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Changi TTT 24/08/2008
Friday, August 29, 2008






The RideFromtheHeart crew took part in this race for the fun of it. Cheers guys.






Posted by Unknown at 2:26 AM

Whats happening to us?
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hey All!
Come down for our Post-Expedition Exhibition at Velocity Starting tomorrow till Sunday!
Also, do look out for Team Ride from the Heart during the TTT this weekend!
(",)


Posted by Unknown at 4:23 PM

Day 1 : Singapore - Phuket
Thursday, August 14, 2008

24th July 2008 - 1.15pm
Flight FD3225 Air Asia - Singapore to Phuket
Quote of the day:
Lester " Which airline did we fly ah?"


Posted by Unknown at 8:48 PM

Choices and Change
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

At the start of this journey, we made choices.

We chose:
to do what others called crazy, impossible, and many other things.
to cycle in places we'd never been before
to go where many would never tread
to persevere amidst the onslaught of the sun, wind and rain
to endure

at the end of our 16 days of living out of our backpacks, of doing laundry in hotel sinks, of the endless pedaling on not-so nice roads, and less than friendly motorists, and unwelcome road reflectors. readjusting to 'normal' life takes some getting used to.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the tother, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy ans wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost)


ride from the heart 2008 may have ended, but its not
THE END.

the journey has but only just begun.


Posted by Unknown at 10:20 PM

Tales from the unknown...


It's inevitable that a certain emptiness is felt upon the return from the expedition. As I woke up over the past few days and lay in bed, I realized that there would be:

no loading up to do,
no distances of unending hills and winds to conquer,
no laundry to wash and hope it dries on time,
no dodgy hotels to contend with,
no 11 other team members to ride with.

after two weeks, the cycling expedition that took us away from our comfort zones is well and truly over.

When friends and family ask me how the trip was, how everything worked out; even as I give them answers that the trip was fantastic, it was a great experience, I had a lot of fun, deep down, I know: there is no way to explain it.

How do you explain the days when the winds never ceased, when pushing down the pedal just one more time seemed more than you could take? How do explain the joy in sharing the pain of the trip together as a team? How do you explain the hospitality enjoyed and friendships made in Thailand?

How do you explain the organization, the planning and the riding of 1500km with a team that has given so much?

--------------------------------------------------------

This has been a long journey, and I think only the team well and truly understand what has happened over the course of the journey. Harsh words have been said, feelings have been hurt, uncertainties have been faced. Likewise, there has been happiness, surprise and above all, satisfaction.

Satisfaction that at the end of it all, we well and truly Rode from the Heart.

I know a place that we can go to
A place where no one knows you
They won't know who we are

I know a place that we can run to
And do those things we want to
They won't know who we are

Let me take you there
I wanna take you there

I know a place that we forgot
A place where we won't get caught in
They won't know who we are (they won't know, won't know)
I know a place where we can hide out
And turn our hearts inside out
They won't know who we are

Let me take you there
I wanna take you there
Let me take you there
Take you there
Take you there

I know a place we'll be together
And stay this young forever
They won't know who we are


Posted by Xihao at 5:22 PM

that which has a beginning has an end
Monday, August 11, 2008

and so it came to pass that we rode into Velocity mall to a nice fanfare and banners and a buffet and a bit of embarrassment at the fanfare we were given. honestly, its not that big a deal, but it was nice that people thought it was.

i have often thought about this ending, both before and during the trip itself. invariably, endings come with their own challenges. when you are so caught up with what you are doing and it suddenly ends, a sense of emptiness can envelope your being. this is only natural i guess and it too, shall come to pass. so where do we go from here then? back to our lives in sunny singapore? our little, painful, dead existences?

until the next big adventure, until the next great happening, the next fantastic event. i wonder if this is what drives us to endure the monotony; likewise, if life was all explosive, wouldn't we be overwhelmed by it all? better the monotony, if at least to make us appreciate the moments that do matter, that make us feel alive.

like the fire in our lungs when we ascend the steepest hills
like the fire in our legs and on our heads when battling the head winds
like pushing each other on the bike for fun
like hunting desperately for massage parlours at the end of the day
like gorging ourselves on whatever we could eat
like laughing at and with the Olympian, and Benny and the Mekong Man and Mr Ler
like the limestone hills and valleys of Krabi
like Patong hill
like Lester's corny wisecracks
like Ben's deadpan enthusiasm
like Chi Hao's complaints
like Jinx being there
like Xihao setting reville timing
like James' smile
like Dennis' jokes
like Tim's accelerations
Jianbin's stability
and Cassandra's crashes

Chi Hao mentioned that the eyes are the best camera in the world but the brain is the worst film. (at Lover's Pier in Morib) and even now the memories begin to fade and become hard to piece back together. did this really happen after all? sometimes, after i rode back home, i still wonder if it was all just a dream. i don't feel any much different at all. i've seen some new places on a bike and i've learnt some lessons... but in the end, the question is "Now what?" what could be bigger than this? what could be crazier? and the answer is : a lot of things.

we're just getting started, aren't we?



Posted by Unknown at 10:26 PM

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

sometimes in the peloton, the routine gets to you. riding in one bunch, your view of the world is basically confined to the butt in front of you. its constrictive and when the roads become bumpy and pot hole ridden, also a little dangerous.

the peloton moves like a catepillar, it stretches and folds. With every obstacle it contracts before the front accelerates off again and the back has to play catch up. you surge, then brake, surge then brake again like a broken accordion. much of it has to do with our lack of skill as a group; not everyone is comfortable going over narrow, pot holed roads at speeds higher than 30 kph when we are riding mere centimeters from each other's back wheels. and so we sigh and moan and gripe, some silently, others a little more outspoken.

it is then that the wheels started whispering to me. with every slow torturous spin they mocked the speed i was going at. Break away , they said. break away, and we will give you the strength.

i had thought myself a reasonable person. it is unwise to break away in foreign lands, away from the safety of the group anything could happen and it would be a long way off for the safety vehicle to catch up (seeing as it would be following behind the main pack). we had talks about this before the trip, no breaking away. it was, is, a rule. how Singaporean of us, our love of safety, our fear of the unknown.

i rode to the front of the group. we need to go faster, the back is bunching up over the potholes, which is dangerous. but hey, the front can't go faster cos its a dangerous area as well, with heavy vehicles moving about. i return to the back, frustrated and the wheels are whispering more insistently now : go at a crazy pace. go where nobody will dare to follow.

and then, as if in a final act of will, the road opened up into a climb. we were moving into the hilly regions surrounding Port Dickson to Meleka. and so i went, wheels giggling with delight with every surge of the pedal. usually i burn on climbs, like breathing liquid fire, but the wheels fulfilled their promise. this time, i felt nothing but their joyous exultation. yes! yes!

a gap opened. first 20 metres, then 50, then 200, and then i was away, over the hills and plunging down into a corner at 50 kph in the descent. the scenery was glorious, rows of pineapples spread out and basking in the morning sun, the cool morning air caressing my chin, the insistent hum of the rear wheel hub, the gentle sigh of the bike as it surged through the corners.

i looked back only once. i saw someone trying vainly to catch up, the rest spread over the dwindling horizon like so many grains of sand. and then the wind gently, softly blew them away as well as another climb presented itself. it was into this gentle rhythm that i settled, free from the constriction. free from the cares and the worries of the world. The wheels, they spoke to my soul.

how can i possibly convey to you the moment? imagine you were a bird in a cage set free. but that would be too literal. imagine you were drinking sun light. but that's too abstract. maybe the best way would be to imagine yourself giving a part of yourself away. like letting loose totally. like a bit of a deep breath that you held in for the longest time and then now you can finally let go.

like floating in a swimming pool on a hot summer's day. like watching a bird sing, or a cat stretch. its a subtle, multifaceted thing. its just you being yourself.

its just you being free.


PS. I was screwed later. but i have this memory forever.


Posted by Unknown at 10:32 PM



the winds the past few days have been unforgiving.
every pedal stroke we push is the accumulation of the past 2 weeks of riding, and none of us are as fresh or as strong as we were at the start and the the fatigue starts to bite.

and yet the thought of home, the thought of clean, warm beds after 2 weeks of sometimes extremely dodgy hotels pushes the worst of us ahead.

just as the hill up ahead seems abit too steep, a hand comes along to push us up the hill.
just as the winds appear too strong, someone comes in to block it off.

that's what it's all about.

allez team, allez.


