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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Oh ūüĒ•ūüíÄūüí£ūüí©‚ö°!!

I started riding a road bike in January 2010.  Since then I have ridden more than 28,000 km.  I have had some close calls, but had never crashed.  I commented on this fact last week to my biker chick.  Perhaps a bit too smugly.  I should have known better.

About a dozen of us were at the mid-point of the Janamanjung Fellowship Ride. ¬†We had just restarted a pace line after a rest stop. ¬†I was second or third wheel. ¬†I don’t know why, but we started to slow down. ¬†31.5 kph became 20 kph over the span of about 60 metres. ¬†I don’t remember slowing down. ¬†I do remember glancing to my left for a second to look at a rider who seemed to be struggling. ¬†That split second of inattention was all it took. ¬†I touched wheels with Mark, and went down.



I landed on my left thigh and hip, and banged my head hard on the tarmac as I rolled at least once onto the grass verge.

Once I got over the initial shock I checked for damage.  I had a grazed left knee, a long graze on my left hand, a graze on the point of my left hip, a rapidly swelling bruise on my upper left thigh, a small cut on my left eye brow, scratches on both palms, and a long graze on my right forearm below the elbow.

This photo was relatively soon after the crash. ¬†The medics hadn’t arrived yet, and I was still in a bit of a daze.

Photograph courtesy of Keat Wong

Photograph courtesy of Keat Wong

The medics were soon on the scene.  Thy put iodine on the visible grazes, and a bandage on my knee.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

If I were a true cyclist I would have checked my bike for damage before worrying about myself.

Immediately obvious to me was the broken right brake / shifter body.  The shifter was twisted inward, so it took a hefty hit.

JMFR 2014 Crash Shifter

Fortunately the brake and shifter still worked, despite the body being held in place by cable tension.

My buddies noticed that the chain had slipped off the chain rings and below the chain catcher, and that the front derailleur was out of alignment.  They whipped out hex wrenches and very quickly got the chain back onto the big ring, and running clear of the front derailleur.

As bike and I were getting patched up, I was told that Chon, also went down behind me. ¬†He had a broken right shifter too. ¬†Chon’s son, Kai Yang, and Jason had in turn ridden over my bike, but stayed upright. ¬†Kai Yang had a flat tire to deal with as a result.

I did two little repair jobs.  The first was to straighten my handlebar, which was facing left of centre.

The second repair came after I got going again.  The front wheel was out of true.  As I was fiddling with a spoke wrench (never leave home without one), Jason told me that he had ridden over my front wheel, and that Kai Yang had too.

Needless to say I am impressed with the durability of my Boyd wheels.  The only evidence that two guys had ridden over my front wheel, apart from it being out of true, are some marks on the brake track.

JMFR 2014 Crash Front Wheel

No broken or loose spokes.  I was able to reduce the wobble enough for the wheel to turn without rubbing against the brake pads.  And that wheel carried me the remaining 60 km to the finish line.

I took a look at the rest of my kit once I got home.  My helmet did its job.  The damage looks cosmetic only, but this is a good excuse to get a new helmet.

JMFR 2014 Crash Helmet

I landed hard on my left hip and upper thigh.


I would have expected a hole or two in my cycling kit.  What surprised me was that my bib shorts show no sign of scraping along some tarmac.


It was fortunate that I had arm screens on.  I am sure those helped me keep skin on my arms.  I have some grazes on my right elbow, and some marks on the back of my left upper arm, but again, minimal evidence of a fall on the arm screens.  A small hole in one arm screen is all.


I’ll be writing to both Boyd and Rapha to commend them on the durability of their products.

I am not as¬†durable. ¬†I’ve been pretty sore for a few days. ¬†The good news is that the doctor at Gleneagles Accident & Emergency confirmed that I haven’t broken anything. ¬†It is just a matter of waiting for the haematoma on my thigh to reduce. ¬†I also have a slightly separated shoulder, which will sort itself out on its own.

Some would say¬†that given the amount of group riding that I do, a crash was inevitable. ¬†My crash was the result of a schoolboy error on my part though. ¬†I would have avoided it if I hadn’t been distracted and took my eyes off the rider in front of me.

So my mantra while cycling will be . . .

Graphic courtesy of Rouie at

Graphic courtesy of Rouie at

Janamanjung Fellowship Ride 2014

JMFR 2014 Logo

My riding buddies and I, now collectively known as team Flipside, have signed up for a number of 100 km or longer rides this year.  The first was the Janamanjung Fellowship ride.  This ride has been on the cycling event calendar since 2008.  The ride starts and ends on the grounds of the Sultan Azlan Shah power plant, a 2,100MW facility that will bring a fourth 1,000MW unit on stream in 2015.

The power plant is on the Perak coast, 250 km from Kuala Lumpur.  We convoyed to the town of Manjung on Saturday morning.  As is always the case, the drive was punctuated by stops for food.  Marco, Keat and I are enjoying a mid-morning snack of wanton mee in the town of Bidor.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

On the way back to his truck, Keat gave in to temptation and bought some jambu air, or rose apples.

JMFR 2014 Bidor Fruit

Our next stop was at a well-known tourist spot in the town of Teluk Intan.  The Leaning Tower.

JMFR 2014 Teluk Intan Tower

We didn’t stay very long as it was an exceptionally hot day. ¬†At least 33¬į C.

