Tuesday, March 27, 2012

24 Hour Century Remedy

I'm still in zombie mode right now. Though a bit beaten and wasted with 1% frustration, I guess it all goes back to the basic things.

Just came back from Kuantan last night. It was a 24 hour saunter that gave the 'best' out of Kuantan cycle scenes. Coming back again? As of today, NO! Not to cycle but definitely for the food. As of tomorrow or in the near future (give me until the weekend), Yes, perhaps.

The idea of travelling late prior to a century ride has been proven to be fatal. Not that killing la but it really brought the most out of me. Dah lama tak buat crazy stuff until you want to puke. So, once in while I think it's good for the soul la kot.

When Alwin decided to do KCR at the last minute, he told a few of us that he'll be travelling late after a wedding dinner. I on the other hand, still open for any travelling options, decided to tag along. That allows me to settle lots of family affair i.e. chauffeuring, kids sitting, Amir's soccer training and yes, a last minute KCR packing.

After the Morib campaign, it took me almost a week to recover (aging issues). Then it was hometown trip, which left me with 2 weeks of no cycling. The desire to hop onto the trainer was null and void. Not until that Saturday morning, after sending the kids for their classes, the need to vaporise the lay back feeling stood before me. I gave it a shot to pump up the adrenaline. A 30 minutes solitude spinning was all I needed. Alhamdullillah, I was recharged and anxiety rolled in busy with packing and such.

We left KL at 1.30 a.m. Temerloh had a very bad rain, hence travelling speed reduced to caution for water holes on the highway. We reached Kuantan 3 hours later, managed to find MS Garden Hotel in a brief and crash for the night/morning. With 2 hours sleep, it was a big gamble but we were there at the start line mere seconds before the flag-off.

As usual, the tempo was high at the 5KM neutral zone around Kuantan town. As if HR had a jump start trying to catch up with the 35kph pace. Excited betul depa ni. As we left the town towards Jabor, the road was flooded with colourful jerseys of almost 800 cyclists. We paced ourselves in a group. I guess it was another mistake to pace too fast too early. How can we deter ourselves from making a leisure pace when the road was flat and beautiful? We took turn pacing each other between 35-40kph and it was as if we were in wonderland.

The organiser decided to give us the climb at KM30-ish. Earlier understanding, the inclines were nothing more than a short stretch of 10km gradual. Yes they did tell the truth. It was a fast short steep winding climb which most of us didn't really notice the KOM was done if not for the signs. However, the untold truth was after that. There were rolls after rolls of hills. It's not a mountain, but when there were endless of ups and downs for almost 60km, you can start to feel the boredom & tense. This was when I got dropped off, when the legs start to give up on you and power weakens. I had to let go.

Then we entered Jalan Gambang heading towards Kuantan again. A lonely ride along the main trunk road. Hot, fumed and dirt fills the air. I felt tarnished. I need a boost in sugar count. The iconic yellow Shell high mass marked 101st KM gave me hope. Arriving by the station's front door, I dismounted and that was the first attack. I was desperately cringing from both quads and calves cramping. It was horrible. The agony became worse when my right pectorals cramped as well. The pains lasted awhile, until the very last drop of Coke. Dicky decided to join me upon seeing me waving the Coke bottle from afar.

Solitary cyclists strung out under the blazing sun. Expressionless. 59km left and we still have no clue of what awaits. The torment won't last that easy. This is the start of a bigger one.

The next 20km was pure mind game. Flat, straight, exposed and windy. A great combination for disaster for the impatience. You engaged a TT mode gearing, and the next 5 minutes cramp will happily attack. You spin, you'll feel it's going nowhere. A few more manageable attacks occurred but there was nothing I could do. Not a single tree for shade. And the sight ahead was heartbreaking. I was trying my best to pace Dicky but he decided to give way after awhile.

Somebody yelled out my name as we passed a stall. It was pure remedy when a silhouette of buddies under the bright mid-day welcoming a pit stop. Azahari, Saiful, Lias and Pi'e were about to leave. Seemed the gap between us was too large. Alwin had a slight dizzy while Doc Taufik was down with stomach issues. They stayed behind for us. Dicky, Aki CAR and me took the break as a reviving attempt.

