That phrase was running through my mind over 100 times yesterday (Aug 15th) as a group of 18 of us took on the AUDAX 300km brevet. After a while however I started to think of my own version of this quotation:
Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever, death is forever. – Jeff Paine
Wow what a day. As always it was great to ride with such a dedicated group of riders who were embarking on a 300+km ride into Malaysia from Singapore. AUDAX rides are always exciting and there are always interesting things that happen on these rides. Today was Dave Lundberg’s first venture into Malaysia and also Winston’s first 300k AUDAX ride. David Pan was also on the roster along with a number of AUDAX regulars.
It all started at 5am at the Longhouse eating house, the usual starting spot. After a quick ride brief and registration, we all set off on what was sure to be a fun day. The border crossing was fairly quick and in no time we were all in Johor Bahru where the real ride begins. This ride would take us to Kluang, Kota Tinggi, Kulai and then back to Singapore.
Winston and Dave – before the ride.
Back to the pain. I thought of amending Lance’s famous quote after I had hit my boundaries numerous times along various points in the ride. I was in complete pain all day long despite taking every conceivable form of energy possible. Clif bars, gels, Gu, peanuts coffee, prata, chips, copius amounts of 100 Plus, water, Clif Blocks, etc. Normally these things give me the necessary strength to carry out long rides. Today was a different story however. My thoughts of ‘sweating out’ the remnants of my cold were quickly dissolved after around 50km. Having done long rides before, I was carefully managing my eating and drinking very carefully to ensure that I had enough supplies to last for the entire ride. At kilometre 220 in Kota Tinggi, we stopped for roti prata to fuel us up for the last leg of the trip through Kulai. I had my regular order of prata, and had two gels to spare for the remaining kilometres. I thought I would be ok: one gel to get me to Kulai, one gel to get me over Kulai, then an easy coast home. Good idea, but not the way it turned out. I ended up eating both of my remaining gels just to get me to Kulai! Kulai is a hilly finish to many of the rides we do in Malaysia and typically a place where you need some energy to get you over the big rolling hills and the ‘3 witches’, three sharp hills. I was dead. At kilometre 240 I was suffering and Winston took a look at me and said ‘hey are you ok?’. I cannot even remember what my response was but the real answer was no. We finally made it to Kulai and I was pretty well out of food and water. Only 10 km to go until I could replenish so I grumpily pushed on.
The Roti Prata King in Kota Tinggi
We refueled at the final stop of the day and had only 50km to go to get back to our start point. Every AUDAX ride finishes where it begins which in some cases means you end up doing more than the official amount. Today’s 300km ride was actually 338km and it is amazing how hard those kilometres can be once you cross the official amount. Overall it was a great day. I learned a lot of things such as don’t ride when you are not feeling 100%. Thanks Gareth, Peter, Jeff and Bryan for dragging me home to Longhouse…without you guys I am sure I would be lying in some bush on the side of the road in Johor! 🙂