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BCG Tuesday Night Fun Rides

The Bangsar Cycling Group organises fun rides on Tuesday nights.  Starting, naturally enough, in Bangsar.  Residents of Bangsar will be amused that CNN once described the neighbourhood as “gritty.”  Bangsar may be a lot of things, but gritty isn’t one of them.

As an aside, I was born in Bangsar, at what was then known as the European Hospital.  That hospital was demolished to make way for the Public Health Institute, which stands to this day on Jalan Rumah Sakit Bangsar (Bangsar Hospital Road).

BCG Bangsar Hospital

Photograph courtesy of the National Archives of Malaysia

This ride takes in all sorts of bicycles.  Wheels roll at 8pm from in front of the Bangsar Post Office on Jalan Telawi.

The route varies slightly from week to week, but invariably runs from Bangsar in the southwest to the KLCC in the northeast, and back to Bangsar.

BCG Bangsar Route

Map courtesy of Strava

Taking in along the way some of the sights of the city.

There are regular stops to ensure that the group stays together.  A couple of individuals take the responsibility to manage the group, which can number up to 20 or so.  One person leads, and another makes sure no one gets separated from the group.

BCG Bangsar 9 DAM

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

A highlight of every ride is the pit stop at Le’Park Nasi Lemak on Jalan Raja Uda in Kampung Baru.  Conveniently at the halfway point of the roughly 32km / 20mi long route.

BCG Bangsar Le Park @megatzhafir

Photograph courtesy of @megatzhafir

It is a fun group of people, and the pace is convivial.  There is a lot of fun to be had on a Tuesday evening with the BCG.

BCG Putrajaya Ride

22 of us met at the crack of dawn outside the Rasa Seri Alamanda restaurant in Putrajaya to ride a 45km / 28mi or so circuit around Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia.

We rode a smaller anti-clockwise loop followed by a second anti-clockwise loop that took us through Cyberjaya.

BCG Putrajaya Loop Route

Map courtesy of Ride with GPS

The early part of the ride was under overcast skies.  So there was no real need for the arm screens.

BCG Putrajaya Loop 1 2

Photograph courtesy of Danial Anis Marzuki

The pace was relaxed, and we all made sure the group stayed together.

By the time we got back to the Rasa Seri Alamanda restaurant, the sun was out.

BCG Putrajaya Loop 1 Finish

Photograph courtesy of Danial Anis Marzuki

We filled up with drinks before half the group headed out to do a second circuit.

BCG Putrajaya Loop 1 1

Photograph courtesy of Danial Anis Marzuki

Arm screens were much more of a necessity on the second circuit.  As were regular breaks to allow everyone to regroup.

BCG Putrajaya 01

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

BCG Putrajaya Loop 2 1

Photograph courtesy of Danial Anis Marzuki

Our last stop was at Shaftsbury Square in Cyberjaya, where we had our pick between a 7-Eleven and a couple of 99 Speedmarts.  Or a Chatime, as was the choice for some.

Safwan Siddiq produced an excellent video of the ride:

Everyone had a good time.  I’ll definitely be doing this ride with BCG again.

BCG Tour Klang – Port Dickson – Klang Day 1

BCG Klang - PD - Klang Logo

 

Johan Sopiee, Danial Marzuki and Foogie Sim organised the third overnight bike ride under the BCG Tour banner.  This time from Klang to Port Dickson and back.

The start was in the parking area outside the Hotel 99 in Bandar Botanik, Klang.  We loaded our bags into Johan’s car, collected our cue sheets, and paid attention as Danial briefed us on the day to come.  In the meantime Johan was already into his stride as official photographer.

Unless indicated, all the photographs in this post were taken by Johan.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Start2 Johan

A dozen of us were going to spend the night in Port Dickson before riding back to Klang the next day.  Another eight or nine were joining us for the ride to Port Dickson, and were planning to turn around and ride straight back.  A 240km / 150m round trip.

All the formalities were done by 7.45am.  Danial tooted his roti man horn and we were on our way to Port Dickson.  Johan led the way in his car, while Danial and Foogie were in a pickup, on sweeper duty behind the group.

