Monday, February 21, 2011

Cameron Interstate Ride

Genting Sempah...not much riders today...
Stopped for a gel.
Bleerggh route towards Sg Koyan.
Felda Sg Koyan...
Approaching the ranges of Titiwangsa

The route's condition is pretty good.
Long long climb...
And the view is nice..
Oh, finally seeing Cameron...
A tribute to my bike...
Kea farm..
Going uphills towards Kea farm
At this point, it's all downhill from Cameron...enjoy an hour of bliss..
Pretty descriptive...
The valleys beside the road.
Kampar...still way far from home...

Now if there's one thing that intrigued me, it was how many routes one can take, to go up Cameron Highlands. I've done 2 well known ones, Simpang Pulai & from Tapah. There's another one from Gua Musang. And it was a surprise to find out that there's a new route from Sg Koyan. It doesn't exist in Google maps, hence the surprise.

From some googling, it seems the route was completed last year. And there's some info on the GPS elevation from Sg Koyan to Ringlet as well. Day 1 of Interstate will start from Raub to Brinchang and that's a good 145km distance. But I was wondering if I could start from KL.

So here goes. Started from KL at 7:36am. I had wanted to start early, but due to some issues, I woke up around 3am and hadn't slept much then. I had packed 3 tubes, 1 spare tyre, a pair of clothes, tools, and 2 Accelerade gels. Yes, that's my only nutrition if something goes wrong.

The bag wasn't heavy, which is close to 3kg. Sped off on the MRR2 to head towards gombak. Reached HOA with the distance of 27.4km only. I thought it was 30km, but oh well. Then it was a slow grind up Genting Sempah, and quick descent towards Bentong.

At Bentong, I stopped for nasi lemak & iced kacang. This would be the last time for a heavy meal for the day. Then it was reaching raub (distance 113km). It was getting kind of hot. And there's nothing better than downing 2 cups of cane water, then eating fruits. I was kinda bloated...but I think that would go off soon.

Then it was embarking on the unknown route towards Sg Koyan. The route can be described as rolling and not so well maintained. The tarmac looks like it could use some repair. You will passthrough a section of palm oil plantations until you reached Sg Koyan itself. Had a bit of a scare as a "musang" ran across the road. I had almost knocked into it, but missed it inches.

Reaching Sg Koyan marks 163km. Had to stopped for some tasteless chicken rice, because the route ahead will have no stalls or shops for one to refill. There's a Petronas section ahead from the turning into Pos Betau around 1km. I head there first to refill on soya & some can drinks, instead of only having water.

Started from the junction towards Ringlet at approx 3:15pm. From my guess, it's a good 10okm up to brinchang. And I was hoping to reach Ringlet in daylight, if possible.

The route is basically devoid of vehicles, pretty well maintained, and new as well. There's a few uphills & downhills up to Pos Betau. And from there the steepness of the climb slowly increased. But it's still rolling up and down as well. So it's kind of frustrating in that you hope that you wanted to keep the elevation gained, but then it's all gone on the downhill. Brinchang is at the height of 1500m, so it's not going to be easy.

At the 44km mark from Sg Koyan, the route became visibly harder as it snakes up the mountain range. I think this is when tough becomes tougher. It's a good 2-3km non stop climb, then some flats. And then some more climb. But there's some downhill section as well.

The first visible signs of nearing Ringlet is farms on the side of the road. At this point I was really bonking. I didn't know what the distance was to ringlet, and I could only speculate. Finally a signboard for some hotels in Brinchang came into view, stating it's another 28km up. Yes, that's the only distance marker for the entire climb up Ringlet. But 28km isn't on flats.

I had to stopped for awhile. My back were aching from the bag, and I was famished. Downed a gel, then went back into the climbing game. Finally to my joy, I reached a sundry shop, so I stopped by, grab a bread, some drinks and chilled out at the stool outside the shop. If there's a definition of bonking, I think I found it there and then. I was staring and marvelling at the farms set up high on the peaks of the hills. I wonder how on earth did they build those structures up there.

But it was getting dark, and it's time to get on the bike and pedal. There's still rolling hills, nothing pretty much hard until you reached the final long steep climb up Ringlet. It's a good 1-2km. I was hungry again, so I stopped to have tosai with egg, and to get some rest. It tasted so bad, that I didn't finish it.

