Siol mountain bike challenge proves it’s a cut above the rest
By Jude Toyat
The Siol International Mountain Bike Challenge (SIMBC) 2016 has proven to be a great platform for cyclists from all around the world to test their skills and have an enjoyable ride at the same time.
Organised by Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) and powered by Sarawak Energy Berhad at Siol Hill near Petra Jaya to promote healthy living especially among the younger generation, the cycling event featured over 150 participants, who came from Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Timur Leste, Portugal, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, India and the Philippines.
Portuguese cyclist Ilda Carina Pereira, 35, told The Borneo Post SEEDS that the event was truly an eye-opener, and she hoped more cyclists would come here to participate in the annual event for many years to come.
“The 3.8 kilometres cycling track at the Siol Hill is so beautiful and totally natural, which has become one of the most important detail of a racing track. The weather and natural scenic routes without man’s interference is very charming,” said elite cyclist Pereira who has been taking part in many cycling events since 2010.
“I came to know about this race when I was in Portsmouth where I took part in a cycling event there. I thought that it could be a good try for me and I did everything it takes to come here,” Ilda said, explaining that her friends encouraged her to participate in SIMBC.
“My cyclist friends were telling me about this race and I was moved by the adventure of riding in different scenarios.
“Riding in Asia is very different from riding in Europe, especially in this weather. This is a huge challenge for me since the humid weather here made me go crazy as I have to acclimatise my body in an environment where the trees, flowers and birds are of those that I have never seen before.
“For me, the harder the race, the better I will become, so that was why I am interested to take part in this competition as my goal is to become a better rider,” she added.
That being said, she pointed out that the organiser needed to pump up efforts in promoting the event to a wider audience.
“I will tell people – especially avid cyclists in Portugal – about SIMBC to be included in our competitive calendar,” she said.
For aspiring cyclists out there, Pereira advised them to “Always listen to yourself and do things according to your body, as in what the body and mind tell you. If you wish to become a good rider, do not wait for the right time to come, just do it.”
Meanwhile, for Masri Gidi, 38, who has been involved in cycling since 2012, SIMBC enabled him and his team to improve their riding skills.
“Although this may be our home ground, it does not come easily for us as we have also been doing intensive training here for the past few weeks prior to the competition.
“The challenging factor of the hill itself attracts our interest to challenge ourselves in cycling and test our skills and endurance,” said the member of City Cycling Club from Kuching.
Masri revealed that the team has taken in a young cyclist – Wan Haikal Wan Zainal – from Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) this year .
“Mountain Bike Race is becoming a popular sport within Sarawak as well as Malaysia.
“Thus, we have always been encouraging our youngsters to take part in cycling activities around Kuching and Sarawak in general. Nevertheless, there is always a need to improve on the promotional efforts to make the event better known in the city, country and all around the world,” he added.
Pereira and Masri were met during a press conference held at DBKU headquarters here recently.
Siol Mountain Bike Challenge by DBKU started in 2003 and has become an annual event ever since.
The race is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) based in Switzerland and in Malaysia it is governed by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF). It is managed by Zeads Sdn Bhd.
SIMBC, deemed the first International Mountain Bike Race is supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Solidarity Sarawak, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak.
Co-sponsors for the SIMBC 2016 which offered a total prize money of RM78,905 for all three categories namely Downhill, Cross Country and Team Relay were Giant, Digi and Samudera Hotel. Other category at the event was the Cyfora XCM, a fun ride for leisure cyclists.
Also attended the press conference were Commission Member of Kuching North City Hall Councillor Irwan Zulkarnain Hasbie and Sarawak Energy Berhad executive vice president of corporate services Aisah Eden.