A 20km on normal ride should've lasted about an hour but this was melting. I didn't bother to time it but the next turning into a kampung road does not have the slightest different. It was still hot, windy, flat and straight. But this time we were blessed with trees. Big PHEW! Every single tree we passed whispered a welcoming note to enjoy the cooling shades it provides. I think it was the 20th tree when Alwin and me accorded to the invite. We kept on wondering where is the most talked about horrific Pantai Sepat beach road. For not wanting to invite laziness, we kept the break at a brief and decided to mount and cycle on. Moments later, after surviving lots of wind attacks, the open skyline gave a change of perspective.

Pantai Sepat, a pictorial stretch of beach harboring rows of pine trees and green grass. A perfect getaway for the locals. Though it seemed that the beach can't cater swimmers, the breathtaking view was simply calming. On the other side of the long beach, one can see the Kuantan Rivermouth.

It was now or never. Yes, we decided to make another stop, like 'right now' and can't never do it again. And yes, considering 'right now' the whole lot 25km to go in an hour before the cut-off time is never  possible. We joined another cyclist who was enjoying his moment under a tree chatting to a fellow marshal. Now the century ride evolved into a cam whoring agenda. We can't resist the laid back background, hence the camera started clicking. Snap! Snap! Snap! Habis semua gambar brader bawah pokok, brader marshal pun jadi modal.
The kampung road turning into Pantai Sepat

Brader marshal ni layan mountainbike

The wind tunnel

Brader marshal told us the cut-off time is 7hrs30min, in which no medal will be served beyond that. I was a bit struck and disappointed upon hearing that but that's the reality. Just my 2 cents, they should give the medal for completion and a bonus for completing within time. Like Powerman. Because a century distance is never easy. Making an effort to even finish one is already an achievement. Lagi pun, what happen to the unclaim medals? Recycle guna next year? OK. Just my thoughts.

We 'strolled' on continuing our objectives to concur the distance. It was tough. This is one the toughest rides. Someday I will list down a few other rides for memorabilia. We stopped at the last water station but we skipped the free mineral water and bananas. Can't take in any of those anymore. We spent on a glass of coconut drinks instead. Better still, we crashed our sore butts on a beach bench staring against the open sea.  Just making the best out of the agony I guess. It was 10 minutes before we noticed the volunteers started clearing up the water station, hence we had to move on.

Simply an escape

Dah kena sawan angin lintang

The cyclometer showed a glaring 13km to go and we can still find isolated cyclists here and there paving along with what's left within. We bowed to the wind and the sun. We bowed to the distance. The final attack  on the left calf happened when I was climbing the Sungai Kuantan bridge. I had to bear the excruciating pain. If I stopped, I won't have the strength to unclip and crashing on the narrow road shoulder was not smart. I can't even stretch due to the incline where pedaling is the only way to be mobile. It took 5 painful pedal stroke to beat the cramp and reach the top of the bridge.

3KM more to go to the finish line, but Alwin and me decided to go back straight to the hotel. Without much time, we had to skip rest or a short nap since check out time was nearing. Further more, we need solid meals pronto. The following agenda at Lala Ikan Bakar, Tanjung Lumpur was feasting until you bonk. RM350 for the 9 of us with 3 big kahunas, lala, tom yam, fried squid and jus gelas besar for everyone, I think it was frenzy. See you again KCR160.

Champion makan kena maintain

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blitz Coverage

She sits by the table almost every evening. So focused. So delicate. So fragile. Yet she holds the bold and mature look. Without a second of regret. Upon reaching home from religious class, that is her routine. She sacrifice her evening play with friends. The carnage of cry and laughter beyond the door are now handled with wisdom. With only a laptop as company and loads of Youtube music videos, that's the way she stays concentrated. The challenge is big. At least for her. Her first one. The task is no where easy, nothing compares to the last five years. The anticipation is high. 


It's always cooling on this side of The Valley in the evening. Klang Valley, famous for its tropical thunderstorm and flash floods, always entertains fellow motorists on their peak hour rushing for home. Here, the season is always felt like autumn. OK. I lied. I never had any chance to feel autumn breeze. The cool breeze blown from the hectic city cools off our night, simply refreshing, catering our night chauffeuring to classes and a simple glass of 'teh tarik' with fellow knights of the square table.


The age seems taxing. Those yesterdays of weekdays' workouts weigh a tonne to do it, left alone to complete a simple playlist on the trainer. Run? None in the playbook so far. By the time reaching home, it was just enough fuel to freshen up for the duty at hand in the coming hours. The remaining energy are kept aside, just enough to accumulate to invest for the weekend workout.

