Sun, 28Aug05, Kuantan-Kijal 107km
Merely a 4 hours sleep after we rushed from KL to Kuantan for InterState 2005, Kuantan-Batu Rakit Merdeka Cycling trip. At 0430, we had got our baggage ready on our support car, WL’s tough look Kia Sportage. Final check on our bikes, off we headed to Hotel Vistana to meet up the rest of the cyclists.
After the registration and loading our baggage to the official baggage vehicle, we started our first ‘chain reaction’ at 0600 sharp with the lead of the safety vehicles to make sure the road was clear for a swamp of 100+ bikes. It was indeed an exquisite scene where the main road flocked with blinking red rear lights & front lights from bikes.
We were heading to a light industry area then into oil palm plantation area via a narrow, stony & pitted tar road. Exactly at 20km, my back tyre punctured. God, not a good start at all! Thanks to RW & CM for their skillful pit stop like tyre change action. Shame on me, they are girls! WL, who is our support car driver on 1st day, arrived on time with the foot pump. Eventually, we spent about 20min to have the wheels rolling on the road again.
We had a short break at 51km. CM started to grumble that she had have enough. We also started to psycho her that she can do it and she should try to exceed her own limit. We got our feet on the pedals again and heading towards Kemaman. Rolling hills awaited us! There were so many camel backs to overcome. One of the steepest ascents almost made me felt that my bike was actually going backward! When HW overtook me, somehow, it stimulated my thigh muscles to generate more ATPs to attack the hill like mad! I feel good every time I beat a hill which deserted with a speedy decent. I often enjoy watching my speedometer’s raising reading while doing an aerodynamic posture. Lifting my butt, head keeps close to the handler, eyes stare in front. I could feel the wheel spins so hard, making a hissing sound; the air glides swiftly through my face, and, ventilating fast through the helmet. That’s when you could feel the SPEED!
After the hilly route, it is a flat tar road where I started to lead in front for the rest to draft. We were heading towards Cukai town where the famous Hai Peng Coffee Shop awaiting our arrival to refill our stomach at 85km. We rode in a faster speed as I was driven by my own hunger for a good lunch. We arrived at noon. The shop was crowded with tourists, locals & 100+ cyclists to have a sip on their aromatic coffee and charcoal toasted roti. Really nice! Somehow, it seemed that only me who still having a good appetite. I wanted to order more but the rest didn’t show much enthusiastic on the nice foods there. May be CM & HW who are from Kuantan felt no fuss to the foods there.
With the newly loaded carbo to be burnt, we waived good bye to Cukai town. At 99km, Perwaja Steel factory was within our sight. We were able to maintain our steady speed until we finally reached Strawberry Hotel. Touch down… We congratulated each other, especially those 1st timers like CM & HW. They surprised us and themselves I suppose to have finished the day 1 in a good shape. It is all about ‘Mind set’ as I kept telling them.
Due to some mistake by the organizer, 2 groups of cyclists tried to check in a same room. Eventually, we made the way although we had already settled down in the room in prior. Dislike a fellow’s bossy attitude.
At evening, we went out to the beach side. Only 2 morons took along their office material to read at the beach (me and WL :-). The rest were having a good time with the sea. It was so relaxing while watching CM & RW on swimsuit. My only comment is, they were not sexy enough… Too many clothes on themselves… Oops, I should continue my reading J
At night, we enjoyed the video taken by WL earlier. I know WL was very itchy to put his feet on the pedals next day. I just can’t find my toiletry bag! I went back to the previous room to look for it as I might have left it behind. None of them saw my accessory bag though. Damn it! I slept with anxiety…
Mon, 29Aug05, Kijal-Marang 133km
At 0530, I woke up with a moody face. My mouth still tasting the bananas I had before my sleep. No teeth brushing, no face cleaning. Hate it! Rushing for the 0600 2nd day flag-off. Grab my bike and baggage and head to the starting point. Once I threw my baggage into a truck, the bossy cyclist came to me and told me that my toiletry bag was in their room! I was more than happy to hear that rather than put anger on them! It was a great morning to start with though my mouth still smelt like banana. Today, CM will take over from WL to drive the support car.
The longest distance of the trip, 133km begins. At 0600, the main road was so dark. We could only spot the blinking red lights. I never like to cycle in the dark! It makes me feel unsafe with ‘unknowns’ awaiting you until your front light reaches it.
We had been told it will be an ‘all-flat’ day. WL led the group as I had done my duty on the 1st day. He pedaled so hard like a just released mad cow! 30, 32, 31km/h… were the ticking readings on my speedometer. All managed to follow tightly. Passing by the Petronas & ExxonMobil’s crude oil ternimal. The plant is so huge, which covers hectares & km of area. A genuine heavy industry. Just about 2hr, we arrived at a Chinese stall for a break at 56km. CM was there already with the support car. First words came out from my mouth to her was why the heck she didn’t shoot us with RW’s video cam. Because I know I look great in video J No battery... L We were among the earliest troops to arrive. I felt the stiffness on my thighs already. I was scared that I couldn’t last long. ‘Mind set’…! Replenish my empty bottle with 100+ and mixed it with 2 packs of energy powder. Taste great! Just want to make sure dehydration & cramp were away from me.
At 61km, once we made a left turning at a junction, it was a ‘Oh My God’ seafront scene! Once CM’s car overtook us, I quickly called her to stop for photo session. The breeze was refreshing. The seafront was captivating. The camera never stops clicking J
We strolled into a suburban town and paced towards Marang. We managed to catch up a medium speed peloton & drafting them. I had saved up a lot of energy for not fighting the wind at the front. We did stop by a motor shop to have HW’s bike fixed. Loosen nuts. Each pedaling he did, the joint will ‘TICK’ once. I teased him that it was his RPM indicator. It was annoying though.
