2003 was Sting's 'bestest' year ever in cycling. After a few months
of unstructured training and living like a rock star he's back to training
and monastic living...
Its been a looong time since I wrote something about cycling. I've got
updates on my personal website but nothing specifically on cycling. That's
cause it was the off-season and whilst my National Team friends had
serious races on their minds like the Real Tour of Thailand and the SEA
Games, an enthusiast like me gets to go pubbing, stay up late, getting
re-acquainted with alcohol, and pretend to be a rock star for a few short
After the Tour of Trengganu and the Sentosa race, I found that there was
nothing left to race for. Ok, so there was a race in December, but I
wasn't going to keep going and get burnt out just for a race. Besides, I
was getting a bit mentally fried, having started my build for the 2003
season in August 2002. In the whole year, I'd experienced the elation of
getting faster and faster and the pain of overtraining to the point where
you get no feeling in those Bus 11s for days on end. It was a good year
and I was looking forward to a break.
The few months of unstructured training was fun. Visiting pubs and meeting
chicks again after living like a monk for months suddenly reminded you
that "Hey, there's life outside of amateur cycling." Hahaha.
Those few months were also spent working conscientiously at the office
trying to justify to the boss that you were worthy of the space and air
Anyways, its like you try to squeeze everything you can into those few
months. You watch all your bike racing videos, you start dating again, you
*gasp* clean your room!!!! Besides the usual, what else have I done? Oh
yeah, take up Harmonica lessons (something I've always wanted to do),
review my insurance policy (dammit, I still can't find a company willing
to insure a bike racer in a bike race), think of investing your left-over
money somewhere before the bike gobbles it up, explore more eating places
in Singapore (at least that can be done while out on a date), and yeah,
started on my long overdue graduate degree.
In the whole of the last four months, I only raced once at the Pesta
Penang and that was another disaster for the second year running. Before
the decisive break was made, someone rammed into my rear wheel, breaking
the spokes and permanently damaging the rim (now I'm riding it with uneven
spoke tension leading to some iffy sprint training). However, the Penang
trip was not a total waste, as I discoverd a pub behind my hotel called
the "Slippery Senoritas" and the chicks there are slippery
indeed.... I shocked Eddy "1.6", my room-mate by coming back at
4am! Hmmm...come to think of it, I shocked myself too.
Anyways, now its February 2004. I was trying desperately to get back on
schedule in January but a death in the family required me to be away for
sometime and when I returned to Singapore I was feeling not too high on
morale. Followed by the Chinese New Year celebrations and family
obligations on my visiting parents, I didn't really do any structured
training for January. Not that I mind. I kinda know whats important to me
in MY life.
Little wonder that I feel as strong as a worm at all the Thomson rides. I
keep getting dropped from where I want to be but I do feel the strength
returning every week. Who am I kidding. I never could follow the fast boys
at this time of the year anyway! But I feel the Need for Speed returning.
I look forward to all my training sessions. Despite a change in training
schedule due to my graduate course, I feel super-motivated to tackle every
scheduled interval session with gusto. I guess the "no-racing"
break was good for me mentally, huh?
What are my aims this year? I guess to improve in my time-trial and
sprint. I don't care too much about climbing and all that because there's
no hills in Singapore. As long as I can get over the hills with the
breakaway I'm happy. Besides, demands on my time make it unlikely that I
can go for any stage races overseas. I do wish to become a better
time-triallist and improve on Team Absolut's Team Time Trial this year but
those goals are months away. In the meantime, its back to your regular
scheduled programming, "Hard Work and High Pain Tolerance".
After all, goals in August/July are won in the early months right? Till
P.S. As I was writing this, the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia came to an
end. It was a thrilling spectacle with the first time in recent memory
that had breakaways surviving to the finish on flat stages and the
Colombians playing cat-and-mouse on Genting against the other teams.
Contrastingly sad, was that the life of Marco Pantani came to an end the
day TdL ended. I was no tifosi of Pantani but you can't help but admire
his passion for his work. I can't say anymore but leave you with a quote
of his that I find most beautiful:
"...I am an artist. The road is my canvas and the bicycle is my
paintbrush..." Marco Pantani (1970-2004).