Golden Roads

This weekend I’ll be racing at Tour de Phuket with the crew from CycoSports. Set at Phuket’s Thanyapuran Sports Resort on the island of Phuket, the race includes a explosive ITT Prologue and two road stages. Keen to learn the roads before the race, Peter Morgan and I headed over a couple days early to recce the routes.

An early morning flight from Singapore had us on the ground in Phuket in time to build our bikes and set out before lunch. Realising the huge task to get from our villa in the southern part of the island up to the course, we instead choose to ride the western coastal road, from Kata up to Thanyapura via Patong and Surin.

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Peter had a few equipment hiccups, but we didn’t let that get in the of an awesome road. What lay ahead of us wasn’t a hugely long ride, but it would introduce us to the back breaking Thai climbs of twenty plus percentage grades. The plan was to enjoy the flats, and test the legs on the climbs.

After a brief coast along the coast, the road turned up over the hills between Karon and Patong. The three kilometre segment contains three sharp ascents, peaking at nineteen percent. By the time we hit the third, the legs were starting to learn that this was no usual ride.

It’s hard to describe just how different it is to be in Phuket on a road bike. I’ve been here dozens of times over the years, but on the bike that place takes on an entirely new meaning. Yes, the road are crazy, but the motorists just flow with cyclists. Even as we crest the climbs. I felt confident to use more of the road as we speed down the twisting descents.

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After the first series of climbs, we were able to enjoy a flat ride along Patong Beach. We took a moment to soak up the tourist scene along the beach. We both knew what lay ahead, the epic ascent of Kamala. Just under a kilometre in length, the road meanders the step mountain face at an average grade of eleven percent, but peaks at twenty-one percent.

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Amongst the crazy Thai traffic, we churned the legs to push up the step ascent, averaging over 300 watts. Climbs in Thailand are nothing like Singapore, they are steeper, longer and crazier. Making for an epic challenge of the man and machine.

I can see myself falling in love with riding in Thailand. The charm of the country mixed with it’s amazing terrain makes for a pleasurable ride, even when your punishing yourself.

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Our ride coasted over the flats between Surin and Thanyapura, with a brief visit to Siam Bike Tours. Arriving at Thanyapura, we couldn’t help but stare in awe. This state of the art facility would be the head quarters for the Tour. A purpose built sporting facility like I’ve never seen before. Can’t wait to check-in on Friday

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