BCG Tour Klang - PD - Klang Support Truck Danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

The roads from Klang to Banting were not as busy as they have been on my previous Saturday rides through that area.  Fikri and I started riding together, and we stayed together all the way to Port Dickson.

Morib is about 40km / 25mi from Bandar Botanik.  Which made it a good place to stop for a drink and a nibble.  Some of us had soft-boiled eggs and kaya toast here.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Delicious Bread2

The only photograph that I can contribute

Others rolled a further 500 meters to the food court at the beach.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Morib kentmoo88 blogspot com

Photograph courtesy of kentmoo88.blogspot.com

Then it was onto the 25km / 15mi stretch along the coast to Kampung Tanjung Rhu.  A sea breeze was blowing.  Unfortunately it was a gusty block headwind.  I was thankful to have Fikri with me.  He did more of the work into the wind than I did.  I was finding the going tough.  Fikri spotted one reason why that may have been.  My rear tire was slowly losing air.

We stopped just after Tanjung Sepat.  A few seconds later Danial and Foogie pulled over ahead of us.  I decided to risk just pumping up the tire rather than replacing the inner tube.  It was a hot morning, I had been working hard, and one of the things I like least to do is fixing a flat with sweat pouring down my face.

Rear tire fully inflated, Fikri and I headed onward into the wind and sun.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Tanjung Sepat Johan

40 minutes later we were on the lookout for a place to stop for some fluid.  Fikri’s bidons were empty, and I needed a refill too.  The PETRONAS station in Sungai Pelek fit the bill.  Cold drinks and air conditioning.  Danial and Foogie stopped there too, so I had my rear tire topped up as well.

By the time we got through Sepang and the climbs along  Route 5 to the right turn onto Route N4, the skies were darkening and thunder was rumbling in the distance.  In a matter of minutes the heavens opened.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Rain Johan

It wasn’t long before we were completely soaked.  Both by the rain and the spray from passing vehicles.  The wind was still in our faces, but at least we were feeling a lot cooler in the wet.

At about the 100km point the group of ‘out and back’ riders rode past in the opposite direction.  The weather probably played a part in their decision not to ride all the way to Port Dickson.  Even so, they probably covered 200km / 124mi by the time they were done.

The roads were wet all the way to Lukut.  Fikri and I caught up with some of the other riders as we rode through Lukut.  With 4km to go to the hotel in Port Dickson, Asni had a puncture.  I wasn’t much better off.  The hole in my inner tube was getting bigger, and I was losing air at a faster rate.  After Johan fixed Asni’s flat tire, I had my tire fully inflated again and sped off, hoping to get to the hotel before my tire went flat again.

My tire held out, and everyone else made it safely too.  We stayed at the Waterfront Boutique Hotel.  The location on the esplanade walk of the PD Waterfront development means that the hotel is amongst a variety of food and beverage outlets, a bank, and shops.  Best of all, the hotel allowed us to take our bicycles into our rooms.

After a shower and a short rest a bunch of us headed out to lunch.  Danial and Johan drove to Teluk Kemang, one of the more popular beach locations in Port Dickson.  The eatery of choice, based on their past experience, was Cowboy Place.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Cowboy Place Menu sharinginfoz blogspot my

Photograph courtesy of sharinginfoz.blogspot

Renowned for its grilled chicken and steamed rice.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Cowboy Place Chicken  azienamico blogspot com

Photograph courtesy of azienamico.blogspot

The merely hungry ate quarter chickens.  The really starving ate half chickens.

Lunch was late.  It was about 3pm by the time we got to Cowboy Place.  By 7pm or so we were all thinking about dinner.

Foogie’s local knowledge took us to Restoran Seri Mesra Ikan Bakar.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Restoran Seri Mesra Ikan Bakar TripAdvisor com

Photograph courtesy of Tripadvisor

You pick what you want from a variety of fresh fish, prawns, crab and other shellfish, and choose how you want each item cooked.  Sit back and wait a few minutes while everything is being prepared, then roll up your sleeves and dig in.  We had fish cooked two different ways, batter-fried squid, vegetables and rice.  Delicious.

We still had room for dessert.  McDonald’s was running a Mango Mania promotion.  A mango sundae sounded like just the thing.

