RSS Feed

R@SKLs at the NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017

Posted on

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Banner

It pays to have friends with connections.  In this case, Heng Keng, who got some VIP parking passes for the R@SKLs driving to Puncak Alam for the NST C-Cycle Challenge century ride.  We all car-pooled, two people and two bikes to a vehicle, and got parking spots just meters from the start line.

Once everyone was ready, i.e. after last minute visits to the loo, we joined the 1,000 or so other participants behind the start gantry.  There were two events:  a 160km / 100mi race, and a 35km / 22mi Fun Ride.  We combined the two events, and planned to have a 160km Fun Ride.

The horn sounded and the starting flag fell at about 7.50am.  Only twenty minutes late, which is par for the course at Malaysian cycling events.

C-CYCLE CHALLENGE 2017

Photograph courtesy of Khairull Azry Bidin

The organizers had made some late changes to the course that had been initially announced.  They took about 15km / 9mi off the total distance, including 6km / 4mi of climbing.  Which significantly increased the odds that we would all have a fun ride.

The course followed a rough figure-of-eight path.  We headed south from Puncak Alam over a few of the Dragon’s Back climbs before heading west and then north around the clockwise lower loop.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Route.png

The temperature was in the mid to high 20s C / 70s F.   We had a support vehicle loaded with ice chests packed with water and 100-Plus isotonic drink.  Everything was lined up for an excellent ride.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 On The Road Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

But you know that saying about the best laid plans?  Kelin and Thomas, together with about twenty other riders, didn’t see the admittedly poorly-placed directional arrow, and sailed past the 90° right hand turn at 43km / 27mi, where the route around the lower loop turned inland.

It was 15km / 9mi before they realised their mistake.  Which perhaps wasn’t a mistake after all, as they found a cendol stall, while the rest of us didn’t.

We made our first stop just after that right turn.  It makes such a nice change to have a support vehicle on our rides, instead of depending upon the official rest stops.  Being guaranteed cold drinks and bananas is a massive plus.  Thank you Heng Keng for loaning your driver and vehicle to the R@SKL cause.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 First Stop Danial Shaz

Photograph courtesy of Danial Shaz

The weather had been closing in from the time we started pedalling again.  By the time we started the climb to the Department of Civil Aviation site at the top of the hill on Jalan Batu Arang, the rain had started.  It rained, heavily in places, along the entire 22km / 14mi hilly stretch which made up the middle section of the ride.  The rain kept us cool, but care was needed on the steeper descents.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Rain Kelin Chan

Photograph courtesy of Kelin Chan

Stop number two came after 87km / 54mi.  It had stopped raining, but roads were still wet.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Water Stop 2 Simon

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

Leonard didn’t get the memo about which camera to look at.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Water Stop 2 Which Camera

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Despite the rain, everyone was having a good time.  That came to a crashing halt, literally, when Danial and Ray went down just shy of the 100km / 62mi mark.  It was a high speed crash precipitated by a depression in the road surface.  Ray came out of it with just some scrapes and bruises.  Danial was not so lucky.  He will be off his bike for some time with a fractured cheekbone and the after-effects of a mild concussion.

The official paramedic who arrived on the scene was very good.  He checked Danial out for broken bones and internal injuries, cleaned up his cuts and scrapes, and got him off the road.  Forty minutes after the crash, Ray and Danial were in an ambulance to the Sungai Buloh hospital, accompanied by Luanne.

We were shaken and a bit shocked by what had happened.  We debated whether to continue the ride or not.  The group decision was to ride on, but at a slower speed.

We had more rain to contend with over the 15km / 9mi to Kuala Selangor.  The McDonald’s at Kuala Selangor was a good place to stop for some shelter and some food.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 McDonald's Simon

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

After burgers and chocolate sundaes, we realised that we would miss the cutoff time for the event.  We would all officially DNF.  Never mind.  In the bigger scheme of things, that was not the worst thing to happen that day.

Our last 40km / 25mi were made easier for us by three marshals on motorbikes, who accompanied us all the way back to Puncak Alam.  They kept traffic at a safe distance, pointed out potholes and other hazards, and blocked off junctions so we didn’t have to stop for any traffic lights.  That added some fun back into what had become a bit of a somber day.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Jln Kuala Selangor - Sg Buloh Rosdan Wahid

Photograph courtesy of Rosdan Wahid

The sun was out as we negotiated Jalan Kuala Selangor and Jalan Bukit Cerakah toward the finish.  The day had warmed up considerably by the time we crossed the line.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Finish 01 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Thomas and Kelin were already at the finish, medals in hand, after their unexpected detour cut short their ride.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Medals Thomas Tan

Photograph courtesy of Thomas Tan

The rest of the R@SKLs joined them at the finish area while we waited for TH and the support car to get back from the Sungai Buloh hospital with Luanne.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Finish 02 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

I suppose we could have let ourselves be entertained by these superheroes while we were there.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Super Heroes Muhd Zaaba Zakeria

Photograph courtesy of Muhd Zaaba Zakeria

It had been a day of mixed emotions, and we were all more concerned to get an update on Danial’s condition than anything else.

Even the lucky draw held no attraction for us, despite the attractive prizes.

Upon reflection, it was a fun ride.  It was just such a shame that Danial and Ray had that bad crash.  All the R@SKLs are very relieved that the outcome was not worse, and we wish the both of them speedy recoveries.

NST C-Cycle Challenge 2017 Medal.png

 

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.

One response »

  1. Support vehicle, bananas …hmm.. next time I’m sticking to the R@SKLs train 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: