Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fraser Loop Ride: Pure Climb

I started the ride quite late, around 8:55am from HOA. The plan is to ride what cyclist call the Fraser loop (HOA Gombak-Genting Sempah-Bentong-Tranum-Fraser Gap-KKB-Batang Kali-Ulu Yam-Batu Caves-HOA). Think of it of going over the Titiwangsa range twice, and you get the feeling of how much hill climbs one has to tackle.

Manage to reach Bentong after 2 hours 5 minutes. Then I head straight for the famous Bentong Kow Po iced serving for refuelling. It's going to take more than ais kacang to climb up to Fraser, so I had some usual mixed rice from the nearby mamak. After half an hour, I head for Tranum, although I roughly try to guess it's on the way to Raub. Actually you don't need to go Raub, because after a few km north, you'll see a left turning to a road that goes through 2 villages before hitting Tranum.

The path before Tranum has rolling hills, generally on the uphill, but with some downhills as well. I stopped at one of the village to have 100 plus, and also to refill the bottle with chrysanthemum tea. There was this middle age guy, who looks more like a taxi driver, but somehow I think he stays nearby. We chatted a little. I asked how far to Fraser, and he said quite a distance. He also did mentioned of tigers appearing on that stretch, which I can't make out whether he was pulling my leg.

Once I reached Tranum, which looks more like a ghost town with a police station, is the point where I had to climb 21km uphill to Fraser Gap. And boy, this ain't easy. Harder than Genting Sempah. There's no flat surface, and the gradient hovers around 4-5% consistently. The scenery was nice though. Very fraser like..

Manage to reached Gap, and there were tons of cars queing up to go up to the top. Rested awhile, before speeding like mad to Kuala Kubu Baru. But got drenched by the rain as I reached town. Settled for roti canai for refuelling, before going to Batang Kali (around 16km from KKB).

Stopped to pray for awhile after Batang Kali. There is a turning to Gohtong Jaya, and yes, there's some crazy fellows (bacin, shazly, adzim) who went up Gohtong Jaya, then Genting Sempah, and then HOA.

Ulu Yam is just 6km from Batang Kali. Then this is the last stretch before hitting batu caves. There's 2 major climb, one long (4km) and one short (few hundred meters). The first one got me pedalling slowly, grinding at 11kmh, and boy, it's not easy after all those climbs before. Then zoomed down at excess speed of 50kmh afterwards. The last climb had me worried. Could I make it?

It's short but every bit of it is like going up Genting. I was pedalling at 9kmh, and after much hardship, finally it's over. Then passed through batu caves which has terrible, terrible traffic. Then went up to the road to UIA, and at last, hammering it down back to HOA.

Managed to reach HOA around 7:20pm. Mileage is 192km.

Tired, yes...Butt pain...yes....can run? .... yes..i think so. I better be able to run coz ironman is another 42km of running.

After Genting Sempah...

Kow Po...was quite deserted. The boss was wondering where were my other friends...

The road to Tranum...I got chased by a pack of dogs...but they get bored after awhile. this actually a town?

Fraser Gap...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Get Moving People...

This morning, I went for, once in awhile, breakfast with roti canai with teh tarik (less sugar). I know it's not the best and healthiest breakfast, but I wanted to enjoy the morning sun, having breakfast and looking at the papers.

And sometimes, I look with amazement at how some guys maintain disproportionate waist line, while having almost exactly the same kind of mamak food. This guy was, I guess, morbidly obese. And he was gulping down mee goreng and teh tarik. I had a few questions. First, does he tried to help himself by slimming down. Secondly, does he know that this kind of condition will worsen into diabetes and heart problems? In fact, does he really care for his health? I couldn't imagine myself being in his shoes.

In fact, the revenue stream collected by government run IJN is into the millions of dollars ( RM287.3 in 2007 ), shows that heart related patients are on the rise. And with Sime Darby eyeing IJN, it's becoming a reality that treating heart disease is looking way profitable than oil palm plantations.

How many malaysians really do sweat out? Ever wonder why men die earlier than women? After running around my neighbourhood for some weeks, I began to observe the following. Middle age and older women usually take a walk together, chit chatting, and they probably walk an hour or more. The men? One guy walks his dog, with pot belly hanging around his waist, while smoking. Another middle age obese guy, was sweeping in front of his garden. A few guys do walk. Some walk the dog with their wife. Only one or two men ran seriously.

The rest? I hardly see them exercise, or maybe some do go to the gym or some indoor sports. But I reckoned that 50% don't do a thing.

As I walk to my office this morning, I saw a Vitagen sign "Health is Wealth". And how true is that....if only majority of us start realizing it, and get out to sweat out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kuantan - Kuala Lumpur ride 276km

Luckily for the third day, the rain stopped, the sun embarassingly poke out, and it's a good day to cycle.
So I had to do what I had to do. Cycle back to my home in KL. My parents sort of disagree for safety concern.
They thought it's better to courier back the bike and take a bus.

After having fried rice for breakfast, I departed at around 7:40am. I had some worries on my tires pressure. Had not pumped in
since the ride from KL. Couldn't find a pump in Kuantan as bike shops were closed. So I am betting on getting home on not so inflated ones.