BCG Klang - PD - Day 1 Mango

Photograph courtesy of Golden Arches Restaurants Sdn Bhd

Four of us went straight to the McDonald’s near our hotel after dinner.  Only to be disappointed.  They had sold out of mango sundaes.  We had to settle for chocolate soft ice cream cones.

Then it was time for bed.  It would be another early start the next day.

N8 Endurance Drink Mix

N8 Endurance Banner

Graphic courtesy of Egonutritions Sdn Bhd

A couple of weeks ago, a representative of N8 Sports Nutrition emailed me.  He had read my posts about hydration and sports drinks.  He asked if I would review N8 Endurance, a drink mix product that hydrates and improves recovery for cyclists, runners, and other endurance athletes.  N8 Endurance is one of a range of sports nutrition products manufactured and marketed by N8 Sports Nutrition.

The product is designed to help endurance athletes increase stamina, reduce muscle fatigue, improve recovery, prevent cramping, and remain hydrated throughout their chosen activity.

N8 Endurance provides Branched Chain Amino Acids to aid in muscular recovery and muscular efficiency, Electrolytes to prevent or minimise muscle cramping, a “Smart Carb” in the form of Palatinose to sustain energy levels, and Creatine Monohydrate to increase muscle growth, muscular endurance and recovery.

I said I would be happy to review N8 Endurance.  Within a few days a complimentary box of the product was at my doorstep.

N8 Endurance is in powder form, packed in single serving sachets.  There are 20 sachets per box.

N8 Endurance Sachets

Photograph courtesy of bicyclebuysell.com

The directions for use are straightforward.

RACE DAY/ ACTIVITY DAY

Take 1 sachet of N8 Endurance with 250ml of water 30 minutes before your activity. Mix another sachet with water in your tumbler/hydration bag/ or water bottle to be consumed throughout your activity. Consume 1 sachet for every 45-60 minutes of activity.

CRAMP PREVENTION

Take 1 sachet of N8 Endurance with 250ml of water the day before your activity before bed. Take 1 sachet of N8 Endurance with liquid of choice when you are about to experience muscular cramp.

I have not had problems with cramps for some time now.  Probably due to increased fitness levels and proper hydration.  So I followed the Race Day / Activity Day directions.

The powder dissolves rapidly in water.  The product is not effervescent, so there is no pressure buildup if you cap your water bottle immediately.

N8 Endurance has a pleasant, light, blackcurrant flavour (the only flavour available).  When I first tried it I thought the taste was too light.  However after a few sips I appreciated the lighter taste as compared to other sports hydration products.  N8 Endurance has no lingering aftertaste.  Nor does it have that slightly bitter taste that products using artificial sweeteners tend to have.

A pleasant tasting product is important.  It is hard to finish the recommended 500 to 600ml of fluid an hour if you don’t like the taste.

I have done four rides so far with N8 Endurance in my water bottles.  The total distance was 300km, with 4,700 metres of climbing.  All the rides were in the morning.  A 100km ride finished in the heat of the day at 1.30pm.

My conclusions about the effectiveness of N8 Endurance are of course qualitative and unscientific.  I can only compare how I felt while riding and consuming N8 Endurance with how I have felt while using another hydration product.

With that proviso in mind, I can say that N8 Endurance did a good job of keeping me hydrated.  I didn’t feel unusually thirsty after my rides, despite sweating a lot.

I did not suffer any cramps, so the electrolytes did what they were supposed to do.

My energy levels stayed high, even after 1,200 metres of climbing.  That must have been due, in part, to the Palatinose.

Overall I felt good while riding, although I do admit that I felt like throwing my bike into a drain during the long climb in Hulu Yam.  Just as important, I felt pretty good the day after each ride too.  It is hard to say for sure without scientific analysis, but I do think that the Creatine Monohydrate made my recovery a little easier.  At 58 years of age I can use all the help that I can get.

So in summary, I think N8 Endurance does what it claims to do.  Help endurance athletes go further, stronger, longer, faster.

