The Century Ride de Kelantan 2015 was held during the Labour Day and Wesak weekend. Mark and I got on the road early Friday morning, joining the throngs of people taking advantage of the four-day weekend to go on holiday or to ‘balik kampung’ (literally ‘return to village.’)
The Hotel Perdana in Kota Bahru was a welcome sight at the end of the slower than normal 450km drive.
The Perdana was the official hotel for the ride. So from the check in counter it was a short walk to the ballroom to collect my goodie bag. We met Keat and Yen there. They had driven up the day before. It would be only a trio of Flipsiders doing the ride.
After a short nap it was time to sample some of the great food that Kelantan is justifiably well-known for. Mark knew where to go. Warisan Nasi Kukus on Jalan Kebun Sultan. ‘Nasi kukus’ is steamed rice. In this case steamed in individual containers.
We queued up beside the roadside stall to choose from fried chicken, fried fish, squid, beef rendang and vegetables to go with our steamed rice. We then plonked ourselves down on plastic stools at a table on the street, and tucked in. Very very good.
For dessert, we ordered some of the best ais kacang ever from the neighbouring stall. So good that one bowl was not enough.
The ride started from the hotel car park at 7.30am. So Keat, Mark and I were at the hotel café when it opened at 6.30am for a buffet breakfast.
When we made our way to our customary position at the back of the mass of riders at the start, we met up with the EZ Riders. Many of that group ride regularly from Bukit Jelutong, as do we, so we know quite a few of them. They had also planned to start at the back of the pack. We were invited to ride with them, and we were happy to accept.
This is Keat at the start.
EZ Rider Pang Teow Yeong, Mark and I getting going.
The route took us south and then west through Pasir Mas before turning south again to Tanah Merah. We then rode east through Machang before heading north to the timing checkpoint at Selising, and then back to Kota Bahru.
We had relatively quiet country roads for most of the ride. Where there was traffic the marshals did a very good job of keeping our side of the road clear of vehicles. We rode through this grove of trees at the 40km point.
It was a very flat course, with just a couple of climbs at the 105km mark.
Which suited all of us, because it was an exceptionally hot day. I can confirm that “Feels 45° C” at 11.00am statistic.
By the time we got to the final rest stop at Selising we were all ready for some ice cold water and the chance to catch our collective breaths in the shade. There was ice on offer too, so I put my core temperature cooling strategy into play.
The last 25kms were a straight shot north to Kota Bahru. Since we were such a large group riding together, we had a van with a siren and flashing lights for an escort. What a treat to have every intersection blocked off so we could ride though unimpeded.
We had that escort all the way to the finish. We stopped short of the line to regroup, and then rode through the finish together.
It was a lot of fun riding with the forty or so EZ Riders. They were disciplined about maintaining a 30kph average pace. They were conscientious about riding safely, be it in a triple pace line or single file. They looked after their fellow riders. And they had fun. Thank you EZ Riders for letting us tag along. We really enjoyed it.
These are the two Tommasini owners, Mark and Keat, showing off their finisher’s medals.
As is the norm, there was a lucky draw to close out the century ride. And as is the norm, we didn’t stick around to see who won a new helmet or bicycle, confident that it wouldn’t be one of us.
Instead Mark and I rode off to look for something cold to drink. Partly because we were hot and thirsty. But mostly because the event was 155km long, and we wanted to ride the full century distance of 160km. We found cendol. Not the nicest cendol I have ever had – that was probably at the Janamanjung Fellowship Ride – but it was good enough to warrant two bowls.
The rest of the day was spent cooling down, getting cleaned up, napping, and eating some more. We went to an ayam percik restaurant that Mark had heard about for dinner. Ayam percik is very nicely described by Ai Ping at www.curiousnut.com.
Sadly the ayam percik that we had was disappointing. We made up for it by going back to the ais kacang stall on Jalan Kebun Sultan.
On Sunday morning we played tourist and visited the Siti Khadijah market. A Kota Bahru landmark.
We didn’t buy anything, but we were tempted.
After we finished nosing around the market we headed homeward. Fortunately the traffic back to Kuala Lumpur wasn’t too bad. We made reasonable time.
I had a great time on the Century Ride de Kelantan 2015. Definitely one to do again next year.