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Breakfast Options

What we want for breakfast often determines where we ride.  If it is roti canai, we ride to Kampung Kundang.  A hankering for duck drumstick noodles means a ride to Kota Kemuning.  There are a few options if nasi lemak is the breakfast choice du jour.  Genting Sempah, Kampung Cempedak or Kota Kemuning are all possibilities.

Breakfast options have now grown with the discovery of Andak’s Place in Janda Baik.

The ride to Janda Baik starts with the climb to Genting Sempah.

Andak's Place View

The turn around point for most of our rides along Jalan Gombak Lama is either at the summit, or at the McDonald’s at the Genting Sempah R&R, one kilometer down the other side of the hill.  4 kms further down the hill toward Bentong is the right turn toward Janda Baik.

Andak's Place Map

There are more short but steep climbs to deal with along Jalan Cherangin before this place comes into view.

Andak's Place 01

Andak’s is definitely bicycle friendly.

Andak's Place Bicycle Rack

And big bike friendly.

Andak's Place Big Bikes

There is lots of seating, both in the main building and outside under umbrellas.

Andak's Place 02

The kitchen at Andak’s Place puts out a wide variety of food.  Including this winner.

Andak's Place Pancakes

Pancakes with butter and honey.  Worth the climbing to get there.

International Ghombau Century Ride

Rembau 2015 Banner

The first century ride of 2015 for team Flipside was the Ghombau century ride.  “Ghombau” is the Negri Sembilan dialectical pronunciation of “Rembau.”  Rembau is a town within a district that shares the same name.  The ride was originally to start and end in Rembau.  Things moved to the state capital of Seremban, about 25 kms to the north, to accommodate other events taking place there on the same day.

Seremban is only 65 kms from Kuala Lumpur.  So eight of the ten Flipsiders participating opted to drive down to Seremban that morning.  Which meant a very early start to the day.

Three carloads of us met up at the Seremban R&R at 4.45am.  Justin, Keat, Jason and Danny tucked into breakfast.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

4.45am for breakfast was perhaps a bit too early.

We were kitted up and ready to roll before 7am.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

But the ride was scheduled to start at 7.30am.  So Stephen, Danny, Justin, Mark and I perched on the steps in front of a shop and waited.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

And watched as fellow century riders, 30 km fun riders, and fun runners made their way to the start line.

We were planning to make our usual start from the back of the pack.  This procession should have been a clue that we should start moving towards the line.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Whatever sign we expected that the ride was about to be flagged off didn’t make itself evident.  So we ended up trapped behind a massed crowd of fun riders and runners.  We think we rolled under the arch at the start 30 minutes after this lot got going.

Photograph courtesy of Bike Tech Subang

Photograph courtesy of Bike Tech Subang

We were without doubt the last of the century riders to get on the road.  So it was no surprise that as we left Seremban we almost went the wrong way.  Twice.  Once when we rode onto a slip road on the runners’ route, and once where we missed our exit off a roundabout and had to u-turn off the 30 km ride route.

The century route ran counter-clockwise, from Seremban south to Lubok China, east to Tampin, north to Kuala Pilah, and west back to Seremban.

Rembau 2015 Route

This ride will be remembered by all the riders for the stiff wind out of the north-east.  It was constant, and almost always in our face, no matter which direction we were going.  The cyclist’s curse.  Especially for those riding deep aero rims.  We saw a gust of wind push one rider into the person next to him, bringing both down.

It got hot too.  Eventually hitting 32° C / 90° F on the thermometer, but with a ‘real feel’ of 35° C / 95° F.  So it was no surprise that when we got to the first water stop, it was dry.  To their credit, the organisers did try to make up for this later by handing out water from cars to riders as they pedalled along.

By this time we were catching up with other riders.  Which was less important to us than keeping an eye out for somewhere to get a drink.  Petrol stations were few and far between, so after about 70 kms we stopped at the Medan Selera Sri Kendong in Kampung Ulu Kendong.  This medan selera, or food court, had the three things we needed.  Ceiling fans, cold drinks, and a toilet.