Posted by Xihao at 6:23 PM

icarus
Saturday, August 2, 2008

maybe because we are more than halfway there, that my thoughts begin to shift towards the homecoming rather than the day to day struggle of our existence.

i suppose it will be nice, in the way that birthdays and other such events are nice but the next day things will be the same again and we will have returned to our same existence. we broke away, and we flew, but... will we be pulled back yet again?

here is a story: 13 people met and decided to go on a bicycle ride for charity. along the way they met many obstacles and they overcame some of them (with some yet to come). they were, are, weary but yet they push on. they inspire youths, the money they raise go to charity. everyone is happy.

that's a story but i wonder if that is real, in the same way that our breakaway so far is real.

heres another story: 13 people met and decided to go on a bicycle ride for charity. along the way, they were tired, they got pissed and irritated at each other. they wanted to just throw their bicycles away and go home, their minds numbed by the hopeless roads and the unyielding winds.

and another: 13 people met. or actually, they got together because someone called someone who called someone. some people have a pure love for charity, some have a pure love for cycling. some have a pure love for suffering. they decide to fuse everything and chaos happens.

is our break away real or will things go back to what they were before we jumped away?

i suppose that is the real question isn't it? not whether we can achieve this ( its not that big a deal anyway) but what happens next. we flew towards the sun, and like icarus our wings are melting and everyone is wondering if we can save ourselves from ourselves. from our existence.

the greatest fear is that we would have been unchanged by this. now that would be the greatest pity, because it was supposed to have been life changing, right?? or is it just good enough to have lived through it and tell many stories, like the few i've been telling so far. do you think its enough?

or not really think about what we have done and what this means for us in the future. that would also be a pity. and its not cos we don't think or are unable to think, but i kinda believe that its the fear of living your life always breaking away, never looking back. people like to be comfortable. hell, i like to be comfortable. im afraid i will be ok with being comfortable. i am afraid i will not have the strength to break away.

but then again, that is another story and ours has yet to end.

till then.


Posted by Unknown at 5:59 PM



Yesterday was the most mentally fatiguing day of the ride by far. We rode from Taiping to Teluk Intan, and the day started out fine and promising, but as it wore on, I started to really suffer. I don't know if it was because of the lack of food (I ate three mouthfuls of some greasy plate of shit for lunch because the kitchen of the place was home to the world's biggest collection of flies, effectively killing my appetite) or the searing heat which permeated every pore in our bodies. The road was never-ending, my limbs were on fire, my lungs were burning, my ass was smarting, I was riding with my senses blurred by exhaustion and depression.

The support vehicle was tempting me to stop and climb on. But pain only climbs off if you do, and then you're beaten. I told myself, just 10 more km, and I'll stop. 10km came and went, and then another 10km, and then another. I wanted to stop so badly, but I also wanted to complete the damned thing. I told myself, I am strong, I can conquer this, even while I looked at the butt in front of me and felt like vomitting. (Must be the damned flies!) I've never felt as weak and demoralised as yesterday in a long time. The only thing I was certain of as I willed my legs to keep pedalling was that the only way to overcome was to hang on. I've never been happier to finish a stage, and to stumble from my bike, half-dead and collapse onto the (quite smelly) sofa.

I'm reminded of a certain quote by Dean Karnazes:

“If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not constantly demanding more from yourself – expanding and learning as you go – you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.”

It would've been so easy to stop, but I'm glad I didn't. I know everyone was suffering just as badly yesterday (except perhaps Tim Lim the monster), and I look back and really, I'm very proud of how far some of us have come, especially Chi Hao (his crazed one-minute of fame at the front! wahahah) and Ellery, who is stronger than I could've ever imagined. And Ben, who was unwell, but who kept going too. The worst is over, 6 more days left.

Thank you Dev for your words of inspiration. :) and Scott, for your daily encouraging messages that keep me going. Miss you all.

Cassandra


Posted by Unknown at 5:30 PM

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hi I'm now in an Internet cafe with Tim Tay next to me digging his nose furiously. We're now in Taiping. The air in Malaysia is fantastic - we all ended the rides with black faces and nostrils clogged with dirt. Woohoo!

