Monday, June 20, 2011

Ultra Ride: KL-Gohtong-Fraser Peak-Tapah-Brinchang

Cameron is very far...
Route up Fraser
The bike looks pretty here...
Descending from Fraser Peak
It's pretty dangerous...route towards Gap

Lata Iskandar...
The bike has to rest too...
It's time to go home..
Route from Ringlet downwards...pretty scenic...

"What's the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it."...Inception

The idea was to climb all 3 peaks Genting, Fraser & Cameron Highlands in one day. But due to the restricted access up Genting, I had to be happy with just climbing up Gohtong. Still, the idea is too big to fit into the daylights of a single day. No matter how you put it, you'll have to ride parts of it, either early in the morning or after the sun sets.

Part of the earlier problem was there's only odd hours traffic up Fraser Peak, and even hours coming down. That adds to the time needed to finish the whole thing. Then, as I found out last week, the other route down from Fraser peak has reopened, and thus one is able to go up anytime.

In my earlier calculations, one would need to start at 4am from KL. Since the Genting peak is a pass, and Fraser situation has ease, I thought starting just around near 6am from home, with some night climbs up Cameron, would be doable.

I started at 5:53am, sped along MRR2 highway heading nortwards into gombak, reached HOA just shy of one hour, then started the climb up Sempah as the morning rays lighted up the sky.
Then it was up Gohtong, rest & eat, and then it was going downhill towards Batang Kali, KKB.

At KKB, I refilled the front bottle, as I knew this would be at least 1hr 45 minutes up to Gap. It's a good 30km climb, which is kinda monotonous, though scenic. Stopped by for nasi lemak and drinks at Gap. A bunch of MTBers were also there. There was something strange about their group name. It's called "Strange" MTBers from Rawang, if I can recall correctly.

I didn't stopped long. Then I proceeded to do the final 8km climb up Fraser peak, which wasn't too hard. But the downhill part was pretty dangerous. With sharp turns and certain sections strewn with pebbles, I had to be extra careful. Once as I ascended up the slope, I switched a few gears and the chain fell off. The bike stalled. There wasn't anything I could do except embrace for impact. Luckily nothing serious. I was more concerned about bike damage, which turned out ok.

After Gap, it was speeding towards KKB, then joining the main road, heading northwards towards Tapah. My front rim was giving me problems again. There's an occasional screeching sound from the hub. I swear after this I'll get a fulcrum zero with ceramic bearings.

Up till now, my meter was 164km. I knew Tapah is around 90km, The problem with this route is, Cameron is darn far. From Tapah, it's another 64km up Brinchang. That means half of the difficulty has just started.

From now on, it's a whole new guessing game. I've done Gohtong & Fraser, so there's not much doubt, but timing. The time is now 1:50pm

The ride towards Tapah was pretty warm & windy. Stopped a few times for refill. I had wanted to reached Tapah at 5pm. Instead I only reached 5:35pm. The cyclometer is now at 252km

As I head rightwards towards the route up Cameron, I knew this would take more than 4 hours. I've done this route once, and it took exactly 4 hours up Brinchang. Climbing after such a long distance, plus with a bag pack, would only mean more time.

I was tired, fatigue. My butt is in pain. And my speed ain't that fast. All I knew is I had to keep on pedalling. The last real meal I had was nasi lemak at Gap. After 20km, I stopped by Lata Iskandar, which is a waterfall tourist area, for iced milo & a cereal bar.

Time was running out. I hopped onto the bike again, and continued. By 7:30pm, with 15km left up Ringlet, climbing up this route would need to be done in the dark. There's no street lamps at this area.

It didn't get totally dark until 7:50pm. I turned on the front LED light. By then I couldn't read the cyclometer, and I didn't know how far was left. A bat struck me once, which is odd considering that they have sonar capabilities, and I was such a big target.

It was now a question "Are we there yet?" over & over again. The route has lots of turns, and uneven. Once in awhile cars passed by, providing ample lighting. I had to be extra careful at where to put the front wheel. I didn't want to get the tyre puncture at this point.

All around is darkness with silhouettes of trees & the night sky. It's not a place to be cycling. But I had no choice. When you have no choice, you take the only option, and keep on pedaling.

The LED light wasn't getting dimmer. Must be the darn batteries. Finally I saw orange light from streetlamps that goes into Ringlet. Yes, I finally reached the big strawberry at Ringlet, and out of this darkness. It's now 8:30pm.

I stopped for food at Ringlet, with mee that taste so bland, I thought it's uneatable. I was so tired I could have plonked my face into the plate. I knew I had to eat, as there's another 15km up Brinchang.

I've done this part in the dark before, so I knew it's doable. Restarted at 9pm. It was chillingly cold. I pedalled just because I wanted to get the heat up.

It was now a matter of calculating the KM left. After Tanah Rata, there's another 2km of climb, and that's it.

When I reached Brinchang at 10:10pm, I couldn't decide what to feel. It had took months of training & work, and it's finally done. There was doubts, and now that's erased. I finally got the idea off my head, so now I could go on with my life.

Although I didn't went up Genting Peak, this is still a very tough ride. But at least, it could give some future framework on how all 3 peaks can be achieved in one day.

Surprisingly, I didn't feel too bonked like the last ride from KL. Checked into Brinchang Hotel. I still have to cycle back to KL the next day. Distance is 313km.

Ride back KL was uneventful. Pretty hot, some rain at KKB. Took longer, but that's expected after such a ride prior. Distance is 218.5km, reached home at 8pm plus.

