Sentosa Circuit Race 2003
bored. I can write a race report real stiff and spiffy like in a news
journal but it just isn't me. So, the goofy old me is back. Errors may be
mixed in for fun and laughter. If you positively, truly want your
perception to be included, email me. I just might entertain you. And
thanks to Seh Suan for all his pix.- Sting)
The Tale of the Open Cat
Samuel Yang, Singapore's Number 1 for local races, had recently moved
focus from the road to the mountain bike team. He has the entire Nat'l MTB
working for him this time; they have race radios and wear their Nat'l
jersey. The road side is not so organized and are completed scattered into
their respective road clubs. Sam invites me and Eddy "1.5" to
follow his team-mates in an early attack to form a breakaway. Why not?
Jud, Sam's right hand man, does a flying start from the back of the pack.
So fast, even Sam is surprised. I look around and bide my time...then Ben
(another Nat'l mtber) then Colin of ANZA bridge the gap and I decide
that's time to make my move. I bridge across and for 1 lap we are
away...Kale and Scott of Geylang come across and as usual Scott rides
like a doofus at the 180 deg curve.
There is a flurry of individual moves within the pack and that brings them
up to us. Sam counters immediately going up on the right. I was on the
front, catching my breath, I could go again but I hesitate. Kale and Arab
don't and they bridge. 3 very strong time-triallists are away. DANGER.
Working in the Early Break
Where's lippy? He's with Soya - an ex-Nat'l told 'em not to worry about
ANY early break cause its "hilly and no one can last...". The
troika are pulling away and I look at the pack...3 Geylangs and 3 ANZAs
and 3 more of Sam's pals. No way in heck am I going to work when there are
clubs with overwhelming numbers. Sometimes you just have to accept that
your plan (for world domination or whatever...) is in the sewer and you
gotta be patient and watch what happens. Geylang CC do a terrible job at
catching the break. They individually go to the front and pull till they
are exhausted and disappear into the bowels of the pack, allowing the
speed to yo-yo.
Slowly, the gap grows. 20s. 35s. 50s. 75s!!! Geylang CC's coach is
screaming blue murder at the sides. Some spectators exhort a chase,
calling individuals by name to work. Madness. I ignore all such pleas. A
number of times, I attack the pack. I will NEVER pull my opposition up to
the breakaway. I have noticed that if the riders are in a group of 4-5,
they will share the work. Anymore and they all want to play cat and mouse.
I try to force a proper chase group. The best chance came when Lippy and
Soya rode away uphill. Pak senses the danger and bridges up. I let them go
for 50m..I am on the front, tactically bad to start a bridging attempt but
its uphill so after a quick check of my six, I stand up and bridge across
in one long uphill sprint. We have a gap of 60-70m! I yell "Break!!!
Break!!! Let me work!!" I accelerate to the front...Soya yells at me
to go slower. Ok, in my haste, I forget that I am often jumpy. We try to
work properly, but at the back, Jud, the mtber brings the pack back to us.
There is 5 laps to go. I count my eggs...the pack has exploded. The troika
is still 1 minute in front. There are only 7 guys left in the main group
and placings go 8 deep. I figure some of these guys are going to go for
last minute breaks and all I'd have to do is follow them.
Soya tries a few times. Lippy claws his way up to him each time. Lippy has
done mighty good work today, pulling hard on the front a lot trying to
minimize the gap to the troika. On the last lap, Soya tries again. Lippy
claws him back one last time. Colin is 2nd wheel with Lippy in front. I
get to 3rd wheel. On the downhill run-in I yell at Lippy to stop working..."Let
Colin do the work!". Colin stiffens upon hearing such a loud
challenge. He has no choice, he is committed now...I've forced him to
start the sprint. I could not come around him in the final bend...It was
sharp enough to scare me into sitting back down. All in vain as Jud
overtakes us on the right and Pak yells out loud and squeezes between Jud
and the curb to take the group sprint.
However, the organizers award me nothing but gives my position to those
who finished after me. how they missed my position is a mystery given that
it was only 4 of us duking out for the minor places. anyway, I have
photographic evidence in the public domain and that should settle it. I
might have missed out on the $5 plastic medal but I don't race for medals.
Lesson learned: let no strong rider go and work on the sprint. The
funniest part is a few days later when some Sports Cat guru tries to tell
me how silly we were to let Sam escape. Hehehe, the only thing worse than
a racing toad telling a race story is a sports toad telling an open cat
race that he wasn't even in. Hehehe.
Last race of the year: NTU! Wooo-hoo!!!