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CFAL 2018: Food Hunt

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Hawker Food www misstamchiak com

Photographs courtesy of http://www.misstamchiak.com

Penang is noted for its street food.  Forget the air-conditioned restaurants with slow service. Food in Penang is all about hawker centres and roadside stalls, with dirt-cheap dishes packed with flavour.

The R@SKLs were in Penang for the CFAL ride.  That was the story anyway.  I think the Saturday food hunt is really the main event for the R@SKLs.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Start TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We were guided by these young men from PKKT Pulau Pinang.  They provided escort service for us last year.  This time they rode scooters upgraded with blue and red flashing lights and what sounded like an ambulance siren and an emergency vehicle horn.  The first time I heard the siren I thought there was an ambulance behind me.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 PKKT Boys Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

We didn’t have to ride far for breakfast.  Cecil Street Market is 2km / 1.2mi from the Tien Hotel.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Breakfast Jake Sow

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

We were joined on the ride by friends who live in Penang.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Penang Friends ST Chan

Photograph courtesy of Dennis HS Tan

We each put RM50 / USD12 into a communal pot to pay for food and drinks during the ride.  Marvin was in charge of doling out money when required.  He figured no one would suspect he was carrying RM1,500 / USD365 around with him in that orange plastic bag.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Money Bag Lai Voon Kiat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

Our next stop was at the recently completed Spiral Bridge which allows cyclists to cross the Bayan Lepas Expressway.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Circular Ramp Billy

Photograph courtesy of Billy

The spiral bridge is opposite the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge which is one of two bridges joining the island to the mainland.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Bridge TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We did two climbs.  The first was the same one we would do during the CFAL ride.  Along Jalan Teluk Kumbar from the PUSPAKOM centre to the top of Bukit Genting.

All smiles so far!  We particularly enjoyed the PKKT guys bossing the traffic with their siren, horn and whistle so that we could ride through intersections and roundabouts unimpeded.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Marshalled TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We regrouped at the top of Bukit Genting before the rapid descent toward Balik Pulau.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Top of Climb 1 Lai Voon Kiat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat

We stopped at the Balik Pulau Food Court for drinks.  Including amra juice.  Amra is a contraction of ambarella, which is this fruit’s English name.  The Malay name for this fruit is buah kedondong.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Ambarella Juice Dilmah Conservation

Photograph courtesy of Dilmah Conservation

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Balik Pulau Stop Martin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

Immediately after exiting the Balik Pulau Food Court car park we started the second climb of the day, rising up Jalan Tun Sardon.  325 metres / 1,066 feet of elevation over 4.5km / 2.8mi, at an average grade of 7.4% with a maximum grade of 17.5%.

This blog has young readers, so I can’t repeat what the fellow below and on the left said when he got to the top of the climb.  It was something like this . . .

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Swearing

Marvin won the Star R@SKL Of The Day award for riding his Brompton up Jalan Tun Sardon and wearing a pair of Crocs while doing it.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Riding 2 Dennis HS Tan

Photograph courtesy of Dennis HS Tan

How tough was the climb?  Leonard’s “during” and “just about to die” faces tell the story.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Riding 13 Dennis HS Tan

Photograph courtesy of Dennis HS Tan

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Tough Climb up Tun Sardon Dennis HS Tan

Photograph courtesy of Dennis HS Tan

Wake me up before you go go!

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Tough Climb up Tun Sardon TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

You can’t keep a smile of Kelin’s and Kevin’s faces for long.

After everyone but Leonard’s heart rates had returned to near-normal levels, we unrolled our R@SKLs banner.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Top of Tun Sardon Climb TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Jalan Tun Sardon is steep going up, and just as steep going down.  60kph / 37mph plus where the traffic allowed.

We regrouped at the PETRONAS station at the bottom of the hill before the PKKT boys shepherded us across a busy Jalan Paya Terubong to Serrena’s business premises in Taman Seri Rambai.  She had laid on a much-appreciated supply of Carlsberg, 100 Plus and fresh fruit.

Thank you Serrena!

Anyone else getting the impression that Thomas needed some rest?

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Serrena's Place TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Serrena Stop TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

It was noon when we left Serrena’s.  Time for lunch.  We went to Sin Yong Wah Coffee Shop in Air Itam.  The same place where we spent more than an hour during last year’s CFAL Food Hunt, waiting in vain for the torrential rain to stop.

This time it was pushing 36° C / 97° F with not a drop of rain in sight.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Air Itam Lunch TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Air Itam Lunch Jake Sow

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

Last year we rode up to the Kek Lok Si Temple before lunch.  This time we just took pictures from the coffee shop.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Kek Lok Si Temple Kenix Chiang

Photograph courtesy of Kenix Chiang

It was about 9km / 5.5mi from Air Itam to the Penang Town Hall.  We went there to collect our CFAL ride packs.  We would be there again first thing in the morning to start the CFAL round island ride.

In the meantime, it was back to the Tien for a shower and a rest before the evening beach party.

It’s a good thing the hotel rules do not bar hanging cycling kit out to dry on the roof.

CFAL 2018 Day 1 Bespoiling the View Eugene Lee

Photograph courtesy of Eugene Lee

Or was the rule just ignored?

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.

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