Between KakLong & me, it's our tune of the week frequenting extra classes every night

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Give the disabled, pedestrians and cyclists priority

I came across this article from a Facebook wall which could help keep the awareness. It's good that our mainstream newspaper have a coverage like this. KOSMO reported as well, but sadly misleading readers with their highlights about the victim's bike price. What are they thinking? I guess it's about time that motorists have a 101 lesson about road ethics.

20 March 2012

Road rules must protect cyclists

Give the disabled, pedestrians and cyclists priority

Cyclists are entitled to share the roads with other motorists.
My kids' friends cycle to school.
There's no dedicated bike lanes. God have a mercy on them

ON a fellowship at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom back in 1998, I was given a bicycle. It helped me a lot as Norton House at Wolfson College, where I was staying, was quite a distance from the university library or my supervisor's office in the city.

But I stopped cycling after a near brush with death. I was cycling to the university library when a van, to avoid a collision with another vehicle, swerved onto the bicycle lane I was on. I managed to get off the bicycle and jumped aside in time to avoid the van.

Cyclists do not pay road tax and are not licensed, but they have the right, like other vehicle users, to use the road and be shown courtesy and care by other road users.
There are now about one billion bicycles worldwide, twice as many as cars. The global bicycle market was US$60 billion (RM183 billion) last year. Some 130 million bicycles are sold every year globally.
A study has shown that bicycles are an efficient and effective mode of transportation that provides numerous benefits compared with motor vehicles. Besides exercise, it is an alternative to the use of fossil fuels, with no air or noise pollution, much reduced traffic congestion, easier parking, greater manoeuvrability, and access to both roads and paths.
The advantages are less financial cost to the user as well as society as there is negligible damage to roads. However, a cyclist is not protected in crashes, particularly with motor vehicles, and there is longer travel time (except in densely populated areas), vulnerability to weather conditions, difficulty in transporting passengers, and skill and fitness are required.
That notwithstanding, there is a growing interest in cycling in Malaysia the past year or so. Azizulhasni "Pocketman" Awang brought the sport into the limelight last year after winning World Championship medals in cycling.
The advent of the foldable bicycle also saw an increase in the number of people taking to the roads. On weekends, you can find residents' associations or cycling groups organising events and rides. I have friends living in Taman Tun Dr Ismail going for rides in Putrajaya on Saturday mornings.
But is it safe to cycle on our roads? Last January, national cyclist Mariana Mohamad suffered multiple fractures to her ribs and forearm after a Perodua Kancil swerved into her and other cyclists during their simulation exercise.
On Sunday, cyclist Rafizi Hamdan was killed in a hit-and-run accident involving a Proton Saga. He was among the thousands of cycling enthusiasts who frequent the back roads heading out of the city on weekends.
And they are at the mercy of the motorists while on the road.
In Malaysia, there are no regulations protecting cyclists, unlike, for example, in the UK and Australia. In the UK, there is a highway code which covers bicycles while in Australia, there are special road rules for cyclists. In California, there is a section in the Department of Motor Vehicles' driver handbook on sharing the road.
In Amsterdam, cyclists and pedestrians have legal priority over cars in many urban areas. It was in the 1970s, when confronted with spiralling oil prices, that the Dutch government invested 10 per cent of its budget on cycling -- a massive amount of money at that time but one that has reaped dividends as it has since established the Netherlands as the cycling capital of the world.
There must be a comprehensive campaign to make cycling safe here. The authorities may want to consider a road user hierarchy here, where the disabled, pedestrians and cyclists are given priority. We may need to change the culture of our roads by ensuring that vehicles give way to cyclists and pedestrians at all times. They are part of the normal traffic flow and are entitled to share the road with other drivers.
Or, the authorities may want to look into designating areas where people would feel safe and happy to cycle.
I may just take up an offer by my Taman Tun Dr Ismail friend to cycle again, but only when I am convinced that the roads are safe for cyclists.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Share what?

After mishaps upon mishaps (counted 4 so far) especially the ones that happened to our fellow friends who share the common passion for sports, we are stuck with a very big question mark - What are the appropriate measures taken to lessen or prevent it from happening again?

Whatever sports we take up, there are of course risks. Risk of being strike by lightning if you're playing golf. Chased and bitten by dogs or snatch thieves while running. Or simply the risks of injuries from over exertion while training or racing. To me, yes to me, the worse could happen is getting killed by a fellow motorist.

Where does the future leads?

