Exclusive Italian Job at Kuching Colnago Ride 2015
A ’boutique ride’ of sorts, the Kuching Colnago Ride 2015 is exclusive to Colnago bicycle owners only. Registration was capped at 140 owners whom came from Singapore, Indonesia and some from West Malaysia too. The participants were excited to find the goodie bag laden with a Colnago cap and water bottle, Power gel and a towel from Power bar and an elegant medal for that extra exclusive touch. I was invited to ride on behalf of Baikbike who was the Official Online Media Partner for this exclusive event.
As the cyclists signed in, rows and rows of Colnago bikes lined the corridor making it the most expensive parking lot I’ve ever seen in Kuching city. I spotted a classic blue steel Colnago and some hand-painted air-brushed ones which were such an art-piece amidst a sea of modern ones like the C59, C60, VR-1 and ACR models.
Since this was an exclusive Colnago only ride, I had to leave my beloved Pinarello behind. However, I was privileged to be riding a loaned C60 which runs on Di2 Dura Ace, and full carbon Xentis wheels which rode like a dream from Rodalink’s very own owner, Alex Kho! This was my first experience using Di2 electronic shifters and it seems to be the ultimate solution to my problem of having small hands. The gears shifted ever so swiftly and accurately just from a single touch instead of pushing the manual shifters which sets my bike swaying when I’m tired on a long ride.
The final weight of the bike was light, coupled with carbon wheels and I was easily coasting at speeds of 32-35km/h with the slightest effort. The C60 frame was indeed built to the efficiency, reducing rider fatigue with no sacrifice in strength or reliability. Oh boy, I was poisoned, hook, line and sinker!
I was extremely honored as this is the only bike he owns which is not up for sale. Seasoned cyclists would know that the setup of this complete Colnago bike would cost in excess of most sedan cars. I would have to leave some form of collateral to take this bike home today, a few pints of blood and some organs maybe? Just kidding.
Everyone was awaiting the start of the ride at Rodalink with great enthusiasm as many ‘compulsory’ selfies were taken and morning greetings were exchanged. I recognised some whom had participated in PCC’s Interstate last year too, namely Ping and Hui who formed my ‘Ice Cream Club’ at Petronas on the last day. It was good to see many lady cyclists at the start too.
The route started in the outskirts of Kuching city through Serian and Siburan before meandering through the country-side aka kampung roads for a loop back via Kota Samarahan. I’ve never cycled on more beautifully surfaced roads which rarely had any potholes, with the exception of the village road that they were building or repairing.
There were a few marshalls on motorcycles accompanying the ride whom did a great job of distancing the pelotons, keeping the cyclists within one lane and managing lane mergers too. Had a chat with one marshall and realised they too were cyclists, how about that?
Since we were stuck behind the Lead Car for the first 30km, there was ample time to chat with new found friends along the way. A fellow cyclist, Tan had only taken up cycling 2 months ago, yet he has already cycled a 169km route. Impressive indeed, today’s ride must feel like a ‘warmup’ exercise to him.
Family who rides together, stays together
A young lass, 12 years of age whom had picked up cycling with her dad only three months ago, was managing well on the ride albeit a bit wobbly. Her father and his friends took turns to fall back to her rescue when required. Ah, the advantages of being a damsel in distress. She must be quite the envy riding a matt coloured ACR.
Riding up front was another young lass, 18 year old Sarawak state rider Miza Azman whom was riding with her team Viking led by 50 year old Ironman Zainal Arifin affectionately known as ‘Uncle’.
Amazingly, the weather was perfect with cool blowing breeze even at 9.30am, the heavy rain the day before must have attributed to this, plus some brilliantly blue skies. Finally, we were ‘released’ into the country-side roads where we rode through undulating roads alongside village kids waving gaily at us.
Church bells aringing
There were many churches along the way, mass had already begun and I could hear singing going on too. I was tempted to stop to take a photo, it would look odd for a person dressed in lycra, helmet and shades to pop in, wouldn’t it? I definitely would be turning heads.
We were scheduled to stop for a group photo at KM55 and it turned out to be the unlikeliest of places, right in the middle of a palm oil estate at a bend. Quickly, I replenished the bananas in my jersey pocket,’stole’ water off a support driver (my bad) which turned out to be a life-saving move. When we approached rough terrain before crossing a wooden bridge, I happily dismounted and walked this stretch, afraid of falling over and damaging the precious bike.
Apparently, everyone was enjoying the ride too much to stop for any refuelling points and by KM80, we were all running dry. The head winds picked up the moment we hit the main city streets and I quickly tucked myself behind an Indonesian rider on a CLX. That was my one and only strategy for getting to the end while saving energy and precious water.
Illy coffee on the house!
Desperate decisions were made and we took a ‘bunny-hop’ over the road divider for a short-cut to the finishing line at a cafe cum bike shop popularly known as ‘Yellow Jersey’ at Soho 188. Turns out, everyone had inside info on free italian coffee courtesy of Illy and a sumptuous buffet line were eagerly awaiting us.
The hospitality before and after this event has been tremendously warm and welcoming. The ride was very well organised without any accidents. All Colnago owners from far and wide should join this annual event to brush shoulders and chat about all things Colnago.
Rodalink, LeRun, Shimano and Illy were the sponsors of this event including the lucky draw prizes.
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