There were some bottles of water left at the second water station at 80 kms, so we grabbed what we could.  A shortage of water is a perennial problem at century rides.  I think the organisers don’t take into account the fact that for each bottle of water that riders drink, they pour another bottle over their heads.  There should be a large tank of water at each station, where riders can fill bottles to douse themselves with.

By the 100km point we needed another break.  We stopped at the Restoran Teck Heng in Dangi.  They serve toast and kaya, or coconut jam, in the traditional style.  Thick slices of bread toasted over charcoal, with a thick slathering of butter and kaya.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The soft-boiled eggs had the rich orange yolks that only free-range chickens can produce.  All washed down with thick iced coffee.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The final 60 kms were as windy as the previous 100.  The climb of the day came after 138 kms.  Some stopped to rehydrate before the 3.5 km slope up Bukit Putus.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We all enjoyed the 5 km descent.  Top speeds of the day achieved here for many.

The final 2 kms through Seremban to the finish were fraught.  The roads were packed with vehicles, so we had to weave our way through the traffic.  There were a few close calls.

About a quarter of the participants did not finish the ride.  Mechanical failures, crashes, the 1,400 meters / 4.600 feet of climbing, the wind and the heat all made this ride a challenge too far for some 400 participants.

Every Flipside rider finished.  Mark, Cedric and Marco were among the first.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Those that had finished sought shade and a place to rest while they waited for the others.  It was a good time for a nap for some.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Stephen rounded out the Flipside finishers.

Photograph courtesy of Jason

Photograph courtesy of Jason

This ride was on the whole well-organised.  Of particular note was the marshalling along the route.  Every junction had police and Rela personnel controlling traffic, so that cyclists did not have to stop.  Side roads were manned to ensure riders did not take a wrong turn.

Things can be better next year though.  Participants should get more information ahead of the event.  For example, where to be at the start-line if there are multiple simultaneous events like there was this year.  And information about the signage differentiating the routes for the various events.

More water at the water stations is a must.  And better control of the traffic on the run-in through town to the finish.

The route itself was nice.  We rode through pretty countryside, and the road surfaces were good.

The sun and the wind just made the achievement of finishing that much more satisfying.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Marco’s Surprise Ride

Seven of us turned up at D’Bayu for a mystery ride.  Marco had a surprise route for us.  The first 25 kms was the standard run to the Kundang exit on the LATAR Expressway.  This time, instead of turning left toward the Kundang Lakes Country Club, we turned right toward Kampung Baru Kundang.

Mystery Ride Route

Uppermost on everyone’s mind was to find a place to eat.  We assumed that there would be some restaurants in the village.  We didn’t expect to find a really good one.

Sin Loong Kee Noodles is tucked away off Jalan Pekan 1, hidden behind all the cars parked in front of it.  We quickly realised that Sin Loong Kee must be a special place.  Almost all the tables inside the restaurant, and outside in the car park, were full.  People were also queuing up to buy noodles to take away.

Some research tells me that the 60-year-old Sin Loong Kee shop has been run by Chin Yoke Wai, 34 and his family for three generations since his grandfather opened the restaurant.

To our initial dismay, the pile of noodles in the glass case quickly disappeared as the takeaway orders were filled.  To our relief, replenishments regularly came out of the back of the shop.

Mystery Ride 03

We sat at the last empty outdoor table and waited expectantly for our orders to be taken.

Mystery Ride 04

The family that runs this restaurant would not be rushed out of their routine.  When it was our turn to be attended to, one person took our drinks order, and another our food order.

This was home style cooking at its best.  The noodles were made on the premises.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

As were the yong tau foo and the fishballs to accompany the noodles.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The coffee was good too.  Comparable to the coffee at Pun Chun.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

No time for small talk!

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We will be visiting Sin Loong Kee again.

