14 of us would be riding to Hat Yai on Day 3.
Tomoe and Tommy were already back in KL. TH had hopped into a taxi to Hat Yai after the SICR on Day 2. Luanne, Leonard, and Kiam Woon would be driving back to KL. Ralf and Voon Kiat would be riding back to Padang Besar, and then driving to Penang to catch their flight to Hong Kong.
Some of the Hat Yai bound R@SKLs were awake when it stopped raining at 6.30am. WhatsApp messages started pinging around the group. There was a common thought. It would be nice to ride for as long as possible before it started raining again.
Those who were awake came down early to breakfast. We decided to start cycling to Hat Yai at 8.00am, instead of the previously agreed 9.30am. We then had to wake up the rest, so that they could get ready in time. We got hold everyone but Arthur, who was not answering his mobile.
Arthur appeared at breakfast at about 7.45am. It had started raining again by then. We eventually got going at 8.30am. We left Arthur to take his time over his coffee, and to ride in the support van to Hat Yai.
We had our first flat tire of the day within 12km / 7.5mi of heading out into the rain. It wouldn’t be the last.
The clouds teased us by looking like they would blow away and leave us riding under clear skies, only for more rain clouds to appear above us.
Another stop to attend to a flat tire meant that it took us 1 hour and 20 minutes to cover 28km / 17mi. All that stopping and starting wore us out. We needed a rest and a snack.
The weather showed no sign of improving. If anything, it looked like we would ride into heavier rain as we left the Krua Chaiyasit restaurant.
Flat tire number 3 came after 40km / 25mi of wet riding. That presented an opportunity to grab a 100 Plus out of the support van.
While we were dealing with punctures, Ralf and Voon Kiat were riding through the border crossing on their way back to Padang Besar.
With Luanne, Leonard and Kiam Woon following along in Kiam Woon’s van.
Ralf and Voon Kiat had the harder ride on this day. They had to get over the Wang Kelian climb.
Our ride to Hat Yai was a leisurely one. By 12.30pm we had covered 60km / 37mi. That is about 15km / 9mi per hour.
So we didn’t need a rest, but we did need lunch and a bathroom.
The Transformer restaurant was a quirky place, decorated with vintage scooters, motorcycles, licence plates, etc.
The restaurant obviously gets its name from this sculpture at the entrance.
After lunch we decided to skip a visit to Songkhla Lake, and to take the shorter, more direct route into Hat Yai. In case you are wondering, it was still drizzling.
The rain got heavier as we rode along Phet Kasem Road for 35km / 22mi. The road surface was poor in places, so we were all glad to hit the outskirts of Hat Yai.
At that point we needed help negotiating the last few kilometers to The Bed Hotel in Hat Yai. Arthur was doing sterling service as our Chief Support Officer, working with the driver to guide us along the busy city streets.
Despite the best efforts of the van driver, in admittedly chaotic traffic, we had a mixup in directions. I am embarrassed that I lost my cool at that point.
While I thought we were lost, we were in fact meters away from our hotel, So all ended well.
The first thing we had to do upon arriving at the hotel was to rinse ourselves and our bikes off. We had ridden every kilometer over the three days in the rain, but the roads on Day 3 were particularly sandy. We were covered in grit.
While everyone else was playing with the hose, Pai and I dripped all over the lobby floor as we checked the group into the hotel. The staff were unfazed. Someone got a mop and cleaned up behind us. No fuss at all.
We had some time to burn before dinner. It was still raining, so we got the staff to open the hotel bar for us. TH supplied the drinks, and tunes via his Bluetooth speaker, and the group provided the high spirits and laughter.
The rain was still coming down at dinner time. So plans to go farther afield for food were shelved in favour of going to the food court across the road from the hotel. It was a good choice. The fried chicken was excellent, as were the oyster omelettes, grilled vegetables, steamed fish, and multiple packs of mango sticky rice.
At the end of Day 3 we had another 97km / 60mi in the bag.
It had been a relaxed ride, which is what we needed after the century ride the previous day. We didn’t have a deadline to meet, so we could take our time.
That wouldn’t be the case on Day 4. We would have a train to catch.
But first . . .