Nothing much to say except that I didn't crash today, so that's a cause for celebration. Mark it down in your diaries, folks, I didn't crash today. I guess I take many things for granted, my life included, and I know I will not be so lucky every time I fall into the middle of the road. Can't type much with Tim Tay's eyes boring holes into the back of my skull, making me feel very uncomfortable, so I guess this pointless entry shall end here. WHAHAHA!!!

Counting down to next Friday.

Cassandra


Posted by Unknown at 8:42 PM

a story
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

im sitting at a starbucks in langkawi writing this. we are waiting for the ferry to transport us to penang and another beginning. our thai friends have been most warm and helpful and when the pictures are up, you would be able to see a little of what we have been blessed with seeing over the past few days. the scenery is quite inspiring, the limestone formations make you feel a lot smaller and less important.

it is hard, once an event is over (even if it is but a part of a larger event and we have broken it down into two separate countries) to accurately remember what actually happened. i remember it was long and hot, especially these last two days, as we covered 150km from krabi to trang and 157km from trang to satun. some parts were more memorable because of the scenery, sure, but mostly, what i remember is the heat and 13 people cycling in unison, legs pumping up and down as we break away from our lives.

i remember the seemingly long pulls at the front into the headwinds and up the slopes, breath coming in shortened gasps and our legs bathed in liquid fire. most searing of all would probably be our butts. our thin flesh stretched and abraded, sores bursting open as we shift in our saddles for a few seconds of comfort. some of us were pedalling on one butt cheek for some time. but still onward, onward we went. why? i have no idea. maybe its because everyone else was going forwards as well. maybe its because we are afraid to be left behind.


the days are beginning to blur into one another. after cycling, there is the wash up and dinner and then preperation for the next day. it becomes routine, our nomadic lifestyle, our leaving behind, our breaking away. in some ways its refreshing, every day is different, new, exciting. in some ways it is terrible, each day with its own stresses and rushing.

9 more stages. we have ridden 640km in total so far in thailand and we are still feeling good.

allez.


Posted by Unknown at 1:23 PM

Monday, July 28, 2008

cassandra wanted to murder ellery today
she ran his face over with her front wheel
as he lay helplessly on the floor
......
after 2 crashes
luckily everyone walked away in one piece
....
well, not really
considering we did a back breaking leg today
it was a measly 150.07km
which was preceded by a simple 126km
and tomorrow
is a deceptively simple 165km
with that
cassandra firmly has a hold on the Red Jersey ("Most Dangerous Rider")
most number of points for her
and chi-hao's innate ability to increase the force of gravity on himself
has earned him the rightful honor
of the Blue Jersey ("Descending Champion")
in other news
our gracious thai friends have posted us on local forums
it was our visit to a school in phang nga
where we shared our purpose and experiences
with our friends interpreting of course
more pictures when we have time in the future
internet here is few and far between
and the way is far with few chances to rest.


Posted by Unknown at 9:18 PM

Saturday, July 26, 2008

our newfound friends from the thai cycling club
who graciously offered to lead the way
for the entire thai leg of this journey
they are all a bunch of passionate old men
most of them are above 50 years old
with plenty of outstanding achievements under their belt
there's this 70 year old guy
who represented thailand for cycling
in the 1964 olympic games
there also this asian games swimming silver medalist
they totally kick the butts of any singaporean
let alone inexperienced young punks like ourselves
i feel we have plenty to learn from these learned old men
and what drives them to at a whim
come out and cycle with a bunch of kids from singapore
thats real passion right there.






Posted by Unknown at 7:37 PM

Greetings!


Hi all,

I think Ben is putting up a proper posts with pictures, though I don't know how successful it will be, because our bandwidth...well, we've been spoilt by broadband in Singapore, that's what I can say..haha

ANYWAYS, we are having a blast, eating and riding our way around..we conquered the famous Patong Hills THREE times..visited a school where we gave out the bears and hung out with the kids..

ok, I'm not going to take up additional bandwidth. Look at Ben's posts for more interesting stuff!


Posted by Xihao at 7:34 PM

ready to take flight.


finally,
the time has come for the bunch of 13
to embark on their epic adventure
due to training times and other commitments
this is the first photo we have ever taken
with the entire team
we've train with each other
and now
finally
everyone is in one place
everyone is prepped to fly
everyone is ready to ride from the heart.



