Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ma'a As-Salaama 2013

Tu dia...it means goodbye in Arabic.

By this time, everyone will endure the year-end-fever of recapping what they went through for 365 days. Facebook will be flooded with them. Blogs? Not quite as popular as Facebook. Perhaps lesser crowd & publicity, hence less glamorous. I would just stay in this sleepy hollow talking to myself & whoever remains idolising the blog world. 

Praise to Allah s.w.t., the year passed by in a jiff. Not Ziff. Where is he anyway? I missed his Snail Pace writings. Time has taken the acceleration lane year by year. We grow older faster. Our kids also. By the time we have a sip of coffee on that fine evening, only we realised that we have yet to do a lot of things.

2013 was earlier planned as a year for casual. No major exams for the kids, so it was supposed to be a less stress year. It was indeed, in the house I meant. Alhamdulillah. But the world out there is not. Politics and war and killings are just getting dirtier and inhumanly. Na'uzubillah. May we have His forgiveness & love & protection.

That was global.

My path as a so-called weekend warrior didn't escape the chance of doing the weekend-warrior-stunts. No, I didn't climb any super elevation mountain, nor did I run an ultra distance event. I did not even cycle to the end of the world clocking super human miles. 

I just did the normal routine of cycling on weekends and signing up for some. I pursued the routine of yester-years as part of my istiqomah program. At this age, I don't see any extreme new-things-to-do is feasible. I don't see it can groom my resume, nor can it help me gain...weight? I don't know what to continue...

What I did was gathering some cycling friends with the same broad perspective about "Cycle & Food" and we planned for some cycle trips. That was when we had the chance to cycle to neighbouring Hatyai, the Sumpitan climb and a few other epics while indulging into local food. Most were done on weekends without jeopardising other family commitments. 

My second half of 2013 was a bit dirty. I welcomed the monsoon with my cream-pie Niner by signing up for the PCC Presidential Ride & a few other mountain bike jamborees.

My running went haywire. I took a few steps earlier of the year but it didn't catch any momentum. Now the image of running haunts me, though the itch still remains. Perhaps next year lah.

Aah! Was that a waste of 365 days? Not achieving any personal goals? Boring stuff. Every year doing same thing only.  


Next year? I do have some new ideas besides repeating what is on schedule. One of it is taking up bike touring. The activity is picking up with the growing numbers of bike lovers in the country. Also my growing age tends to see into a more quiet kind of cycling that would perhaps suits my slower pace & peaceful mind. I might write a book for that. Chewah.

Best of both worlds. Touring bike, but too expensive

I should start from the 'beginning'

That should include my attire

And plan my tour...simpang Kodiang ada 3 marhalah lagi der

That's a wrap. Have a blessed 2014!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Wetlands Jamboree

Only after a week of epic, I had minimum time to prepare for the next mountain jamboree. I think I was still recovering from the 7 hour feat and the rest of the bike stuff were still over the house. The attires were still in tumbles. Helmet & gloves last minute washing. The Camelbak? I'll bring the smaller one, so the big one still smells with Semenyih organics. Yucks! Lucky thing I had the bike washed the same day after the Prezy Ride. 

Paya Indah Wetlands were always in my place-to-visit list. I know there are something different to the place, every place is. However, the not-so-adventure of me nowadays, the plan was always shelved. Perhaps due to lack of publicity, and only when some years ago the place took centre stage when some NGOs lodge complains about the abandoning of some wildlife there.

The attraction here is the Crocodile Pond and Hippo Pond. Two large ponds with these special species. Ms. Gloria was a gift from Botswana. Now perhaps with some babies. The crocs were massive and lots of them. Some pelicans and other wetland creatures come and go throughout the 3100 hectares of land. This jamboree took me through some rough trails into the wetland, a new geographical scene on knobbies.

We were early on event day. Surprise! Weather was great though it rained late last night. We RVed at a few designated points and marched our way to PIW without hassle. A drive through Dengkil town on Sunday morning suddenly went busy especially with tens of vehicles transporting bikes.

The crowd was huge. All 1400 of us, that will squeeze out of PIW through narrow winding road on to the main Dengkil-Banting road for 6 km. I started off slow for some warm-ups, while laughing away at people overtaking all over the place trying to create a race climate. What's wrong with these guys? A podium lucky-draw prizes awaits everybody, not the fastest.

I made my way up the to the front (assuming) when we were already onto bigger & wider road while making good of the steady cadence and bigger wheel size. All effort went down the drain when the first off-road obstacle was a very huge climb in the palm oil plantation where everybody that I overtook came together again at the massive traffic haul. Argh! The rest of the ride to finish the plantation section was basically overtaking and been overtook again. It was kind of de-motivational but a jamboree is to have fun. Right? ....silence.

Connecting us back to the wetlands was via a 5 km stretch of slippery fire road along the ELITE Highway. I was going fast avoiding mud holes and stubborn-trail-hogging cyclists who would not give way for me to overtake on the right. They think they can go fast when they heard my "ehem!" notification while not giving me way, but they were scared when mud holes appear and went to abrupt slowdown. There goes my momentum.

The next stretch through THE wetland trail was a new adventure. The first thing that welcome us was a 2 km straight stretch of pit trail. It was pain-in-the-ass. And when I said PITA, I mean the real thing. The trail may look plush with the soft & soggy appearance, but it was MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE. Lies underneath the thin layer of dark brown soil are thousands or maybe millions of rotten roots and woods and stumps. It gave us the thuds! The knockings! The scraping off tyres! The side slips! The boredom! The every-mountain-bikers-most-irritating-things on a ride. It was also a single track trail, and there goes my overtaking opportunity...again.

Please don't get me wrong about people taking it as a race against my ability to overtake and complain about
One of the best
trail-hogger. Cycling off-road is about the ability to choose the right line. And some of these people don't have it. They either bulldoze themselves through everything, or wait till the last moment to think & chose their line. And that would be all too late and probably not a good style if we are riding with 1399 other people. The 2 km stretch will perhaps create a bee line of 20 km. And when fatigues crept in after humping oneself unnecessarily earlier on, my "ehem!" noting will again appear to be soundless.

I stood patiently behind some fellow cyclist and took a deep breath thundering through them when chances appear. That almost took half a gallon of my remaining strength attempting two to three stunts like that.

