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Good bye 2004, welcome 2005

Absolutees!

Maybe we're getting jaded, maybe we're too busy, maybe we're just plain lazy, ...and maybe, just maybe, we're starting to take things for granted.  And this is something we must never let happen... We ride some, we ride more, and then more and then even more, until it becomes a habit, the habit then becomes our ritual, and our ritual gradually becomes our rights, yes our rights to ride, just like our rights to share the road, the air, and everything else, until we get a rude wake-up call... 

Though I don't know Sylvester well, I was totally shaken when he became another unnecessary victim of a road accident. His death was somehow more real and closer to us than all the other victims we read about in the past. It's not hard to see why. He was too much like us, he loved cycling as much as we do, he rode on the same route as us, he enjoyed the thrill of  speed like we do. He enjoyed the camaraderie of group rides like we do, and he shared the same lactic burns like us, and he probably felt just as strong and unbeatable as us… never mind that we were soundly beaten over and again by better cyclists, we are always convinced we could eventually beat them all...   and that was how I felt when I saw him at the hospital. Of course, me without any medical training, I was absolutely clueless as to the severity of his injuries when I saw him. I was simply convinced he would beat the odds. When Sylvester died, I was reminded of the dangers of our chosen sport, and our fragility, and our mortality. I was scared to ride pass Lim Chu Kang. Then before the year ended, the tsumami made death tolls sounded like a bad joke. The number of dead was initially in the thousands, then it became tens of thousands, and then it just became another number, another statistic. 

2004 obviously didn't end happily for all. I didn't even have the spirit (nor the champagne) to welcome the New Year. For once, I went to bed before the clock ticked over. 

On a happier note, T@ had great results in the 2004 races, many new riders riding with us regularly, which made us very happy. Some of the new riders even asked to race in our so-called 'Holy Robe.' That was really flattering... we felt so honored.

But reflecting on the past 12 months, we did quite well. We maintained and strengthened our position in the local race scene. We are no longer the Outsider, we are recognized by others, and despite not being a serious racing team, we achieved some serious results. Podiums and more podiums. Ironically, Sam and Wheelie Mike won both the Open and Junior Veterans categories for the mountain bike races with no support from anyone else on the team. That's talent for you! Of course all the good results that make 2005 even more demanding.

One sad development was our off-road rides. What started as our basic ride is in danger of becoming forever lost. Our off-road rides have shrunken to 3 or 4 regulars only. I blame it on the evolution of mountain biking in general, with the current trend towards free-riding, North-Shore biking and downhilling. Let's face it, most of us are simply not inclined to ride off the top of bus or cliff, nor are we really excited about trading 12-inch of rear travel for 25 kg uphill. Downhilling, North Shore, and free ride are killing my interest in mountain biking. It's getting too exclusive and reserved for those who are blessed with talents, daring, and age. I can only admire but I cannot participate.

And of course we didn't have our ADD for '04. It just doesn't feel right to party. Did I say party? But wait, ADD is never about partying despite the amount of beer and chocolate we have. It's about dedicating a nice and nice dinner to our special ones for allowing us to ride, to enjoy our sport, to become kids again, to drool over new toys, to feel alive! It's about NOT taking good things for granted.

So 2005, which incidentally is a major milestone for TA as we turned 5 years old, we will have our Annual Dedication Dinner. And we will have a fifth anniversary souvenir to remind us of who we are, why we ride, what we cherish...

To the rest of the biking fraternity in Singapore (CycleWorx, ANZA, Geylang, Ascender etc..) and the rest of the world, we wish you a great 2005. Remember to treasure what we have, to share with others the joy and benefits of cycling, to celebrate what we have in common and most importantly, remind ourselves to ride safely, we do not have NCAP ratings.

Comments or criticism can be sent to oldman@teamabsolut.net
 

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