Posted by Unknown at 7:16 PM

Pre-Departure Thoughts..
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Less than 24hours out from our flight (FD3525, Departure T1 1315H) to Phuket before I begin arguably the biggest adventure of my life so far, I daresay my feelings are one of nervous anticipation.

We've trained hard, we've prepared well; we're armed with the knowledge that every pedal stroke we push, every km we cover, has a purpose and a meaning behind it. Apart from the personal desire to seek and push our individual limits, we hope that this little project which we've initiated helps the kids from the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. It may not be much, but I think every little bit counts.

We also certainly hope that this project which we've started from scratch, inspires youths to really step out of their comfort zones and look beyond. It's not easy, but it's definitely worth all the trouble.

Before I round off, I'd really just like to thank all our sponsors and supporters who've kindly helped us in the various ways in the lead up to the expedition. Without them, this would've been a lot harder than it is.

Also, our family, friends and loved ones who've put up with our insane hours and demands at times, the sacrifices which they have made to aid us in making this extremely possible.
Thank you.

This sounds like a after-journey post, but believe me, the Ride has just begun! Stay tuned to the blog for updates on our progress, we may not be able to do it everyday as some parts of our expedition may not be well connected to the net, but we'll do our best!


Posted by Xihao at 5:36 PM

Monday, July 21, 2008

two days of learning first aid later
most of us are now ready to take on the challenges
and are now prepared for the worst case scenarios
we were at the singapore first aid training centre
the instructors were hilarious and we all learnt a lot
now its 3 days away from the trip
and we're all in our final stages of preparation
photo of our learning here



Posted by Unknown at 4:31 PM

Just round the corner...
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I apologise for the long hiatus! We haven't been posting on the blog but here is an entry! As our internships are ending or have just ended, all of us have been busy preparing and training for the big day next Thursday! - Do send us off if you are free :)

We are flying up to Phuket next week...yes..NEXT WEEK.

The excitment that comes with being so close to the date.

The anxiety that appears with embarking on something you have never done before.

Only one word can describe it. But I can't think of that word right now so you have to be kept in suspense a little longer!

Look out for updates on our return on 8th August and of course our daily updates when we are out there pedalling our hearts out!

Ride from the Heart: Coming to a town near you (especially if you are living in Thailand or the West Coast of Malaysia!)

-jinsheng


Posted by Unknown at 11:32 AM

Road to Roubaix
Thursday, July 3, 2008

ok this isn't exactly something that pertains to our training matters or whatever per se but i happened to come across this nice cycling movie called Road to Roubaix. The cinematography (from the trailer) is awe inspiring and well, it has our present day cycling heroes like Boonen, O Grady, Cancellara etc and it tracks them on the 2007 Roubaix.

For the uninitiated, Paris-Roubaix is a single day Classic and its called the Queen of the Classics cos its the hardest of them all, 160 miles over cobblestones in either hot and dusty weather or wet and trecherous, take your pick. its epic, and it captures our imaginations as a good race should. in it, our fears and hopes and dreams are played out by our heroes. check out the website with the accompanying trailer here:

http://www.masterlinkfilms.com/

I was very tempted to order the dvd online but after shipping and converting to SGD, its 49.25!

i can't find the torrent online either (hehe)

so until then, watch the trailer and catch a bit of the magic


Posted by Unknown at 6:37 PM

a "wish you were here".
Saturday, June 28, 2008

this is for you jinx.
a postcard
a get-well-soon

as part of our trip preparation
team rfth day tripped to desaru
for some hot sun
and strong winds
the conditions today in desaru
were by far the best simulation of the kind of things we can expect in thailand
today saw the rfth crew complete the desaru leg in record time
no small part because of the efforts of chi-hao
really super proud of you
you have really come a long way so far
when i think back about the training camp
you have really improved by leaps and bounds
it has been painful
it has been bloody insane at times
when i look back and see the expression on your face
i know you are suffering
but you just keep going
to me
that sight of you
when ur whole body is red
and your eyes become puffy
and i can literally see u dehydrating in front of me
when the perspiration drips
untill your entire body has a white glaze because of the salt you lost
i think it is truly the hallmark of dedication
to do something that hurts
frankly you are the real winner here today
no one suffered as much
and the ride down from thailand
will no longer be about who is the fastest
but it is about who can take the most pain
and just keep going.

allez chi-hao, allez.