Geographically, I find the trail awesome and interesting. I noticed vast flat land on both sides, with thick bushes and lots of fallen dead trees. These creates the soggy pit soil when drainage was poor due to the flat topography. Among others, it also creates new species of moss and other green life taking refuge on the dead woods. Too bad I was not in the mood of taking pictures, it sure would turn out to be a nice one.

We arrived back to the PIW approaching from the North noticeably from the scenery of huge lakes and water lilies. The trail brought me back to Batu Dam trails. Nostalgic kejap bleh? I went straight on, fast while they have wider path and hammering the pedal when I knew that the end would be near. Didn't take the chance to slow down and enjoy the geography but perhaps a revisit would be nice.

Without any alert, I was caught by surprise when suddenly fellow front cyclist slowed down in abrupt when the trail disappear. There was only a huge water body with grass and red tapes as our path. What the heaven?! Do you mean we have to ride through or in that? Like an amphibian? I tailed the front riders cautiously, pedalling and splish-sploshing ourselves through for a few hundred meters at waist high water depth. It was fun and at the same time scary. Kot-kot la suddenly the Jaws of Death appear from beneath ka! Naya weiii...

It was a big relief when finally the submarine adventure was over. Phew! It also took away all the muds clogging the dérailleurs and drive trains. That was also cool. I push the pedal harder maintaining the momentum, drafting some guys and went pass them when they went out of gas. Jahat.

Alhamdulillah the ride ended after almost 2 hours covering 36 km of the Wetlands. Awesomeness.

Interesting jamboree

Flat out

Monday, December 9, 2013

Prezzy...superb suffer

This particular event is held every 2 years. Organiser need loads of time and planning in creating these super trails ensuring super torture and mega suffer for the participants. Whether us mountain bikers are becoming super suffer freaks or we are just plain boredom of the only weekend stuff to juggle around.

Like all other super hyped events in Malaysia, mountain bike events have become popular and signing up will require urgent assignment. However, the fee are still minimal unlike the hiking fee of all other sport events.

PCC Presidential Ride take turn between Kayuh Lasak. Just nice. Or else we'll be burning more calories and more muscles on year end.

This year's Prezy was held at a new venue, a fish farm at Jalan Sungai Lalang, Semenyih. Nice ambient.

With some teasers and trailers from Facebook about the trails, the sceneries, the holy cow climbs and inclines and super sweet downhills and single tracks, I already anticipate the gutsy feeling of sufferings like previous Prezies. After my crash, I had only a week to saddle up at which I was hoping that I could survive the challenge, suffer and regrets thrown in as well. Hence, no suspense required approaching the weekend.

That particular morning, we were at our usual pace to the venue...slow & late. Parking was ample and the ride to the starting line was casual. My only strategy was to push a bit harder at the first leg to avoid bottleneck congestion upon reaching the trail head. And of course to complete all the 4 stages. We have more than a thousand participants to squeeze into a single track. Talking about Sunday morning traffic.

As such, I picked up the laid trails from Baikbike as follows, together with my nonsense talk (senang nak citer):

It was all over Semenyih and it was green & scenic. I was so busted to take photos

Stage 1 – Black Mamba
A pure cross-country route with hardly any technical sections winding its way like a cobra up and down and left and right across mostly rubber and palm plantations.  Starts with 4km of tar and dirt roads to spread out the crowd but expect the usual jam when we hit the narrow trailhead. There will be the unavoidable hills so pace yourself and take it as a ‘warm up’ to prepare for the big one in the next stage. Approximately 11km. 70% canopied and all rideable. Expect to wet your shoes at the end of the loop but before that, enjoy an exhilarating downhill.
Legs were still fresh and spirit was up. I can't recall the actual trail condition since I was too busy enjoying the sweetness.

Stage 2 – The Bitch
This is where you’ll put your ‘warmed up’ muscles to good use. Highlight here is that climb that we call the Bitch but you will be rewarded with a fantastic downhill leading all the way down to a V dip with a stream at the bottom. Depending on weather conditions, the Bitch can very quickly burn you out on a hot sunny day as you will be riding to the highest peak of the entire ride. Caution on the long descent though, the initial part of which is peppered with deep water gullies that can trap and send you over the bars.  It narrows into a singletrack with a deep descent down to the stream. An unavoidable hike-a-bike here and riders are advised to exercise extreme caution here and after crossing the stream. You will be riding along a narrow ledge with a DEEP ravine on one side!  Approximately 12km and 40% canopied.
...this part of the trail also was in my state of blur but it was obvious that that so called the Bitch climb was not so bitchy due to the promising weather and awesome durian orchard trail. Still fun & enjoyable. Legs still holding on.

Roller coaster ride busting quads & calves. Sakit pinggang...!

Stage 3 – Enchanted Forest
Longest stage of the ride where you will find a bit of everything. Lots of fun singletracks and rolling hills cutting across rubber and palm plantations, orchards and secondary forest but highlight here would be the Enchanted Forest that closes this stage! You have to be there to appreciate the beauty of this part of Semenyih. And it’s here too where you will have a fantastic time blasting down and out of the Enchanted Forest. Approximately 17km and 60% canopied.

...the taxing have started creeping in with built-up miles and lactic acid & time accumulation in the legs and body. It was basically a chicken & egg situation. Should I have saved some legs for this later stages, I would have caught myself in the massive traffic jam earlier on. Or if I pushed myself, the risk of cramps and fatigue will sooner or later get me. I risk the later option. Ended up with a painful right quad at one of those steep climb. I can't barely stand and threw myself aside on the vegetation and let the pain subsides.

Hydration went out two-third into this stage. All 1.5 litres in the bladder. An hour without water. My mistake to skip rehydration at CP2. Again, I was thankful that the weather was great that made thirst at bay.
Stage 4 – Braveheart
The finale loop designed to test the toughest. It’s called Braveheart for a reason. This is where riders will have to deal with the ‘Kill Hill’, after 40km of slogging up and down the hills of Semenyih. We take our hats off to all who complete this last challenge. But you will be rewarded with one quick ‘best-in-the-world’ descent to the finish line. This is the stage where the boys/girls will be separated from the men/women! And remember to top up your water before entering the loop. Approximately 11km of enjoyable suffering!
...arrived at CP3 barely 15 minutes before the cut-off time. It was 12.15 p.m. and the weather was still great. Had the luxury of pushing High 5 Sambal Ikan Bilis down the throat and an explicit cold canned 100 plus treat from a friend. Thankful! 20 minutes later I was off to venture into Stage 4 unknowingly it would test my manhood.

The so called Kill Hill caught us by surprise when we thought that the first climb into Stage 4 was it. It was nothing suicidal back then, where the downhill section almost like bringing us back to the finish line. Just as we thought it was conquest & concurred, that view of bare slope with tiny people parading their bikes almost blew it off. The morals, spirit, legs, strength...all gone down to zero.

I can't afford another cramp attack in an attempt to cycle up these hill. Besides, it was obviously impossible to my standard plus all those weak muscles thrown in. These guys are assassins!

Turn after turn, the climb never end. I started hearing curses and bad jokes in the air. My gestimate that the distance was circa 1.5 km only but the vertical distance felt the same. Most of us can't accept the super steep gradient. It was hike bike & break for an hour. The so called 'best-in-the-world' descent to the finish line was nothing other than lame extras waiting for the remaining time for the body to shut down.

My creampie

It's been a while since I had this pain. It was all over. Almost similar to finishing a 26 miler. Almost like a Powerman. But the pure dirt treatment was unearthed and it was still awesome.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crash and not burnt

Counting backwards, it's 16 days without mishaps. Alhamdulillah. Going back 3 weeks ago, I was doing back to back cycling. The crazy suffering ride to Part Dickson from home on Sunday, and a comeback to Bukit Kiara doing the full loop on Tuesday. That was the first day of Muharram. Physically it was taxing that it took throughout the three days until the weekend to recover. But came Sunday, the short ride up Genting Sempah was miracle. The muscles showed signs of strength. I was flying...

...perhaps this is a bit exaggerate
...but so was my descending. A mere 15 minutes rolling down from the peak, I hit the deck. Hard. It was pain again since my motorbike crash in 2008. The road rash was the worse part to deal with. It was split second at the crest of the corner, the rear wheel slides and my last thought was gritting the pain over my left cheek. My left face was red covered in blood. My right hand as well. My chest was in pain, so was my thorn jersey and bib. 

The remaining descending seemed endless while the corners seemed doubling up. Tackling those crests doubled the effort with pain at bay. I can't think more than the next cause of action of dealing with the wounds.

Azahari suggested the first aid treatment should be at the Hospital Orang Asli Gombak. Alhamdulillah the procedure was zero hassle having to have dearest lovely nurse cleaning up the wounds and a jab up my sleeve.

The rest was a week on medical leave and despair. And another week of work piles. However, I didn't lost my spirit. Looking forward for another weekend after recovery.

I'll make sure precaution is priority

Monday, October 7, 2013

The highlight of the week was planned to being dirty playing mud and dirt with buddies for a ride into Kemensah. It has been ages since our visit and we kept on wondering for its existence. Plans were laid out towards the weekend, but not until Friday evening when Amir decided to ring the bell. He made a request for me to usher him for Sunday's school sports day. 

"Abang masuk 3 acara tau ayah." And I wouldn't want to miss these. I've missed some of his soccer matches but this is no exception. A few messages threw across the whatsapp board and we are good to go for Sunday.

Back in my mind was also to substitute my ride. I had no choice but to do it on Saturday which is a seldom thing. I need a mid-size ride after 2 weeks idling. And I was also contemplating to do one at the same time since Friday would normally be a hectic day till night and a Saturday ride would be creating more lactic acids equals suffering.

Browsing for a last minute group ride, BJCC would normally ride on Saturday and they planned for Kuala Klawang from Batu 18. Blessed. I chose to join them, but still before I hit the sack, I was still hesitant.

I had to do this. Left home and drove to Batu 18. That would be abnormal, but I had to be there in time for the roll-off at 7.30 a.m. It rained in the wee hours, resulting to a very cold morning in the small town Batu 18 and English climate up in Genting Peras. 

The torment started straight after the descending towards Titi, the 20km ride to Kuala Klawang and back (the breakfast session was of course OK), the ride back to Titi, the climb back up to Genting Peras and back to Batu 18. A combo of 10% pleasure and 90% torture. That was a wrap and I spent the rest of the day sleeping it over with very tight hamstring.

OK. The actual highlight was the sports day. Amir did 3 events! I tell you, this guy is a master in doing these kind of stuff. The ones that does not require 5 minutes or longer staring at books. The psycho-motto thing is superb for him and I don't have the slightest idea where he get it from. I don't do sports day or football friendlies in my hey days. Not until I was in the 20s. But Amir excels without even knowing his age boundary.

For the first time I came across hurdles at a primary school sports day. 80m hurdle for the first event and I saw him at the first lane. He was strong throughout but the last hurdle caught his stride and he toppled. Lucky it was on the field. I knew he was crying from the frustration and not from the fall, but when I saw his team mates comforted his way back to the team tent, I decided to let him grow and deal with the fall as an athlete.

I missed his winning 200 meter dash while I was away awhile but KakLong was there to cheer his victory. I bet that it was a priceless moment.

The grand finale was the 4 x 100 meter dash. Favourites. Amir was the second runner. When he received the baton, the Blue Team was second. But he managed to be first at the last 20 meter before passing the baton to the third runner. However, a small accident happened between the runners and the baton fell from the third runners grip. Then, they were second in position again. But they kept the strength and maintained the place till the end. Alhamdullillah.

I am proud of this fella. A 2 minutes pep talk earlier in the morning in the car was my only chance that he understands winning and losing is not about luck, but plain effort, prayers and Allah almighty's bless. 

"Losses are just another way of Allah's decision to give us something better. Winning is also Allah's way to tell us that we can only ask from Him and no other."

The 4x100 Blue Team feveret. Sorang lagi pi beli air sirap

Hat yang ni iklan...tapi champion in the making
cuma belum tau speciality

Bapaknya dapat naik 1 kali je podium tu :P

Naufal, our jiran missed his 2nd runner up long jump medal

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mission for Sri Gandos

Without any event commitments until year end, a few of us who are free to do anything have been planning to attempt the Kampung Sumpitan climb. What was so legend about this climb by local cyclists be it the pros or simply weekend warriors had us craving for the experience. They called it the 'Bukit Magnet'.

