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.


Anonymous said...

You are amazing man! Salute!

K3vski said...

One word - CRAZY! Haha well done.

Cheong said...

Congrats on an ultra-ultra ride.

Thanks for the info on the Simpang Pulai-Brinchang way on a prior blog entry. I tried it solo recently and enjoy it. Now, i got hook and want to try the Tapah-Brinchang way. Some questions:

1. I notice from the pix, you appear to have descended from Brinchang to Tapah. I understand that it is not so safe to descend this way. Any advise on what to look out for or the best time or day to descend there?

2. If I would to ride up via Tapah to Brinchang, is there a reasonably safe place to park the car at the Tapah foot-hill area so as to go up and return the same way on the same day?


cRAzYtoMatOmaN-D said...

Ever thought of doing fund raising with your rides?

You can get logistic, accommodation, nutrition support, that's for sure.

yipwt said...

hi Cheong,

Yes, I descended Brinchang-Tapah, & it's a bit dangerous. But as long as you go slow & cautiously, it's ok. Try to descend before late evening, as the traffic tends to increase, and you'll find yourself stuck behind a vehicle.

After the toll from the highway, turned left into Kg Pahang. There's some shop house on the right. You can park there.

It's better to start early, say 7-8am, cause it'll take 4 hours to reach brinchang (with stops). You can come down the same day (should take 2 hours).

Raymond, no plans yet. Event management is not easy.

Simon said...

Awesome job buddy, you're a braver man than me. You know what though I think you can go up to Genting, Sam went a few times recently. The key is to ignore the guards at the gate house, don't give them eye contact and definitely don't stop when they shout at you. I've done exactly that a few times but not recently. You might want to check with Sam Pritchard.

Cheong said...

Hi Steven,

Thanks again for the information. Will check it out.

yipwt said...

Thanks simon,

It's getting tougher to get op. Police will spot you from afar, then prepared to block you access. A singaporean I met had the same issues.

I didn't plan on going up for this ride, cause the time is just too tight. Another hour would be needed.

I did thought of smuggling the bike up past the checkpoint in a car...:P

Or, publicise this as a charity event, with Genting's permission, then only it's achivable.

It does takes some guts to pull off, especially when you climb up to Ringlet in total darkness...

The Jackal said...

Puts my little effort to shame! Well Done!

yipwt said...


Everything starts small...what you did is pretty good :)