Getting organised for a cycling event like this is always problematic. Having only just recovered from a bad cold for over a month and still being on antibiotics, left me feeling, not exactly 100%.
My wife and I drove down to Pattaya from Nonthaburi, taking the expressway. We arrived in Pattaya at around 8 pm. Tired after driving half of the way there. We stayed at my wife’s friend’s apartment, Lumpini Park Beach apartments, Pattaya.
The following day we were up at 5:30, left the apartment at 6am, arrived at the Siam Country Club at around 6:30.
First stop was the Shimano mechanic tent to get my bike’s gears finely tune and my tire pressure checked and then it was off to the starting point.
The cyclists were already gathering the serious ones I presumed were already at the front. Unknown to me at the time, there were 272 participants in this race, twenty-one of which were females.
The race started, we slowly set off, I tried to weave my way through the slower cyclists. Ahead of me, the fastest ones were already leaving most of us behind. My strategy was to attempt to keep my speed up, believing that the cyclists around me would motivate me.
We hadn’t even completed the first lap when around six cyclists had a collision behind me. How many cyclists involved I’d say about six. If nothing else, that gave me a slight advantage in time. Nobody seemed to pass me on that first lap. I was doing well, in one part I averaged 37km/h. For my first lap of 15km, I averaged a speed of 36.23 km/h and I was in 43rd place out of a field of 272 cyclists. I thought my first lap was impressive, by my standards, my first 15km was completed in 26 minutes and nine seconds.
Annie (my wife) was by the finishing line, watching to film me every time I cycled passed. The first time around, she totally missed me. I reckon I was cycling too fast (in my dreams). Semi pros, club cyclists, you name it; they were there.
There was a group of Norwegians cheering everyone on. It was quite funny seeing them there.
The second large group of cyclists passed me, I couldn’t keep up with them. They were simply too fast. Some of the other cyclists came up from behind so quickly, at one moment there was nobody there and then suddenly there was a group of eager cyclists coming through like an express train. I was doing about 34km/h at the time, God knows what speed they were cycling at.
By the third lap, my speed dropped, to an average low of 28.40 km/h. I knew at one point I was cycling at 19km/h, and I was tiring fast. Another group of cyclists passed me with ease, but then they all seemed to slow down when they hit the inclines. I seemed to shoot past them. Obviously, the mountain cycling in Loei the month before had done me good.
The downhill slants I didn’t do as well. I was too knackered to pedal hard. I tried not to conceive that it was my age, this race was the Masters’ race and everybody here was between 45 and 55.
On the last lap, I started to pass other cyclists that had either started too quickly or those that were a lap behind. My average speed had also increased to 30.75km/h, but now I was in 65th place out of 272 cyclists.
I knew I wasn’t one hundred per cent fit but felt somewhat better than I’d done the previous year when again, I was struggling with a cold.
I don’t know how many had crashed out, I presume quite a few.
We had photographs taken as I received my racing medal. Then we walked around the grounds to see what was going on.
The day had been a good one. I had achieved what I had set out to do, and that was completing the race in under two hours. Maybe next year ill do even better.