Right after our Hatyai cycling trip few months back, we have started planning for this. After so many adjustments to our calendar year, we pushed ahead with it though with less miles in the legs. Al-maklum the month of Syawal had us stalled from cycling. Alasan...

The usual suspects, the ones from Hatyai. Ordinary fathers & husbands on weekdays and the food-hunter-on-2-wheels on weekends.

We left KL on Friday evening after settling all routines. Escaping the city Friday traffic was something that we looked forward to. Nonetheless, we find the North-South Express-way was also busy up to Ipoh. How come eh?

We reached Selama, Perak somewhere after mid night and hit the sack hoping for a good rest from the drive and for the tasking day ahead.

Selama, a district in Perak still keep its heritage. The small town and kampung climate brought peaceful thoughts into me. The smell of traditional breakfast cuisine filled the air as we cruised through town on our bikes. The busy morning market by the road side definitely will do great in a shutter bug's lens.

We headed towards the first obstacle, so called Bukit PLKN. The three brothers altogether with increment gradient at each climb. Short but steep with the sun shine on our foreheads. Best of all, the sound of primates from nearby wilderness cheered our way up. Epic.

Killer Loop
The next civilization was Kampung Masjid. Such a peaceful place providing the beauty old kampung scene, quiet and serene. I wish one of this plot is mine. A quick pit stop for a quick taste of kuih Jawa and apam from the local stall tossed around before we left for the next bigger thing.

Just as we took the left turn, the gradient abruptly changed. As if like the board game Snake and Ladder awaits, only without the ladder. Maybe Snake and Bike. The combination of bends and inclines were spectacular. I don't why, but these crazy dudes simply seek for these kind of torment.

Even the pros and grand tours throw in mountain stages as part of the tour speciality menu. Hence, we are weird for talking nonsense about elevation and gradients in our everyday conversation.

The climb spread out for almost 13 km without recoveries. It was bad and ugly. But the shades from the forest canopies was cooling and beautiful. The ferns were gorgeous. I kept on being guided by the gradient readings from the cyclometer. An average of 7-8%. The steepest was 17% and we welcomed it with a roar and disbelieve. The most obvious thing about this climb is how heavy we felt attempting to churn and turn the crank. Abnormally heavy. Any paranormal or scientific explanation for it?

A celebration awaits at the peak. Just a few short post mortem for the completion of the task. The roll down towards Lenggong was a point of no return. Similar to the descending from Peres peak down to Titi. Likewise from Janda Baik to Bentong.

The descending was tricky at some part where steep and sharp bends held our breath for abrupt manoeuvrability. The way we descended through the gradient, we were also held up by the thought of climbing it on our way back.

As we reached the cross junction at Jalan Baling-Kuala Kangsar, Route 76, the open sky awaits. The sun shone bright while the road open up for the next 20 km rolling. That was where my old friend 'migraine' strike. I guess it was due to the super hot weather. The joy was kept aside, I only aimed for the next stop which was Restoran Tasik Raban.

Neglecting the pain, I dug in with the rest, indulging ourselves with the lucrative lunch menu of Tenggalan, Talapia and deep fried Keli. Fish dish is a must here. A revisit is another must.

Heavily discussed over lunch about our ride back, we decided to ditch the suffer party of having to climb back Sumpitan from Lenggong. Assuming it would be a disaster for most of us. We opted to circle around this so called Perak State backbone towards the south for a more flatter route. By calculation, that should take us another 100 km more, which will  sum up the total ride distance for this epic to 178 km. Migraine some more!

We had no choice and the majority have spoken. My head was too weak to digest deeper into the options, I just hooked on. The following 20 km towards Lubok Merbau junction was another killing field. Every time it started to incline upwards and when the legs started cranking, the blood started flooding the head and delivered excruciating pain. At times I almost shed tears holding it up. As we entered Lubok Merbau, that was where I threw in my towel, and decided to ditch my bike up on the support car and rest my head.

This small peloton took us through Padang Rengas - Changkat Jering - Taiping via Jalan Air Kuning - Kamunting and back to Selama. I was on and off the bike, but mostly off when the pain crept in again. The tour through these part of Perak was awesome. In fact, we also got chance to cycle along the famous and cooling Taiping Lake Garden. At that point, I felt like we were the urban fixies type pulak.

Enroute towards Selama, we stopped in the middle of nowhere (since I haven't been to this place before) for solat at Pondok Tanjung. Peaceful kampung enveloped us back again with lush greenery of palm oil alongside the new Keretapi Tanah Melayu double track.

Finally we managed to conclude our epic after almost 10 hours on the saddle (for most of us and exclude me) reaching back Kampung Guru, Selama at 6.30 p.m. feeling beaten up but the Sri Gandos awaits. All in all, it was this local delicacy that funded our motivation to attempt this epic ride.

Route A6 of the Bukit Sumpitan

Friday, September 13, 2013

Slowly my blog list runs out of interest when most of the blogs consist of running blogs. Honestly, I can't barely think of anything that relates to run...for the time being of course. Not that I have lost the passion, but sadly enough I have lost the time to even think about it. The best sneak chance that I have was when scrolling down the facebook status with an average speed of 4 meter/seconds. I only glance at event dates, long lost running friends who are still actively running and by the time I reach to the fee column, it broke my heart.

Not that I'm broke nor a cheapskate, but I am just being realistic and practical...and perhaps logic, in a way. Ever since I skipped the running habit, I find that spending a handful of a family dinner treat on a fee is ridiculous, especially when I only run for pleasure. Unless if I am on a mission, say training for a marathon or attempting to break my personal best. 

Of course I missed my running days. I miss my running legs. I miss the huffing and puffing jigging together with the melody of the earpiece playing Kelly Clarkson -  People Like Us. I even miss people around the neighbourhood who will honk or PIN! at the site of me. The worse of all, I miss my running friends. I can only see them on facebook, celebrating their glories every other weekend or their carboloading rituals to say the least.

In reality, I can only afford cycling. That is also after shoving aside other businesses and routines and being selfish for a bit. I only need a day and that would be a peaceful Sunday ride for a coffee fix and nasi lemak perhaps. Been doing that for the last 3 weeks and so far so good.

