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Audax BRM200 Malaysia 2016

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Banner

When I first read the terms “Audax,””Brevet” and “Randonneurs,” I had to look up what they meant.

  • Audax: ¬†A cycling sport in which participants attempt to cycle long distances within a pre-defined time limit. Audax is a non-competitive sport: success in an event is measured by its completion. ¬†Also known as¬†Randonneuring.
  • Brevet: ¬†A long-distance bicycle ride with check-point controls. ¬†Also known as a Randonn√©e.
  • Randonneur: ¬†A rider who has completed a 200km event.

Apart from noting that audax is an excuse to market hi-viz jerseys for brevets (see the zipped chest pocket for carrying a brevet card), I thought little more about that variety of cycling.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Jersey

Image courtesy of Rapha

Some time later I read an online article in CyclingTips titled “Paris-Brest-Paris – Never Again.” ¬†Written by James Fairbank, a finisher of the 2011 edition of the quadrennial¬†1,200km brevet from Paris, to Brest, and back again in a time limit of under 90 hours.

Then I read the accounts of four other riders who also completed the 2011 Paris-Brest-Paris in “PBP 2011: Four Journeys” on the Rapha website (the provider of the Brevet jersey above).

Utterly mad!

So when I was invited to participate in the¬†first Official Audax Brevet in Malaysia (thanks Yue-Jin), I thought “No way!” ¬†220km / 137mi was further than I had ever ridden in one sitting, so to speak.

But the more my cycling buddies and I talked about it, the more we thought “Why not?”

Which led to ten of my buddies and I being amongst the 480 or so mad folk who registered for this event.  Here we are in Kapar, ready for the 5am start.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Start Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We collected our brevet cards and then rode off into the darkness.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Brevet Card Collection Lawrence Loh

Photograph courtesy of Lawrence Loh

Fortunately we didn’t have to make any turns during the first two hours. ¬†In the dark I couldn’t read the nifty cue card that Liang had made for us. ¬†Brevet routes are not marked, so this cue card taped to my top tube was consulted often after we got past the first check-point.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Cue Card

By sunrise we had reached Sekinchan on our run northwest up the coast.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Route

Just before 8am we rolled into the first check-point at the McDonalds in Sungai Besar.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 1st Checkpoint Liew Jho

Photograph courtesy of Liew Jho

We needed breakfast, but an Egg McMuffin didn’t appeal. ¬†So some of us went on a hunt for roti canai. ¬†Which we found at what is apparently Sungai Besar’s oldest Malay restaurant. ¬†I think the wait staff were a bit surprised to have a dozen lycra-clad guys turn up together. ¬†All demanding food.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Breakfast Shop Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Six more of these please!

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Roti Canai Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

By the time we got going again the sun was breaking through the clouds.  The weather forecast had called for continuous rain, and I had come prepared with a rain jacket and shoe covers.  We were all looking forward to the cooler temperatures that rain brings.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Weather

However the only water we saw all day was in this canal.  No need for that rain gear.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Canal Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The sun got brighter and brighter as the day progressed.  There was some cloud cover, so we had occasional respite from direct sunshine, but we felt the heat anyway.

Photograph courtesy of Eric Chen

Photograph courtesy of Eric Chen

At about 9.30am we turned onto Jalan Sungai Panjang.  Why did the squirrel cross the road?

Photograph courtesy of Ahmad Nasir

Photograph courtesy of Ahmad Nasir

Jalan Sungai Panjang, or Long River road, is appropriately named.  We were on it for 40km / 25mi.

That is not the river on the left by the way.  Sungai Bernam is a couple of kilometers to the left of this road.  That river demarcates the border between the states of Selangor and Perak, starting from the river mouth on the west coast and meandering 90km / 56mi or so eastward to Tanjung Malim.

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Radzi Jamaludin

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Radzi Jamaludin

Before long some of the group got bored and upped the pace.  The rest of us followed for about 10km / 6mi before letting the faster riders go.  We needed a break.  Mark spotted a stall in the midst of the oil palm trees.  Literally in the middle of nowhere.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Coke Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We cruised the remaining 17km / 10.5mi to the second check-point at Kampung Soeharto, posing for some GoPro shots along the way.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Liang and Mark Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 JM Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Leslie Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

And enjoyed the shade beneath the clouds where we could.

