The 2016 Cycosports Tour de Barelang which is also known as the Batam 6 Bridges race was my third stand alone bike race after Thanyapura Classic and Tour de Bintan.
It is known as the Batam Six Bridges race for the number of island-connecting links it traverses and is without a doubt the tough hard one day event in it's forth iteration. It’s hot, humid and climbs a seemingly endless series of rolling hills as it heads southeast from Batam down the road to nowhere that is the Barelang Highway. The course was slightly different this year due to roadworks over the 5th bridge so there was a left turn to the coast and back again.
I was due to race for the ANZA Cat 2 team and we had a pretty strong heading out there and had several potential winners depending on who got into the breaks.
There were also strong teams from SwiftCarbon Virgin Active, the Mavericks, The Ascenders, 4T2 and APS. There were a couple of stand outs with Jacob Wissum from APS (coming from an Ironman background) the obvious contender from a breakaway and Craig Cameron from the Mavs the strongest sprinter if it finished in a bunch sprint.
Up until the week before I was feeling strong with my power numbers showing an improvement week on week but unfortunately I got my first flu in Singapore the week before so didn't turn up in the best condition.
It started pretty frantically from the gun with APS constantly sending breaks up the road to tire the legs of the big teams doing the chasing.
Jacob got away early and if it was anyone else we would have let them go but as it was Jacob we decided we needed to chase him down but he still managed to last 20km off the front on his own.
Just before the U-turn my team mate Phil Routley went off the front which was good for me as I was planning on going after the turn. When he came back into the peloton I went for the break and managed to get a gap of about 100m but unfortunately I had also taken 4/5 other riders with me and with no one willing to come through and help I decided to sit up and conserve my energy for the next attack.
As I dropped back to the peloton another break went up the road, I couldn't make out who it was and I was still trying to get my HR back down but went to the front and asked Sofiane if we had anyone up the road. Unfortunately we didn't so I tried to jump across myself but with my legs still tired from my previous attack I was only able to close to within 20/30 meters but couldn't quite close the final few meters so had to drop back to the peloton.
I shouted to my ANZA team mates that we needed to organise the chase as Jacob was in the break along with a Mav, a Matador and two other riders so we would receive no help. Only myself, Phil and Don Humphries had the legs to chase as everyone else was either cramping (Stale and Sofiane) or had had mechanicals (Frank and Alex).
We chased for 20km but in the end the flu caught up with me and after doing one last turn on the front I couldn't hold the wheel when I dropped back so had a lonely 10km ride to the end of the course.
I later found out that Jacob had managed to stay away winning the race, with Jonathon Curry and a Mav the only other riders managing to stay away. Craig as expected won the bunch sprint for 4th place. I finished a rather distant 5 minutes back.
With the flu the week before I gave it everything I had on the day. Although neither ANZA or myself got the result we were hoping for we were very active and it was a proper day of racing. Looking forward to racing this event again next year!!!