We didn’t just eat.  We did more riding too.  We cycled toward Batu Arang, through the Selangor Fruits Valley area, and on towards Batang Berjuntai. Then we headed south to Ijok and the LATAR Expressway back to Bukit Jelutong.

I had a flat tire on the road near Batu Arang.  Cedric has never changed an inner tube before, so this was the chance for a lesson.  Since there was an audience, of course things went wrong.  While putting the rear wheel back in the dropouts I managed to jam the chain between the small cog and the derailleur.  The only way to free the wheel was to remove the quick release skewer.  Not the best demonstration for Cedric.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

It was a good thing there was a shady spot by the side of the road.  It was a hot day.  It certainly did feel like 38° C / 100° F at noon.  We had to stop at a few petrol stations and R & Rs to rehydrate and cool down.  But it was a good ride, despite the heat.

Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather.com

Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather.com

We hadn’t planned on such a long one though.  About 110kms in all.  Surprise!

Rapha Grand Tour Shoes Extended Use Review

I wrote a review of my Grand Tour shoes in June 2013.  I had ridden about 11,000 km / 6,835 mi in them at the time.  At the time I concluded that the Rapha Grand Tour shoes are worth their weight in gold.

Since then I have covered another 7,500 km / 4,660 mi.   My opinion is unchanged.

Of course the shoes are showing a fair degree of wear.  Largely cosmetic in nature.  The soles have scrapes in them.

GT Soles

The toes are scuffed.

GT Toes

As are the heel cups.  The left heel cup shows the result of being scraped along the tarmac in a crash.  The rubber bumpers on the soles are very worn.  Not all the way down to the sole, but well on the way there.

GT Heels

The uppers are no longer the brilliant white they were out of the box, but they are still in good condition.

GT Side

As are the insoles.  The images and the text are still legible.

GT Insoles

The shoes have soaked up all the abuse I have thrown at them.  They require very little care.  Admittedly I could have cleaned them more frequently than I have done.

These shoes have remained the most comfortable pair of cycling shoes I have owned.  They still fit like gloves.  The velcro straps and buckles continue to work faultlessly.  I wear them on every ride.  Rain or shine.

In my previous review I said I expected to get at least 11,000 km more out of these shoes.  I have no doubt that these shoes will carry me the remaining 3,500 km to meet that target.  These Rapha Grand Tour shoes are still worth their weight in gold.

Hello 2015

I had New Year’s Day rides in 2012 and 2013.  An inguinal hernia operation on Boxing Day last year meant no 1st January ride in 2014.  I’m glad to report that I was able to start 2015 off right.

Six of us did the loop from the Extreme Sports Centre at Sunway South Quay to the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex and back, and then onto Bandar Botanik.

Kota Kemuning Map

Along the way we gave Liang lots of opportunity to use his new GoPro camera.

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Mark, Natasha and Marco smiling for the camera.

KESAS GoPro 04 Liang

The initial plan was to ride to our regular breakfast spot in Bandar Botanik.  Mid-ride we decided to look for a restaurant in Kota Kemuning.  Keat and I shared a joke while Mark looked up food options.

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

We decided on the Pun Chun Noodle House.  Where the signature dish is the Duck Drumstick Mee.  Liang and Mark were impressed.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

It tasted as good as it looked.

Kota Kemuning Duck Noodles 02 Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

And their various coffees are yummy too.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Everyone enjoyed the food.  So much so that we are planning to ride to Pun Chun for breakfast tomorrow.  What a great start to 2015.

Rapha Festive 500

Festive 500

I have not covered many kilometers in 2014.  Thanks in no small part to my extended time off the bicycle.  Both self-inflicted and health-inflicted.

My total mileage on 12th October 2014 was the lowest it has ever been on that date in the five years I have been cycling.  That was the day of my first ride in almost four months.  I rode as much as I could, and then had another month of no rides from 23rd November.  Rain and weekend travel are to blame.