The power plant was our next destination.  We collected our ride numbers, and collectively hoped that it would be cooler the next day.

JMFR 2014 Power Station

We met up with Shahfiq and his wife at the power plant.  Shahfiq is from Manjung, so we depended on him to take us to a good place for lunch.  Which he did.

We had dessert¬†at an institution in Perak. ¬†James cendol. ¬†This roadside stall opened for business in 1974. ¬†Since then it has spawned a host of imitators around the country, but I wager that none are the equal of the original. ¬†The stall operator is resplendent in an ever-present red bow tie. ¬†The large photograph in the background is of this lady’s husband, with the Sultan of Perak seated on the right.

JMFR 2014 James Cendol 1

The reputation is well-deserved.  The cendol is old-school good.  Thick coconut milk, slightly salty pandan-flavoured noodles, palm sugar, and shaved ice.  No other ingredients required.  There is nothing better on a hot afternoon than an ice-cold bowl of cendol.  Except two bowls of ice-cold cendol.

JMFR 2014 James Cendol 2

The plan was to go for a bike ride in the evening, but the hot weather deterred everyone.  We were probably better off  napping in our air-conditioned rooms.

Other Flipsiders arrived throughout the afternoon.  The three in a VW combi had a scare when their van decided to take an unanticipated rest.

Photograph courtesy of Jason Chan

Photograph courtesy of Jason Chan

Fortunately the combi got going again once it had cooled down.  So we had the whole group carbo-loading together that evening.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Our hotel was 5 km from the power station, so we all rode to the start.  There were sixteen of us in our brand-new Flipside kit.

JMFR 2014 Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

About 1,380 of us rode under this arch, through the power plant gates, and out onto the route.

JMFR 2014 Start


The route was a clock-wise 115 km loop.  The power plant sits on an artificial island, which explains why the map shows the route extending out to sea.

JMFR 2014 Route

The organization for this ride was excellent.  Especially the marshalling along the route.  There was a large group of marshalls on motorbikes to keep the riders safe through intersections and on the open roads.

JMFR 2014 Marshalls

We got going a little bit late, which would translate into spending more time in the heat of midday.  The early going was relatively comfortable.  This is one of the nicest cycling event photographs that I have ever been in.  Along with Cedric at the front, and Jason.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

The three stops along the route were well stocked with chilled bottles of water and cans of 100PLUS isotonic drink.  Which made for a happy group of Flipsiders.

JMFR 2014 First Stop

Not long after that first break we had an unscheduled stop.  I made the schoolboy error of taking my eyes off the rider in front of me as we were slowing down for some reason.  I went from 31.5 kph to 20 kph over 60 metres. Then very rapidly to 0 kph.

I have the good fortune to ride with a great group of guys. ¬†They all pitched in to free the jammed chain, and straighten the bar, right shifter and front derailleur on my bike, while a couple of marshals patched me up. ¬†I’ll do a full crash post in a day or so.

Photograph courtesy of Keat Wong

Photograph courtesy of Keat Wong

Thanks to the efforts of the Flipsiders I got going again.  By then we were the very last of the riders on the road.  Accompanied by some marshals who must have wondered if we would finish in a reasonable time.

By the second water stop at 70 km we had caught up with some riders. ¬†We were well within the pack by the third stop. ¬†Fortunately there was plenty of chilled water at that third stop. ¬†It was not as hot as the day before, but the mercury was nonetheless pushing 30¬į C when we arrived at the stop.

We were all very very pleased to see a fire truck sending out a steady spray of cool water at the finish.  We need this at all our organized rides.

JMFR 2014 Finish Shower

Every Flipsider rode under the finishing arch.  We all had a good time, despite the heat, and the cramps, and in my case scrapes and bruises.

We all left Manjung with one of these.

JMFR 2014 Medal


And more than a few of us started the trip home with a bowl or two of James’ cendol in our bellies.



Recovery Ride

Six of us had ridden either about 110 km or 130 km on Saturday. ¬†Four of us turned up at D’Bayu on Sunday for a recovery ride. ¬†The idea was to have a gentle ride to a nasi lemak stall near Kampung Kundang, have breakfast, and then ride back to Bukit Jelutong.

We got to the Kuala Selangor exit fairly quickly.  A sign of things to come.


The breakfast part went as planned.  We stopped at Selera Ria in Kampung Cempedak for the usual food and drink.


Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

The recovery part was anything but.

We rode about 57 km at an average speed of 28.6 kph.

Granted we went twice as far the day before. ¬†That ride hadn’t feel slow¬†by any means. ¬†We averaged 27.6 kph.

So much for a gentle recovery ride.

What was clear was that I had recovered from the ‘flu¬†that had made all my rides in the preceding two weeks feel harder than normal. ¬†That was most obvious in my heart rate. ¬†My heart rate was at least 10 bpm higher than usual.

This was my Saturday effort.  My average heart rate was 131 bpm.

Suffer long

Graph courtesy of Strava

On Sunday my heart rate had settled down.  My average heart rate on this faster ride was 120 bpm.  I spent much less time in Zone 4 РThreshold than I had the day before.  And conversely more time in Zone 2 РModerate.

Graph courtesy of Strava

Graph courtesy of Strava

So the ride on Sunday was a recovery ride of sorts, despite the higher speed.