Some thoughts. It would be nice to get a support car the next time. I had butt pain, due to the bag. Cringed every time I had to go over bumps.

Time taken for the route is 16hr 20minutes from KL. This is the longest ride time I have done in a single day. Rough estimate for total distance climbing is 125km:

HOA-Gohtong: 25km
KKB-Fraser Peak: 40km
Tapah-Brinchang: 65km

The idea is now no longer an idea. It's real.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Putrajaya Ekiden Relay

Our team:

1) Jason Loh
2) Ronnie See
3) Steven Yip
4) Michele tan
5) Chen

As you see, we aren't the fastest group. I had a great time chasing Wong Kei Ming as he slowed down after half way point.
That brought us to 3rd position. Then Michele Tan (very fast girl) put us at 2nd, but in the end we ended 3rd overall.

Not bad, considering we're eyeing top 5 position.

Now, oddly, I missed the prize giving ceremony, so basically no pictures.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Devil II Reincarnated

Sexiest seat ever...

For the past few months I've been scouting for a new TT bike. I had been riding the Argon 18 Mercury for the past 3 years, and the front bar is having some corrosion. So I guess it's time to break the bank for a new bike, or the frame will accidentally break? (Actually very unlikely, but that's just some excuse).

I finally settled for the Specialized Transition. Now, it's actually not the most aero bike, but it looks gorgeous with aerofoil design in almost every part of the geometry. I bought the standard complete package, and then replaced the seat with the sexiest one I could find, red tape for the default white tap, and added an aero bottlecage.

Daniel helped with some tips on the bike fitting, did the final assembly, and the result was promising.

I've done 2 rides. The first was in Putrajaya, and the second using the usual hulu langat route. I noticed climbing is a bit sluggish, but perhaps that's because the back wheels is placed too near to the frame. It has ajustable back wheel position, which is great as sometimes you might have larger tyres.

But on the flats & downhill, it's totally a different riding experience.

On the flats, with the trispokes, cruising at 40kmh was made easier.

It goes downhill so silent as if you're in stealth mode. And handling is pretty stable, so assured, that there's total confidence in cornering.

But, the bike is not everything, and one still has to train. Only thing if I ride too slow, then style would be a consolation.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Double Gohtong & Fraser Gap

At Gohtong...

Superbikes at the Gap
Lepaking at Fraser Gap
At Gohtong, 2nd time..

Suddenly I got this idea of climbing Gohtong twice, with fraser gap to top that up. Now climbing from HOA gombak to Gohtong is really hard, but to climb from Batang Kali a second time, is something unknown, nor have I heard anyone doing it. Could it be done? Or would I puke on the second climb.

On the way up Gohtong, I met with Suhaimi Amy and his gang. They were stopping just after the first checkpoint from Sempah. At first we were together, but somehow he had went down to check on his friends.

Downhill gohtong to batang kali is dangerous but fun. Just remember to grab the brakes tightly, but not all the time. You don't want your rims overheating, which might burst the tyres. I had this once happened after descending from Genting peak, but luckily it happened when I was near HOA car park.

Then it was a boring, monotonous climb up Fraser Gap. I think the only fun I had was counting the decreasing kilometers on the cyclometer. At gap, met with 3 singaporeans who had cycled from Batang Kali.

I didn't plan to go up peak, so I headed straight down KKB, took a refill at Batang Kali, and then boom, it rained cats n dogs. Have to wait another 30 minutes before I could climb up Gohtong.

I wasn't worried on timing as there's ample time. As usual, climbing up this route, is mentally & physically draining. All climbs and climbs for a few km straight. The wet road made it easier, compared to if the sun was shining at your back.

Finally I reached Gohtong, which I so happily concluded that it's not impossible to climb it twice.

Then it's all the way back HOA.

I tried to roughly calculate the total ascent, and it should be around close to 2500m of climb. The view has been fantastic though, which is why I like climbing hills. The higher you get, the better the view, with sweeping valleys, and majestic mountains to accompany you.

Distance ought to be close to 180km. My meter said it was 176, but it had malfunctioned the last few k down.


I'll try to go up Fraser peak on the next ride. Now if only they would allow the route up Genting Peak, the 3 Peaks could as well be double Genting Peak & Fraser Peak. Now that would be something...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nirvana Memorial Charity Run

At the start..
Chasing the 2 Caucasians..
But ended in 4th

It's titled 5km fun run. Now this is one of the shortest run course I've ever done.

Upon receiving the bib, not many had signed up. But on the race day itself, some fast legs were there.

There was 2 Caucasians, one elderly & the other young. And some local indians. When the race started, they were off sprinting, and I had to give chase. I was tailing them for some time, before the real fast guys (2 indians) just past us like effortlessly.

Well, this is a 5km race, and you just had to put the hammer down. But due to my lower cadence turn over, I knew it's next to impossible to even hang on to those guys, so I just tried to go at my own pace.

At the turn around, the indian pair went off even faster. I was still finding myself chasing the caucasians, whom one I eventually caught up with, the younger one. He had slowed down considerably, I think due to over pushing.

Ran back in 4th position in 15:53 for a distance of 4:34 (not actually 5km), pace 3.66min/km. It's a pretty flat course. I had run my limit, but as you go faster, certain limitations will kick in. Had to improve on my cadence.

Michelle got first in the ladies. Unfortunately no prizes is given, as it's for everyone. This ought to be rectified next year, if it's held.