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BRM200 Pink Ride 3.0

This was the view outside the MesaMall in Nilai at 4:05am.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

Why would anyone be awake, let alone ready to ride, at that ungodly hour?

This is why.

Graphic courtesy of Audax Randonneurs Malaysia

Twenty R@SKLs did the Pink Ride 2.0 in 2019. Four of us from that group signed up this year. Eight other R@SKLs, including six who had never done a 200km ride, joined us this time.

I collected brevet cards for most of the group the day before the ride.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

Together with the brevet / cue card we got a Pink Ride 3.0 sticker and a cash voucher worth MYR150 / USD37 from the Cyclist Wardrobe.

Some of us spent the night in Nilai. Better to be asleep than driving from KL very early in the morning. That plan didn’t work for me. There was a night bazaar next to my hotel. And live bands that played until midnight.

Despite the interrupted sleep, I was at the Old Town White Coffee On The Go outlet at the MesaMall just after 4:00 am, waiting to hand out brevet cards to the rest of the R@SKLs. They were already arriving at the mall.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

While riders were waiting for the start, they could take a selfie in front of the Cyclist Wardrobe banner. The selfie with the most likes on social media at the end of the event would win an MYR888 / USD218 cash voucher. Thank you, Max, from Cyclist Wardrobe for your generous support for this event.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

We were ready to roll at 5:00 am. Except for Marvin, who set his alarm for 3:00 am and then went back to sleep until 4:30 am. We started without him.

Which is why none of us was wearing the reflective bands that Johan Sopiee bought for us. He rode from his home to Nilai 😳. Marvin had the package of reflective bands in his car.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The route took us clockwise from Nilai to Seremban 2 and Rantau on the way to the first checkpoint in Port Dickson. The second checkpoint was at Morib. From there the route passed through Banting and back to Nilai.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

The public restrooms at MesaMall weren’t open that early in the morning. I, for one, was glad to see a Petron station 1.5km after we started.

Our first proper stop was 30km later at Mambau. Our group had split into two after a series of short climbs. Marvin caught up with us before we stopped. We didn’t have to wait long before the group had reassembled.

Photograph courtesy of Terry Shim

Our next stop was at the Shell station in Rantau. It was starting to get light as we left the petrol station. We had an unexpected stop 10km later when Ernestine had a puncture. That was the only puncture our group suffered.

It was overcast to Port Dickson. The home of the Army Museum. The temperature was between 22ºC / 72ºF and 24ºC / 75ºF for the 78km to the first checkpoint.

Photograph courtesy of Terry Shim

We got to the McDonalds at the PD Waterfront at 8:30 am. We were ahead of schedule, in spite of the flat tire.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow
Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow
Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow
Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

We got stamps in our brevet cards and queued up with dozens of other cyclists to order breakfast.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow
Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

Afiq latched onto our group as we cycled past the Army Museum. He introduced himself as we waited for a traffic light and asked if he could continue to ride with us.

“Of course you can Afiq.” He is in purple on the right.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

The roads from Lukut to Sepang run through rolling terrain. Rain fell on that part of the route while we were eating our sausage and scrambled egg sandwiches.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

Sam Tow founded the Audax Randonneurs Malaysia (ARM) club in 2015. Sam is now the country representative for ARM, which organizes audax events which adhere to the regulations set by the Audax Club Parisien.

Photograph courtesy of Audax Randonneurs Malaysia

As well as overseeing the logistics involved in running an event for nine hundred cyclists, Sam also drove the route in his personalized Land Rover Defender. He took almost two thousand photographs along the way.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow
Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow
Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow
Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

Sepang marked the end of the rolling terrain. It was also where we stopped to regroup, catch our breath and refill bottles.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow
Photograph courtesy of Terry Shim.

The sun broke through the clouds as we left Sepang to ride the remaining 95km. By the time we had covered the 27km to Tanjong Sepat, it was 31ºC / 88ºF. It was also almost noon. We were ready for a cold drink and some food.

