A group of cyclists from Singapore spent Christmas Eve attempting to ride 525 kilometres to the historic Malaysian city-state of Malacca and back – and in the process briefly dominated the top of the standings of this year’s Rapha Festive 500.
They completed the ride one hour inside their 24-target, and at least two of the participants remain in the top ten of the Festive 500, according to the leaderboard on Strava.
The seven men and one woman participating in the Melaka and Back in One Crack charity ride left the Starbucks branch in Singapore’s United Square at 00:05am on Christmas Eve.
Support was provided by M3, who also service the Trans Malaysia Express ultracyling event in which several of the riders had previously participated.
They were aiming to raise money for blindness charity A New Vision, and so far have reached almost half of their $10,000 target on Giveforward.com.
At the time of writing, David Kolpal is fourth overall on the Festive 500 with 756.8km and another member of the eight-strong group that undertook the ride, Jeff Paine, is seventh with 741.9km.
There is a Singapore-based rider in third place at the moment - Daniel Khoo – and though we assume he was involved in the Melaka and Back in One Crack ride, his name does not appear in this article from Togoparts.com in which Paine spoke about the ride.
He said: “The main reason we are doing this is obviously to raise awareness and funds for A New Vision, an organisation that enables medical clinics to conduct cataract surgeries and treat curable blindness across Indonesia.
“There are more than 3 million people who are blind in Indonesia, and the majority of them are either unaware or unable to afford basic surgery."
Asked about the safety implications of riding at night on Malaysian roads, he said: "Whenever you ride on the road dangers exist. Given we are starting at night to minimise the direct sunlight for the first major chunk of the ride, this means we’ll be riding on dark roads which adds an element of danger.
“Tiredness may also pose a danger if riders have a hard time staying awake but really the people on this ride are well conditioned to minimal sleeping conditions," Paine explained.
He added: "We also have the best support available from the M3 group which really is our risk mitigation strategy against the dangers.
"In addition to having fully stocked support cars with drinks and food, we will also have an ambulance with trained emergency response personnel who will follow the riders at all times.
“This helps improve visibility and also provides extra safety should any medical issues arrive."
While the group’s efforts have seen them occupy a number of the top positions in the Rapha Festive 500, the runaway leader is now Matsuoka Hiromasa who has ridden 1,056.3km in and around Kobe, Japan in the past four days – nearly 300km further than the next closest competitor.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.