Monday, December 17, 2012

Bek-2-Bek

When the legs are feeling obnoxious and when adrenaline pumped in so bad, the head kept on spinning plans for whatever spinning options available. My weekend was pretty much tight up with a bek-to-bek spin. Surviving both rides and post ride recovery was surprisingly OK.

Putrajaya
Been awhile since I last joined the Putrajaya Night Ride. With the weekend plan scheduled to be in Seremban, the least I could do was to hook up with these guys. It was a late entry after some delay with the kuliah but all was good since these guys were the considerate bunch plus, it's Friday night! What's the rush for anyway?

Dataran Putrajaya was packed! Traffic was pretty much hectic too. I just squeezed in at any available space I could find, ignoring any thoughts of getting summon. Too late to think about it either.

Wow! So many people joining meh? I think easily there were almost...30?! Some familiar faces but most of them aren't in my contact list. I tried to be as casual as possible and open up for any kind of riding pattern these guys had up their sleeves. Though my initial plan was to do it at an easy pace, soon I regretted making plan for a mtb ride the next morning. Argh!

Begini Pak caranya!

Jangan bikin pening-pening.
Bawak bertenang ya!
Satu pose untuk anak-anak. Peace yo!

It was more like a paint ball game instead of cycling. Attacks came from every corner, at almost every stretch and by almost everyone! Damn! None breathtaking chances. You just need to kick in and hooked up with the group. The quads were screaming by the time we almost ended the ride approaching Alamanda. It was a good workout in a sense for a short ride, but the muscles might have some premature exertion in another sense. That was kind of risky though. I was glad I survived most of it. The worry was more on the next morning plan.

I skipped the teh tarik session (if there was any), and drove back juggling the plan for tomorrow. Threw the road bike out of the car and dumped in the mtb (crazy thing) and forced my eyes shut while rubbing the quads with concerns at 1.30 a.m.

Kiara
I was overly lethargic the next morning, but bailing out and breaking a promise is not in the list. Besides, mountain biking is more FUN! And I'm going back into the Bukit Kiara trails! That is one thing I don't want to miss.

I was running a bit late meeting Alwin at the RV point but all was good. He was late too. It drizzled a bit but the trail kept on giving promises for a good ride. Though with heavy legs and a slight feeling of groggy, the simplest plan was to have an easy Kiara welkambek ride and finish by 10.00 a.m.

Soon before we hit the trail head, we were welcomed by a few old time buddies. Definitely they were surprise seeing me and pleased indeed. We hooked up and decided to ride together as the regulars were tailoring the trail plan. I just tag along, lost into the new roller coaster Kiara trails.

We entered via the Carnival trail head and hit the first climb spot on. It was still an impossible climb like it used to be years ago, only with an improved rock surface to stop erosions. It appeared to be more brutal in another way. Scary!

We skipped Lung Buster for Office, new for me. Slowly carving away deeper into the spiralling single tracks with ups and downs, and tight switchbacks. 200% concentration plus skill  between brakes, legs and balancing. The damped ground and wet roots from last night's rain added extra bonus. The 680 mm wide bar got strangled up at some very tight switchbacks. The grogginess adds up to the distraction. Office itself provide more than just warm ups. Zapped half my dwindling juice.

A buddy had some difficulty catching up with the pace and the technical trail. We rerouted our plan for a quicker and less technical trail. Still, the originality of Kiara remains for the rest of it until we reached Sri Hartamas. I tossed down a Nescafe (go away groggy!) and a nasi lemak ... and a roti canai (what?!).  Sorry. Can't help it. Suddenly I was starving. I remembered having breakfast though.

Round the table chat covered the usual mtb stuff. Most of it browsed around yesteryears' epic rides. Those were the days. If asked for a repeat, perhaps I'll take a rain cheque. Not into the adventure thing any more I guess. Alwin and me decided to ride back to Lembah Kiara via the Sprint Highway and not with Komeng, Ajak & Zul. We needed to round up our ride.

The remaining weekend was in zombie mode and legs weigh a tonne. I was however surprised that it didn't last long that I used to feel. I was happily cleaning the bikes on Sunday evening, ready to store it for 2 weeks zero ride.

The 2006 Pat's Kiara Trail Map
Current map (Endomondo)
Le profil

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Epically X-Rated Kayuh "Laksa" Version


The word “epic” is best explains the X-Rated Kayuh Lasak. What turns out to be a planned ‘kayuh laksa” ride, gave birth to an epic “tolak basikal” ride. Nothing gets easier than that. And there goes my whole week of lower back ache and insufficient beauty sleep. Not about complaining here, but rejoicing the adventure and torment celebrating the 10th Kayuh Lasak Penang Jamboree served by KOTRT. Thumbs up!