Mark planned to meet us in Tanjong Sepat. He sent me his location via WhatsApp. It looked strange to me. I remember that point being in the middle of a group of houses. “Maybe he found a little-known restaurant,” I thought.

We rode to that location and found a group of houses. But no restaurant, and no Mark.

Then I saw this message from him.

Haiya!

We rode back to a restaurant where some of us had stopped in the past. There was some grumbling about having to ride extra kilometres, but everyone felt better after a cold drink and some calories.

We were on the road again at 12:45 pm.

Photograph courtesy of Terry Shim.

We had managed to stick together as a train since that first stop in Mambau, and we continued to do so on the way to the second checkpoint at Morib.

Photograph courtesy of Sifu Ecam Warnanyata
Photograph courtesy of Sifu Ecam Warnanyata

We got to Morib at 1:20 pm. There were water and bananas for us at the checkpoint. Thank you ARM.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

We claimed the shade under this tree for twenty five minutes.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

1:50 pm. 35ºC / 95ºF. 50km to go.

The heat and fatigue were beginning to take a toll. So we made more frequent rest stops over the remainder of the ride. First at a Shell station in Banting, just before we crossed the Langat River. Then at the Petronas station in Olak Lempit.

We were 25km from the finish and still riding in a single group. Amy, Ernestine, Geetha, Huey Ling, Vanessa and Lokesh were well past their previous longest ride distance, and they were going strong. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Photograph courtesy of Sifu Ecam Warnanyata

We took a five-minute break on the shoulder of the Nilai-KLIA Highway. Our last stop was at the Petronas station in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi. We were there for almost ten minutes, mentally preparing ourselves for the 180 metres of climbing over the last 8.5km to the MesaMall.

As we started riding, we noticed low black clouds and lightning in front of us. It would be a race to get to the finish before it started raining.

We lost.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

It started pouring on us when we were less than 2km from the finish. A final 2km which included grades of up to 6.3%.

Everyone finished safely. Wet but very happy with hard-won medals in hand.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

The rain did not dampen spirits in the least. Johan does look a little tired, though 😂.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

Congratulations to everyone in the group for completing the Pink Ride 3.0. I am so proud of you.

As it turned out, those extra kilometres in Tanjong Sepat were worth the effort. The official route was 198.8km long. It would have been a bummer to be short of 200km. Riding around in Tanjong Sepat got us all over the 200km mark.

Photograph courtesy of Audax Randonneurs Malaysia

Postscript

We celebrated our achievement in R@SKL style, with a feast on Monday night. An evening filled with laughter as we relived the ride.

New bucket list entry anyone?

Photograph courtesy of Audax Club Parisien

SJICC Fellowship Ride

Graphic courtesy of St. John’s Institution Alumni Association

I went to St. John’s Institution (SJI) in the 1970s. The SJI alumni, known as Johannians, maintains strong ties with each other and to the school. One of these alumni groups is the SJI Cycling Club (SJICC).

An SJICC WhatsApp group discussion about a Fellowship ride started in July. A suggestion to ride from Kota Warisan to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and back turned into a plan. About forty SJI alumni signed up for the ride.

It was gloomy and damp when I left home this morning. The drizzle started when I was on the MEX Highway. It got heavier as I drove through Cyberjaya and Dengkil. It was still drizzling at the ride start time of 7:30 am.

Map courtesy of Rainviewer Storm Tracker

The wet weather put some people off. Twenty-three cyclists had turned up at Kota Warisan. As well as several friends on scooters and motorbikes. They had volunteered to be our outriders. All of us were wondering if we would ride, or just stay put and order more teh tarik, nasi lemak and roti canai.

At 8:00 am the drizzle eased up a bit. We decided to go for it. As Rashid said, it was time to apply Velominati rules #5 and #9.

Rule #5: Harden The F*** Up

Rule #9: If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

Velominati: KEEPERS OF THE COG

Most wore their club jerseys. I don’t own one, so I hid at the back for this pre-start photograph. Jeff, the other rider in pink, is an old boy of Cochrane Road School. He was allowed to join us because he sells very nice bicycles 😂.

