The third annual edition of the CIMB Cycle was held on 21st April. This year there were two options: an 80km Challenge ride and a 160km Endurance ride. In a rush of enthusiasm about fifty R@SKLs registered for the event. Twenty of whom opted for the 160km Endurance ride.
As the 21st drew closer some had second thought and switched to the 80km Challenge ride. We all owe thanks to Heng Keng and his PA Nida for their CIMB insider help to get us registered, manage the changes and collect the ride packs on our behalf.
I was one of the R@SKLs who switched to the 80km ride. My excuse was that I was in the midst of moving house and couldn’t afford the time riding 160km would require. Was I ever glad I made that decision.
3,700 amateur riders and pro cyclists (there were prizes for the winners) from 26 countries were at the start line. Including the pink-clad R@SKLs.
The Endurance and Challenge rides were flagged of by the Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq, accompanied by Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Aziz, Group CEO of CIMB Group (on the left) and Azizulhasni Awang, Malaysia’s “Pocket Rocketman” and CIMB brand ambassador (on the right). Azizul was the gold medallist in the keirin event at the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
The events started on time, with the Endurance riders the first to roll past the Ministry of Finance building in Putrajaya and out onto the route.
Putrajaya has a number of man-made lakes and therefore a number of bridges. This is the Endurance ride départ fictif crossing the Seri Gemilang bridge.
Half a dozen or so brave souls from the R@SKLs took on the Endurance route.
This was the Challenge route.
The Challenge riders hit their first water stop after about 40km / 25mi.
The Challenge ride so far had been fun. Despite my falling. A guy got caught in too hard a gear on a steep climb and veered across the road into me. I banged an elbow and wrist and scraped a knee. I’m just glad I stayed out of the open drain along the side of the road.
The first water stop for the Endurance riders was at 50km / 31mi.
It was still relatively cool at that time. It wouldn’t stay cool for very much longer.
The Endurance guys made a food and drink stop at some point.
We Challenge riders made do with our second water stop at 55km / 34mi.
It had been humid from the start and it was now getting hot. I was well into my second bottle of water and glad I only had 25km / 15.5mi to go rather than 105km / 65mi.
The Endurance riders were starting to feel the heat midway through their distance.
They were rolling into their second water stop as we were finishing our ride. Our ride was a tad over 80km / 50mi. Those last few kilometres at 33ºC / 91.4ºF were slightly uphill and into a hot headwind. I was glad to see the finish line.
It was so hot that a finish line shower was in order for some.
Heng Keng kindly got us into the vicinity of the VIP tent (it pays to have friends on the inside) where he supplied us with nasi lemak, kuih, water and lattes. And arranged a photograph with Malaysia’s only rainbow jersey winner.
It was about 11.00am when we all got to the VIP tent. Just a few minutes later the first three finishers of the Endurance ride flashed across the finish line. Their average speed for 160km or so was a smidgen over 42kph / 26mph. Amazing.
Our Endurance ride guys were still on the course and suffering in the heat.
I was still sweating forty five minutes after the ride. So I was very happy to not still be out on the Endurance ride course. The rising temperature and the hilly route brought many Endurance participants to a halt well before the finish.
Voon Kiat and Martin persevered and completed the Endurance ride. As did Mokhtar Nadzri but I don’t have a photograph of him.
The Challenge riders were happy with the event. The route was reasonably challenging but not excessively so. The roads were exceptionally well marshalled. The water stops were well managed. And we got to the finish before it got too hot.
The R@SKLs who did the Endurance ride had a much tougher time. A tip of the hat to them for giving it a go.