Not a single event was signed up so far except for a mountain bike jamboree or two. These doesn't require serious training approach, hence the Sunday ride is sufficient. A road trip was planned. Next weekend. The so called Sumpitan Ride with fellow Hatyai buddies. It should be an awesome trip and a great climb hopefully. Will be updating soon.

Btw, I did signed up the boys for a cycling race. Yes, a race. Really. Nominal fee only maaa...fun fun. Too bad dad didn't had the time to complete the bike setup, so Amir had to do with his 1 tonne BMX bike. The weight caused him the lost. Umar also. But we did had fun.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ramadhan-Syawal Escape

Sebulan la kot genap update blog. Takde aktiviti selain 'interval training' kem Ramadhan yang mana aku rasa KPI kali ni tak sebagus tahun lepas. Setakat attempt untuk maintain aje, nak score ada liat sikit. Mungkin faktor usia...boleh?

Tahun ni juga aku langsung tak campur aduk kan Ramadhan dengan sebarang aktiviti riadah, walaupun pada awalnya aku bercadang begitu. Adalah lebih rasional nya aku concentrate aje kat Ramadhan tu sendiri rather than aku terkejor dan berlari dan kayuh macam 11 bulan yang lain dalam setahun. Walaupun beberapa event ada dalam list untuk di 'sign' kan tapi masih sempat untuk aku prepare selepas Ramadhan. Lagi pun, macam biasa, tiada target pun. Bukan pro athlete atau ada penaja yang menaruh harapan setinggi langit. In fact, 'interval' Ramadhan yang memang sepatutnya aku fikir secara serious dan balun macam lepas sebulan tu ada event marathon. Betul tak?

Hidup ini hanya sekali. Semoga ada rezki untuk berjumpa Ramadhan Sale lagi tahun depan.

Gambar takbir tak dak. Ni selepas takbir dah balun lemang siap-siap...
...bersama jiran tetangga dari perantauan :P
Menjelang Syawal, travel plan tahun ni di adjust sikit. Kami solat di 'kampung halaman' kami sendiri, no other than Surau Al-Ansar, BTHO itself. Sejak dari raya eve, aku dan Amir dah follow program takbir. Sambung lagi pagi. Sempat jugak test suara tarik macam Hattan. Hahaha.

Sejak pemergian arwah ayah 3 tahun lepas, aku make sure pagi raya bersama mak. Tapi tahun ni, aku mintak izin mak untuk adjah. So pagi raya tahun di in-laws pulak. Lepas soru & isi tangki baru kami bergerak ke Selatan.

Suasana raya di Johor memang tak pernah gagal dengan kemeriahan. Berlanjutan sampai raya ke-5. Memang ziarah tak habis-habis. Alhamdullillah suasana gembira di kalangan saudara mara dipelihara. Aku pulang ke KL dengan rasa puas hati. Masuk kerja raya ke-7 pun takde malas-malas, itu pun sebab 'tray-in' backlog sebelum raya kena kasi settle. Sampai la ke hari ni, aku masih mencungap dengan tugasan mencari rezki halal.

Ni Geng Orang Kampung Junior Chapter mai beraya kat Diket's Joints :]
Cungap atas saddle jangan lupa. Ahad lepas jugak sebelum pergi perang dengan kambing open house, aku tunggang balik basikal. Nasib baik jumpa di bawah timbunan habuk. Tapi kaki dan jantung sungguh payah nak synchronize. In fact dua-dua main lagu sendiri-sendiri dan yang menanggung seksanya ialah conductor, aku ler tu. Konon ada cubaan nak test threshold kat last 2KM sebelum exit Lenggeng/Mantin tapi ternyata sekali irama dan lagu hanya mampu bertahan sejauh 200m. Adeh...pedih.

Balik lagi seksa. Penghargaan untuk Ziff dan Junior di atas perkhidmatan 'bike towing' all the way back to BTHO. Memang supa-domestica la syarikat anak beranak ni.

Setelah sebulan tak beriadah, bukan aje rider yang 'pancit'... hik hik uhuk..
Setelah beberapa hari dan ketika aku bermuhasobah sambil termenung lepas ride tu, nampak gaya aku dah patut start tukar objektif aku beriadah. Kita nantikan timbal balas selanjutnya dalam episod yang akan datang...entah bila.

Setahun sekali layan hat yang ni...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ramadhan mai lagi...syukur Alhamdullillah

Cukup lah berjimba. Dah wajib masuk kem training untuk akhirat pulak. Every year kena masuk kem ni. Kasi polish apa yang dah mula malap dari tahun lepas. Al-maklum la, iman macam Yo-yo. Aku ni bukan para alim ulama'. Semua benda macam tu. Kereta pun kena tukau minyak hitam. Nak masuk marathon kena training paling koman 18 weeks. Hat yang ni training sebulan je tapi untuk dunia yang kekal selamo-lamo nya. Takkan tak boleh ye tak? Sebulan jer.

Approaching Ramadhan aku hanya sedikit excited dan tiada any important plans for the execution. Ye la, maksud aku plan sampingan selain yang wajib tu ler. Aku cuma plan untuk go with the flow and maintain apa yang termampu. 

Solat sunat Tarawih yang pertama pada Ramadhan eve suddenly menyentuh perasaan. Hati jadi pink kejap. Terdetik nostalgia (nostalgik lagi orang tua ni...) bahawa Ramadhan yang lepas macam baru aje berlalu. Dan excitement kembali mengusik kalbu especially dengan kemeriahan 'kampung ku' ini. Dan dalam masa yang sama jugak aku terasa sedikit hiba mengenangkan kejap aje nanti Ramadhan akan berakhir. Huk...huk...

Kemeriahan di kampung kami memang best. Bukak posa di surau dengan family, solat Maghrib di surau dengan family, solat Isya' and Tarawih di surau dengan family dan boleh sambung balik projek tadarus al-Quran dengan kaum. Mintak maaf, PARAM tiada dalam agenda kami sejak tahun lepas lagi ye. 

Jadual yang padat di malam hari membuatkan aku tak sabar nak pulang ke rumah dari office tiap-tiap hari. Moga-moga Allah beri kami sekeluarga dan seluruh ummat Islam ketabahan dan kekuatan membelenggu nafsu dan full swing beramal di bulan mulia ni. Dan mendapat Rahmat dan barakah bulan hebat ni. Insyaa Allah.

