It was the first race of 2012 that we did as a team with Rizal being able to join us last minute. Check out the video below for what we did to his bike! The track at sebex this year was the same as the one used for SEA games last year and shared the same bottom section as last year's APDC track too.
It was a pretty tame track, no big drops or jumps, all the risky lines were taped off, word from the organizers is that they didn't want people to start the first race of the season by getting big injuries. There is no two ways about this track, you have to be fit and powerful, its one of those tracks where you have loads of fun in practice but loath it when it comes to racing. Due to the gentle gradient of the track, quick times require a lot of pedaling.
As usual, Aaron, Ian and me were the only 3 riders in elite category on flat pedals. No surprise there as the Indonesian riders have some power in their legs and aren't shy to use it. Practice for me and Ian was pretty relaxed as we knew the track quite well from SEA games last year, nothing really changed since then. We both knew that we just had to let it all hang out and embrace the pain in our legs when it comes time for finals. Aaron and Rizal were getting as much practice as they could and managed to do 8 runs on friday.
Saturday was qualifying with a short morning practice from 6.30 till 8am, we managed to get to the track early enough to put in two practice runs. The track was wet from yesterdays rain but I knew it would be bone dry again in the evening. Rizal in master b expert would have a slightly damp track but not enough to warrant a tire change. With 220 odd riders at the race and 1 minute intervals being used it was a really long wait, probably the worse part of racing that you never really get used to. Everyone had a pretty good seeding run except Aaron who decided to get a bit intimate with a tree. Rizal qualified in 5th and as looking to improve, as usual it was no surprise that all 3 of us in elite were near the bottom. Popo putting in a solid time of 2.20, Ian was the closest with a 2.35. All of us were looking to at least hit the 2.30 mark come race day.
After getting back to our accommodation it decided to rain pretty hard for a couple of hours, we were all dreading a wet track as it would just make the pedaling worse. Mud guards went on and we took out wet tires along for race day just in case. Luckily the weather gods smiled and gave us blue skies all day, the track was only muddy in one small section which dried out for the Elites again. Rizal dug deep and managed to go a few seconds faster, earning him 3rd place. Aaron got a bit unlucky and slid out on one of the corners, otherwise would have been set for a good time. Ian managed to go faster and shockingly pedaled hard, respect as he is the only person i know who hates pedaling more than i do. I too dug deep and managed to go 5 seconds faster. On paper our results don't seem that impressive, but we are right in the mid pack in elite category. Which in Indonesia means quite a lot to us with sebex being one of the more pedally tracks around. A significant difference from last year when we were no where close to even the mid pack elite riders, yet this time 4 seconds faster would have put us on the podium. There is a lot more work to be done but it doesn't seem impossible any more.
Right now the team is back in kl, everyone preparing for the Kiara KDD race this weekend. Stoked to have back to back race weekends, its how it should be! As simple and fun as the kiara track is to ride, it is going to be a challenging track to race on as you really have to keep it on edge the whole way down. Its going to be a great weekend of riding and racing!