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Tale of an OCBC Cycle 2013 participant

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Find out what it feels like to take part in Singapore's premier mass participation cycling event, as gets the inside scoop from a participant at the recently concluded OCBC Cycle Singapore 2013.

Who wakes up at 4am in the morning, lugs their bike to the car, drives all the way to Raffles Boulevard, and rides a distance of 24km-61km? 

Oh, that’s right. Me and… about ten thousand more nutcases. 

For someone who has never trained for cycling events before, I could feel a nervous tingle go down my spine every five minutes as my partner in crime and I trudged along with the other participants to the starting point at the F1 Pit Building. I wondered if I was going to faint halfway or fall of my bike in a dramatic way or be a hindrance to the other professional cyclists, but then figured that being a worrywart would only be secondary to the adrenaline rush.

Observing the people around me, I noticed that most of them had arrived in full battle gear: cycling jersey, padded tights, sunglasses and the special type of shoes that click on to the pedal- cleats. In fact, some had gone the extra mile like this one:

I should have adorned my bike with figurines of the teen titans.

We were finally flagged off and I swung one leg over my bike. Immediately the adrenaline rush came and I was practically beaming with excitement. My first cycling marathon was finally on the way! The crowds at the side cheered and applauded like we were superstar athletes as we zoomed past them. 

The air was filled with voices ringing out, “RIGHT”, as the more enthusiastic cyclists called out to the people to make way for them. They zigzagged in and out and within a minute they vanished from sight. I was surprised at their speed and decided to increase the gear on my bike. It clicked and I went harder on the paddles. 

My need for speed was momentarily paused as we rode on the ECP highway. I was too awestruck by the surroundings. It had always been a dream to jump out of the car each time my father drove on the highway, snap a few shots, and then jump back into the car. Here I was now riding down the highway on a bicycle. I had to remember this moment. 

Shaky shots that I managed to get as I was on my bike. Singapore seemed extra breathtaking then.

The arduous journey continued on. By 10km, my stomach was feeling the effect of not having breakfast before a 42km race. Thoughts of, “Oh my gosh, I should totally stop,” kept bothering me, but I knew it wouldn’t be a worthwhile experience then. Furthermore, I would lose the momentum that I had already gained with my buddy. His superior male genes made him completely immune to the breathless pain.

“Should we go faster?” He looked at his speedometer and asked innocently.

“NEVER,” I exclaimed.

A short rain only upped the adrenaline. I had to blink incessantly as the raindrops entered my eyes. My mind wandered to the next time I would purchase a pair of Oakley sunglasses. The rain stopped as sudden as it had started and the air held a breezy life. By now, the nausea in the pit of my stomach had gone away. It had already been 23km as we got down our bikes at the pit stop and hydrated with a bottle of 100plus. 

A five minute rest ensued and then we were on our bikes once more. I vowed not to stop until the finishing line. We maintained at a reasonable speed with my buddy getting moments of a crazy burst forth. I would catch up with him eventually as he slowed down. We had to press the brakes at the U turns because the crowd was just impossible. For a moment I was confused as we went through U turn after U turn. 

“I think we went an extra distance,” I called out to my bud.

He looked at his speedometer and shrugged.

By 37km, he said, “We’re on the right track! About 5km more to go!”

I lifted my eyes and spotted the “5km more” sign, overjoyed at the small amount we had left to go. It seemed just like a minute ago that we were gearing up to start the race. 

My vow of not stopping had to be broken as we passed by the Singapore flyer once more. I gasped as I could barely pedal up the up slope.

It was too steep! I jumped off my bike and began walking like the rest.

My bud zoomed ahead, relishing the challenge. Meanwhile I amused myself with the sights around me. I saw stuff like this:

Where in the world did these people get their costumes? I had to laugh.

I rejoined my bud after 5 minutes and we were racing down the slope that led back to the F1 pit. My life seemed more important then so I didn’t have the chance to take a shot as we flew down, but boy oh boy. The thrill was unmistakable. The race finally came to an end and we
had to dismount from our bikes as we crossed through the finishing line.

We received our race medals and I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I had finally completed a 42km cycle marathon! It seemed so unbelievable but the race medal was enough proof. I promised myself to come back again for the 2014 OCBC Cycle as I boarded the bus home.

Padded tights would be a priority. This realization came to me as I sat down and winced.