Macam biasa, surau Al-Ansar maintain program posisi 4-30-4-2-1. Macam line up JDT. Hahaha. Memang padat beb. Tak sempat penat. Janji masa bukak posa jangan terkam macam pi perang. Jejak mid-night baru reda sikit. Tido awal or tido lewat, bulan posa ni sure mengantuk punya siang hari. Lotak je kepala kat kerusi pun dah boleh berdengkur. Asal jangan terkezut pi sepak meja sudah.

Ustadz kat tazkirah 30 minit tu bawak peringatan benda-benda sama jugak. Dr. Fadzilah Kamsah pun kata kanak-kanak kena remind 200 kali baru depa ingat. Orang tua mau 400 kali kot nak tembus otak dan hati yang dah berkerak tu. So elok la sangat kita chill dengar tazkirah tu kejap sambil lunjur-lunjur kaki. Mana lah tau, mudah-mudahan ROI (Return of Investment) menguntungkan.

Abih witir, kita layan moreh sat. Kalau kat hotel orang kata 'mingle around' la. Layan orang kampung kami ni syiok gak especially yang dah senior-senior tu. Asyik citer pasal basikal, pasal lari, pasal event je. Tukau citer pasal kampung halaman, ayam, itik, kobau sekali sekala kan ke best.

Agak-agak tekak dah basah sikit baru lah kita carry on dengan exercise mata dan mulut pulak. Dapat satu jam cukup la. Lebih kurang group LSD jugak, dalam 5-6 orang lepas ler 1 Juzu' setiap malam. Mudah-mudahan dapat kat kita Syafaat kitab Allah tu nanti, tak kira la kat dunia mahupun di akhirat. Insyaa Allah.

Orait. Setakat sini dulu buat masa ini. Aku doakan sahabat-sahabat se-Islam kuat dan tabah menjalani ibadah posa semoga dapat grab apa tawaran-tawaran yang Allah janjikan di bulan Mega Sale ni. Rugi kalau tak sign.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Burger Stadium

Free sikit weekend since tak berjimba menjalankan tugas chauffeur sepenuh masa. A few classes for the kids takde in Ramadhan. And the Sunday will be a great big hole without outdoor stuff. Will think of something later.

Sambung citer weekend selepas Hatyai pulak. Kena gak citer as a record and since it is one of those interesting stuff yang jarang aku buat. Balik kampung halaman menziarah bonda tercinta sebelum Ramadhan dan pi tengok Liga Perdana kat stadium. Tengok bola kat stadium paling rare & dah lama tak pekena.

Though I was a bit hesitant to accept my sister's invitation (she's a big fan of team Johor Darul Takzim ), I had to do it bukan sebab JDT tapi sebab I'm a big fan of my little soccer star. Amir nak sangat pi tengok football match kat stadium and get the live experience from the thousands.

It was the last match for JDT in The League and the opponent was another big team, the Red Giant. Selangor daaa. Apa lagi, bila giant dah bertemu giant, we hava giant crowd la. 

Beli la jugak jesi, so kena jadi model
The trip to the ticket stand that afternoon brought me back to 20 years ago in the 90s when the Southern Tigers was the favourite in both FA Cup and the League. My memory is a bit vague and I'm not a good football follower. I just go and watch and enjoy myself. My best guest is, I was still in my secondary school era when night visas was a bit flexible for a teh tarik session or a football match watch like this. 

OK. Cukup la nostalgic tuh. Dah tua-tua senang sangat nostalgik. OK, kerana Amir, ayah turutkan sebab Amir juga perlu rasa pengalaman macam mana ayah dulu jadi sakai stadium. Haha. 

Paling aku tak boleh imagine sebelum aku decide untuk pi, is the TWO hours waiting. Sister told me we had to leave for the stadium latest by 6.00 p.m. to get a good seating position. What?! And we need to do nothing for the next 2 hours 45 minutes until the match start? Adeh.

Sekitar stadium dah macam pasar Uptown, penuh dengan gerai souvenirs and food especially the all time favourite Burger Stadium with their motto 'sebelum game RM1.00, lepas game 5 kupang'. Tapi la ni dah naik ke RM2.

Kami agak kelewatan memasuki stadium. Stadium dah padat. Langsung takde ruang untuk kami. Cilok & menyelit punya usaha, dapat la jugak positioned ourselves sebelah scoreboard, at the top most row...standing with so little room to move. Even nak melonjak Yahoo! pun tak boleh.

20 tahun tak menjejak kaki di sini
Lucky la football fans ni always in hyper mode and creative, hence the 2 hours were spent with Mexican Waves and singing macam kat Wembley (old skool selalu refer Wembley je). Dinner burger and air kotak aje. Dah level survival la ni.

The match started and crowds were always with the usual cheers and complaints and suspense throughout the 1 hour 30 minutes. Penat. And I was standing almost the 4 hours campur waktu menunggu. Kalau ada waktu kecederaan, kompom aku pi mintak referee untuk keluar stadium. Lucky la Amir dapat seat, if not sure bonk ler aku nak dukung dia balik ke kereta.

Ada brader approach aku. "Bang, resit bang?"
oooo...ni rupanya guna resit tu
Game ended and I was eager to know whether Amir serik nak pi lagi or otherwise. As expected and the true blood of Diket will always seek and enjoy the adrenaline. "Lain kali ada game bola, Amir nak pergi lagi la". With hands on our shoulders we sang the JDT fan song.

Aku pun tak tau macam mana depa selamat seludup masuk flare daaa...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Epic North Ride 2013 - Hapjaiiii

Banyak jugak citer nak gebang tapi macam feel tarak. Especially bila part nak bagi flow jari jemari ini menaip word after word. Tambah lagi 2 weekend berturut-turut sebelum Ramadhan tu aku isi kan dengan berbagai perisian menariks yang acap kali aku buat. Tapi takpe, ini sekadar menyentuh sikit lebih kurang untuk tujuan rekod dan bacaan santai. Boleh ke?

Mapmyride route log
End of June yang lalu, aku telah menumpang geng peloton Northern Chapter untuk merentas sempadan negara. Kami kayuh masuk ke negara jiran, Thailand. Pengalaman pertama aku ke negara itu sekaligus pengalaman pertama kayuh di situ.