It's another 15km from Ringlet. And by this time, it's truly dark. I restarted cycling at 8:15pm. There's some downhill from Ringlet, then some flats, and then 7-8km of climbs up Tanah Rata. I had my front LED light on, and since it's climbing, it's pretty safe as long as vehicles can see you. At this point, it's just trying to complete this whole thing in one piece. Slowly but surely, I am gaining distance, so that's all that I needed to know.

After Tanah Rata, it was pretty flat, but once I reached Brinchang at 9:30pm, it's a final 15% gradient up again. Pretty crazy way to finish this whole route. I was just glad to finish off this ride safely.

Dinner was pretty tasteless. After such an effort, the food doesn't taste good at all. I checked into Kowloon hotel, and promptly slept.

Day 1: 263km


In the morning I went sight seeing around the area. I hadn't explored it from the last visit. I visited the nearby Strawberry Park Farm, and that was an enjoyable experience looking at so many types of flowers which I hadn't seen before. Had strawberries, honey & yogurt with tea, and it was just splendid in the cool morning air.

Today's ride was just basically a relaxing one. I was taking my time to enjoy every bit of Cameron, so the ride was pretty slow. Then descending from Cameron was pretty exhilarating, as you don't need to do much work to keep the wheels going. But there's some hiccups on the way down. Somehow the front rim had a screeching sound as though the brakes were applied. But after some checks, the brake calipers were opened at its widest, so how was that possible? It only happens randomly.

Then as I reached Sg Pulai, my back tyre burst. After some checks, the cause was the old rim tape being in a state of damage at certain parts. It's made of plastic. And some parts weren't even, so that putting back the tube meant that the whole tyre isn't even. I was worried that puncture might recur. I slowly cycled to Ipoh to checkin into the hotel . Question was should I fixed it?

Day 2: 89km

After getting some info on the bike shops near town, I think it's best to get it fixed. It didn't took long, but cost me having to start at 10am. I was just hoping to reach KL within day light.

So, this time it's TT mode, heads down and pedal like mad. I was kind of happy to see an average of 30kmh after 100km. But it's been hot the whole day, and late noon was hot as well. I stopped a few times to get drinks, lunch or a wash.

After reaching KKB, I decided to try the Rawang route for a change, back to KL. It's a bit further, and totally unfit for cycling. Firstly the traffic is bad at the route up Templar's park. Lorries were moving 100kmh beside me, which made me wonder what in the world are they rushing for. I had thought that the climbs here would be minimal compared to Ulu yam, but roughly you still do the same work.

Then it was KL back again. Got stucked in a bit of traffic as usual. After cycling through Jln Kuching, Loke Yew, finally I reached home at 7:15pm

Day 3: 217km
Total: 576km for 3 days.

For those doing PCC Interstate this year, be prepared for lots of climbs. Try broga reverse until you feel comfortable as you'll have climbs of similar steepness and distance. The route from Sg Koyan to Brinchang will test your climbing skills to the max, and I am not kidding.


Cheong said...

Congrats on this challenge. Some questions:

Which route do you reckon is the easiest to get to cameron-Brinchang since you have tried all 3 routes?

Which in your opinion is the safest route to ascent to cameron-brinchang?

Which route is the safest to decent (if different from the ascent route)?


yipwt said...

hi Cheong,

I think the best route is via Simpang Pulai up to Kg Raja, then some more climb up to Brinchang. But this is longer than Tapah to Brinchang.

Note that Tapah-Brinchang is 60km, and Sg Pulai to Kg Raja is 60km. I think it's an additional 15km to Brinchang if u used the latter path.

Safest is definitely from sg Pulai. View is nicer, less cars so more safe.

Descending to Tapah is kind of dangerous coz it's really 2 lanes and no emergency route.

From Sg Koyan? I think that's the hardest and longest.

So I think Sg Pulai is the best choice in all aspects...

cheong said...

Thank you

Learn Yee said...

Dude, you are insane. But looking at your challanges, it inspire me to going to do workout even I have a very busy working life now.

You are superb!

Diket said...

Thanks for the info bro. At least I know what to expect for the interstate.

Diket said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tabib said...

Wow.. superman!