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Sunday, May 10, 2009

TOUR OF FRIENDSHIP report of Leian Cruz May 2-6 2009 Thailand

Dear friends,

Thanks for the messages. The other guys have their own stories to tell. More exciting no doubt. Am glad I tried racing. The experience was better than i expected. One thing that stuck to me, Filipinos are definitely popular here. I cannot count how many times they greeted me and asked for the other guys who were here last year. At the end of the race, the local field from our group showed their respect and appreciation to the Philippine 30-39 group and a couple of teams have invited us to come back next year and they already want to make an alliance to beat the ANZA cycling team. But one thing i noticed. racing in the Philippines is so much more aggressive and fast. We are so lucky we have so much races back home. The other teams here envy us (they did mention they monitor raymond see's blogs and reports, i was even surprised they knew my name even before our plane landed)
gathered some photos from Kaight's camera. Raymond See and the others will post some..

Day 1 ITT:
Off to a rolling start Hotel to Race course (27km ride)

Atty Mike:

Pinays in action:

Dead Staright Time trial course:

789 Kms in 5 days

Bikes - eye candy bikes

Some road stage photos will follow :)
--- On Thu, 5/7/09, Ricardo ignacio wrote:

From: Ricardo ignacio
Subject: Re: [PECA] Final Stage: Friendship Tour of Thailand
To: PECA@yahoogroups. com
Date: Thursday, May 7, 2009, 10:30 AM

Leian, your report vividly describes the strategy of the Thais, hats off to them for executing it to the letter. Yun nga lang, they did not know that doble ang lakas mo sa kanila! Congrats! Another victory that makes all of us Proud To Be Pinoy!
Ricky I.

--- On Wed, 5/6/09, Joel Gironella wrote:
From: Joel Gironella
Subject: Re: [PECA] Final Stage: Friendship Tour of Thailand
To: PECA@yahoogroups. com
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2009, 9:53 PM

Great Win Leian! Your action report gave me goose bumps coz I know how it is racing over there. Racing Egat is like doing your own personal TOUR DE FRANCE. You go up against good foreign riders, playing mind games while at the same time trying to battle fatigue, heat exhaustion and leg cramps. It really is an experience !! I just hope the organizers got their officiating and individual standings proper this time. Can't wait to see the fotos.

On Wed, May 6, 2009 at 9:12 PM, Clarkmultisport Asia <clarkmultisportasia> wrote:

Quick recap for the last stage of the Thailand tour. Today was a very nervous race. Being the last stage and a Shortened "100km" race (it was originally 154km - but a bridge was being repaired), everyone wanted to win and salvage their race. At the same time, the time gaps for the top 6 to 25th were so close all the teams wanted to get their share of glory. For now, we just got home and i figured i write the race for the 30-39 group.
No one could not get away from the peleton. Everyone from the gun was attentive and nulified all attacks. we race the first half of the race at or below 42kph. So many attempted to break from the pack, At this time, the ANZA team from singapore composed mainly of europeans/caucasian with their strongest guy an elite have dominated the race. we were simply outnumbered. Even on the first day, i broke away with 50 kms to go, for 30kms, until a team of 12 chased me down- ouch!
The race was twitchy was My computer even registered a maximum of 57kph on the flats when chasing breaks. Most of the attackers were the local thais, but the european/caucasian teams just crushed every inch. Finally at the 40km mark some thai captains made a truce with the Powerful Anza cycling team. They allowed one Sawasdee cyclist go and when we tried to chase, we were "politely" shouted at to stop chasing. But the pinoys din't want to have none of that. The night before, our team (mix of executive teams from manila - Rene and Mark of Highlands, Allan of Yellow cab and Jon Jon of Polo tri)) decided to go for broke and try a suicide break. Hopefully this could work out. But the first attempt by our filipino friend from Singapore Michele Velasco almost made it, he went at the 35km mark and nobody bothered to chase him - and was away for 10km until the break lost steam.
As soon as he got caught, a flurry of sttacks ensued, even the Anza boys tried to break, Until finally the thai cyclist from the Sawasdee team got permission to escape.As soon as he got a gap, the whole anza and Sawasdee team slowed us at a crawling 35kph. I was stuck right smack in the top 10 line.i saw the guy dissapear in front of me while the others at the back din't realize what was happening. I moved to the front and just figured i might as well chase - crap, i was the tiniest guy!. Eventually i was pulling the whole pack at 40-41kph hoping the momentum would at least keep the guy in sight, it went on forever and the Anza team din't want me to pull. As i lost steam, i told the Anza guys that i have to chase because i have to protect my GC place (aside fromt he fact i wanted to finish this tour at a respectable note. In an effort to show them we were serious about it and not wheel suckers., Jon Jon rufino of Polo tri went up front and helped me continue the pace and just allowed everyone to wheel suck on us. Sensing that we were very very serious about chasing, i went up the front again after one fast attack by Anza and countered the move
When i looked back, i saw a 25 meter gap. And that' was all i needed to take advantage of the delay. I was second guessing - are they getting a breather? or are they actually waiting and cat and mouse guessing who would chase me? It took them awhile to sort things out because obviously the biggest teams were inside deep in the peleton and din't notice me get away. (that's when size is an advantage :)
The peleton at this time were very very tired. after a 221km (crazy) stage 2, 140km stage 3 and a 150km stage 4, evryone seemed to be content to wait who will bridge the gap. But it took them awhile. I took the cue as an opportunity to ride away silently. From then on after seeing my self drift away, i commited to chase the first break away who was by now no where in sight. If the peleton was rolling at 39 to 42 kph, the only chance you can lose their grip was to exceed their speed. I have never raced this fast before, but now i understand that when you are in that situaion, you either back down or go for it. My balls were just up my throat.
I almost crapped my self. I was rolling at 44-45kph hopin i'd see the break away guy. by this time i found out after the stage that many riders attempted to bridge to me, but all the time the peleton would bring them back in and they din't really want to drag the whole group. after rolling 10km and just on the edge of giving up, i finally saw the First guy in the horizon strugglin to maintain his position on the short but painful Overpass - we were actually racing in some kind of a free way. sensing that i was rolling faster, his team manager ordered him to wait for me instead!. Finally i made the junction with 40km to go. from there it was game on. Ah! now i know how it feels like to watch those break away attempts in the tour de france. as soon as we bridged we started rolling at 44-47kph. It was insanley fast but we managed to go the distance. From the horizon, another rider from the rival Thai team was chasing. I convinced the Sawasdee rider that it's smarter to wait for the other Thai guy so that there will be 4 big teams who can control the speed of the peleton. And it worked!
I waited for the Rama IV rider and as soon as we made three, we carried on with an insane team time trial. seriously fast (for my level) i was blood shot in the eyes and my fingers were twitching, when i saw the sign 5kms to go with a time gap of two minutes, i knew the worst place would be third. But i couldn't risk playing th cat and mouse (where the two obviously started to work against me). The peleton can catch us instantly. So i still pushed the pace. Left and right they started attacking me. At this time, our pinoys started to convince the Anza team not to chase us (c/o Rene Tablante, and the rest Like winston Chua, Allan, Mark and Jon all worked together to impede any organize chase.
Everytime there was an acceleration, i crawled my self up slowly. As soon as I chase the Sawasdee rider, the Rama IV rider would attack. It was insane, i just kept my cool and crawled my self each time. Using my 12 cog, it was a struggle but it was the only way i can keep my heart rate down and use a massive gear. Finally with 2 k to go and realizing they both cannot shake me,....they calmed down. with the finish in sight and with the 500meters to go sign fast approaching, a blistering attack from the Sawasdee rider came from my right and gapped me 75 meters. Chasing that moron was the hardest! because a moment of hesitation, I knew I will lose the race. But battling all cramps and a dry throat, Blood shot eyes - i just gritted my teeth and finally caught his behind with 300meters left. As i expected, as soon as i bridged, the freakin Rama 4 rider (who was yesterday's stage winner) attacks me on the left! he gaps me 50 meters and i could already see the finish banner. it was the longest 300 meters ever. It's like the race was crumbling down in front of me. The pain was unbearable. It was like i sprinted a thousand times chasing these guys. As a natural survival reaction I told myself 2nd is ok- i was ok already, but i figured, what the heck...I shifted down to my 12 cog and ground it again. And to my surprise, I started inching my self up. I finally caught him at 50 meters! and as soon as he looked to his right, i put the gear down to the 11 cog and stood up at 25 meters to go. Finally i realize i actually won the race by half a bike. The best race ever! as soon as the boys crossed the line, everyone were awestruck by the news! the pinoys actually worked together to outsmart the peloton! The win was for the whole team - Thanks to Rene, Mark, Allan of yellow cab (these guys are the best - they worked their butts in the first and second stages!) and thanks to Jon Jon Rufino for unselfishly pacing me up to maintain the gap to the first break. In all it was an awesome experience. Definitely worth a try next year.

Final Stage result:
We won!
The girls also raked in some awards! I hope Ave and Kaight can share their stories. Very very proud of em
-Leian Cruz - Fitness first Team
PS, thanks to the support crew and the wives, truly bayanihan. Raymond will continue his story :)

--- On Wed, 5/6/09, rodel valdez <lagalag212@yahoo. com> wrote:

From: rodel valdez <lagalag212@yahoo. com>
Subject: Re: [PECA] Friendship Tour of Thailand
To: PECA@yahoogroups. com
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2009, 1:45 AM

thank you Ike for sharing those pics.... what a good/nice experience.. . nakaka-inggit ah!

--- On Tue, 5/5/09, Ike Carbajal wrote:

From: Ike Carbajal
Subject: [PECA] Friendship Tour of Thailand
To: PECA@yahoogroups. com
Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2009, 5:50 AM

Here are the links to pics randomly taken by myself here in thailand

http://picasaweb. docarbajal/ Bangkok1#

http://picasaweb. docarbajal/ Bangkok2#

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