N8 Endurance Recommended

N8 Endurance is available at these locations:

Fitness Zone
Taman Selayang Utama

Johnson Fitness
1 Utama
Sunway Pyramid

Anytime Fitness
Solaris Mont Kiara
QLIQ Damansara
Oasis Ara Damansara

Anabolic Gym
Aman Suria Damansara

Merican Muay Thai Gym
Solaris Mont Kiara

One More Rep Fitness Centre
Ampang

Body Factory
PJ21 Commercial Centre

Ultimate Gym
Wangsa Maju, KL

Muscle Brothers Gym
Desa Sri Hartamas

Yokkao
Taman Danau Desa

Fever Fitness
Teluk Intan

For further information please contact:

EGONUTRITIONS SDN. BHD.
G-36 Aman Suria Damansara, PJU 1/45,
47301 Petaling Jaya, SEL, Malaysia

Telephone: +(60)3-7804 8970
FAX: +(60)3-7804 0970
E-mail: sales@n8.com.my

 

A New Set of Hills

Kuala Lumpur sits within the Klang Valley.  It is bordered by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east, several minor ranges in the north and the south, and the Malacca Straits in the west.

Which explains why so many of our weekend rides include climbing to a greater or lesser extent.  The only options for truly flat rides are along the KESAS Highway heading west from Subang toward Bandar Botanic and Morib, and northwest of Kundang through Ijok and Kuala Selangor.

KL Topo 2

Map courtesy of Google Maps

Leslie suggested a ride to Hulu Yam, which is due north of Kuala Lumpur.  If I had thought about it I would have realised that the odds were that this new route (to me anyway) features some climbs.  Boy, does it ever feature some climbs.

Ten of us started the ride by meandering from Mont Kiara through Segambut and Sentul to avoid the roads closed to accommodate the Standard Chartered KL Marathon.  We left the city limits at Batu Caves.  Just after the right turn off Jalan Sungai Tua onto Jalan Hulu Yam Baru – Batu Caves, Leslie said “Here’s where the fun begins!”

‘Fun’ translated into an initial climb of 1km with 92 meters / 302 feet of climbing, followed by 4km / 2.5mi of rolling terrain before a 6km / 3.7mi drag up 275 meters / 902 feet of elevation.  Fun indeed – not!!

Hulu Yam Climbs

Graphic courtesy of veloviewer

We stopped to catch our breath by the reservoir behind the Batu Dam.

Hulu Yam Dam Stop Leslie

Photograph courtesy of Leslie

And again at the top of the looong climb.  The usual suspects are here (after we had recovered, I hasten to add), plus Lay on the right.

Hulu Yam 1 Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

After speeding down the descent to Hulu Yam Bharu, we raided a 99 Speedmart for drinks and snacks before turning left onto Federal Route 1 toward Rawang.  Federal Route 1 is the oldest and longest road on the Malaysia’s national road network.

We regrouped on the outskirts of Rawang.  It was almost 11am, which translates into hot.  A roadside stall selling fresh fruit juice was a perfect place to stop.

Hulu Yam Juice Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Then it was into Rawang for the main attraction of the day.  Lunch.  It took a while to find, but Leslie was persistent.  This restaurant has been featured in many a food blog and television show.

Hulu Yam Fish Wantan mee stall Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The speciality of the house is tilapia with wan tan noodles.  There are six variations to choose from:

  • Golden mushroom – steamed with enoki, garlic and ginger
  • Bean sauce – deep fried in brown bean sauce
  • Deep fried – deep fried in soy sauce and birdseye chili
  • Classic – steamed with soya sauce & oil, with plenty of fried garlic
  • Curry – steamed
  • Tomyam – steamed

All but one of us ordered the deep fried in soy sauce version, many with an extra portion of wan tan noodles.  The other order was the Classic style.

Hulu Yam Fish Wantan mee Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

When we were done eating, there was nothing left on anyone’s plate.  Even the deep-fried fish bones were crunchy enough to eat.  Definitely worth the visit.

We had about 30km / 18.8mi left to ride.  We skirted around the east side of Bukit Lagong, a 528 meter / 1,731 foot lump between Rawang and Batu Caves.  Jalan Rawang follows a valley, but nonetheless has a 2.3km / 1.4mi section near the Templer Forest Park that entails 96 meters / 315 feet of climbing.

