Location: Pulau Ubin Date: 16th March 2003 Time: 1030hrs
As planned, the organising team members gathered at the Changi Jetty Hawker Centre. Barely awake, we took some breakfast and awaited instructions from Radio69 (the ride i/c) We know that there is little time left to mark the trail. After distributing supplies and medi-kits, the group headed toward the bumboats
The stage needs to be set. After taking the bumboat across the small, narrow strait to Pulau Ubin, the organizing team chose the fastest fellows for the job. Armed with flour and an instinctive sense of direction (because neither of us were very sure of the planned directions), the team blazed down the trails throwing flour at every junction. Knowing well the participants will need obvious directions within rustic Pulau Ubin. Which we later found out that the riders couldn’t find the markings! Tsk. Tsk.
But finally, the trail was prepped and the stage was set. Derrick, however, was busy (or so he claimed) waiting for the participants to stream in. Meanwhile WeR (Lawrence) was having a little trouble trying to get people to board the small boats. But he made it in time for the ride. (thanks Lawrence). With little delay, Radio69 jumped into action, gathering the participants around to give a short briefing and initiated the customary, self-introduction ice-breaker. After we all said “cheese” to the camera men, Flanker, the ride leader for the first group took no hesitation to gather his members. And the ride was on.
The trail started west bound, leading to a large quarry area overlooking the sea. Nevermind the searing heat of the day, the riders pedaled on with vigour. Briefly entering into and out of a forest trail, the first rest point at the temple and the canopies provided a much needed cover from the sun. The participants took opportunity to replenish their water supply and visit the loo among other things. At this point, the (really cool looking) Ride Leaders gathered for an ad hoc meeting, to decide, should the groups be broken up, so that the faster MTBers could benefit from a faster pace. Flanker couldn’t hide the excitement and shortly signaled the faster riders to join the group.
While Zishin covered as the photographer for the first group, Shaoxiang was responsible for the second. The pace was upped, and minutes later, the groups had made a loop back to the starting point (the basketball court). During the break, we saw Colin (our event mechanic) busy at work with a badly untrued wheel. With deft hands, the wheel was made well in a matter of minutes. I was sure that the bike’s owner was teary-eyed with gratitude. Not long after, The groups headed toward Noordin beach thru a relatively easy off-road trail.
There was plenty of time for the participants to mingle around at Noordin Beach, but the most grueling part is yet to come. On a junction that turned toward Chek Jawa, we were accosted with 2-3 steep climbs, which we saw many pushing their bikes up the hills (no shame there for free-ride bikes!) But the first group that trailed behind Flanker were really enjoying it. Amidst grunts and exclamations, most, if not all, emerge exhilarated. Later the participants were rewarded with a scenic view and quiet surroundings of Chek Jawa .
On the way back toward the basketball court, Group 1 made several detours to lengthen the ride. Flanker and the few made a couple of trips around the SACA race loop (as if they had not enough after 20km of off-road!) There were a couple of casualties during the ride. Jean, a lady participant took a fall while negotiating a descent down a bumpy slope. To her rescue was our very own, handsome and most charming (yet!) medic, Eclipse1. The 2 groups later took different paths that lead back to the endpoint, where everyone later gathered for a debrief.
It was a great ride, and even more pleasurable I think, is to finally meet people on the forums. Many thanks also to the organizing team members, who took much effort in planning and executing the event.
Until next ride!