Thursday, 9 June 2016

One more milestone

So, yet again, another random post to the blog that is on and off forgotten. This time, I'd like to talk about my experience on my first ever Century Ride, also my longest ride in go, yet.

This event fell on the 29th of May, 2016. That was just about a week ago. It was held at Perak, covering nearly the whole outer perimeter of the state, circling Ipoh town. The event was called the "Perak Century Ride" for obvious reasons. A Century Ride, is a non-competitive endurance ride event for cyclists of all walks of life to challenge themselves and their endurance levels. Usually 100 miles in distance, that's 160 in kilometers (1mi = 1.6km), it's a test of physical and mental endurance and not for the faint of heart. To complete a Century Ride, a cyclist needs to be physically fit, as well as mentally strong. Adequate training before hand is encouraged (more like, a must).

Fast forward to a day before the event. I took the Electric Train Service(ETS) from KL Sentral. ETS is an intercity rail service operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad(KTMB). I must say, I was amazed at the punctuality of the ETS service as well as the comfort of the interior of the train itself. It was clean and well maintained, as opposed to the regular KTM train services. The ticket pricing was also quite affordable for a student like me, if I were to travel within Malaysia. I boarded the train and the journey from KL Sentral to Ipoh took about 2 and half hours.

Waiting at KL Sentral
On the way to Ipoh
Upon arriving in Ipoh, I made my way to the race pack collection venue. I was a little wary due to posts earlier in the day stating that the management was disorganized and cause a long queue for the collection, but when I was there, everything seemed to be moving in order. 
Event Jersey
After collecting my pack I waited for my group to arrive and proceeded to check in and freshen up. The next day, everyone was up early to grab breakfast at the hotel breakfast buffet, food was average, the standard hotel menu of noodles, eggs, sausages, ham, dim sum, toasts, coffee and tea, as well as cereal. After a small breakfast to provide a small boost for the ride, we went to retrieve our bikes, only to be greeted by a small rainfall. The rain dampened our mood considerably. We steeled ourselves and prepared for what was for sure going to be a wet and cold ride.

Bike retrieval area
Wet and cold start, yet we lined up
 There was a rolling start of about 10km before the official start of the race, the participants lined up amidst the drizzle. We were slightly drenched before we even started. Upon the starting gong, we all started moving. It was a brief warm up during the rolling start with the top contenders for the prize money and podium placement jostling for a good starting position at the front of the race. My aim for this event was just to finish with the best possible time I could achieve.

The first 120km was a breeze, although there were rolling slopes, I was prepared for it as I had trained myself before the event. However, the longest ride I have ever attempted before hand was only 135km. At 120km, my mind starting doubting if I could even finish the next 40km. The last 40km. My legs were heavy, I was well off my targeted time, the distance on the speedometer didn't seem to be increasing, and my speed kept decreasing. The scorching afternoon sun in contrast to the wet and cold start, was not helping morale. On and off, I managed to strike up a conversation with some fellow cyclists, some I dropped, some went ahead of me. There was a period during the last 25km that I was moving along alone, till I caught up to another cyclist, who was also struggling as the road was a short incline. We talked a little and went together till 10km from the finish line where I dropped him.

Finishing with an official time of 6:28:14
Just glad to finish the ride
Passing the finishing line at 6 hours 28 minutes and 14 seconds for 168km to me was a great achievement for myself. The longest distance yet in my cycling experience, and I successfully completed it 1 hour and 30 minutes from cut off time. It was a great experience throughout, and an eye opener into the life of the pro tour cyclists, who do this everyday for weeks on end and even higher intensities.

My group coming in 10 minutes later

Medal biting photo is a must
If I was to participate in an event like this again, I would probably train harder beforehand. Keep my mind strong and not doubt my own capabilities.

Frozen loot - Energy Drinks (It's like we were preparing performance enhancing drugs)
Till next time
Whenever that is

Vincent

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