Marco, Lay and I started down the descent in pursuit of Mark and Henry ahead of us.  We had lost sight of them.  I shot past this exit at 70kph / 43.5mph, followed by March and Henry.  We should have left Jalan Rawang here, where the road transitioned into Jalan Kuching.

Hulu Yam Jalan Bidara

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps

Instead, we rode some 6km / 3.7mi further down the road before we came to the realisation that Henry and Mark were no longer ahead of us.

Not knowing any other way to get back to Mont Kiara, the three of us dodged and weaved our way through very heavy traffic along Jalan Kuching for 7km / 4.3mi, until we could exit at the Segambut roundabout.  I don’t want to repeat that experience again.

Hulu Yam Jalan Kuching

Photograph courtesy of Google Maps

All’s well that ends well though.  Everyone made it safely back to where we had started from.

I think I’ll put the Hulu Yam climbs in the “Been there, done that” category.  At least until I forget the details.  Like Leslie claims to have done before he invited us all on this ride.

Mountains

 

 

We Meet Again Mr. Dragon’s Back

It has been more than a year since I last rode the Dragon’s Back.  That roughly 14km / 8.7mi stretch of slopes in Bukit Jelutong.  The easier approach to slay the dragon is to turn onto Persiaran Mokhtar Dahari from the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.  (The late Mokhtar Dahari is Malaysia’s most-revered soccer player).  Turn left at the traffic light onto Jalan Paip, and then turn right 200 metres later onto Jalan Bukit Cerakah.  You are done with the Dragon’s Back when you get to the T-junction.

Dragonback Veloviewer

Graphic courtesy of veloviewer

Leslie suggested the ride.  Evelyn, Marco and I took the bait.

This is the Jalan Bukit Cerakah section of the Dragon’s Back.

Dragonback 4

We all made it over all those humps without incident.

Dragonback 3 Leslie

Photograph courtesy of Leslie

Even so, it could be a while before I tackle the Dragon’s Back again.

 

The highlight for me came at Warung Selera Ria in Kuang, where we stopped for sustenance.  Perhaps I haven’t been paying attention, but this was the first time I noticed this contraption.

Dragonback Eggs Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Order half-boiled eggs, and this is what appears before you.  The hot water drains from the upper receptacle into the container below.  When all the water has drained out of the upper section, your eggs are ready to eat.

Ingenious!

 

Watch Where You Went

Relive Where Did You Go

Cycling GPS units, also called cyclocomputers, from manufacturers like Garmin, CatEyeLezyzne, Sigma Sport, Wahoo Fitness, PolarMagellan and others have become ubiquitous.  Almost every road cyclist I see has a GPS unit on their handlebar, or on their wrist.

Those that do not often rely instead on a GPS app from the likes of Strava, Cyclemeter, Ride With GPS, Map My Ride, or Endomondo, running on a mobile phone.

Not many of us use our cyclocomputers or mobile phones to navigate whilst riding, although units with mapping capability are invaluable when you get lost.  Instead we use these devices to keep a record of where we have been, when, and how fast we rode.

As soon as we can after a ride, we download the ride data from our cyclocomputers to a website like Strava, Garmin Connect, or Ride With GPS.  Those using mobile phone apps or a wireless capable cyclocomputer just wait for their devices to do the uploads automatically.

Strava is very popular ride tracking site.  Cyclists log into to Strava to look at ride statistics.  What was our average speed?  How much climbing did we do?  Did we set any PRs?  Did we bag any KOMs?  Shown together with the ride statistics is a map overlaid with the route we just rode.

Relive Strava Map Screen

Screen Capture courtesy of Strava

An exciting newcomer to the ride visualization scene is Relive.cc. 

Relive Splash Screen

Rather than just displaying a static map of your ride, Relive.cc takes the ride data from your Strava account and creates a movie of your ride.  This is the Relive movie of my ride last weekend.

Much more interesting to look at than the Strava map above.

If I had attached geotagged photographs to my Strava ride record, those photographs will have displayed at the appropriate spots in the movie.

Now that I have linked my Strava account to Relive.cc, I get movies of my rides within an hour of uploading my ride data.

You’ll be seeing more of those movies in my ride reports from now on.  For “reliving” your rides, this app is

Relive Cool

Graphic courtesy of designyoutrust.com

 

 

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