Four of us planned for a quick getaway for this ride over the weekend, but it proves that you don’t get enough of Penang from just a night stay. And you would just kill yourself from the oversize traffic chaos.

I’ve skipped a few Kayuh Lasak. Done my first in 2003 for their second Kayuh Lasak edition and I was addicted for more suffer fest when KOTRT kept on adding more thrills and challenge. I came back for the next 5 consecutive years before I hung up the bike for a more ‘clean’ ride on the road bike :P

Kayuh Laksa version for me, as always, was due to the lack of training…macam ler dulu-dulu pun train? Yesteryears was once a week aje kayuh, hence this lazy butt adopted the same ritual. And you’ll be amazed at the moment of truth where the big momma’s climb can be really a pain in the butt.

Penang has been popular about the traffic, which started from the Juru Toll. Though we tried planning our travel time, the traffic conundrums can’t be avoided. It continued on entering the bridge but surprisingly Jalan Masjid Negeri was silky. It rained throughout the evening over the island, and that was just promising for a bonus thrill on the trail. However, we had loads of Penang meals to chase the worries away. From nan tandoori to cendol and Penang laksa. Nasi kandar? Save that for post ride.

The volume of participants grew year after year. My first Kayuh Lasak had only about 500 passionate mountain bikers putting on our trail vacation spirit, tasting those holy single tracks left behind from the Colonial age. This year, the crowd grew immensely into easily 1500 riders, and that created a huge impact on the trail traffic as well.

We came late that morning due to logistic issues and of course parking issue. Hence, Alwin and me decided to chill and rolled off from the tail end. Honestly, we were actually the last ones leaving Youth Park and the last ones crossing the gate up the Jeep Trail. But, it didn’t last long before the climb starts and hundreds of riders started to stop pedaling and started pushing. Jeep Trail was packed! People were pushing bikes all over the place and that left only a single line to keep pedaling. If this guy pedals too slowly, then we were stuck tailing him without any room to overtake. It was a 4km climb and I lost a kilometre from bike portaging. Attempting to ride it was almost impossible. It was just too steep for me. I should come back for a revisit.

Traversing the island via Penang Hill towards Balik Pulau was plainly 100% epic and 200% adrenaline. Every mother climb gave birth to mother downhill. The continuing descending from the Jeep Trail climb brought me back down memory lane. It was an endless technical descent and you’ll be using all your muscles for it. Siapa kata turun bukit tak guna muscle? The straining starts from the tip of the finger till the tip of the toe. And you’ll start asking yourself when it will end? It was just awesomely long!

The tax of climbing came abruptly before you even dreamed of reliving the smile from the descending. The second climb was nothing less than the first one, only with less traffic. But the scene was different. It was better. We climbed through a durian orchard and the endless sight of Balik Pulau coast on our right was simply breathtaking.

Not quite finish with the hefty climb, we were challenged with a technically suicidal descend. That slippery concrete narrow lane swerved at switchbacks after switchbacks bringing another endless adrenalin rush, and dangerous too. A split second of wrong judgment, I could’ve overthrown myself over the side and land in Balik Pulau! But, that didn’t take any toll so far since the swerving trailing of 10 riders was caught up by the over cautious ones up in front. That was just a little too bad for the adrenalin junkies. Or else, it would be a lovely snaking descent.

We reached Balik Pulau and started climbing back up on a tar road, just like Genting Sempah only with a slight blow from the coastal wind. This was supposed to be the pre-climb or legs loosening part because what wait was another big momma! The final one I hope. It was just plain monotonous except for some single track section climb that was just very tricky when you don’t have the rolling momentum while tailing another group of over cautious riders. Sometimes I had to give a bit shouting motivations just to keep them going. Pressure sikit la konon J

Eventually the trail came up to a slight civilization whilst approaching the Ayer Itam Dam, after another round of tricky switchback. By this time, there’s lesser canopy from the foliage and becoming hot by the minute. The following downhill thrill was nothing more than pain and fatigue in the forearms. It was another slippery concrete descend and it was too steep. There was no more tapping on the brakes but more like squeezing it for your life! My mind started playing the “Rumor Has It” tone all the way down and when it was about time to bail out from the over kill, the final checkpoint await. BIG Phew!

6KM ride back to Youth Park via Ayer Itam town and part of Greenlane, blending in back into Penang chaotic traffic. I guesstimate that it was slightly after 1.00 when I crossed the gantry…smiling of course. The rest of the gang was already chilling out with fruits and cans of Red Bulls. Sumptious!

Though I missed Checkpoint 8 when I failed the cut-off time, it was still an awesome jamboree. I gave this a 5 star when all the previous 3 jamborees in 2012 combined would never come up to this one. Coming back? Definitely, not just for the ride but for Penang heritage J


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