I am just another typical Malaysian who rides a motorbike to work, trying to earn a living, raise kids, live life to the fullest on weekends, etc. My perspective towards Malaysian motorists, especially Klang Valley, sadly said, are just another selfish ignorance soul. Yes, I understand that you are stucked in bad traffic everyday on weekdays, hence you don't need to tell the whole world that you earn the empty road on weekends. Tuning out loud the car audio, using the mobile phone for texting or making or receiving calls, or revving your weekend collectors' race machines are just the dumbest things to get oneself getting the 'killer' status. You might never know, that someday or any minute, you or me or anybody might kill or get killed by our own selfishness.

Good idea?
We are not morphs or insects that got smudged on your car bumpers or windscreen. We are fathers, mothers, employees, employers, sons, daughters, teachers or another government servants. We are not fugitives nor criminals that litter your roads. We don't ask a lot of you, just a mere 2 meters away would just do us fine and of course a bit of your RESPECT. And don't harass or irritate us with your honks because that would just reflects another chapter of your selfishness.

Hello Mr. Government. What are you guys doing when life are taken by another sick soul? 40 years of surviving Malaysia, the trend is to wait until someone dies then only a tiny idea would crop up. But that would be it, and it will be scraped away when a better news appear about a corrupt politician. But the clock is ticking and the statistic keeps rising. When can we have a bigger campaign for sharing lanes & educate respects? America have done it. Australia as well. Even Jakarta. Better still, Penang have their voices put across the lanes.

Wouldn't this be nice if we have this at Jalan Loke Yew?

If you are too busy strategizing on maintaining your seat in the next election, please take a few seconds scouting around that cycling is taking up the centre stage in our country. Almost every weekend we have cycling events all over the place. Don't you notice? And you think that cycling or running or whatever sports are just another cheapo stuff compared to getting Arabs to shop here?

Have a Sunday off from motorised vehicles into the city. Perhaps closing all roads would be ridiculous but selected roads would be good enough. You don't need to close the whole three lanes of your beautifully engineered road, we just need one lane. No need for the whole day, because we'll be busy with our families in the afternoon. You don't need to appoint a syarikat adik beradik road contractor to pave another lane for us, you just need road paintings. Perhaps these are raw ideas but hey! You smart guys sent Malaysians to the moon, right? Why not a simple bike lane hinder your creativity?

This could be another good action

You've started le Tour de Langkawi to put us in the eyes of the world, why not maintaining the perspective? What else you want to compete in the race when the mentality and heart are at risk of being corrupted by the rate of development?

At the end of it, if you don't want to spend a cent, we just need RESPECT. That's all. Isn't that what everybody needs? Duhh...

Genting Peres...soon

Monday, March 12, 2012

Morbid Morib 156

Come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There's got to be something better than
In the middle
- Wallflowers

Those were the words that kept playing for the whole 5 hours 25 minutes gasping air and gritting teeth trying to hold on a minute longer. It was a bold idea to cycle from UKM to Morib. Though we realised that the distance will eat us and the weather will have no mercy, we fought on.

21 of us rolled off from the usual carpark at UKM a quarter to eight. Pace for the first 20km was sane enough thinking the miles that would pile up in the legs. It was supposedly to be the final endurance training prior to Kuantan Century Ride two weeks from now. Hence, the plan was to stay in 'safe' zone all the way.

This is my second Morib ride. The first was love and hate. Well, mostly hate, because I flunked on the way back. My legs can't take it anymore. My mind can't stand the invite from the 'cursed' support van Perodua Rusa.

We reached Bagan Lalang junction, a point of no turning back but 2 budak hitam decided to bail out. Either they were not up to the challenge due to personal reasons or they are just plain smart for not to get themselves bored to death.

The stretch from Bagan Lalang junction to Pantai Morib counts 30km. It's flat as capati and straight like ayam tandoori on an iron skewer. If not for the 19 of us, we could have turned back and join the fiesta at Bagan Lalang. If there were 5 of us, I would rather not try my luck.

OK. Google say it's 34.2km. No wonder la berjanggut nak sampai...

We have actually covered 50km from Bangi but the remaining 30km was killing us...slowly. I don't know why but the milestones on the roadside were like tombstones smiling back each time we passed . Though we took turn driving the peloton, each pair of us can't live up to the boredom of the endless skyline and headwinds. Reaching halfway was a torment. Getting to the remaining 15km was double the mental to the bone.

