Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Challenging Ride to Bentong

“When was the last time that you ride your road bike?” Sri Ganesh, the team lead asked me when we met at the rendezvous point while preparing to start off our riding journey from an orang asli settlement somewhere along the old Gombak road on Sunday 14 Aug 2016 at 7 a.m.

“RHB LEKAS Highway Ride in the 78km category on 30 April 2016,” I replied. And that was 3.5 months ago!

Together with a few RHB Bank colleagues (Philip Wong, Mike Koh, Paul Yap, Chi Yean) and Team NATO cycling group (CK, Lai, etc), I followed the group without knowing where we were going. They are serious cyclists, and that has to be an endurance ride. Since I bought a new Giant bike for the RHB LEKAS ride, I should be OK. That was the first time – after many years – that I followed a group for long distance ride. Most of the time, I was doing trail running and trekking.

A group photo at the mobile drinks station ... Mike (L1), Philip (L2); KC (R1), Paul (R2), Ganesh (R3), Chi Yen (front) ... photo credit Paul Yap; clicking on the photo would display much bigger picture

The Journey 

We were heading towards Genting Sempah R & R (rest and relaxation area) via the old road. This section of the terrain was gradually going uphill all the time. There was very little traffic as the road is narrow and winding, constructed by the side of the mountains with cliff on the opposite end. Certain parts of the road shoulders are wide, but the irresponsible people dumped and burned rubbish there.

Just before arriving at Genting Sempah, there were a few downhill sharp bends, merging with the same traffic where one is coming down from Genting Highlands. Just before the downhill section under a flyover, there was a mobile drinks station doing good business with the bikers who need to replenish their drinks.

After Genting Sempah, it was going downhill all the way until one passed by the junction to Bukit Tinggi (on the left) and Janda Baik kampong (on the right). Certain stretches of the road surface were really rough, and they were long overdue for resurfacing. It sure was a bumpy ride hitting the groan area by the saddle without any shock absorber.

At one downhill sharp bend towards the right, after going into the bend, then only I realised that the road was strewn with sand. Gaining momentum with the downhill, it was a tricky moment as too much steering towards the right side would cause the bike to skid and fall. With a split-second glance to examine the road shoulder, I decided not to continue the steer but went off on a tangent into shrubs and stopped. Luckily, I pulled through without any mishap. Any cornering scattered with sand or cylinder oil would be extremely dangerous that can cause bikers to skid and sustain nasty fall. 
(photo credit: Sri Ganesh)

At Bentong Town

It was a different experience arriving at the market area. One month ago, I was leading a trail running and trekking group for scaling to the peak of Gunung Rajah and we were having our breakfast at Hooi Kee Wan Ton Noodles coffee shop. We came by cars then. At 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, the coffee shop was packed to the brim; so was the entire market area bustling with activities. We have to settle with another coffee shop with lesser people. 

While eating, we were told by the locals that the ais kacang stall which is just down the road (same row as Hooi Kee coffee shop) was better than the Kow Po coffee shop which is famous with ais kacang or chendol topped with ice cream. When I walked to this new discovery, it was packed with locals enjoying the dessert.
(photo credit: Sri Ganesh)

The Returning Journey

The interesting part of cycling is that cyclists always look for hilly terrains for the challenge -- riding on flat road is deemed unexciting. Recognizing that we crossed the mountainous areas, the returning journey with the tired bodies would be tougher in going up the same mountain, from the opposite end. 

Overall it was a fun, challenging, yet tiring and risky journey considering that we have three riders fell on the road that sustained bruises, and two tyres were punctured.

Fact Sheet (courtesy of Sri Ganesh)

Total distance: 108.6km
Moving time: 5 hr 17 min (total time spent was 8 hours)
Elevation gain: 3,609 meters

Posted by KC Leong

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