Posted by Unknown at 8:34 PM

and so it is.
Friday, June 27, 2008

now that things have settled down, I can well and truly pen my thoughts on the accident. I cannot relate what exactly happened (my version) during the accident as it is still undergoing investigation, but maybe I can shed some light on why I do what I do.

This is my second close brush with an accident in less than a year, my second witnessing of someone whom I care for getting hit by a vehicle. Both times it could well easily have been me lying by the road.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared.

Immediately post accident, I always struggle to reconcile with the realities of the sport that we love. Until the day you've been involved in a crash, it always seems as though we're living on borrowed time. Well and true, we love and enjoy what we're doing, but I ask myself if we've really thought for the people who care for us, people such as our parents and loved ones. Is it fair for them, if one day, something bad really happens?

Where lies the line between living for yourself and living for others?

Accident, as defined by Cambridge Dictionary means "something which happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, and which often damages something or injures someone." Yet even in accidents, there will always be someone at fault in causing the accident.

My answer, to the question of living for yourself or for others is this.
First you have to answer to yourself why you do the thing you do. Only then can you think about convincing the ones you love, the justification for the sport you pick up. Accidents will happen, but it is well and truly up to us to minimize the the possibilities of causing it. Then decide, if you'd rather live for yourself or for the someone whom you love and care for.

But once the decision has been made, you don't look back. That's the only way you avoid regrets. In a way, decision making has the hallmarks of riding a bike. You can't stare back too long when you're riding, you can only glance back, or you'd crash. The best way to ride is to stare straight ahead and pedal the hell away.

I will never truly escape the fear of a major accident; but it is that same fear that keeps me on the tip of my toes, checking, riding, making sure all bases are covered.

At the same time, the exhilaration, the freedom of being on the bike. Absolutely priceless.
There aren't many things in the world that I'd trade it for.


Posted by Xihao at 9:33 AM

Ours is not to question why


well, what can i say? sometimes in life, good things happen. other times, not so good things happen. its hard (for me) to know exactly what happened because i wasn't there but the short of it was that one of our team mates, Jinx, was hit by a motorbike at a junction as he was riding home.

how the guy could miss seeing him, with his blinkers on, and see xihao, who had no lights on at all, is still a mystery and the irritating part was that the guy was apparently unrepentant (and unhurt as well i might add). so poor Jinx, who had already sustained a torn meniscus, now has a fracture on the same leg.

at the risk of sounding morbid, sometimes it does seem to me that we are merely waiting for our time to come on the bike. i mean, sooner or later everyone crashes, its just a matter of how bad and whether you live to talk about it. this isnt defeatist thought, it is merely reality; if you don't want to crash, then don't ride because at its root, cycling is an unforgiving sport. unforgiving to mistakes made, whether by you or by others.

i remember that very night, chi hao was asking me (after i very nearly crashed myself) if we would "confirm crash" during the trip itself and my reply was very simply "it depends". it could happen to anyone, from the rank amateur to the very best professionals. nobody is immune from the hands of fate.

i suppose another question that could be asked is "Why?". why Jinx? why me (if and when you crash)? why ride a bicycle in the name of a charity that a few months ago you never even heard of? how far does the love of riding (or the love of pushing your limits) go?

i guess if you ride a bike; for me at least, you could come to two conclusions. One is to be stoic, you know, ce la vie, that's life, lets go. The other is to ride with fear in your heart and that is a shame because you should never do something you love with fear inside you. Maybe the question could be phrased another way. Why not? Why can't I? personally, i would rather die and live a fuller life than one that is half lived in fear. people were meant to fly on the bicycle, fly away, break away from life.

i think there might also be a third option, which is not to think so much and just get down and do it. this is of course the best option (but one that i struggle with, unfortunately) because you lessen the existential angst. i hope as i get older, i get dumber, because i sure would be a lot happier =)

This kinda brings to mind one of my favourite poems (i promise my next few posts will not be so boring), which is the Charge of The Light Brigade, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It really captures the essence of just getting down and Doing It. I hope you will be as inspired as i was when i read it last.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
half a league onward.
All in the valley of Death
Rode the Six Hundred
"Forward! The Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!" he said
Into the valley of Death
Rode the Six Hundred

"Forward! The Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred

Cannon to right of them
Cannon to left of them
Cannon in front of them
Storm'd at with shot and shell
Boldly they rode and well
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred

Flash'd all their sabres bare
Flash'd as they turn'd in air
Sabring the gunners there
Charging and army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shattered and Sundered
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred

Cannon to right of them
Cannon to left of them
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well,
Came through the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell
All that was left of them
Left of six hundred

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble Six Hundred!



