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Melaka Century Ride 2015

MCR 2015 Logo

Much of the west coast of peninsular Malaysia had been blanketed by haze for more than a month leading up to the Melaka Century Ride 2015.  The wind was your friend or your enemy, either bringing more haze with it, or clearing the skies.

In mid-October the wind became an enemy.  An area of low pressure in the west Pacific, caused by typhoon Koppu and typhoon Champi, was pulling air across Sumatra and over the Malaysian peninsula.  That air brought with it smoke from the many forest and peat fires in Sumatra.

Would the Melaka Century Ride 2015 happen?  This skyline in KL during the days leading up to the event had the organiser issuing an assurance that the ride would proceed as planned.

Photograph courtesy of Najjua Zulkefli at TheMalaysianInsider.com

Photograph courtesy of Najjua Zulkefli at TheMalaysianInsider.com

I had my doubts.  The air looked pretty murky all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka on Saturday afternoon.

Nevertheless, 3,087 optimistic, or foolish, or both, riders turned up at the start line at Dataran Sejarah Ayer Keroh on Sunday morning.  Way more than I had expected.  Our faith paid off because much of the haze had cleared overnight.  We didn’t have clear skies, but the Air Pollution Index had fallen enough that the organisers did not have to shorten the route for the sake of the health of the participants.  That was the good news.

The bad news is that we all had to wait as the start time of 7.00am came and went.  VIPs turning up late to officially start events is one of my pet peeves.  We got underway at 7.20am.  The route this year was counter clockwise, with a checkpoint at the halfway distance near Batang Melaka.

MCR 2015 Route

These riders were at the sharp end of the race.  And a race it was for the fastest, with cash prizes for the winners and top finishers in the various categories.  How fast did you have to be?  My friend Khairi, in the black kit, finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes.  Fast by most standards for a 160km / 100mi ride, but still 38 minutes behind the winner of the Race category.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclery Damansara Perdana

Photograph courtesy of Cyclery Damansara Perdana

I ran into, well not literally ‘ran into,’ an ex-colleague and friend just 5 km into my ride.  Farid and I spent the next 120 km / 75mi riding together.  It was very pleasant to be able to chat with Farid.

Photograph courtesy of Sports Element Group

Photograph courtesy of Sports Element Group

It was also nice to be able to introduce Farid to the coconut water stall I had stopped at with the Flipsiders during last year’s Melaka Century Ride.  As luck would have it, this year’s route took us right past that same stall.

MCR 2015 Farid Coconut Water

The young coconuts were just as fresh, and the water just as sweet and as cold as they had been last year.

One thing that was a lot better this year was the rest stops.  Last year half of the rest stops ran out of water very early on.  This time they all had lots of water, and in some cases bananas too.  This particular stop even had a water tanker on hand so that they could shower passing riders with cool spray.

Photograph of Sports Element Group

Photograph of Sports Element Group

Another outstanding element of this event was the marshalling of the route by the police and civilians on motorbikes, and more police and volunteers at all the intersections and junctions.  I didn’t have to stop for a traffic light or for any vehicles during the entire ride.

Photograph courtesy of Sports Element Group

Photograph courtesy of Sports Element Group

There were also lots of volunteers in vehicles, ready to assist riders in trouble.  Of which there were many.  About 1,000 who started did not finish the ride.  I am sure the still slightly hazy conditions caused some participants to cut short their ride.  The ride profile, which put about 1,700 meters / 5.600 feet of climbing into the route, certainly played a part too.

Graphic courtesy of Melaka Century Ride 2015

Graphic courtesy of Melaka Century Ride 2015

About 2,000 cyclists, including Farid and I, made it to the finish.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclery Damansara Perdana

Photograph courtesy of Cyclery Damansara Perdana

Which for me meant being able to pour as much ice blended mocha and ice blended cappuccino down my throat as possible.  It hadn’t been a particularly hot day, but I was still happy to be in the shade with a very cold drink in my hand.

Of course making it to the finish also meant getting another medal to add to my collection.

