Kuala Lumpur sits within the Klang Valley. It is bordered by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east, several minor ranges in the north and the south, and the Malacca Straits in the west.
Which explains why so many of our weekend rides include climbing to a greater or lesser extent. The only options for truly flat rides are along the KESAS Highway heading west from Subang toward Bandar Botanic and Morib, and northwest of Kundang through Ijok and Kuala Selangor.
Leslie suggested a ride to Hulu Yam, which is due north of Kuala Lumpur. If I had thought about it I would have realised that the odds were that this new route (to me anyway) features some climbs. Boy, does it ever feature some climbs.
Ten of us started the ride by meandering from Mont Kiara through Segambut and Sentul to avoid the roads closed to accommodate the Standard Chartered KL Marathon. We left the city limits at Batu Caves. Just after the right turn off Jalan Sungai Tua onto Jalan Hulu Yam Baru – Batu Caves, Leslie said “Here’s where the fun begins!”
‘Fun’ translated into an initial climb of 1km with 92 meters / 302 feet of climbing, followed by 4km / 2.5mi of rolling terrain before a 6km / 3.7mi drag up 275 meters / 902 feet of elevation. Fun indeed – not!!
We stopped to catch our breath by the reservoir behind the Batu Dam.
And again at the top of the looong climb. The usual suspects are here (after we had recovered, I hasten to add), plus Lay on the right.
After speeding down the descent to Hulu Yam Bharu, we raided a 99 Speedmart for drinks and snacks before turning left onto Federal Route 1 toward Rawang. Federal Route 1 is the oldest and longest road on the Malaysia’s national road network.
We regrouped on the outskirts of Rawang. It was almost 11am, which translates into hot. A roadside stall selling fresh fruit juice was a perfect place to stop.
Then it was into Rawang for the main attraction of the day. Lunch. It took a while to find, but Leslie was persistent. This restaurant has been featured in many a food blog and television show.
The speciality of the house is tilapia with wan tan noodles. There are six variations to choose from:
- Golden mushroom – steamed with enoki, garlic and ginger
- Bean sauce – deep fried in brown bean sauce
- Deep fried – deep fried in soy sauce and birdseye chili
- Classic – steamed with soya sauce & oil, with plenty of fried garlic
- Curry – steamed
- Tomyam – steamed
All but one of us ordered the deep fried in soy sauce version, many with an extra portion of wan tan noodles. The other order was the Classic style.
When we were done eating, there was nothing left on anyone’s plate. Even the deep-fried fish bones were crunchy enough to eat. Definitely worth the visit.
We had about 30km / 18.8mi left to ride. We skirted around the east side of Bukit Lagong, a 528 meter / 1,731 foot lump between Rawang and Batu Caves. Jalan Rawang follows a valley, but nonetheless has a 2.3km / 1.4mi section near the Templer Forest Park that entails 96 meters / 315 feet of climbing.
Marco, Lay and I started down the descent in pursuit of Mark and Henry ahead of us. We had lost sight of them. I shot past this exit at 70kph / 43.5mph, followed by March and Henry. We should have left Jalan Rawang here, where the road transitioned into Jalan Kuching.
Instead, we rode some 6km / 3.7mi further down the road before we came to the realisation that Henry and Mark were no longer ahead of us.
Not knowing any other way to get back to Mont Kiara, the three of us dodged and weaved our way through very heavy traffic along Jalan Kuching for 7km / 4.3mi, until we could exit at the Segambut roundabout. I don’t want to repeat that experience again.
All’s well that ends well though. Everyone made it safely back to where we had started from.
I think I’ll put the Hulu Yam climbs in the “Been there, done that” category. At least until I forget the details. Like Leslie claims to have done before he invited us all on this ride.