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Rain, Rain, Rain solo ride (85/7015 k’s)

(written by Dave)

I’ll start this post by apologising for any contextual or normal spelling errors in the text.  My editor (Nancy) has gone to bed as she is a wee bit under the weather.  She is better tonight, but not great at all last night.  She must have eaten something yesterday that the rest of us didn’t as she had a bit of the “Bali belly” throughout the night and was in no shape to join me on CFAL today.  Just as well really because the ride was accompanied by torrential rains for at least the first half.

The ride was scheduled to start at 7AM but with rain and very dark clouds, they delayed the start by 30 minutes.  It was only a drizzle until the start but as soon as “flag down” (as they call the start), it started to dump.  Hats off to the Malay riders as it seemed like most of the 3000 pre-registered riders showed up at least to start the ride.  The lead government minister came out to join us for the start of the ride and included some fairly specific promises for new bike routes in his welcoming speech (complete with completion dates – I hope the local advocacy group folks were taking notes).

For the first 10k we had police escort and full traffic control at all intersections.  In fact, the intersection control continued for the entire 80k ride.  This is a big deal when you consider how few roads that there are on the island (nice job CFAL team).  I thought I was near the front for the start but even though I passed people consistently throughout the first 10k, I couldn’t seem to make much progress on the flashing lights of our escort.

The riders came in all shapes and sizes, as these things go.  Mountain bikes held a least a 10 to 1 count over road bikes.  Tennis shoes were at least 10 to 1 over any sort of pedal system.  I don’t think that they have too many group rides here as there was way too much zipping in and out of line for my liking.  Unfortunately, there were also many folks either on aero bars, holding their bars right at the stem in an aero position or simply ridding no hands.  I didn’t see any crashes but I was sure expecting some.  The rain made matters much worse.  I had water over both feet a few times and lots of other full wheel dips.  Not knowing the road made this more problematic for me as I was never sure when the bottom of a puddle would include a massive pothole.  I tried to stay off everyone’s wheel and to the outside.

There were three climbs on the ride and I was overjoyed to finally reach the first one.  At least here I was able to make some progress on the long line of mountain bikes.  I road up all three climbs about as hard as I could and by the end of the third one, I finally felt that I had some space to relax.  Of course, I have no where near enough guts to ride downhill full throttle like the guys on mountain bikes.  Here again, I was expecting a tumble.  There was much standing water and plenty of lane paint to create an issue.  But again, I saw no crashes (thankfully).

I finished about 10:15 and was amazed how many folks were already at the finish.  I couldn’t see any bailout options so I suspect that quite a few folks pulled the plug early and headed back.  Here again, the Malaysian riders get points for their post ride enthusiasm.  Even though the event area was a swamp and there was still some rain, everyone seemed to be hanging out and enjoying being part of the event.

Overall, I’m glad that I braved the wet and carried the LeaveWithoutPay and Aussie flags on the ride.  Congratulations the the G bike club, you put on a great event.  And what the crowd lacked in bike skills or fancy bike gear, they more than made up for in their spirit.  If they get everything the minister promised, they will have some nice riding available.  I think that the island loop would be a nice ride if it didn’t rain.  I saw little of the scenery but given the ups and downs I think there would be some great views.

I am happy to report that Nancy recovered enough for her and Gretchen to make their spa appointments.  And even better Nancy was able to enjoy a little of the fantastic Thai takeaway that we picked up for dinner.  Steve and I made the restaurant run.  I’m looking forward to Thailand sometime next week – perhaps a little nervous about reading the Thai script – we could barely make out the menu and there was only one person who spoke English – next week should be fun!

Tomorrow we are playing tourists again – off to a spice farm 10kor so from Georgetown.

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6 responses to “Rain, Rain, Rain solo ride (85/7015 k’s)

  1. Gotta love those mass start events! Reminds me of the Bondi to Bronte swim….lots of fun and enthusiasm abound! Too bad Nancy could not enjoy; glad she is feeling better…..

  2. Congrats on your ride, David! Glad you are feeling better Nancy. Hey, I just returned from a Singapore Math conference (excellent- the level of math education and understanding in Singapore has risen so much so quickly that teachers in the US are very interested). Anyway, one of the teachers was born and raised in Singapore and got her teacher training there. She teaches in Palo Alto now. She said that the egg cartons most everywhere else in the world, Asia for sure, have ten spots for eggs, not 12. I can’t tell from your picture of the egg delivery guy, but could you check that out for me? She joked that the dozen carton might be part of the reason students in the US have trouble with the number system!

    • Good question on the eggs – I zoomed the two photos that I have of the eggman. His eggs are rows of6×5, or 30 eggs per layer. I’m guessing that this would lead to a package of 10 eggs, not 12. Having said that, we’ve purchased eggs only once in Malaysia when we stayed at a guest house in Melaca. The market where I purchased them had the large flats (probably 6×5) and happily sold me 4 eggs in a plastic bag. Many people purchase their food at the same sorts of markets. In other words, there may not even be a concept of 10 or 12 for all but those who shop in big grocery stores (which there are some in larger towns). As for the students in Singapore being good at math, I have no clue on either US or Singapore educational systems. I can tell you however that my impression of Singaporekids is that they work extremely hard. Staying at the Wong’s we saw both of their sons attend private tutoring almost every day, nights and weekends. If a student does poorly in math, or any other subject, they will get a tutor. The Wongs are clearly great parents but from what I’ve seen, many parents in Singapore have the same motivation and involvement. Singapore is a small country with very few natural resources. Their place in the world is purely down to how hard they work. Getting ahead drives parents and the kids. If you get a chance to compare the two systems, be sure to figure in how many hours per day/week the students spend working at whatever system they are using.

  3. Way to go Dave! Glad Nancy is better! We had a 24 year old girl who is riding cross country by herself stay with us last night. I met her on the road. This girl has some guts! She will be riding across Nevada this week. Her blog is: abbiacrossamerica.wordpress.com Of course, I told her about your ride! Can’t wait to find out all about Thailand…

  4. G’day Dave,
    Glad you enjoyed the ride. Sorry Nancy missed out, but then again, she might be glad she didn’t have to ride in that rain. This is the first time in our third year of organising the campaign that it rained. We were surprised at the turnout ourselves and more surprised that everyone I spoke to enjoyed the ride inspite of the rain. Hope the weather is more favourable next year.
    Good luck and safe travels on your onward journey.

    Fellow Aussie
    Diana

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