Johan S and Danial AM of BCG Tour held their second event on June 4th and 5th. This time from Kajang to Melaka, and back again the next day.
Unlike the inaugural tour from Ijok to Teluk Intan, this time the outbound and inbound routes were different. It was about 149km / 93mi to Melaka, and 112km / 70mi back to Kajang.
Or in my case, the outbound ride would have been 149km if I had followed the excellent cue card that was given out at the start.
I downloaded the .gpx files for the routes to my Garmin 705. I should have just stuck with the cue sheet for the ride to Melaka. Rather than just following the downloaded route, my Garmin directed me down an alternate route. The Garmin did guide me to the New Century Hotel in Melaka. But from the 117km / 72mi point it took me along a path very different from the one so carefully planned by the organisers. More on that later.
Twenty of us met at the start point near the Bandar Teknologi Kajang Police Station.
Mark, Leslie and I grabbed a quick drink before we went to the pre-ride briefing.
The pre-ride briefing by Danial was thorough, and with our safety on the road in mind. Johan chipped in as well, in between taking the photographs. Unless otherwise indicated, the photographs featured in this post are courtesy of Johan S.
In a delightfully retro gesture, Danial had a bulb horn rather than a whistle or a gun to start us off with.
We followed Johan’s car for the first 20km / 12mi as he guided us along the busy roads out of Kajang and through Semenyih and Bangi. A départ fictif. Just like in the major bike races!
Once Johan released us, the pace quickened. All the riders who were in front of Mark and I, which was most of the group, missed the left turn off Jalan Kajang – Dengkil onto the much quieter Selangor State Route B48. So the two of us were riding alone for about thirty five minutes.
The rest of the group steadily made up ground on us.
Mark and I were caught 5km / 3mi from Sepang. The faster riders pulled ahead. By then the bunch had broken up into smaller groups as riders settled into the pace that best suited them.
Leslie had caught us too. The three of us, and Max, made our first stop at the Shell petrol station in Sepang. We caught our breath and shared a litre of 100Plus as the rest of the group sailed past and onto Federal Route Route 5 toward Port Dickson.
We got going again at about 9.30am. All hopes of a cool morning were evaporating in the sun that had broken through the cloud cover. It was going to be a hot one.
At about 10:30am, as we approached Port Dickson, Leslie, Mark and I diverted off the published route onto Jalan Seremban. That took us to the Port Dickson Waterfront. More specifically to the McDonald’s there. Mark and I, along with some other Flipsiders, had stopped at that McDonald’s three years ago, during our ride to Tanjung Tuan for the Raptor Watch 2013.
Why McDonald’s? The Brekki Wrap with Sausage is the bomb after 70km / 43mi on a bike.
And there is air-conditioning. And a sea view. What’s not to like?
By the time we got back on our bikes at 11:15am the sun was out in full force and almost directly overhead.
The shadows were getting shorter and shorter as we made our way through Port Dickson and past the Wan Loong Temple.
Staying hydrated and cool become all important as the “feels like” temperature edged towards 40°C / 104F°. An hour after coming out of the air-conditioned McDonald’s we were looking for some shade and another drink. Others were looking for the same thing.
We found it at Kampung Sungai Raya, at the junction of Selangor State Route 5 and Federal Route 138. There was a row of roadside stalls selling various drinks. Leslie, Mark and I downed two glasses of iced coconut water each in quick succession.
Someone else was thirsty too!
An hour further down the road we were again getting desperate for shade and something cold to drink. We started looking for a petrol station or a shop after making the left turn onto Melaka State Route 142. It seemed like a long time before we came upon a minimarket in Kampung Jeram. In reality it was less than 4km / 2.5mi, but in the midday heat it certainly felt further.
It had been a long time since I had done this, but it was so hot that I resorted to the ice tricks that have helped me in the past. Ice wrapped in a bandana and placed on the back of my neck. Ice under my skull cap. Even ice under my arm sleeves at each inner wrist.
I was dripping all over as the ice melted, but I felt cooler and much more comfortable. So much so that I pulled ahead of Leslie and Mark, admittedly helped in that regard because they had to stop and wait at a couple of red traffic lights that were green for me.
I should have waited for them. 12km / 7mi outside Kampung Jeram my Garmin directed me to turn left onto Lebuh Spa. I should have stayed on Federal Route 5 to Jalan Malim Jaya. Instead I had an unplanned mystery ride through some villages and residential neighbourhoods.
The ice on my head lasted just long enough before I rode into this.
A most welcome rain shower that kept me cool, and rinsed some of the sweat and salt out of my cycling gear.
The rain was quite heavy, but it didn’t last very long. It had stopped by the time I popped onto Federal Route 19 with just 5km / 3mi to go.
Everyone got a bit wet before arriving at the New Century Hotel.
The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent reliving the day’s ride, eating, napping, and eating some more.
It had been an early start for Mark and I. We had driven to Leslie’s home before 6:00am so that we could car-pool to Kajang in Leslie’s bike / people mover. So we called it a night after dinner.