This is why we ride.


Posted by Unknown at 5:02 AM

Thursday, June 19, 2008

its that time again. the time where you start to feel human once again. after cycling approx 3 to 6 hours a day 5 days a week, my body, not used to the constant struggle, has begun to rebel. my right knee hurts when i jump out of the saddle or mash down on gears. there is a spot in the middle of my back that hurts whenever i bend over the handlebars and when i raise my arm in the mornings. i have 2 saddle sores in sensitive areas.

luckily i havent crashed, or i would have more to worry about then just niggling injuries. we must count our blessings after all. even if day after day i wake up and feel as if im back in the army, back in the jungles again. that familiar sensation of weakness and disorientation that strikes you when you become conscious.

strangely, once you get on the bike, once those skinny birdlike legs begin to spin, the weakness melts away and we are strong again. the pain flares and then numbs and goes away, replaced by other sensations. the vague fear of hitting a pothole when drafting behind someone. the screaming exultation of a blistering attack. the tunnel vision when chasing, your heart rate soaring towards 200. breathe, my friend, breathe.

i am starting to understand why pro cyclists dope. which idiot wouldnt? the level of recovery and performance that is demanded of them day after day is simply inhuman. i mean, im just an ordinary recreational rider and after just one week of higher intensity training i can feel the matches burning out one by one.

it is intoxicating. you feel good, you think you have good legs and so you push and push harder. but cycling is a cruel sport; one moment you are flying in the clouds, the next ... gone, thrown out the back of the train like a piece of trash.

again, we are forced to red line ourselves, to go as close to disaster and blowing up than what is sane. only then will we know our limits and how far we can go. im sure that none of us truly realises our potential just yet; that is both exciting and scary at once.

and while we dance on our pedals, dance with disaster, flirt with speed and wink at reason, we find out a little more about our strength and our weaknesses. in return for knowledge, in return for peace of mind, we sacrifice our bodies. a worthy transaction. (?)

allez. allez!


Posted by Unknown at 8:31 PM

At long last..
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Ride from the Heart Crew

So after 3 days of checking Ride from the Heart's blog to see who the winner of the King of the Hills competition is from Saturday's Training, you will finally get the answer...

After 135km of roads, including 4 loops of Mandai, 1 loop of NUS, 1 loop of Telok Blangah Hill and 1 loop of Faber, one small shadow emerged as the winner:

Tim "The Attacking Machine" Tay

Tim and his attacking machine
Wheels Made for Attacking

Helmet made for attacking

as you can see, most of Tim's equipment are all made for attacking..so yeah..you get the point..

Anyway, last weekend's training was great as the Ride from the Heart Crew managed to squeeze in about 200+km in 2 days of riding. As we move into the final stages of preperation for our trip, everybody is working overtime to make sure that everything runs smoothly! Training is now in overdrive so rest well yeah people!

Train hard and Rest well guys!

-jinsheng



Posted by Unknown at 8:49 PM

the curious incident that is riding


while i am hardly qualified to really talk about riding, having only ridden for less than a year, after getting on the bike and seriously going into training, i guess i'm beginning to find a certain curious pleasure in the act of riding.

the act of riding is like a roller coaster. some times your legs are good and the pedals are light as a feather and you go, the wind rushing into your face, into the space between your ears and your sideburns, whistling its sad tune.

other times your legs are heavy, your lungs burn, everywhere hurts; your fingers, your back, your nose even. for me, the suffering somehow always outweighs the pleasurable moments. i am still waiting for the day when the good times outweigh the bad times but somehow i also think that that day will probably never come. and so it shouldn't, because if there was no suffering, then there likewise is no meaning in riding a bicycle.