I had the idea that Morib had a facelift recently, hence it should be something of an escape from the killing miles. But, I was misled. Somewhere, I guess. True that the infrastructure facilities were brand new. New toilets, new food stalls, new garden. But there were something amiss. First, the maggi soup was a bit 'potong kepala' chopping me off at RM4.50 per bowl. I've tasted better i.e. Bagan Lalang & Lenggeng. Second, the place seems...dead. You can play football on the beach during low tide where you have to walk almost a mile to reach the water. And the smell...it just doesn't feel right.

Oh! And a courteous reminder from a Majlis Perbandaran Sepang officer, "Err...kalau boleh jangan naik basikal dalam taman ye. Tolak aje." 

...baik lah abang long. Takut pavement baru tu rosak ke? Tapi bukan ke taman untuk aktiviti riadah instead of buat konsert terkinja-kinja panggil artis separuh abad tu?

Cenggitu lah Pantai Morib yang diberi nafas baru

Dan yang cenggini.
Kedai mamak hujung ni hati-hati...sembelih sikit

OK, we were desperate to cycle back, hence there were no time to think what the government have to think. That killing 30km stretch would be double the challenge at 12.00 noon and yet we don't have to think anything. Just pedal. But there comes to a point where pedalling alone was helpless, mainly due to the monotonous of the environment. We still had our legs though.

For the first time in my life, be it as a motorist or a cyclist, we were praying that the next traffic light would turn red halfway into 15km. Everybody was shouting and pray...please turn red! We want red! Please red! Have mercy! And for the first time, when it turned yellow, everyone was braking...100 meters away. Berhemah betul kami. And we were offered with a minute of gratitude for not pedalling. Phew.

Too bad the second traffic light doesn't seemed to care of our demands, hence we had to make it through Bagan Lalang and in search of the nearest fuelling spot. That was about 40km non-stop from Morib with 120km clocked.

Drebar siam mau isi minyak cross sempadan

The old skool Esso seemed luxurious enough to accommodate our hunger for shade and hydrate. The hospitality was great, hence you can find 19 desperate cyclist sitting all over the floor between the goods shelves. Just like in the Second World War movies when soldiers hide between crates and boxes lying helplessly crying for mercy. The sight of it was horrific! Some genius even decided to splendour on a Magnum ice cream!

Cuba cari barang tersembunyi

The ride had to move on once the puak-puak berkecai caught up. It was mathematics from that point onwards. We calculated the next fuelling stop and that would be Petronas at Sepang town, about another hour. The rest of the ride was more of determination to survive and finish...of course without regrets. It was the basic practice of pull and rotate. The bunch was separated by strength. The strength was separated by the position in the bunch. It was an obvious scene of survival instinct. We were the beast. Unwilling to be tamed by the challenge. We carved our way and charged on.

Due to familiarity to the remaining route, we managed to pace ourselves together back again. A strung out of 19 cyclists charging like a speed train 32-33kph through winding Kampung Jenderam Hilir. When we are into 4 hours of endurance stuff, the heart rate starts to labour even at a moderate pace. So, we kasi hantam kaw-kaw. It was now or never. I did the honour part of it before I went kebaboom! and slowly joint the back 'splinters'. Lucky me regrouping was just meters away. And a stone throw away eventually, we conquered the 156km in a scary 5hr26min ride.

It was an awesome sufferfest. Truely a fest because we enjoyed the sufferings due to awesome ride buddies. Despite different driven ideas and school of thoughts, we put aside sentiments and shared the same wave length, ride ethic and trust, sharing the common goal to tame the distance together. Or else, we don't call it a group ride, right?

Er...apa dia bang long? Taper? 

The best ride are the ones where you bite off much
more than you can chew - and live through it
- Doug Bradbury

Ada pulak kenduri gotong royong

Beyond the peloton

Ooops! Ada trailer sikit

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Heart Beats Like A Drum

Pang! Pang-kopang! Kopang! Kopang! Kopang! Kopang! Gibink! Gibink! Gibink!

Haaa...tu la dia bunyi nya gitu kalau tengah attempt panjat Goh Tong. Jantung ber-kompang macam bunyi kenduri kahwin di sepanjang 10km climb tanpa recovery. Kalau nak bunyi extra bass from Bose speakers, boleh cuba teruskan sampai ke Resort World, tapi menu kami hanya setakat Nasi Kandar Genting buat masa ni.

