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Post Chinese New Year 2002 Ride

Why on earth did I get out of bed on the 2nd day of CNY, 2002?

My bed was cozy, soft, warm and most importantly...DRY. Outdoors it was windy, overcast and raining buckets of industrial-pollutant-laced H2O.  Who on earth would ride in this miserable, grey weather??!!  A 120km round-island ride with a large pack they said.  It'd be a fun ride they said.  There'd be lots of draft they said. "Riding in the rain builds character", I kept mumbling to myself, like some Buddhist mantra.  Not that I was convincing myself.  Then Energizer called and said that he was going to to ride!  Oh, ok here's a soul to share the misery with!

I got to the ground floor and pedaled out and got hit by the rain and wind and my morale plummeted straight down, like a thermometer plunged into liquid Helium.  I never felt so dejected on my bike!!!

I hurried to shelter and sent Sandman an SMS "Its raining!!!". Sandman called and assured me that Siong was going too and Kenneth Tan, the ride organizer said the rain had stopped.  Now, if you know Kenneth, he's a biznezman, and you know how biznezman always make things rosier than it seems.

We were supposed to meet at 8 at the Esso Station just off Holland Village, now thats only a 5 min ride from my place.  But it took me 10 more minutes before I got going again.  And when I stepped out of shelter, it was as if Thor had a grudge against me. The rain started coming down by the GALLON! Arrgh!!  I wasn't even out for 5 minutes and my socks were drenched!  I kept grumbling and mumbling all the way to the Esso station.  After a while, Pain and Captain America drifted in, just as drenched but grinning like boyz who just got a great Xmas present.  These guys should be riding classics in Europe for fun.

We slowly made our way to Cycleworx at Thomson and I was really cold.  I gritted my teeth and just pedaled in the lightest gear trying to work up some body heat.  At the same time, I was crouched over in a low position to avoid the wind - man I must have looked like a clown - aero position, legs going over at 120 rpm with a speed of 20kph!!!  Everytime we made a cold start that was how I'd cycle.

There was a real big pack of about 40 riders at Cycleworx. The ride started late - hoping for the rain to ease, no such luck, but by 9am the ride was on.  The pace was a tourist like 35-36kph before Changi - but it wasnt as if the ride was touristy - it was a suffer-fest! Spray from the guys in front, getting in your face, eyes, helmet.  Spray from passing cars washing down your bike.  Slick roads, poor visibility. Still if the pace was 35-36 all the way, it would be tolerable but no such luck!  Once we hit Changi village the attacks started!

Bleah!  Going into the wind at 48kph trying to bridge a gap in the driving rain is not my idea of a fun ride.  I hung on by the skin of my teeth for most of the Coastal Road.  Then the attacks REALLY STARTED.  It was really something - first the pack would be bunched up and then suddenly when the strong guys go to the front and you see the pack slide into a paceline!  A paceline in dry weather is great fun, but in the rain?  Arrrgh!  Grime in yer face!

I lost contact there.  My glasses didn't work cause they fogged up and I couldn't see coconuts with them.  I took them off and I was blinded with the crap from the wheels.  So I kept drifting into the wind and soon I saw the pack moving away. I was depleted. In strength and morale.  I was actually glad when I saw one of the pack riders at the roadside flag me down to borrow my pump.  It gave me an excuse to get off the saddle for a little while.  

From then on the ride was over for me.  I started to be the Yellow Support Bicycle - providing pump and inner tubes to cyclists who flatted!  Energizer caught up and then Sandman and Elvis.  Sandman had a flat waay back at Loyang and he and Elvis were trying to catch the pack.  When Sandman had a second flat, I think we had an unspoken agreement to forget about catching the pack.  It was kaput.

So thats how I spent my CNY 2002.  No hong baos, no oranges, no parties, no girls - just a cold ride in the rain.

Now, when's the next mass ride?

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