It was a memorable 143km on the 10th anniversary NTU Bike Rally on the 9th of March this year, and not just because NTU Sports Club outdid themselves with the best run bike rally of the series ever!
I had not intended heroics but the night before, I detected a slight wobbling of the rear tyre against the brakes. Iy was near midnight as I prodded and poked and a loose spoke was revealed! Argh!
I had just completed 11 hours of receipt submission through the NUS TRAC system, and was exhausted. So the easy option was to use the Brompton instead. There was this famous girl who rode her CarryMe on a previous Bike Rally and it emboldened me to try.
The new 140+km route introduced the Nanyang Drive slope in NTU which slaughtered cyclists early in the morning! I was careful to protect my busted knee whilst I clambered up every hill, pedal by pedal. And boy oh boy, did I miss my mountain bike’s lovely granny gears! Nanyang Drive was followed by slopes in Lim Chu Kang, Mandai Ave, Punggol Road and Loyang hill.
Somehow I stayed on my saddle throughout, and only along Punggol Road did I think about protecting my knee by getting off and walking. But I persevered and after the pain, was happy. I had not needed to compromise the ride.
Cramps hit me after just 35km! And lasted until the 105km mark – half my ride was a battle! My preparatory rides earlier this year, and continual isotonic fluid and water uptake were not enough to keep the cramps at bay. Maybe it is time to try compression apparel!
Along Mandai Road, I stopped to observe a monkey in a tree (seriously) and my thighs locked up – I nearly crawled into the bush along the road and my grimacing must have frightened off the monkey.
Well somehow all this passed, as it always does and the Pasir Ris Drive 3 slope leading to Loyang hill was not tortuous, but a steady climb – oh good, my ‘second wind’ had finally kicked in! Changi was an enjoyable fireride and I nay had to slow through ECP to be safe to other slower park users. It was an enjoyable finish through Nicoll Highway into the F1 Pit, despite the growing intensity of traffic as the sun began to set.
My Zendogs kakis Kenneth Pinto and Kevin Lim have cycled with me for several years now and welcomed me as I limped in to each pit stop set up along that 140km route. We were happy to discover some new variations of the route this year, the well stocked rest points and the cheerful volunteer road marshals who seemed unaffected by the heat!
Ladybug was a lifesaver, bringing us food at Woodlands Waterfront. The nasi padang lunch was critical, and was supplemented with fruits and isotonic drinks at Punggol and Pasir Ris Park! I had booked her for support duty three months ago and she set a new standard!
Three times I was offered my now-repaired mountain bike but I decided to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the NTU Bike Rally in that special way – by torturing myself! And no short cuts, we lapped up every kilometre.
Bravo to NTU Sport Club for offering this opportunity to challenge ourselves once again and tour the periphery of Singapore. It was a wonderful ride, the best organised ever and until next year, thanks once again!
Daryl Chan, who rode 170km for Hair for Hope last year on his Brompton,
along Lim Chu Kang Road