Kalau nak di kira, banyak la jugak tempat-tempat yang pertama kali jejak kaki dengan kayuhan. Contoh yang lain, beberapa tahun dulu Fraser's Hill buat pertama kali aku sampai & dengan basikal. Begitu jugak Swiss Garden Lumut ketika Interstate 2011. Kalau naik kereta belum tentu kot.

Semenjak kayuhan interstate anjuran PCC dah mula mengenakan yuran penyertaan yang kurang diterima dek akal, aku terpaksa meng-kuburkan hasrat untuk menjelajah dengan mereka. Kadar yuran setinggi itu boleh bawak satu famili ke local holiday spots & chill. Hilang akal ke apa depa tu?

Tapi kami ada jugak plan untuk buat bike tour of our own. Hanya setakat merancang. Execution nya sokmo tarikh menjadi isu utama. Bike tour ni boleh adjust kos perbelanjaannya mengikut kadar kemampuan.

Sehinggalah local kelab basikal Perlis ni anjurkan Epic North Ride 2013 dengan yuran hanya RM60 untuk penginapan di hotel selama 1 malam, selain goodies. Murah kan? Kos pergi Perlis & balik KL pun lebih mahal dari yuran! A few of us tidak melepaskan peluang apabila kami di offer untuk selitkan nama di bawah geng MKH (satu group cyclist termasyhur di Kulim). 

Epic North Ride 2013 ni sebenornya by invitation especially untuk local northern groups only. So, ada la beberapa group lain yang aku perasan base pada jersey depa.

Alwin, Azmar & aku gerak from KL Jumaat petang lepas kerja. Melepaskan trafik Jumaat untuk exit KL memakan masa macam boleh sampai Ayer Keroh kalau trafik smooth. Padahal kami cuma nak bergerak dari Kelana Jaya dan masuk highway PLUS. 

Berkat drive bergilir-gilir, kami sampai di homestay area Beseri, Perlis jam 1.30 pagi. Itu semua termasuk sesat barat di sekitar Perlis Indera Kayangan. Aku rasa kami pusing setiap simpang mesti ada tulis Kodiang. Hebat sangat ke Kodiang ni sampaikan setiap pelusuk jalan boleh pi sana? Trauma kejap beb dengaq nama Kokdiang...

Homestay. Neat.
Homestay kami ni chill ni memang sempoi. Rumah kampung berkembar. Satu touke yang mempunyai beberapa rumah homestay lagi di dalam kelompok yang sama. So, homestay dia aje dah nampak macam satu mini kampung. Yang bestnya, breakfast boleh dihantar ke rumah dengan bayaran tambahan hanya RM3. Best.

Sampai homestay, syarikat adik beradik Azahari dah lena tidoq. Kami ber-6 in total pun tidoq la dengan nyaman di dalam kedinginan suasana larut malam kampung. 

Esok pagi memang liat mau bangun. Suhu bilik tidoq kami memang perfect untuk dijadikan alasan tidak bangun. Tapi Hatyai menjadi misi utama kami. Kelam kabut sikit la pagi tu since kami telah dimaklumkan bahawa acara akan bermula tepat jam 7.30 mengikut janji Melayu Utara. Bahaya...

Lebih kurang dalam 5KM memandu, kami sampai di IKM Beseri sebagai event venue. Ada lah lebih kurang 150 orang kaki kayuh tegar yang dah bersiap sedia untuk terkam. Suasana daerah Beseri ni tersangat lah aman & nyaman, jauh sangat dari hiruk pikuk angin bandar. Sukar untuk aku lupakan feel dia.

At IKM Beseri, Perlis. Pinjam gambaq Kakikulenguhlagi
OK. Lets leave Perlis and let us stay on the road to the border please. Kayuhan ala santai dalam our small group of 6 menuju Wang Kelian, salah satu pintu sempadan seperti Padang Besar dan Bukit Kayu Hitam. Cuma Wang Kelian ni lebih kecil dan kurang sibuk dengan trafik. Kebanyakannya pejalan kaki dan motorsikal...dan basikal seperti kami. Tapi sebelum sampai Wang Kelian, kami diberi bonus dengan bukit Wang Kelian dulu. Jarak 3.3KM dengan average gradient 12%. Sebutir-sebutir peluh jantan membasahi badan tatkala dingin pagi masih terasa.

Proses imigresen Alhamdullillah berjalan lancar kecuali kereta Subaru Forester Azahari yang mengambil sedikit masa untuk lepas sebab dalam rekod Siam, kereta buatan dan model tersebut takde. Hahaha! So, depa terpaksa la download dari jaringan & dengan kelajuan internet di tempat terpencil macam ni, aku tidak surprise kami boleh habih sepinggan mee hun sup sempadan.

Paspot! Paspot!
Aku dapat rasakan barang jualan di bazar sekitar sempadan memang murah jika dibanding dengan tempat lain, walaupun di Hatyai sendiri. Memang ramai lah. Orang Malaysia & orang Thailand dah susah aku nak bezakan. Depa keluar masuk sempadan jalan kaki macam biasa je. Aku ada dengar during weekend memang depa boleh cross each other's side tanpa dokumen perjalanan. Agaknya la kot.

Wang Kelian belah Thailand. Will come again
Sebaik selepas minum pagi, kami memulakan kayuhan di bumi Maharaja Siam. Zaman sekolah aku hanya faham cerita pasal Raja Siam aje. Masa zaman berlari aku dengar banyak cerita pasal major events seperti Hatyai dan Bangkok Marathons. Malah ada jugak Phuket Ironman. Lepas tu dengar pulak citer seram pasal perang saudara di daerah Pattani.

Weekend kali ni, aku cuma tau kami akan beramai-ramai kayuh sejauh 130KM dari Wang Kelian ke Hatyai melalui jalan entah mana aku langsung takde idea. Janji kami ikut aje signboard. 

Buat permulaan, kami kayuh di jalan ala kampung yang agak cantek dan lebar dan kurang trafik lebih kurang 22KM. Lepas tu kami dah kayuh di jalan utama. Kira macam federal trunk road menghubungkan antara Daerah Satun dan Hatyai sehinggalah beberapa rangkaian jalan ke daerah-daerah lain. Jalan mirip Jalan Kuala Selangor ke Sungai Besar tapi lebih kemas dan keadaan baik. Pemandangan sepanjang jalan masih lagi disajikan dengan suasana rumah kampung dan pekan-pekan kecil yang terdiri daripada beberapa baris kedai di kiri dan kanan jalan. 

