Pulai Desaru Beach Resort so that I didn't have to depart at 5 am from Singapore for the 8.30 am race start. So on the morning of the race I took my time and calmly drove to the race start. So calm that I found myself right at the back of the 550 registered racers behind the starting line!
It was a big effort to weave my way through the racers, some looking like they were out for a leisurely Sunday ride. Nevertheless, it was rather fun doing this except for a couple of of massive traffic jams traversing a deep culvert and log crossings.
Although it was drizzling and raining along some stretches, I actually enjoyed the cool weather. The trails were mainly the typical Malaysian palm oil plantation tracks and the greatest enemy in this condition being the green slippery moss, especially cornering at high speeds.
My Scott Spark 10 racing machine was perfect, no chain suck (KMC X9SL with wet lube) and great traction (Nobby Nics with Stan's Tire Sealant). Although both brake pads were worn down to the metal towards the end of the race.
On the last hour, I was practically riding alone as had I managed to overtake the majority of the riders, and finished the 44 km race in just over 3 hours in 22th position. From Singapore 5-0, David Lucas was 15th and Morten Hansen 29th.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable ride despite (or perhaps because of?) the atrocious weather, wet and muddy trail conditions. The organisers did a commendable job, considering the challenging environmental conditions.
On a related note, the weather condition was the start of major floods in the southern Malaysian states. Unrelenting rain had forced over 55,000 from their homes in Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Pahang, and cutting off Segamat town. Thousands of commuters going back to their hometowns for the Chinese New Year holidays were hampered by floods on trunk roads and sections of the North-South Expressway.