Gear Up 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

With a love this deep, we don't need no sleep
And it feels like, we could do this all night :-) 

Hello friends :-)

Common tests are finally over (actually they have been for a while) and I am currently basking in the temporary freedom I now possess (to be honest work has started already and July is crazy). I'm not entirely sure how I'll do for my first round of junior college examinations but one thing's for sure - I didn't come out from any of the papers with a cold, hard, sinking feeling unlike most of my years in RG so I am glad, and thankful. One of the things I really hope I can accomplish in the midst of this busy period would be to chronicle the key events/ happenings that have occurred during the June holidays, because it's important for me personally to do a little stock taking on 2014 so far and I'm starting with Gear Up.

Gear Up was something I signed up with a few others from my current class, under Donna's insistence and I'm actually glad I did go for it - well halfway through the ride I sure thought otherwise but it was a great experience that I don't think I'll ever have again at least not in the near future.

Gear Up is essentially an overnight cycling expedition of 66.17km that happened on 30 May - the last day of school, so yes we had school in the morning - to give you a feel of how long that is, the distance across Singapore (East to West) is about 50km. For my class, we started our journey at 9.30pm. It was insane because by the first 10km I felt like I was going to crash anytime soon - I was lagging behind my class by quite a bit together with Celeste and Zixian and the three of us were really worried and our thighs and butt were aching like crazy. Also, the last time I've cycled was in secondary two, almost three years ago and I was never a very confident cyclist. 

Blur images courtesy of Jun Lei who was able to hold a phone and take photos as we rode :-) 

As the night went on, I started getting increasingly confident as a cyclist and competent at changing gears - before that night, I didn't even realize that cycling was so complex and that we could control the bicycle so much, I used to think those were just useless buttons on the bicycle handles. I was still shaky especially with regards to cycling uphill and downhill though, but it made me very careful so I managed to survive the night without any accidents. 

It was hilarious too because we found out on the event itself that Mr Tan, our co form teacher and PW tutor was the teacher I/C of our group and so it made everything a lot more amusing especially when Nicholas and Jun Lei kept making weird jokes and just being very funny. Throughout the night, I must say I've had one of the best company I could ever ask for - everyone was so entertaining and actually quite supportive. We were really too fast though, overtaking at least four groups in front of us, having to make other groups stop and let us overtake them - I could barely keep up with the speed. 

Essentially the route started at East Coast Park, and we cycled along Changi Airport to Changi Village hawker centre (where we got to take a break to eat) to Punggol Waterway to Ang Mo Kio to Bishan Park (where we took a break too) to the Singapore Flyer and then to Marina Bay Sands, to Marina Barrage and finally back to East Coast Park again.  It felt really refreshing cycling in the night though - it was extremely liberating and free and I think the song that ODAC used for publicity purposes "All Night" accurately describes the adrenaline I was feeling through the night and it was amazing once I managed to overlook the fatigue. 

First break point - Changi Village Hawker Centre! :-) I was dying by the time we reached there and it was only 10km so I couldn't really convince myself I'd be able to survive the night. 

But I shared an ice kachang with homie lee so that really got my blood sugar levels up and my energy level up again - the break was quite rejuvenating especially since I rarely get to have supper or stay out so late for that matter. 

Just look at the sweat underneath my eyes it's insane. 

Most of us had ice kachang because we didn't want to risk feeling sleepy through the night by eating too much but I think Josiah had noodles or something it was quite hilarious. 

The next stop was Punggol Waterway which was insanely far before we headed to Ang Mo Kio and Bishan Park where we got to have a break with 100 Plus and bananas. We had an exceptionally long break there because our group was too fast and they had to stagger the time a little or we'd overtake another group and it was a bad idea because when we got back onto our bikes, our butts couldn't handle the streamlined shape of the bicycle seats and it felt horrible, as if there was a knife cutting through my bottoms. A few of us were screaming as we got on the bicycles but really, I suppose it's mind over body and we had to try to ignore the pain. 

From Bishan, we had to cycle to the Singapore Flyer which is insane. I mean, I live relatively near the AMK- Bishan area and travelling to the Singapore Flyer by public transport already takes so much time. There was a lot of self doubt through the night where I didn't know if I could continue on but I think it helped that I had a whole load of energy. While my physical condition was not as good as some others, one thing I pride myself with would definitely be my nocturnal ability and being really high especially at night - so I suppose I had the mental strength to make up for my lack of physical strength. I was singing really loudly without a care in the world and no one to judge me. 

When we reached the Singapore Flyer, and later Marina Bay Sands and Marina Barrage, it was amazing because Singapore's skyline was breathtaking and just so gorgeous and everything was worth it. Honestly, the feeling of riding against the wind with the cool breeze and a beautiful view was something I would not exchange it for anything, such as going for Rock Out (which all of us had to miss because it happened on the same night). I believe it's probably one of the only times I'll be given the opportunity to do something like that. 

Riding back to East Coast Park was probably the most torturous stretch of the entire journey - I was really tired and my entire body was hurting. East Coast Park felt so much longer than I thought it would be but I managed to do it and I still can't believe it. We reached our starting point at 5.20am the next morning - it was an eight hour bicycle ride but honestly it just felt like a dream and it was very surreal; it actually felt like only one hour had past not because the ride was easy but everything just zoomed past me in a flash and everything's fragmented in my memory, the only way I can convince myself that I actually completed the route is by looking at photos. 

Thank you so much Raffles ODAC for organizing Gear Up - I had the time of my life, and it was really well planned! Thank you to my classmates for accompanying me on this lovely night - I wouldn't exchange it for anything, it is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. 

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