Photograph courtesy of Rashid Ghazali

Not long after we started riding, the drizzle turned into rain. We were thoroughly soaked when we got to our first stop at the Sepang International Circuit.

Photograph courtesy of Yasser Yaacob
Photograph courtesy of Rashid Ghazali
Photograph courtesy of Aston Choong
Photograph courtesy of Bernard Chong

The next stop was at the L32 end of KLIA runway 2. By that time, it had stopped raining.

Photograph courtesy of Khalid.

After watching a few aircraft landings, we rode the length of runway 3.

Photograph courtesy of ZackJ

Our last stop to regroup and buy a drink was at the PETRONAS station on Lebuhraya KLIA Extension.

Photograph courtesy of Nageb Abdul Majid

9.5kkm after that we were back at the Restoran Nasi Lemak Royale.

Photograph courtesy of FariQue

We hadn’t ridden very far. We had long forgotten all thoughts of a second loop. What was more important after a very wet ride was some signature nasi lemak and fried chicken.

It was a fun ride. Due in no small measure to the support car and the outriders who kept us safe on the roads.

There is already some chat about doing a longer ride.

A Half Dozen to Port Dickson and Back

Some of the best rides happen with very little planning. A chat on the 5th led quickly to an agreement to ride from Kuala Lumpur to Port Dickson on the 11th. And back again the next day. We had four others opt-in within a few days.

Brian, Kellie, Kenneth and I started before sunrise from Petaling Jaya. We rode to the Sanctuary Mall in Bandar Rimbayu, where we met Jake and Mark. There was time for coffee, Milo and roti canai before we pointed our bikes towards Port Dickson.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We took our regular route to Jenjarom, and then rode the quiet secondary roads to Tanjung Sepat.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe
Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe
Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

The only animal life we saw on the way to Tanjung Sepat was of the domesticated variety.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

It took us about two and a half hours to get from Rimbayu to Tanjung Sepat. Which meant it was time for food and drink. We went to Hai Yew Hin. Home of excellent rice porridge.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

And pretty good fish balls too.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

20km later we were waiting for the ferry across the Sepang River.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Kenneth asked where the river originates. I didn’t know the name of the river then, let alone its origin. Thanks to Google Maps I know know its name, that it originates in Sepang, and forms the border between the states of Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

Map courtesy of Google Maps

It was 1:30 pm and 34ºC when we got to Port Dickson. Our first stop was for bowls of . . .

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

We checked in to our usual PD accommodation. The Waterfront Boutique Hotel.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

After a shower, it was time for a late lunch. We got into the Double Queue Thai Cuisine restaurant just in time. The kitchen closes for a two-hour break at 3:00 pm. A lamp post outside the restaurant was a convenient place to hang my laundered kit to dry 😂.

After a post-lunch nap it was dessert time. There is a McDonald’s within walking distance of the hotel. Mark has the McDonald’s app. As luck would have it, there was an ice cream promotion that he could redeem. A soft-serve cone, an Oreo McFlurry and the choice of a strawberry or a chocolate sundae for something like RM8.00.

Photograph courtesy of McDonald’s

Mark had the McFlurry. I had the cone and the chocolate sundae.

Mark and I sat in McDonald’s until dinner time. The others joined us there, and Jake researched dinner options. Gerai Hock Kee was on the opposite side of the hotel from the McDonald’s. We walked along the waterfront and past Port Dickson Public Library to Gerai Hock Kee.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The restaurant is small and unpretentious. No flashing neon sign here. The food – thick noodles in dark soya sauce, fried mantis prawns, fried shark, oyster omelet, and green leafy veg – hit the spot.

There was beer at dinner. Which was enough for most of us. But not for two, who had couple of nightcaps at the Pattaya Pie Kitchen & Bar.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

It was bedtime for the rest of us.

There used to be a bhangra pub beside the Waterfront Boutique Hotel. The loud music kept us awake for most of the night on a previous visit. The pub is gone, so we all had a good night’s sleep.

