least we beat the rain that poured down later.

Nightstop: Katerina Hotel

Exclusion order
24 Aug Batu Pahat to Singapore, 170 km.
I draft a couple of roadies. It's a long straight road to boredom, and against the wind. One of them, with a BMX helmet, asks: "Why  am I doing this?" I wonder aloud: "Why am I doing this three times?" then talk him. He's a mountain biker who's on a road bike. He tells me that when he grows up, he wants go be like me, because I keep up with roadies while on fat tyres. He asks me why I'm not using slick tyres. I tell him about my downhill rims. He tells me he once bought 2.3" tyres and found it tough going.

And this is getting old. My third Ride for Rations. And, this year, my eighth Bike n Blade.

After lunch, we're grouped together. We're to stick to assigned groups as we near the border. The slower group I prefer to be with stop. They've had enough. I'm told to join the faster group. By this time, after 150 km, I'm knackered. I cycle and struggle hard to keep up. The sweeper slows to keep me company. I know some of the rest resent the slowdown. One yells at a man old enough to be her dad. It's not that he's unable to keep up.

What is this ride about anyway? I thought it's to raise funds for those who've been left behind in society. And if some cyclists fail to keep up, that's out of place (pun intended)? This is the first time on a charity ride where I struggle.

At the traffic lights, I catch up, then wait. One of them has a broken handlebar. Carbon. And yesterday, two cyclists break bones.

At the end of the ride, I thank an organiser for taking on this challenge of organising a charity ride, then put myself on a "exclusion" order: if I forget what I feel now and sign up for another Ride for Rations as a cyclist, exclude my participation.

I might sign up as a crew member though. It's no longer fun to cycle, but it's still a good cause. We'll see.

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