Reached Gambang without much difficulty. Stopped an Sri Jaya for some fruits and drinks, then passed Maran to quickly get to Temerloh.
Once in Temerloh, after the bridge, had some lunch. I think distance covered was 120 plus km. I was hoping to reach Karak in about 4.

After lunch the remainder of the journey was a bit hot as the sun came out. Didn't manage to get much speed, and reached Karak at around 4 plus.
Karak is just 52km from Temerloh. At Karak, had some drinks and was soon off. The previous fruit seller was surprised I cycled back. I acknowledged his comments,
but I knew ahead the path back is still a long way back. karak to bentong is around 15km. Had to cycled part of the highway before turning into Bentong Timor.

Reached shell station at bentong around 5.30pm. I knew I had 30 plus km to Genting Sempah, and I don't want to be stuck in the dark climbing up.
But at this point, with 195km on the meter, I was on the verge of bonking. Forget it, I am already bonked. And all this while climbing up to Sempah.
With numerous twist and turns of never ending tarmac, I just hoped my legs could take it. For if I have the choice of a support car, I wouldn't mind throwing in the bike.

After 1.5 hours and close to 7pm, I managed to reached the small bridge just before the steep ascent up. It's a 5km, I think, climbed up to to Bukit tinggi.
Stopped for awile to lace up the front LED lights because this part is totally dark.

With energy at zero, and lots of pain, and pedalling like mad, I finally reached Sempah. I was spent. But I've got to eat before going another 40km.

With lots of thinking to do, I finally concluded, anything more than 200km for cycling is pure hardship. Throw that in hills, and it becomes insane.

After dinner, I propped up the bike for the last ascent up, which is like 1km climb, before descending down to Hospital Orang Asli.
There's zero lights here, and while gravity helped on descent, it's certainly a harrowing time figuring what lies in front of the road. I was more worried of
rocks, potholes or anything that can throw me off, than some polong or hantu. A crash here will be a nightmare. In fact there was once I hit a hole and almost lost it.

Finally managed to reach HOA, then cycled to Gombak toll and back to city life.

But that's not the end of it, with 20km of MRR2 highway in the rain, it's just as hard as well.
With 1 km to go, finally the back tire went flat.
I was so glad it was 1km. I slowly walked back. At least I could still walk. Didn't want to change the tire because mine is very very hard to changed. It's not those bendable tires,
where you could easily popped the tube out.

As I reached home, I saw my car, and I felt wouldn't it be easier if I had just drove. I love my car more than ever.


Riding from KL to kuantan is not hard. At least 10 hours of riding time.

Riding from Kuantan to KL is very hard because of the climb. And also a longer distance because you have to reach Bentong first.
I think that's additional 5km. In fact it's so hard, I don't think I want to do it with support car either.

Road to Gombak...

The intersection just before Bentong, go left to hit the highway...

Temerloh soon...

At Maran, but still have 70km to cover...

After Gambang, the road is lighted, so was not worried...

Pedalling as hard as can to reach kuantan...

On the way back to KL, before Gambang...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kuala Lumpur - Kuantan Ride 271km

The ride from KL started at 7:17am. The wheather was cloudy, and a bit wet, which was great. That means the sun is out of the equation.

Managed to reach Karak after turning in to the highway just before Bentong in 4 hours. Stopped by to have a piece of papaya and 100 plus. The fruit seller said it would be a better idea to put my bike on the truck and take a trip to kuantan. I kinda agreed since there's still 180km.

The next destination was Temerloh situated 52km away from Karak. Managed to reach in about 2 hours time. Had lunch, rested, and was soon on the way to Maran around 40 km away. Until Temerloh, I had covered 149km.

I didn't feel worn down or fatigue. It's just that the distance is so far, and the time cycing is taking the toll on my butt. I didn't need a new pair of legs, but a new butt would just help. And I soon find out that the trucks, 18 wheelers that plied this area with ridiculous speed, could actually suck in my bike. It's due to the bernoulli effect. If two bodies moving at the same speed parallel, there'll be an attraction force between them. So everytime a truck passed by, I had to hold on to dear life, in case I became one of the roadkills.

I finally reached Maran, clocked 195km, at around 5pm. I still had 70+ km. Had 100 plus here as well, then was soon off chasing time to Sri Jaya. Then Gambang. By the time I reached Gambang, it was already 7:15pm. The sky has turned dark. I stopped by Gambang for some nasi impit but no sate and iced coffee.

After Gambang, it's the new 4 lane road to kuantan, totalling 30km. By this time, raid was already pouring, and I was getting wet. I kept on pedalling and the kilometers was closing in. When I finally see the bridge over the kuantan river, I finally knew I reached my destination.
After this was another 3km back to my house in bukit setongkol.


Surprisingly, I didn't feel much fatigue or leg pain, only butt pain for such a long ride (around 12 hours). Maybe it was because I was just using high cadence and didn't use much strength.

And now, am not sure if want to cycle back. It's been raining non stop. Lets see how for tomorrow.