Pai and I signed up for this ride when it was scheduled for March 2020. COVID-19 put paid to this event and many others. The Movement Control Order came into effect on 18th March and life as we knew it came to a sudden stop.
Five months later, life has returned to a semblance of normalcy. Including the resumption of outdoor sporting activities. The postponed BRM300 and BRM1000 rides were rescheduled to the end of August. A BRM600 ride was added to the mix. All to coincide with Malaysia’s Independence Day (Merdeka) on August 31st.
The ride started from Morib. Pai and I spent Saturday night in a hotel in Banting. By the time we got our acts together, all the hotels in Morib were full, so Banting, about 12 km from Morib, was the next best option.
The idea was to get the 65 km drive from home out of the way on Saturday and thus be able to sleep for an extra ninety minutes on Sunday morning.
I neglected to check the location of the hotel. It was on a very noisy Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, which is the main road through Banting. I didn’t get much sleep.
The BRM300 started at 5:00 am on Sunday 30th. We had twenty hours to complete the distance. Pai and I got to the start with plenty of time to check in and to set up our bikes.
As we were about to start, I noticed that my chain was trapped below the chain catcher, which hadn’t done its job. However, the chain catcher did stop me from getting the chain back onto a chainring. The only way to get the chain back onto a chainring was to break the chain. Fortunately, I had a quick link on my chain, and Pai had quick link pliers. And a stack of wet wipes for me to get all the grease off my fingers afterwards.
I was not a happy man when we finally got going.
The route took us to Lukut and then clockwise to Rembau, Tampin, Sungai Udang, Port Dickson, Lukut and back to Morib.
As soon as we left Morib, Pai noticed that my rear derailleur was making a clicking noise. We stopped at the roadside to check my RD, but in the dark, we couldn’t see anything wrong. We stopped again under lights at the Petronas station in Sungai Pelek and saw the problem. In the dark at Morib I had threaded the chain over rather than under a small tab on the RD. So out with the quick link pliers and wet wipes again.
Dawn was breaking when we left Sungai Pelek. 20 km later it was bright enough to turn my front light off.
It was the middle of the three-day weekend so the roads were very quiet.
Checkpoint 1 was at Restoran 3 Abdul in Rembau. That was 94 km into the ride.
We had breakfast there.
We rolled out of the restaurant at 10:00 am.
It might have been a better idea to stay and nap at the restaurant like this fellow.
The major climb of the day started at KM 102.
How major? This major.
We decided to save our legs.
I didn’t feel very good after that climb. My average heart rate increased by 10% and I was pedalling squares. It was getting hot, which didn’t help.
I started to cramp in the sartorius muscles. The sartorius are the longest muscles in the human body, spanning both the hip and knee joints. Fortunately I was able to stretch and stop the cramps from really biting.
I emptied my water bottle at a rapid rate. We stopped at the sundry shop at KM 119 for a rest and to buy some drinks.
50 minutes later, just south of Tampin, Pai spotted a roadside stall selling coconut shakes. That was a much needed cold drink.
The temperature was on its way up. It was 33ºC / 91ºF when we stopped for that coconut shake. It would hit a high of 39ºC / 102ºF later in the day.
Along with the heat, there were these to contend with.
At 1:20 pm we got to checkpoint 2 at the Petronas Sungai Petai station on the AMJ Highway. It was the hottest time of the day. We had ridden 153 km, and I needed a break. As did many others.
That bike with the orange fork is mine. I was inside the station, enjoying the air-conditioning and more drinks.
Our next stop was at a Petron station in Sungai Udang. Pai needed nutrition. I needed more drinks and to get rid of my jersey. It would be cooler riding with just a base layer on.
Those stops and a lot of sugary drinks must have helped me. I felt a lot better when we left that Petron station. I still had to ward off the occasional sartorius muscle cramp.
We hit some holiday traffic on Federal Route 5 between Sungai Udang and Taman Masjid Tanah. It was a relief to get off Federal Route 5 at Kampung Pulau Semut and out of a steady stream of traffic.
We took a short break in the shade at a bus stop at Kampung Tengah. It was still 34ºC / 93ºF. The forecast had predicted rain, but there was not a drop all day. It was 4:20 pm, and we had ridden 195km.
Checkpoint 3 was 15km later at a FIVE petrol station in Pasir Panjang. Five Petroleum is a local fuel brand that launched in March this year. This particular site used to be a Caltex station.
After yet more drinks.
At 6:00 pm we got to Teluk Kemang. It was time for some food at the McDonald’s linked to the Shell station there.
“Only” 75 km to go!
We spent 40 minutes refuelling, chatting and cooling down. Then it was ‘lights on’ and through more bumper-to-bumper holiday traffic along the beachfront to Port Dickson town.
We made a short pit stop at the Petronas station just after the Lukut climb. And a longer stop at the Petron station in Sungai Pelek. Then Pai pulled us along at 28 kph over the last 35 km to Morib.
Thank you Sam Tow and his group of amazing volunteers for organizing yet another excellent BRM ride.
A BIG thank you to Pai. I couldn’t have finished this without you riding with me, my friend.