My heart skips a beat when reviewing the graph
I didn't manage to squeeze any spin session prior to this attempt except from the Bukit Hantu ride last Sunday. All I did was managing my kids and house chores while wifey's away. Redha aje ler for whatever future undertakings. Keh keh keh.

Despite the redha-ness, I was still nervous for two days prior, thinking about those killer climbs at Ulu Yam, and the told Goh Tong majestic inclines, merciless. However, one still needs to prepare for the worse. I was down with check and double check thingy days before the ride. Especially the bike, the components especially the brakes! And my attire and most of all my food. You don't want to get stuck in the middle of the climb from your stupidest act for leaving your Triple Treat back in your car when your stomach grumbling for food. Tidur dalam parit tepi jalan ler jawapnya.

I frequent the Ulu Yam route to Kuala Kubu Bharu years before, and it inspired me to cycle it. And I can't imagine cranking up those long inclines when even my car had to engage third gear halfway into it. But the route up Goh Tong, be it from Genting Sempah or from Batang Kali was never an option. Not until we establised these bunch of lunatics with skewed minds but ethical buddies. From the trust we built, it was actually the  main motivation and the faith for attempts like this.

Cycling from Gombak to Sungai Tua in the middle of Sunday pasar pagi traffic require pack riding in order for us to be visible. The first challenge passed without a glitch. Alhamdullillah.

Though the chosen loop is pretty much less than 100km, the strength equivalent and saddle time was justified. Sungai Tua inclines besides Batu Dam lake were for warm ups. With fresh legs, we kawtim-ed with a fast descending to Ulu Yam Baru. 67km/hr and the adrenaline rush almost felt myself like a pro. Kah kah kah! Perasan.

Next ride we go to Ipoh

Luckily la Ulu Yam Baru got 7E, else we'll be fuelling with roast ducks and coffee instead. It's a chinese settlement, hence the genuine kopitiam can be found at every corner of the street. Too bad the regular local coffee lovers was a bit stunned with some Mamils rode into town. But the worse part was the superbikes who rode in like they own the road, creating busting ear drums exhaust noise. So unrespectful. Shame on you bigbikers with small brains.

At 1km further from Ulu Yam Baru, the junction to Goh Tong awaits. The sign says 30km to Genting Highland. That should be about 20km to Goh Tong with a bit of rolling first half and The Wrath of the Titans on the second. So much of a pleasure, we were welcomed with supersteep inclines before we managed any breather.

Actually those were not rollings, but gradual climbs yet still require pedalling in order to move. No chance for coasting at all. When the corners approach, the climb starts. From corners upon corners, you don't have to expect any stretch for recovery, cause there ain't. It lasted for hours and the climbs ain't getting tame. We were strung out throughout but still visible between us. At least that kept the motivation going, by seeing your uphill cranking buddies' butts. Sun was playing it's part burning the skin but we felt stealth from the burning spirit of concurring the climb. We welcomed every gradient changed with shouts, either from scare or just plain crazy. But still cadence hovered around 40 rpm. Aiyak! Tried to accompany Kak Pah but she was doing at 4km/hr, at that would just placed her in the Champion for Basikal Lambat category. Sekali dia stop kayuh, kompom handle aku terlipat & terus aku baring atas rumput tepi jalan. Too risky. I had to crank it up to between 10-12 km/hr gripping handlebar and glutes wrenching.

There was not a slightest look of regrets and despair from all of us, but the sharp determination and reserved heart rate counts were the game strategies. We stayed cool and composed for not wanting to jump into attacking mode (cause that would be the second stupid act of the day). Going into red zone will be penalised  and the road side drains awaits for the defeated. Trust me, that is the most cooling spot in the entire climb, but that would the most last place you want to be if time is not your option.

To exaggerate more about the 10km climb will be too boring since it was just plain monotonous. Except when one kapchai rider decided to faceplant himself on the road shoulder while descending back to Batang Kali right in front of us. It was ugly but was still an art of flying. No worries, he was back on his feet moments later with dirt on his left cheek. Then there was this group of mountain dogs (term applies since it was high up at 500 meters elevation), waited for us to pass through with some welcoming barkings but we barked back and they accepted the fact that we were in no mood for play catch.

Dig! Dig! Dig!

It was moments later when Azmar and Pedo turned back, which brought together the message the end is nearing. The rows of pines by the road and the refreshing breeze blew us into daydreams for a moment, as smiles quirks from every the tight faces. We passed by the security post and the Genting Skyway was visible straight on! It was a 4 hour ride from Gombak and lunch awaits. We digged!