Photograph courtesy of Denny Zulkasi

Photograph courtesy of Denny Zulkasi

The first order of business upon arriving in Kampung Soeharto at 11.30am was to get our brevet cards stamped by a group of cheerful volunteers.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Check-Point 2 Lawrence Loh

Photograph courtesy of Lawrence Loh

Then it was time for lunch.  The brevet organisers had warned us that there was no food or drink to be had for 40km / 25mi beyond Kampung Soeharto.  We crowded into Laila Restaurant for chicken rice and lime juice.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Lunch Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Shade was in demand!

BRM 200 2016 Looking for Shade Joel Tanmenghan

Photograph courtesy of Joel Tanmenghan

We spent about an hour in Kampung Soeharto.  It was almost 2pm by the time we got to the outskirts of Batang Berjuntai.  The first sign of refreshment after the previous bone dry 40km / 25mi was a roadside stall selling coconut water.

Take one freshly-opened young coconut, add ice and a straw, and say “aaaaaah!”

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 JM Air Kelapa Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We made one more stop at the PETRONAS station at Simpang Tiga Ijok. ¬†That was only 10km / 6mi from¬†the coconut water stall, but it didn’t take long in the 35¬į C / 95¬į F heat for us to want more cold drinks and some time in air-conditioning.

At that point most, if not all, of my buddies had ridden further than they had on their previous longest rides.  I was in new territory also.  Despite having ridden 190km / 118mi we were all still in good shape.  Tired and a bit sore perhaps, but no one was cramping.

Our decision to ride conservatively (there was one collective rush of blood to the head before our Coca Cola stop, but that turn of speed didn’t last very long) had paid off. ¬†I was certainly feeling better at 190km on this day than I remember feeling at 100km / 62mi on a number of previous rides.

We also had the good fortune of not suffering any mechanical problems.  Not a puncture amongst us.  Respect to this gentleman, who finished the ride solo on a tandem that had suffered a broken rear wheel spoke.  Thereby embodying the self-reliance that the Audax culture prizes.  External support is expressly prohibited in the Audax rules, and if you go off course or experience a mechanical, you are expected to take responsibility for finding your own way home and making your own repairs on the road.

Photograph courtesy of Liew Jho

Photograph courtesy of Liew Jho

With ‘just’ 30km / 18.5mi to go, we lost our conservativeness. ¬†Our average speed went up by at least 4kph / 2.5mph as we pushed for the finish. ¬†This despite riding over¬†the poorest road surface of the entire route between the 200km / 124mi and 215km / 133mi points.

The organisers had been forced to make a last-minute change to the end of the route, to avoid presumably worse conditions.  The roads on the rest of the route were by and large in good to very good condition.

Audax Randonneurs Malaysia did a terrific job putting this event together.  Kudos to the committee members.  And a heartfelt shout-out to the volunteers who distributed and stamped the brevet cards.

All the information that went out ahead of the event was very helpful. In particular the cue sheet and photographs of the turns along the route, like this one.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Directions Sam Tow

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

All my buddies and I finished the ride in about 10 hours 45 minutes.  Well within the time limit of 13 hours 30 minutes.

As did this group, which rolled into the final check-point at the Kapar KFC about 8 hours after they started.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 1.04 Finishers Lawrence Loh

Photograph courtesy of Lawrence Loh

In the spirit of Audax, all 389 of us who finished the event before 6.30pm, including getting to the check-points on time, were successful.  One last stamp on the brevet card.

BRM 200 2016 JM Finish Joel Tanmenghan

Photograph courtesy of Joel Tanmenghan

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Brevet Card

We are all very pleased with our achievement.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Finish Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

I think all my riding buddies joined me in stumping up the cash to get a 200km medal from the Audax Club Parisien, the body that administers randonneuring around the world.  This will be quite a memento.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Medals Johan Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The teaser video for the 400km / 248mi brevet in September is already out!  The time limit is 27 hours.

Video courtesy of Sam Tow.

The question now is, will my buddies and I ride it?

“No way!”

For now.

 

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.

3 responses »

  1. Nice, can feel all what you wrote coz I’m one of the crazy cyclist too and one of your pic have me (inside Laila Restaurant) I was on beside table.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Audax BRM400 Malaysia 2016 Part 1 | Old Roots, New Routes

  3. Pingback: Audax BRM300 Malaysia 2017 | Old Roots, New Routes

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