Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mountain bike racing in Cambodia

13 lived up to its name for me today...thanks 13

Today I took part in the fourth round of the Cambodian Mountain Bike Series. It turns out mountain biking is pretty big in Cambodia and one of the few sports that has organised, annual events. This morning most of the one hundred or so competitors met at Flying Bikes (a local bike shop that is also the importer of Cannondale and GT) at 5.45am to get trucked out to Phnom Bassac, about 30km northwest  of Phnom Penh.

I made friends with Pierre (the owner of Flying Bikes and organiser of the series) yesterday; he took me out to the track to have a look and I helped him set out the course a bit. So this morning, I was relieved that he offered my bike a spot on the special trailer instead of having it loaded onto a truck.

We were a bit late getting away, so we ended up arriving after the start time. This wasn't a problem, as everyone was in the same boat, so the start time was simply shifted back to 8.30. By this time, it was already very hot. I didn't really get a chance to warm up but I've never been that good at warming up anyway. That said, today it might not have been such a bad idea.

After the countdown, (prăm, buŏn, bei, pir, muŏy) we were off. I decided to try and keep up with the leaders. This soon proved difficult, but I thought I'd continue in that vein for a while. By the end of the first of four laps, I wasn't really with the leaders any more and I was stuffed. The course was only 3.5km long, but quite technical, with a good combination of flowy single-track, switch backs, loose rocky descents, loose rocky climbs and various other obstacles.

It was on one of these loose rocky descents not far into the second lap that I punctured. I put my spare tube in only to discover it was faulty. So that was my race over! I sat and watched the rest of the race and enjoyed the atmosphere.

I can't wait till the next race when no doubt I will again try to stay with the leaders, get stuffed but hopefully not puncture.
My ride on the VIP trailer

And cattle-class...

Keen racers waiting in Phnom Penh

I travelled in a bus while others weren't so lucky

The race village

Cutie selling drinks

1 comment:

  1. Nice work on getting out there Laurence! Better luck for the next one!