The Shah Alam Enduride 2014 was the first, and so far the only cycling event, that I didn’t finish. I struggled badly from the 60km point. At about 100kms I packed it in.
So I came into this year’s SAER determined to finish. Experience has taught me what to do, and what not to do.
Not to do:
Ride hard from the start
Go into the red on the climbs
Marvin, Liang, Justin, Mark and I took our customary positions at the rear of the pack.
Stephen was with us too.
The riders at the front were treated to some traditional gamelan music while they waited for the gun.
We didn’t have to wait long. This year the VIPs were not late, and the ride started just minutes after the appointed time of 7.30am.
The Flipsiders, as always, took a more relaxed approach to the start.
The route was not exactly the same as last year’s, but it covered much of the same ground. A clockwise run from Shah Alam through Sungai Buloh and north toward Batang Berjuntai, with a loop toward Batu Arang, before turning south again through Puncak Alam, and over the two Dragon’s Back sections on the way back to Shah Alam.
I was sure to avoid my two “Not to do’s” right from the start. There was 1,400 meters / 4,600 feet of climbing to be done, most of it in the first half of the ride. With the Dragon’s Back kickers to come at the end, as you can see from the route profile below.
I made sure to observe my “to do’s” as well. It was well into high 30° C / 100° F territory by about 11am. It was also very humid, so I was sweating a lot. By the 75 km / 47 mi mark it was time to stop for a cold drink, a Snickers bar, and a bag of ice. The cooling strategy I first practiced at the Kedah Century Ride had worked wonders. It was time to use it again.
Ice under my skull cap. Ice in my bandanna against the back of my neck. Ice in the centre pocket of my jersey.
You can tell from the shadow that by this time the sun was beating down on Marvin and I.
We were a trio, together with Justin, for most of the ride.
Liang, Mark and Stephen had hooked onto faster groups. We didn’t see them again.
We did however see Marco. He wasn’t able to participate in the ride, but he appeared beside us on his scooter as we got to the Batu Arang area.
And look what he had with him . . .
Fantastic. Our own personal support vehicle, loaded with ice and cold water. Just what we needed an hour later, as we approached the Dragon Back climbs. We stopped at a PETRONAS station on Jalan Meru Tambahan to replenish my ice-powered cooling system, and for Justin and Marvin to top up their bidons.
Then it was 4 km / 2.5 mi more before the left turn onto Jalan Bukit Cerakah, and the start of the first Dragon’s Back. The sensible early pace, and the ice on the back of my neck, did me a lot of good. Last year I was thoroughly cooked after 100 km / 62 mi. This year I could muster a thumbs up and a smile at the top of the final climb before the left right turn onto the second Dragon’s Back.
It was hot. It was windy. My ice pack had melted. But the Dragon’s Backs were behind me. There was one last sharp little climb up to a roundabout in Shah Alam, and then it was across the line.
Marvin followed soon after.
Justin finished safely as well. We were all pleased to have completed the ride, but perhaps none more than I.
The Enduride lived up to its name. Lots of climbing. Poor road surfaces in places. High temperatures. Gusting winds. Everyone who completed the ride deserves their medal.