i mean, sure, you can ride nicely and slowly and leisurely and enjoy that too. but think back to all the times when you felt like a demigod on the bike. and invariably, it will be the times that you were gasping like a fish out of water, the searing accelerations putting an equivalent inferno into your thighs; the curses you scream at the others in front.

take climbing on a bike for example. i cannot think of another aspect of the sport that is as painful. if you do not hurt on a climb, then you are probably on flat ground but you just don't know it. there is only one way, revel in the pain. what else can you do?

marco pantani, one of the best climbers in the world in his heydey (before his death from cocaine overdose) was once asked why he climbed so fast. he was known to attack at the base of climbs, where others were just getting warmed up. his reply: so the pain will end faster.

we look for pain but when it comes we want it to end fast, so we ride faster. i wonder, sometimes, if we are schizophrenics at heart.

maybe we ride because riding is like life itself. maybe we ride because we seek perfection. the ups and downs in a ride are like the ups and downs in a life. you hang on and cling to a person's wheel when the going gets tough. and sometimes, during a ride, for just a second, or a millisecond, you pedal the perfect stroke. it feels totally natural and effortless. or you fly up a climb, the bike gently but powerfully rocking underneath you, the distant, insistent humming of the chain in contrast with the silent, hollow space you left behind in your wake. perfect.

and so we try, again and again, for those tiny moments of perfection. sometimes they come after 100 miles, sometimes after 1000. they are there, teasing, watching us, sometimes even taunting us for we must invariably suffer before we can touch them ever so briefly.

and that is why we ride, ever so softly, ever so despairingly, ever so persistently, ever so ...

human.


Posted by Unknown at 1:12 AM

Go the Distance
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Having not cycled for a week, coupled with the "Series of Unfortunate Events", our very fruitful meeting with YY yesterday, and the recce team briefing, I've had the privilege to reflect on our goals, and objectives of why we're doing this.

Thinking about the training ahead, and the daily distance we will be covering on the first week of the ride. It's definitely daunting when you haven't been riding for a week. This may sound uber cliche, but it really reminded me of the Michael Bolton song "Go the Distance" from Hercules.

I'll be there someday
I can go the distance
I will find my way
If I can be strong
I know ev'ry mile
Will be worth my while
When I go the distance
I'll be right where I belong

We started out this expedition with many diverse objectives, but the underlying pull factor for all of us was our desire to impact lives and give back to society. This expedition is not just about raising money. At first it was very hard for me to see how we could credibly and tangibly say that we could impact lives by inspiring others as we had nothing concrete to show for this aspect. Now that we've received more support from our partners, it doesn't look as daunting as before.

We started a journey that looked impossible. Many times I've asked myself if the sacrifice of sleep, time and everything else we've had to forgo to make this happen, is actually what I want to be doing.

Just like the kids who need your financial support, and the kids we want to inspire to start organizing their own initiatives to give back to society, the road ahead is not and will not be a smooth one. But does it mean you give up ? No. You push on and you fight harder to make sure you complete the journey.

Despite all these difficulties, we will be going the distance, all 1000 miles of it. And there is no better time to do it but now.



Posted by Unknown at 10:22 AM

And the Jersey goes to...
Saturday, June 14, 2008

Okay...so we did not go to Desaru today to train..BIG DEAL...it was much more fun doing the roads of Singapore..all 135 KM of it..and to top it all up...we had our own King of the Hill competition!

Interested to find out who won? Stick around for our next post... :)

-jinsheng


Posted by Unknown at 3:19 PM

nicoll highway
Friday, June 13, 2008

2 flats on 2 consecutive trainings, another ruined by the rain. someones trying to tell me something..

anyway nicoll highway,

I'll be back ...

taran
(unrecognizablegirl86)


Posted by Unknown at 10:46 AM

wet wet wet.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

when you put a team of riders all looking forward to ride and train and then it rains, you get a bunch of very grumpy riders.


Posted by Xihao at 12:06 AM

About Us
1500km . 13 riders . 14 days . ONE dream

Ride From The Heart is a charity expedition in aid of the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. We will be cycling a total distance of 1500km from Phuket to Singapore in July 2008.

100% of ALL proceeds/donations/pledges will go straight towards the STPMF.

Countdown!


Upcoming Events

Photo Exhibition @ Velocity
Date : 22-24 August 2008


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ridefromtheheart@gmail.com