Venue: Bukit Kinding Resort, Tanjung Rambutan, Ipoh, Perak
Date: 19 July 2009
Distance: 160KM (155.8KM by Polar CS100)
Bike: Merida Road Race 905-Com
This will be my first ever cycling entry as I prepare myself for dualthon and hopefully triathlon soon. Not as easy to write though compared to running, as cycling is a fast pumping adrenaline sport and I can't really remember the places and the time taken to pass each of them. Hence my apologies here as this report isn't as informative as I would like it to be.
It's just 15 days since I have gotten my bike and with barely 2KM of pedalling with it, I'm off to a 160KM bike ride expedition in the state of Perak. And since I have never been to Ipoh, it's a great way to explore the town and state's surroundings. Century Ride is not a race for me, just something for fun and experience since it's my first time on a road bike. To complete is my priority, even if it's outside the qualifying time.
18 July 2009. Pre-ride day.
The journey up to Ipoh started early at 7.50am where I met up with Shih Ming and Pui San at the Sungai Buloh overhead bridge rest area. We agreed to fom a convoy up to Ipoh as I'm not familiar with the roads in Ipoh. Heng and Vin was a little late and decided that we should meet up during the drive up which we did at the Tapah rest area. The drive was smooth but awfully boring and lonely for me. Was hoping someone was travelling with me. Sigh...
My first trip to the town of Ipoh...
Arrived at the small town of Ipoh in about 2 hours plus time and off we all went to a dim sum restaurant called Foh San. And we were lucky that they just shifted into a new place which was rather high class with a hotels' touch to it. But the unlucky part was Heng got a parking fine. Not really his fault as we were searching for a shop to purchase the parking coupon which took us 5 minutes or so. Back to the car, the officer was already done with his job. Don't understand why is the parking coupon still being used instead of the dispenser type, and why isn't Saturday free or half day?
Anyway, had a good time indulging with the dim sum and catching up among ourselves before off to another famous eatery place call Funny Mountain Soya Bean. No doubt the "Tau Foo Fah" was good till Shih Ming and Heng gulped down 2 bowls of it. We parted ways with Heng and Vin as they are on the way back to Penang, and the 3 of us made our way to our hotel.
The scene at Foh San dim sum restaurant...
Did a late check-in for my hotel room at Hotel Fair Park before Shih Ming came from her hotel to pick me up to attend a briefing session at Tower Regency Hotel. It was here that we joined with the rest of the group from Jennifer, Michelle, Siok Bee, Keat Seong, Raymond and Yip. Lynn and Chin Chin was still at Penang though as they were paddling in a dragon boat charity race.
Part of the THG gang...
Off for tea-time after the short briefing and back to the hotel next for a short rest before it's dinner time at a restaurant call Lou Wong for Ipoh's famous beansprout chicken rice. Nothing spectacular about the chicken rice but the beansprout was really fat and juicy. Filling only half of my hungry stomach, it's back to the hotel to call it a day.
Ice cream for tea-time...
19 July 2009. Riding day.
I have set my alarm to go off at 4am but somehow, I woke up instantly at 3am. With 4 hours till the start of the ride, I slowly got myself ready while keeping myself very carefully not to produce any sound that might disturb both Raymond and Yip who were still sleeping. By 5.30am, I was all set to go and shortly later, Chin Chin, Lynn, Pui San and Shih Ming was already waiting for us at the lobby. Jennifer and Keat Seong was already ready too but I opt to stay with Raymond and Yip instead and asked the rest to make their way to the starting venue first.
By the time we arrived at Bukit Kinding resort, we only had 20 minutes to get ourselves ready. And by the time we did so, both myself and Raymond found the cyclist pedalling out of the gate at 7am sharp! Since the time will only be started upon exiting the gate, we both decided to start from here, hence no rolling start for us. Raymond went ahead first while I waited for Chin Chin, Lynn, Pui San and Shih Ming as we agreed to pedal together. Waited till a marshall came out on a motorcycle informing that there was no cyclist left behind. I guess I have missed them , so off I went. 13 years of no pedalling, it was time for my cycling muscles to be awaken, though this historic moment of my comeback was a little comedic as I had a little problem getting my shoe clip on to the pedal hence a shaky start. I even went for a short off road trip when I lost my balance when the support vehicles passed me on the narrow road. Was glad that I wasn't threw off my bike or suffer any puncture. Haha...
My strategy for this 160KM ride is just to keep pedalling even at a slow speed as I have learnt this from John's blog as he particpated in last year's edition. And at times, I will do a sprint followed by a recovery ride. Just want to balance everything out for a first ride. Fun , experience and techniques.
