Raceday 26/May/02. Weather was nice and cool. I got up err, a little late after bowling and late-nite prata at Jalan Kayu. Had planned to ride to the track for a good warm-up for my sensitive knees but had to forgo that due to time. Quickly signed up but didn't have enough money to pay, but thanks to Pain who was there to help, got my race number 268. Went for a quick spin around the grass patch. If my knees doesn't get a warm up, at least I should make sure my brakes and shifters are working well.

Race started without much delay. I took a quick look around and I see the same old battle-hardened chiselled body racers to my left, to my right, and to my front as in every race. Wheelie was there too and he looked all business. As for me, I have almost forgotten what racing is like. Riding with Absolutees on Sun these days are fairly tame, to put it politely. I was immediately behind when the bell goes, a final confirmation of my old man status, but unfortunately here I have no excuses since everyone is in my age-group, some even managed to look much older than me, despite a full head of hair. I managed to make a few positions by the second climb right before the barrier but unfortunately trapped behind some riders not able to make up the slope. So, dismounted and watched 2 riders gone passed. Hmmnn... it's going to be a hard day.

All uneventful until the long climb up the pipeline hill. Position: 4 from bottom I think :-) But some of the front-runners are still within sight. I set out to gain one position on the downhill so I chased hard to catch the wheel of the rider in front. Just as I was about to pass him on the downhill, a little weave to his right, whether intentional or not I dunno, and I was forced onto the grass. Had to make a slow crawl back to the track. Managed to catch up thru my favorite esses and all the way to the stairs but no chance to pass. But I managed to mount quicker and got in the right gear to get away.

By now, all the front runners were gone. And my thoughts are now drifting out of the race to my planned trip to Kukup for seafood dinner! At the parking lot, bunch of people watching, had to avoid a dog at the trail-head but no racers in sight. Reach the starting point in position 9 or 10.

Nice to hear morale boosting support from fellow Absolutees Beykha, Pain, et al.

Second Lap. Uneventful, it's like riding solo. Took a quick look at my heart-rate monitor. I was not riding hard enough. Heart-rate: 155 bpm. Got off the saddle, push a little, but my heart rate would not exceed 160. I was breathing easy, even spoke to hikers, but my legs just doesn't have the snap anymore. Very disappointing. Really need to put some more miles in those legs.

Third Lap. I actually caught sight of a 3 racers in front. Managed to pass one
on the first downhill after the parking lot and another who had problem with his chain. I was up to seventh at one point and was hoping to see more DNF. Unfortunately, it was Wheelie, our very own Absolutee that I saw fixing a flat at the starting line :-(.  Was caught by one rider who was amazingly fresh at the steps, who volunteered on telling me how much Stella Artois he had the night before. Yea right, as if I'm going to believe him. Anyway, I hadn't had a drop to drink the night before so no need to rub it in! But frustratingly, I can't get my heart-rate up, as hard as I tried. I was not going at max, I kept saying to myself but nothing much I can do. My legs were just not there.

Finished eighth, Wheelie came in ninth due to his unfortunate puncture. If there are any consolation, Wheelie looks even more dead after the race! He must have tried very hardto make up time after the flat. I have almost forgotten the feeling of race until last Sunday. I was satisfied I made it to the finish line without a single mechanical problem for a change. I didn't have any 'what-if' as in my previous race because of mechanical problem. And even if I finished 30 seconds earlier, I would not make up one position in this race. So, I am satisfied I gave my everything and felt good that I burnt 1210 KCals in my 1hr 38 mins effort according to my Polar. Maybe the next race...

YoungMan had a superb race. Let's hear from him how his race went! He finished 5th in a much more competitive field. I rushed off, even forgot to redeem my 5 dollars for my race plate.
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