Early this morning, about 6,400 participants turned up at the Singapore Sports Hub for the second day of the OCBC Cycle 2016.
The proceedings kicked off with the 42km Sportive Ride flagging off at 5.15am, followed by the 23km Straits Times Ride at 7.00am.
Took part in the Sportive Ride
I took part in the Sportive Ride. The early flag off time meant that I had to literally drag myself out of bed this morning, to reach the Sports Hub in time for some coffee before the commencement of my ride.
I reached the Sports Hub in good time, at about 4am, and slowly cycled towards the starting pen. I managed to snag a good starting position towards the front of Wave B – this had been the third flag off after the elite cyclists and the hand cyclists and Wave A. I eventually started my ride at about 5.21am.
The starting line
As I had been in one of the earlier waves, I didn’t really have much issues with the waiting time delay. But pointed out Scott Griggs, 40, a Manager at a Tech company, “I felt that the wait at the starting line was really long; it took a while before I could start cycling, but then again with the number of people taking part in the event, I don’t know if they can actually do anything to fix it though.”
The first few kilometres passed by quite quickly. We cycled from the Sports Hub through the CBD en route to the West Coast Highway and VivoCity.
Route seemed to be crowded
Unfortunately the route had seemed to be a tad crowded at the beginning though, and I found myself having to weave my way past some other cyclists and occasionally having to slow down in order to avoid potential accidents from happening.
Added Justeen De Roche, 42, a housewife, “The crowd seemed to be quite mixed with some slow riders in front and the faster ones at the back; the seeding could have been done better. Perhaps they could place the returning riders according to their previous year’s timings; that may help.”
The views right from the beginning however, were quite scenic, taking riders past the Singapore Flyer and the Marina Bay Sands in the early stages of the ride.
Added De Roche, “The scenery was beautiful and I would have liked to stop, but I didn’t because I wanted a good timing.”
Concurred Griggs, “The route was well lit and I enjoyed the scenery a lot – especially the beginning when we had passed the Singapore Flyer.”
Shiok feeling to be riding on the highway
I must also admit that it was quite shiok to be cycling on the West Coast Highway without having to look out for cars at all – as such I found myself thoroughly enjoying the ride.
Added Gary Gan, 64, retired, “The race was great fun because we got to ride on the expressway and roads without cars, traffic lights and pedestrians. It was just pure, smooth riding.”
We had our first hydration station near VivoCity. As this was still early though, I didn’t need to stop to refuel myself.
Then the route took us back through the CBD and Marina Bay, en route to the East Coast Parkway and the scenic East Coast Park.
As we were cycling through the MCE, the wind was blowing inside the tunnel and I had felt really shiok. It was so cooling and breezy.
Along the route however, I realised that there had been quite a few sharp turns; I took these with caution whenever I had approached them, slowing down so that I would not end up crashing.
Concurred Stefan Seitz, 43, a Manager at Mercedes Benz, “We had some narrow roads and U-turns so we had to be careful when riding through all of these.”
Added De Roche, “There were good shoutouts for the corners ahead, which had been great.”
But Seitz begged to differ though. He said “The warning flags for the U-turns could have been better.”
Sheares Bridge climb
The Sheares Bridge climb on the way towards the East Coast Park had not been as bad, but on the way back, it became more challenging though – probably because I had been a tad more tired.
Added Gan, “Riding uphill Sheares Bridge was quite tough.”
Having been a part of the OCBC Cycle Volvo Familiarisation Drive earlier though, I had been expecting this section of the ride.
Hydration was good
The second and third hydration stations had been located at East Coast Park. As I was beginning to feel quite thirsty, I took a bottle of isotonic drink at the final hydration stop and rested for about five minutes to recharge my batteries – before the final onslaught back to the Sports Hub.
The isotonic drink had been relatively cold though, when I drank it, so that had been a really welcome relief for me in the humid Singapore weather.
I also stopped for a photo on the return leg after conquering Sheares Bridge… as my reward for successfully completing the uphill climb. It was also a good breather for me.
Seeing the Singapore Sports Hub
The best part of the ride though was in the final couple of kilometres when I saw the Singapore Sports Hub up ahead… and then we rode into the National Stadium… being welcomed to the loud and enthusiastic cheers from the volunteers who had been lining the track.
Though this was not my first time riding into the Stadium, it was nevertheless a nice feeling… and to some extent, reminded me of national athletes running into the stadium… and are being cheered on by their fellow countrymen.
After the ride, I took my finisher medal, as well as a bottle of water and isotonic drink, and spent some time catching my breath and soaking up the sheer majesty of the National Stadium… before heading outside to enjoy the post-event carnival.
Simple post-race carnival
At the carnival, this had been kept relatively simple, with free fruits for riders, photo booths – as well as cafe-style food and drinks for purchase via pushcarts.
I redeemed two Instagram printout photos for myself to bring home as souvenirs.
And there was a large inflatable bicycle on display here, which I had thought was a rather interesting sight.
A well organised event
Overall the OCBC Cycle 2016 had been a well organised event – and many of the riders in the Sportive Ride category also agreed.
Said Gan, “Everything was well organised and the communication from the event organisers was super, from registration all the way to event day.”
Added De Roche, “The ride was awesome and I loved it better than last year’s event. The organisation was done really well and it went by very smoothly.”
Thank you OCBC Cycle for the slot.