Ever had one of those moments where you get a glimpse of just how much you need to improve. Today (March 17) was one of those days. On day two of the trip to Phuket, Peter and I joined Team Singha Infinite for a bite to eat at We Cafe.
We had planned an easy ride today, so the ten kilometre coast to the cafe was a nice way to start the day. Our ambitions grew as we learnt that the Singha Infinite boys would be doing an easy ride back to the Thanyapura Resort. A reasonably flat twenty-five kilometres along Phuket main road. Seemed easy enough, so we joined the guys.
Leading the ride would be Singaporean rider, Vincent Ang and Russian, Konstantin Fast.
What I learnt in such a short ride, put so much into context. Vincent won a bronze medal at the South East Asian Games, and the reason why become crystal clear. I don’t know Vincent’s FTP, or his 40km time, not sure even Vincent knows. My understanding of his success comes from watching him and Konstantin move their bikes through traffic, around obstacles with the greatest of confidence and efficiency. Their brains seem to be hard wired into the bikes, and it’s amazing too watch.
Peter and I tried to keep up on this ‘easy’ ride, and for most part with did. But when situations got a little tight, the Singha boys bike handling skills and lightning fast reactions guided effortlessly through whatever the road threw at them. Leaving us to then put the power down to catch-up again.
It’s a lesson I learn every week doing the Crazies ride in Singapore. Where my bike handling skills and experience developed rapidly when regularly put to the test amongst Singapore’s top riders. I spent most of 2015 micro managing power, cadence and interval measures on the road and in the lab to build a descent base fitness. But that was completely useless unless I backed it up with skills. A primary goal for 2016, and the reason I know throw myself into every opportunity to develop experience.
Today, Peter and I could only watch in envy at the skills Vincent and Konstantin effortlessly show. It gives us a yard stick to measure our own development by, and supports the strong belief that skills and experience are hard to match. Made me recall the lesson Mohd Youcef dished out to me at the OCBC Race last year on the go-kart circuit.
With the Phuket sun beating down on us, and now clear of the hectic industrial area of Phuket town, we coasted at a leisurely pace out to the resort. It’s great to ride with riders of superior skill, granted you have to park the ego for a bit. But you’ll learn some of the most valuable lessons by observing those with superior skills.
Thanks Vincent & Konstantin.