My biker chick ZAZ and I have moved a number of times from our tropical home to more temperate climes. Each time we struggled initially with the cold but we did get used to it. Almost without noticing our increasing tolerance for low temperatures. Until we got home again.
We have a catchphrase that we use with each other a lot in the first few months back home. “Your country very hot.” I shouldn’t be surprised that we have to reacclimatize to the heat and humidity. It does take a few months before I don’t feel the need to take four or five showers a day.
Yesterday’s ride confirmed that I am not yet used to being back in a hot and humid country. I was invited to ride the Broga 116. I had expected to be part of a group ride. What I hadn’t expected was that I would be part of a highly organized group ride. A group ride with two SAG support vehicles, three water stops, photographers along the route, lunch at the finish, a t-shirt, and in a first for me at any organized ride, a route ‘tulip‘ sticker for my top tube.
On previous rides I had noticed that my average pulse rate was 10 to 15 bpm higher than it had been in the Netherlands. I knew that was because of the higher ambient temperature in Kuala Lumpur. It was about 28C / 82F with a relative humidity over 80% at the start. It would get considerably warmer as the sun rose in the sky. That fact should have been my first warning that I would have a tough day.
As indeed it did. Bukit Tangga (literally Stairway Hill) was bigger and badder than the previous two hills. I started cramping in both quadriceps on the lower slopes and had to stop 3 km into the climb to stretch. If nothing else that gave me the opportunity to take this photo of my fellow cyclists grinding up the hill.
Nevertheless I took several positives from this ride. The organisation was excellent. Which was a very good thing. The water stops saved me from becoming severely dehydrated. I had 75 ounces / 2.2 liters of fluid in my bottles at the start of the ride, which turned out to be woefully insufficient. I picked up at least another 2 liters of water at the stops, along with, pardon the pun, a bunch of bananas.
The views, when I wasn’t staring fixedly at my front wheel so that I wouldn’t have to look up at the never-ending slope ahead of me, were lush and verdant.
Our sea freight had been delivered so I was able to do the ride in my Not Possibles jersey.
Best of all I made new friends, courtesy of Syihan Nik, who invited me to do the Broga 116. By the way I still haven’t decided if I should thank him or thump him. Here are Syihan and I early in the day, looking and feeling considerably better than we did at the end. As you will soon see.