We were on the road at 6:00 am, with a breakfast stop 10km away in Lukut. Dawn broke through cloudy skies as we headed to the ferry at Sungai Pelek.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Our route back was slightly different from the one we took to get to PD.

Maps courtesy of Ride With GPS

We took a detour to Avani Sepang Gold Coast.

Photograph courtesy of Kenneth Lim
Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We also took the more direct route along Federal Route 5 from Tanjung Sepat to Morib. We stayed on Federal Route 5 through Banting before turning right onto Jalan Kampung Sri Cheeding.

Restoran Al-Arefin Bistro is our regular hangout in Rimbayu. And for many other cyclists. So much so that the restaurant recently installed a sturdy bike rack out front.

Photograph courtesy of Kenneth Lim

Jake and Mark ended their ride in Rimbayu. Brian, Kellie, Kenneth and I made it safely back to Petaling Jaya. Once again, lots of kilometres ridden without any punctures.

Murphy’s Law – If something can go wrong, it will – didn’t strike.

Yhprum’s Law – Everything that can work, will work – held instead.

Bentong – Raub Golden Ride V2

I have ridden from Genting Sempah to Bentong and back many times. Only once have I ventured beyond Bentong. The route for this ride was new to me.

A few days before the event there was a landslide at the Lembah Klau area which made the road connecting Jalan Felda Mempaga – Klau and Jalan Utama Mempaga unsafe for cyclists.

Photograph courtesy of Roadcare BentongRaub

The detour through Kampung RTP Lebu added 6km to the route, making the ride 108km long.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

This event got off to a good start. Jersey and ride number plate collection were fast and friendly.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

Seven R@SKLs joined the five hundred registered riders at Dataran Bentong.

Photograph courtesy of Zeus
Photograph courtesy of Zeus

We were off at exactly 7:15 am. One of my pet peeves is events that start late. This event was one of the few which I have participated in that started on time.

It was cool and misty for the first ninety minutes.

Photograph courtesy of Jay Han

The first relatively steep climb came early in the ride.

The Raub area is well-known for its durian orchards. We smelt durian in the air as we rode through Sang Lee Durian Valley.

I should have seen the Durian Monument at Kampung Baru Sang Lee. It was only 18km into the ride, and I missed it.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

The police and volunteers marshalled the route very well. They stopped vehicles while we rode past. They manned every junction, and in most cases, we had the right of way through traffic lights.

All the durian orchards mean many lorries during the fruiting seasons. The roads in many places were quite rough as a result. The green surroundings made up for the damaged road surface.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

The first water stop was after 28km at Taman Muhibah. We took the opportunity to refill water bottles. One can never be sure that there will be water left at the stops down the road.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

Our small group of R@SKLs got separated at that stop. As we restarted, AiLei noticed that one of her tires was flat. Bin Soo and Zeus helped to replace the inner tube.

Ally, Lokesh and I were already on our way. Zeus called me to tell me about the problem. I stopped and waited. Ally and Lokesh were ahead of me, and we didn’t see them again until after the finish.

The second water stop was after 52km at Kampung Tok Machang. There were water, ice and bananas at that stop. Things were looking good for the rest of the ride.

Photograph courtesy of Zeus

The third water stop was after 70km. Once again, water, ice and bananas were available. Kudos to the organizers for keeping all the rest stops well-stocked.

More climbs with some bite in them came just after the third water stop. The dragonback rollers at Ulu Gali – Lembah Klau.

42% of the route was uphill.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

The ride was starting to take some prisoners.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

Stop four came after 90km. The overcast skies of the early morning had cleared, and it was 33ºC / 91ºF. The stop was at the Bamboo Restaurant. The restaurant was closed, but their tables and chairs were available. It was nice to sit in the shade while eating a banana and drinking iced water.

That stop was before the last big climb of the day, which came with 10km left to ride. The final upward kick was 100 metres of elevation over 1.5km.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

It was one climb too many for some.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

Then it was downhill to the finish.