Total Distance

Graph courtesy of VeloViewer

So the Rapha Festive 500 came at the perfect time to motivate me to add to my total kilometers ridden in 2014.  The challenge is to ride 500 kms between the 24th and 31st of December.

Rapha has partnered with Strava to keep track of riders’ mileage.  No small undertaking, seeing as 46,360 cyclists are currently in the challenge.

Strava is doing a great job of displaying every participant’s current mileage, and rank overall, by country, by age and by weight.  Strava is also providing additional motivation by presenting riders with ‘achievements’ as they meet interim targets.

125250375

I got the final one today.

500

I have ridden every day since Christmas Eve.  I am putting my vacation time to good use.

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

514kms over six days.  Mostly over the usual routes:  Genting Sempah (2), KESAS (3) and (6), and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (4).

There were a couple of forays into new territory, starting with the first Festive 500 ride on Christmas Eve (1).  Keat, Mark, Marco, Fahmi and I started with a ride to a favourite nasi lemak stop in Kampung Cempedak.  But instead of following breakfast with a ride through Kampung Melayu Seri Kundang, we followed a back road toward Rawang.  Here we are, happy to be at the summit of the climb along Jalan Ciku.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The ride that took me over the 500kms target was an entirely new one.  I drove my biker chick to the airport, then parked and pulled my bike out of the car.  It was raining quite hard, but that didn’t stop me from riding alongside runway 2, and the new runway 3 serving KLIA 2, watching aircraft come and go in a cloud of spray.

AA

I didn’t want to continue onto the highway serving the airports, so I doubled back along runway 3 and went to Sepang.  I had fun, but would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been raining the entire time.

LCCT Map

Weather permitting, I might get to 600kms by New Year’s Eve.  A relatively large total by my current standards, but paltry in comparison with 1,644kms already ridden by the person leading the Festive 500.  He has cycled almost 14,500kms in 2014.  He must be very fit.  And not have a full-time job.

Grow Your Jersey Collection One Ride at a Time – 2014

I rode about 7,000 kms in 2013.  A number of weekends were devoted to organised events, mostly century rides.  You can see photographs of the jerseys that were given to participants in those 2013 events here.

2014 has been a year of much less cycling.  Just over 3,000 kms.  Despite this, I managed to complete a number of organised events, and collected more jerseys.

The first event of the year was the OCBC Cycle Malaysia ride.  The ride that took us through the closed streets of Kuala Lumpur.  The colours and event logo are unchanged.  The logo is horizontal across the chest this time, instead of vertical down the right side.

OCBC 2014

The organisers of the Janamanjung Fellowship Ride didn’t provide jerseys.  Participants got these t-shirts.  The graphic on the front is quite striking.  All the logos on the back are less attractive.

Janamanjung FR 2014

The organisers of the Klang Premier Century Ride gave participants a jersey and a t-shirt.  Both have a clean and simple design with very few sponsorship logos.

Klang Premier CR 2014 a

Klang Premier CR 2014 b

The Kuantan Century Ride was the first of the century events that I had ridden in 2013 as well.  One of the challenges of running an annual event must be designing a unique jersey for each year.  The Visit Malaysia logo is unchanged, but the rest of the jersey is different from last year’s.  This year’s version has much less yellow, and dark blue has replaced cyan

Kuantan CR 2014

The Melaka Century Ride jersey was a striking green.  Which made a nice change from the usual red, blue, white and black.

Melaka CR 2014

The last 160 km event of the year was the Johor Masters Century Ride.  I needed the help of a couple of PowerBars to make it through this one.

Johor Masters CR 2014

The last event of 2014 was the Shimano Highway Challenge.  The jersey for this event had a design that best represents the sport, and not coincidentally, the title sponsor.

Shimano Highway Challenge 2014

Hopefully I will get much more cycling done next year.  I have already signed up for a few events in 2015.  Body and time willing, I will collect more jerseys in 2015.

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