To our surprise, the number of participants had shot up to about 2,700 riders on the day of the event! The participants came from all over the globe, including Malaysians, Singaporeans, Indonesians, Philippines, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and more. The participants included professionals such as Singapore National rider, seasoned riders and novice riders. The number of participants in the men open's category is more than 2,000, considering my number tag for the race is 1994 and Desmond 1995. To achieve top 25%, I needed to finish at least 500th position, that was my target.
While waiting at the start line, I was happy to see many familiar faces who use to ride at Bukit Timah trails in Singapore. My Pilipino friends, the RideBrothers and members of the Se7en group were there too. We were fortunate or unfortunate to queue in the middle of 2,700 riders. Those who managed to squeeze in the front line would have more competitive advantage than the rest. Imaging thousands of riders waiting to squeeze into the trails. We waited in the start line for more than half an hour before we were flagged off!
The flow was better after 2nd check-point as most of the weaker riders either left behind or gave up. After the 3rd check-point, I stopped sideway to spray muscular pain relief liquid on my thighs as I felt the cramp was coming. I also missed a turn and went the wrong way, which caused me substantial time. Towards finish line, the trails were like war zone. Riders lying on trails groaning in pain from leg cramp, others staggered and pushed the bikes.
This Jamboree was my first XC endurance ride. I was happy to finish 321 position out of over 2,000 riders in the men's open category. It represents top 16%, much better than my target of top 25%. I finished the 45km ride in about 2hrs and 50 minutes. The maximum speed recorded in my odometer was 44.4km/hr. I think it was the downhill ride after the 3rd check-point.
Abdillah (2nd from right) finished 174th position despite suffering from a flat tire. An awesome top 8.7%! He would have easily taken top 50th position if his tire did not fail him. My respect to Abdillah! Halil (left) finished almost similar as I at 330 position, very respectable consider he is 5 years wiser than me. Halil is a consistent and steady rider, I learned a lot from him about riding. Desmond (right) was suffering from toe injury before the race. He was the only rider on long travel bike. To make matter worse, he went one kilometre off course. Despite of all these, he persisted and finished top 20% at 400 position. He earned my respect. We celebrated the completion of Jamboree! The gold medals are made of plastic..it looks like genuine gold.
Three of us were looking for each other when we passed the finish line. It took us awhile to find each other as the venue was huge and congested. Glad to reunite...a shot for memory.
I was surprise to see many branded bikes broke down during the race: broken chain, flat tire, gear problem and jammed hubs. My proven workhorse was tested and never failed me during the endurance race. Trek fuel with Shimano XT components, Fox fork & shock, and Hope Pro hubs with Stans Arch rims. I made the right decision to get my bike done by my favorite mechanic Winson before the race.