After getting myself warm up after pedalling for 1KM and with the road slightly cleared, I pedalled hard trying to catch up with my friends. At about 5KM or so, a few cyclist passed me and I thought there might be some others at the back. Decision time and I made up my mind to slow down hoping my friends were at the back instead of the front. Soon, I spotted Shih Ming closing on me from behind and I was glad I made the correct decision. Pedalled with her for a while, while chatting before she left after informing that the rest of my friends are at the back. With this, I stopped at the roadside at 8KM to wait for them but I was told off by the policeman. Off I went again but at a very slow speed and this saw Pui San rocketed pass me. 200M after my restart, I finally spotted Lynn and Chin Chin and off we went together.
With no knowledge on drafting and with my inconsistent speed, I decided not to draft them or let them draft me. Kept a minimal distance from them as I pedal, the 3 of us cycled passed Sungai Siput into Kuala Kangsar. The town of Kuala Kangsar was a busy one and I had a little problem as the roads were narrow and traffic was a little heavy. Somewhere around the town's exit, there was a confusion on whether to take a left or right turn as the junction was lacking the direction marker. Was lucky that a support vehicle was near and they directed us. Phew... Talk about getting lost in Perak.
Arriving at 40KM, my bum was already hurting. Another 120KM to go still. I had to stand at times to relieve the pain and pressure from sitting down on the saddle. Eery stroke I took, my poor glutes hurts. Argh... I was glad that the emergency lane here was wide though, hence I can cycle without fears of vehicles coming close to me kept at a minimal. It was about 75KM, we were greeted by a steep climb into a village. It's probably the toughest climb but Lynn showed her strength here powering up the slope like it was so easy. Bravo! As I got to the top, I heard a battle-cry let out by Chin Chin. Kudos to her too, pedalling through it. Shortly in front, we were greeted by the first checkpoint. Refilled our tumblers and off we went again now into Sauk.
Nearly got lost again as there were no direction marker at a turning point. I sprinted to the front to have a quick check and was lucky I spotted a marshall sitting on the pavement just shortly in front. Signalled to the 2 girls to join in and off we went into another beautiful area and into Karai. Had a short chat with Lynn here as we cycled side by side enjoying the view which includes scenic mountains and even a railway bridge. Wonderful!
Yours truly looking the opposite though...
Can't really explain much here as I'm not familiar with the surroundings, but we were greeted by the second checkpoint at 108KM before cycling into Lintang. At 120KM, I spotted Yeap from KSH Merida taking a break at the side. He was helping people around, hence he was left behind. Talk about being a bike technician. I stopped for a chat with him before we cycled together for a while as I'm too slow for him. 141KM saw the third and final checkpoint. My left knee here was starting to give me problems and it's a different area from the injury I suffered at the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2009. Hmm... Another 20KM to go, I told my knee. Please hang in there. Same goes to my poor bum too which was squashed at that point.
Lynn happily zooming pass me...
20KM long and almost a straight road was the difference between success and failure. Keep pedalling, keep pedalling! At 150KM, Lynn passed me saying 10KM to go! At 154KM, she said again 6KM to go! She was going for it at this stage while I was still conserving my energy for the final sprint. A support vehicle passed me informing me another 3KM to go and this is where I began my sprint. Lynn was about 300M ahead of me as I engaged a higher gear with each kilometer conquered to try close down the gap. I was huffing and puffing as she was really strong at this point. At the last corner into the resort, I zipped up my jersey as a final climb awaits us. I finally caught up with Lynn here and we crossed the finish line 2 seconds apart with her being ahead. 07:53:04 was the time I took, almost 7 minutes from the cut off time. Chin Chin came in 6 minutes later.
Senior riders (Yip and Raymond) together with the 3 newbies (myself, Lynn and Chin Chin)...
Together with Yeap (1st from right) from KSH Merida...
The only disappointment was the lack of support at the finish line. No refreshment was given and we had to search for it. They even ran out of medals. Sigh... Never mind though as they did promise to mail them to us together with the certificate. However , all in all, I was really satisfied with my ride and was glad that I didn't suffer any mishap. Even my legs weren't as sore as I though it will be. It's just that I suffered sunburn on my arms and legs. And my poor squashed bum. I need a new saddle!
My arm got barbequed...
Rested at the canopy just outside the hall, while waiting for Shih Ming and Pui San to join us. Lynn's mum was there too. Got ourselves clean up and off we went for a light snack before heading back to Kuala Lumpur and Penang respectively. Lonely and sleepy drive home for me but was glad that a friend kept me entertained with SMSs. Whoops... I was SMSing while driving. Shhh...
One for the album before leaving Ipoh...
- Jennifer, for an awesome job in helping register for the ride.
- Keat Seong, for the advices and concern shown to us especially the first timers.
- Shih Ming and Pui San, for the tour around Ipoh and for great company.
- Lynn and Chin Chin, for the company along 152KM of the ride.
- Raymond and Yip, for arranging the accomodation and being great room mates.
- The rest of the THG gang for the awesome time together at the small town of Ipoh.
- KSH Merida team for the advices and into the building of my road bike.
- To those who have played a part but not mention here, you know who you are. THANK YOU!