Satisfaction guaranteed

However, the story didn't end abruptly. The descending to Genting Sempah was another nut cracking part. It was cold and fast. From the burning calves and thighs, now we have burning arms and fingers. From just squeezing the brake hoods, it doesn't do justice, since we were topping at 76 km/hr. Argh! Too scary. We had to tap and release from the drop bar position for more leverage and avoid heated braking surface. Science class says:  Hot brake surface heats up the air inside the tyre = hot air expands = tyre expands = tyre burst = bivouac-ing by the cliffs. I was more relieved to reach the bottom compared to reaching up Gohtong. Phew!

We were cruising down 16km Genting Sempah smiling from the feat, but not too late for a last kopek adrenaline punch with a 40 km/hr flat cranking back to Gombak with these guys. Do I want to attempt this again, perhaps but not in weekends when those superbikes are around. Susah nak dapat inner peace:]

Choose your path

Friday, March 2, 2012


Day in. Day out. Weekend in. Weekend out. Trainings never take a break. That's what I like about signing up for an event. An event. Not events. My life is more structured. Cause there's no time to waste or to haggle on unstructured stuff. Everything is in place according to plan. Week in. Week out. We'll see how it goes. Maintenance workout? I'd rather spend on something more passionate...like enjoying a plate of mandy rice and lamb.

More epic rides coming down the pipe approaching Kuantan Century Ride. Have been on recovery week a week before, meaning it's building weeks again. A month to go. Means 3 rides left before tapering. 

Last Sunday was the start of building week again. I am/we are fortunate to have lovely playgrounds on our backyard. As usual, a short but high intensity ride worked wonders.

Oh! By the way, I've got myself a pretty good bargain for a pair of training wheels. Yep, had to let go my loyal C24 to Mr. New Owner, Ziff. I am pretty much gonna miss those pairs, especially the miles and mountains that it had brought me over and under. Nostalgic. Very good wheels. But I'm migrating to Italian stuff pulak. Fulcrumo pasta. Hehe.

Been hunting high and low for these old model pairs. I don't admire the newer ones. They look cheap but never will. The 2010 are the real steed, with those gorgeously crafter bladed aero spokes, unflanged. Patience brought me tutti frutti result. Mr. Kevin Chan himself, yes Uncle Chan's son and also the new touke for BikeHouz sold me his pair. 

After the snappy spoke issue with the Reynolds, I won't be too ambitious in putting more stress to it especially for  climbings. What I need is a pair of bomb proof wheels. Hence, this is where the Racing 3 comes in.

Back to the building blocks. I planned for a timed Genting Peres climb. Previous attempts (no official timing recorded) was circa 40 minutes from Simpang. The drill was to hit 10 minutes LT with 5 minutes recovery at whatever cadence affordable.

As usual, when big events approaching, Hulu Langat will be a spot for cyclists. Four from BTHO, add 4 more from Batu 9, add 5 more at Batu 14 combined with 10 more. What do we get? A bunch of colourful MAMILs! I guess the kampung folks are accustomed to the scene, hence they don't bother watching Tour de Langkawi on TV1 la kot. Hehe.

Racing 3 was taken for a ride on this one, at least before the biggest thing come next weekend. As claimed and riden before loaned from Azmar's Racing Zero, the hubs were silky smooth you almost felt the absence of friction. The momentum from the power transfer kept the bike moving, and it's climbing some more. I just couldn't protest with the spinning and cracking up Peres with the effort. It was addictive. With the 10 minutes intervals, I could only managed 2 sets up to the peak. But it was worth every second and every breath.

Next was Bukit Hantu. With all those cranking up Peres, I don't plan for a disaster up Bukit Hantu. Hence a slow and casual climb was thrown in. The problem with this superstitious incline, it is cursed. Yep, every time. Even for only a mere millisecond, one still have the heart and regrets for climbing it. But, the most handsome climb of all should be given to Ziff with the gorgeous C24 and spanking 27 cassette Ramlah Ram. Kelas gitu nyah! He was smiling ear to ear. Hehe.

You can do this on climbs...
...but you'll never know the element of surprise
The ride was wrapped with still half an hour to go before Cinderella dropped her glass slipper at the struck of 12.00 noon. Still have time for maggi goreng with Dett, Khai and Ziff before rushing to fetch Amir from his Kumon party.