The jolly Ivan Yeo sat down to lunch with me on a fine Tuesday afternoon. Endowed with a plump girth, the bespectacled cyclist betrayed the the nature of his size by sitting down quite gracefully and pulling the menu up. Ordering a plate of carrot cake beside my ginormous plate of bee hoon, he broke the ice with a smile. Shortly, we were both sampling some fine food and a hearty conversation on the sport – and art – of cycling. More intriguingly, Ivan’s personal story as a cyclist and conqueror of various trails and titles under his belt.
Coming at a hefty weight of 130 kg some years past, Ivan did not imagine that he’d lose weight rapidly through cycling. But after having taken on the metal horse for a year, he gradually dropped to 87 kg! Beyond that, he has conquered a number of difficult trails and completed a number of cycling events.
 As the lunch unfolded, so did my list of questions for the man, currently the 15th Elite Finisher and The Hour Record holder.
1) What is your relationship with bicycles? How did you begin cycling, and what was your first bike? How old were you then?

Ivan’s old “stallion” which he put the “Colnago” label on to “disturb other people”.

Ivan: My relationship with my bike is just like a couple . I give it tender care and it gives me best performance . I begin cycling at the age of 3 years . It was the first time I cycled and it was on a “children’s type of tricycle”. After I learnt the basics and graduated to a two-wheeler, I rode a two-wheeled China-produced bike till teenage years. Then I grew on BMX. Five years ago, I finally took up road biking.

2) Any significant incidents that happened in your history of cycling? Ie. a bad fall, meeting and getting inspired by a famous cyclist etc.

Ivan: Yes. One significant incident was my completion of the KDF Millennium 1000km Ride without “going up the support vehicle”. With my size, nobody believed that I actually made it . After this ride, many got inspired by me to cycle to lose weight and do charity at the same time.

3) Which countries have you been cycling in? Tell me one such incident.

 

Ivan: I have been to many countries to cycle. The most unforgettable is Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. During that trip, I had been road biking for barely half a year; hence I was considered a newbie. Due to my greenhorn knowledge on bike gear ratio and lack of energy supplement pills and food, I suffer the greatest defeat of my career: I failed to conquer Cameron Highlands on the first day. I had both my thighs cramped like a rock – they were totally stiff! But on the second day, I managed to completed and conquer it with the help of salt pills and gel given to me by some other participant of the trip. What was memorable was, I made it despite riding with a standard crank and 11-23t cassette .

 

4) Name the marathons and cycling competitions you’ve gone through, both locally and overseas.
Ivan: On 2014 I took part in the charity ride for KDF 1000km in 4 days . Also, I took part in the Perak Century Ride on 2015. My brother Allan aka Uncle Tamiya (Champion Elite Finisher of #Togo817) was so inspired, he joined me for my epic ride.
5) What were the challenges you needed to overcome during these competitions?

Ivan
: All I can say is, it’s all up in your head: mental preparedness.

 

6) What was your training regime and diet taken to improve your health/participate?


Ivan
: For training, I usually ride around Singapore from noon time till late afternoon. Even if it’s raining I will still ride; this is to condition myself for the unforeseen weather during the actual epic ride. As for diet, I try to eat more protein and vegetables . No alcohol or other junk food.
7) Can you tell me briefly about your participation in TogoX Series of Challenges (TOGO517, 817 etc):
a) How did you train for it? 

Ivan: Actually I didn’t train for it as I joined it just to encourage my friend to achieve his target – he had just started cycling.

Ivan is the winner of the Hour Record for #TOGO817.

 

b) Any diet considerations?

Ivan: Just eat healthily will do.


8) Normally, what is your training regime to retain fitness for cycling?

Ivan: I observe this mantra: cycle more and longer distance step by step. For example, 1st week 50km daily, 2nd week 75km daily and so on just to get your butt and body condition in shape.

9) Any advice you have for beginning cyclists/those looking to replicate your footsteps?

Ivan: Don’t surge while cycling in group; it’s very dangerous. One mistake and you will cause the whole peloton to go down with you . Ride within your own comfort zone; increase distance and pace at a slow and steady pace. Do not rush as you need to built up your core muscles and stamina first .

10) Anything else you’d like to mention before we close?

Ivan: Just ride safe and obey traffic rules; give way to other traffic users even if we get the right of way. Remember our loved ones are always waiting for us to be home. Stay safe and ride further.

 

As we closed, I sensed in Ivan the subtle frustrated expression of someone raring to go – back to the thing he loves most. I didn’t have to guess what it was. One thing that impressed me a great deal was the amount of passion Ivan puts into his rides: a drenched chicken tells it all!

Drenched from head to foot yet happy at conquering a force of Nature.

 

“Ivan: One significant incident was my completion of the KDF Millennium 1000km Ride without “going up the support vehicle”. With my size, nobody believed that I actually made it . After this ride, many got inspired by me to cycle to lose weight and do charity at the same time.”

 

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