Our feveret store
Antara tempat termasyhur yang kerap kali kami stop untuk refuel ialah rangkaian pasar mini Tesco Lotus Express. Adik beradik 7-Eleven gak nih tapi pilihan barang aneka jenis yang lebih banyak. Paling kami gemar ialah air mineral produk Nestle dengan harga hanya 5 kupang!!! Haaa...kat Malaysia, air minum sumber paip SYABAS pun dah RM1.00. Sedap pulak tu rasa air mineral ni. Pelik pulak kami kenapa Nestle tak jual air mineral ni di Malaysia.

Kenderaan di jalan Siam ni lebih banyak berbentuk pick-up seperti Toyota Hilux, Isuzu Dimax, Ford Ranger dan macaam-macam lagi. Dah paling sempoinya ialah, most of them dah modified. Yang rendah, tinggi, lebor, terkangkang...semuo ado! Cantek-cantek pulak tu. Bas perantaraan bandar pun tu dia punya tinggi dan meriah decoration luar. Tak sempat aku nak capture deco Dragon Ball untuk tunjuk kat my kids.

Panas dan kering by Kakikulenguhlagi
Approaching Hatyai, trafik dah mula sibuk dan beransur sesak. Kami tiada panduan untuk ke arah hotel yang di booking penganjur. Tambahan lagi lokasi para peserta yang dah berterabur sepanjang jalan membuatkan kami tiada tempat rujukan untuk bertanya. Beberapa stoppings di kedai dan tanya orang tempatan tepi jalan untuk lokasi dah akhirnya berjaya melalui perbincangan dengan touke 7E berpandukan peta. Nasib baik ada peta.

Hotel Ambassador yang terletak di tengah bandar Hatyai memang mengingatkan aku dengan suasana Geylang di Singapore. Deretan kedai-kedai yang padat di dalam network jalan yang sangat serabut. Tambah lagi dengan kehadiran penunggang motorsikal tanpa helmet yang menderu tanpa henti. Tapi street depa kat sini aku sangat kagum dengan rate kebersihan. Boleh kira la sampah tepi jalan, almost setiap masa bersih. Cuba korang pi Chow Kit, nak termuntah ler kalau berdiri tepi jalan dalam seminit. Bukit Bintang or KLCC lain ler citer. Itu tempat exclusive. Tapi Hatyai ni tak exclusive pun, tapi bersih. Tabik. Itu pandangan aku je.

Selesai check in, freshen up dan rest sekejap, kami terpaksa akur dengan program free & easy yang di cadangkan oleh beberapa self appointed tourist guide. Adegan tawar menawar dengan pengusaha tut-tut berjaya membawa kami seramai 16 orang (dalam 2 buah tut-tut) ke Hatyai Floating Market. Sempat lah kami menjamah beberapa jenis makanan dan masakan dari mereka. Sodap.

Ini bukan Red Light District ye. Ini dalam chopper nak pi
Operasi Vietkong Tour of Duty cari pulut mangga :]
Malam menjelang tiba dan kami dikenalkan kepada restoran tom yam berdekatan hotel. Orang Kelate pulok touke nya. Terkam sampai pitam segala apa yang depa bawak ke meja. Kalori yang dah guna hampir seharian atas basikal perlu di top up. 

Since dah sampai sini, pergi lah jugak jenguk Night Market yang disebut-sebut tu. Memang padat, dan mostly dengan Malaysians. Depa kata over the weekend, Hatyai memang penuh dengan Malaysians. Mau jalan pun susah. Sesak banget. Nasib baik terjumpa port pulut mangga yang sangat enak di layan di tepi jalan tu. Balik jalan kaki ke hotel senyum je. Sambil layan Stage 1 Tour de France ulasan bahasa Siam, aku dah terlolap.

Pulut mangga secured. Setup perimeter. Lai lai lai
Ahad, kami kayuh gerak balik Malaysia. Start kayuh lewat sikit since dijangka jarak kayuhan tak sejauh semalam. Kami masuk Malaysia melalui Padang Besar. By 1.00 p.m. dah menjejakkan kami di bumi Malaysia semula dan tanpa segan silu kami terkam kat first gerai kami nampak lepas border. Maka bermula lah serangan saka makan kembali dengan hidangan mee hun sup, rojak buah dan bagi melepaskan rindu, kami order lagi pulut mangga.

Mini train back to Beseri, Perlis
Maka, kayuhan balik ke IKM Beseri penuh dengan kelembutan dan lemah gemalai since jarak hanya lebih kurang 20KM aje lagi.

Selesai lah sudah kayuhan Inter-country dengan perbelanjaan kos rendah dalam masa 2 hari tanpa perlu aku menggadaikan ayam itik lembu kerbau dan pokok manggis di kampung.

Kalau nak sambung baca citer hikayat saka makan, boleh teruskan...

Plan kami untuk bermalam pulak di Selama, kampung Azahari dan adik beradik. Highway dari utara dah mula sesak menjelang peak hour orang balik kerja campur rider balik dari Hatyai (macam ramai rider...hehe). Next target kami ialah nasi ketam di Juru. Memang jurupandu kami cekap mengambil setiap selekoh tepat ke destinasi dan tepat tatkala perut dah mula berkumandang masuk waktu makan. Ketam cili, udang dan ikan bawal goreng cecah sambal kicap. Apa lagi mau citer? Bedal aje...

Ketam kecut. Aku attack udang & ikan bawal
Overnight di Selama juga aman macam di Beseri. Maklum lah, suasana kesibukan kota metropolitan langsung tak menunjukkan bayang. Paling dekat pun Kulim...kot. Terus aje kepala ni berat tatkala suhu persekitaran sesuai untuk aku melabuhkan kepala di bantal.

Orang Selama panggil 'market'. Amboi. Cakap omputih
Esok pagi lepas sarapan dan lawatan mencari durian di market Selama, kami terus bergerak pulang ke KL. Tapi sebelum tu sempat lagi pi recce jalan untuk next ride plan iaitu Sri Gandos Century Ride. Stay tune untuk kayuhan sakan makan bulan September nanti. Insyaa Allah.

Selamat berpuasa :]