Photographs courtesy of WH Lee

Photographs courtesy of WH Lee

Michael K couldn’t travel to Malaysia and ride with me as planned.  I hope all is well with you and yours Michael, and this is will be waiting for you when you do make a trip to Kuala Lumpur.

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Farid

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Farid

About alchemyrider

I left Malaysia in 2008 as a non-cyclist. I am back home now with two road bikes and all the paraphernalia that goes with being addicted to cycling.

12 responses »

  1. Congrats on the finish!

    I hope you still remember me – we met at water station 2 and got split up after Farid’s chain dropped. Being a 3 months old cyclist, I had to move on as I was not sure if I am able to finish before the cutoff time.

    Please do get in touch with me – I am hoping to join you for a ride (if you do not mind!) and I will buy you a post ride meal for leaving you guys during the ride 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Nik,

      Of course I remember you. Thank you for introducing yourself at the water stop. And no worries about heading off after Farid dropped his chain. We wouldn’t expect you to wait.

      And of course you are welcome to join my group and I open our rides. On Saturday we are riding from Taman mega to the Guthrie Corridor Highway. Makan stop and Kampung Kundang and then back to Taman Megah.

      On Sunday we are riding from the Hospital Orang Asli area on Jalan Gombak Lama to Janda Baik. Food stop at Andak’s Place and then back.

      Interested?

      Best wishes,
      Johan

      Reply
      • Sorry – I wanted to finish SPCR first before I start cycling into unknown territories again! Haha

        Bumped into Farid during SPCR! Of which was nice and we rode together for a while before I bonked 20km from finish. Anyways, still finished the ride.

        I am quite free this Sunday for a ride – any interesting ride plans along GCE?

      • Hi Nik,
        I am travelling so no rides for me for a few weeks.
        I’ll be in touch when I am back.
        Johan

      • Hi Johan,

        Found you on Facebook and added you. Let’s try to keep in touch there instead of here? Probably that’s easier.

        Regards,
        Nik

  2. Hi, I followed your blogs on the various centuries you did for info as I am a nubis kubis. Mcr 15 was my 1st true century although I did klang premier this year. You passed me at km 50 I think with your friend. Wanted to follow up but your pace was faster. Anyway I had a good experience. My next is selangor century.

    Reply
    • Hi Tony,

      Thank you for reading my blog. And welcome to century rides. Best enjoyed when riding with friends.

      I won’t be at the Selangor Century Ride. That ride clashes with holiday plans. I will be at the Pulau Indah event in January. Are you riding that one?

      Do you have a regular weekend ride routine? Where do you ride? Perhaps we can meet up one day.

      Best wishes,
      Johan

      Reply
      • Johan,

        Sorry for the late reply. I had a good time riding at SPCR 2 weeks ago. Time taken was much better than MCR although I bonked in the last 30km. Heat and headwind took it toll on me and most of the other back riders.

        I have just registered for the Pulau Indah 180, it will be fun and tough at the same time. My weekend rides are mostly at Kesas which I am getting bored. I do ride down to Morib or Tg Sepat occasionally. And I will start checking out GCE and Latar soon.

        BTW, I will be going for Janamanjung 2016 and most probably Jerantut Fellowship Ride in Feb 16

        Regards,
        Tony Ho

      • Tony,

        My turn to apologise. I have been away.

        Will be riding tomorrow morning from near Summit to Bukit Jalil and then back to Kota Kemuning for breakfast. And then to Bandar Botanik and back to Summit.

        Perhaps I’ll see you somewhere on KESAS tomorrow.

  3. Johan,

    I rode solo to Morib on the 19th. BTW, have you ridden SKVE? Planning to do from Teluk Panglima Garang to Putrajaya. Not sure if I will get an escort from the highway official? May I know you fb link, its easier thru messenger.

    Tony

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Grow Your Jersey Collection One Ride at a Time – 2015 | Old Roots, New Routes

  5. Pingback: The Replacement Melaka International Century Ride 2016 | Old Roots, New Routes

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