Anggullia Resort! The ultimate destination of the day.
My longest single day ride ever, 133km! Surprisingly, I didn’t feel the fatigue that I was expected! I felt my body was ready for the last day. My mixing of the energy substances with 100+ must be working well on me! Checked in to a neat chalet nearby the seaside. Having the coconut juice that CM bought us was so rewarding!
Goodness, I realized I had accidentally put my baggage onto a wrong truck instead of the official baggage truck! Investigation showed that it should be on a truck which driven by a group of Penangite cyclists. The bossy cyclist was one of them L Waiting for them to come back… Then, we decided to go out for lunch first. I had to borrow change from WL. Except his underwear of courseJ No doubt, it was as windy as the wind at east cost down there… wink wink *_*
We circled around the town for food. Then, we met ‘the truck’. Exchange of words confirmed that my bag was with them. Thank goodness. I had been the laughing stock of the day. My teammates labeled the bossy cyclist as my ‘lover’. We do have the fate to know each other from the hundreds in this trip J It is a blessing.
Evening time was the PCC group photo session! Everyone was on an official yellow shirt. Smile and say Cheese!
HW complained about his fingers movement after his 2nd day ride. He felt the numb and couldn’t bend his fingers. We thought it was alright and it shall gone soon. I teased him that caused by he spent too many time on guitar. A rainy night made me slept like a baby.
Tue, 30Aug05, Marang- Batu Rakit 110km
Our last quest! Another 110km to wrap up the trip. Marang to Batu Rakit is only 50+km from main road. The organizer is kind enough to discover other alternative routes for us so that we could enjoy more sight seeing. HW’s fingers still having difficulty to bend as usual. I saw him still able to push a button on camera, so, it was ok (Piu… he still able to take our picturesJ). Luckily, it was his turn to drive. From a winding road, we strolled into the outskirt villages where booby trap was everywhere. The notorious Cow Dang! Freshly baked! Everyone was yelling ‘Oh Shit… Ooh Oh Shit’. Shit indeed. Later on, CM complained that RW’s rear tyre was actually splashed up a small piece of dang to her face! Puke!
We caught up with a big peloton which in size of 100+ school kids in uniform and with Jalur Gemilang. The parade leader was possessing no less than 5 flags on his bike. I suppose it was a typical school event to celebrate ‘Merdeka’ Day. As a patriotic youth, I led the vow of ‘Merdeka’ while passing them. They replied in a joyful louder volume! We all felt excited and proud. It feels great still.
Kuala Berang! We stopped for our breakfast. A sumptuous east coast local delicacy! 1st time in my life, I ate a curry puff with fish filling. In fact, mostly, the kuih muih are all with fish filling. It was so tasty! Chatted with some local postmen who curious about us! We all shared the same Merdeka eve joy.
Sun had been so kind to us for the past 2 days.
Not today! We were roasted! The hot weather, UV and body heat started to tell me that I was tired. I got a second wind after a short break to regroup as some of the members were dropping further gradually. We also kept pumping water to hydrate ourselves. The last 20km, left only CM and me in group! WL left behind with his own pace, RW left us to tag with faster cyclist at a speed of 35km/h like remora fish (Traitor!). Poor CM had only me as cover. And, me, had nobody to cover! At least, I got CM as companion. Pity WL, only sun was with him. J
We were nearer to Batu Rakit for each pedaling we did. Chain and crank were swiveling well with each output from thighs to toes. Last 10km, we rode at 30km/h, CM still able to catch up. Great, I could put more focus on the road and maintaining the speed. I shouted out for the count down. 5km to go… 4km to go… 1km to go…
Cheeky RW came over to congratulate me and held my hands up and pose like winners. HW was video tapping. No wonder… We were the 2 in the group who survived in style throughout the 3 days of 350km. Shortly, WL arrived with his trademark smile! Officially, we declared “We all have made it”. Most importantly, we were all in one piece. God bless.
Had a very relaxing day. Soaking in the sea water, playing with the wave, peeping on bikini ladies, teasing each other for fun, sing together… WL continued his lonely walk along the beach. Must be missing his girl friend so much J Myself, already thought of my diving trip on the next day at Lang Tengah. The dinner was the most sumptuous one in 3 days. Lovely night to sleep in a cosy room.
I woke up late but still able to join the group for breakfast. HW showed me his catch-of-the-day in his camera.
Goodness me, a sexy bikini lady! Mouth watering & saliva dripping man… yeah, that had improved my appetite so much.
After some effort to squeeze 3 human beings & 4 bikes into Kia Sportage, it was time to waive goodbye to WL, CM & HW as they headed back to Kuantan, then KL. Me, RW & Richard who arrived last night will head to Lang Tengah instead for diving trip.
It is such a satisfying trip! Last year, the experience of falling when I tried to do drifting like InitialD still haunting me! Now, it is a history. A special compliment to RW who had stuck to the group, and giving her support to the rest most of the time. Normally, she is the typical remora fish that will suck herself to a faster group. A handful wild horse to control J WL’s organizing is a legacy that we shall not take for granted. HW & CM should feel proud of themselves for their 1st taste of such long distance ride. Their face already stamped with the wordings of ‘Ask for More’ for such energy-dissipating event. Indeed, it is another milestone for everyone. For me, it is another chapter of my OutdoorXplorer.