Photographs courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride
Photograph courtesy of Ally

There were a few surprises at the finish. One was a lucky draw. It was no surprise that none of the R@SKLs was a winner.

The other surprise was the food. All you can eat satay, apam balik and cendol. The satay and apam balik were hot and the cendol was ice cold. Much nicer than the packet of cold rice and curry that passes for post-ride food at other events.

Everyone had a very nice time. We could be back for V3 next year.

Through the Paddy Fields

Photograph courtesy of Ong Peng Hong

Amy suggested a ride to the paddy fields around Sekinchan. To keep the ride length reasonable, we met at Bestari Jaya. Which meant a 50km or so drive from Kuala Lumpur for the fourteen of us.

It was misty during the 17km ride along Jalan Raja Musa.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The first 25km was through palm oil plantations.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Low

We got our first glimpse of rice paddies after we made the right turn onto Jalan Sekembang at the Seri Tiram Jaya rice mill. The rest of the way to Sekinchan was through rice paddies, shown in pale green below.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

The narrow rectilinear roads separating the rice paddies are excellent for cycling on.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Low

We had breakfast in Sekinchan. Then stopped on the way back through the rice paddies for a group photograph.

Photograph courtesy of Zeus
Photograph courtesy of Zeus

We were back at Bestari Jaya by 11:30 am. Thankful for the overcast sky throughout the ride.

I can see doing this ride again soon.

Photograph courtesy of setinstories.com

The Germans visit Malaysia Part 3

Day 7

The day started with breakfast at a reasonable hour. There was no cycling done this day.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We loaded the vehicles, checked out of the resort and drove to the Boh Sungai Palas Tea Centre.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong

After some tea, sausage rolls, chicken pies and sardine puffs – a typical light Malaysian snack – we all drove back to Simpang Pulai. TH had left his car at the Mornington Hotel.

We split up at Simpang Pulai. Kelin was already on his way back to Kuala Lumpur. Kenix, Pai and I were also heading back to KL.

The rest drove to Penang. The Germans would spend the last few days of their visit in the food capital of Malaysia.

Photograph courtesy of Ralf Hamberger

Safe in Penang.

Photograph courtesy of Marc Linke
Photograph courtesy of Marc Linke

Beer – what else? – @Chulia.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Dinner was another new experience for the first-timers to Malaysia. Banana leaf rice.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Day 8

The tourist in front of @Chulia before heading off to see the sights of Penang.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

The first stop had to be for some Penang laksa.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Then it was out and about in the markets. This chicken might have been too fresh for Patrik’s tastes.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

There was a funicular railway ride up Penang Hill.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

A walk through a fishing village.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Visits to temples.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

On behalf of everyone who went to Brinchang and Penang, I must express our appreciation to our drivers Kurma and Vemam. They looked after us while we were riding, and ferried us to massages, dinners and around Penang. Our adventure would not have worked without them.

Photograph courtesy of Dieter Fecher

The day closed with a steamboat dinner.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

And gifts for the Germans. Zaryl kindly brought them with her from KL. The T-shirts, not the beer!

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Day 9

The last ride in Malaysia was around Penang island. Ai Lei and Bin Soo had also driven up from KL to join Zaryl and the others on the ride.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

A Penang exclusive is the availability of outriders to guide and help you ride through junctions. TH arranged for two outriders to accompany the ten cyclists.

Photograph courtesy of Ralf Hamberger

The clockwise route runs past the Penang Bridge.

Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

There are the climbs up to Teluk Bahang Dam.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

And a ride through Batu Ferringhi.

Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong

There was a quick stop at @Chulia for a beer or two.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Then it was time for the beach party.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Of course, with lots of beer and wine. I don’t know why they wasted space bringing a Coke.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Day 10

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Sunday was the day that Dieter, Marc, Matthias and Patrik flew back to Germany. Ralf flew back to Hong Kong.

Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong

The Germany-bound four flew from Penang to KLIA. The flight from Penang was delayed but not enough to stop them from catching their connecting flight to Frankfurt.

Safely in KLIA.

Photograph courtesy of Marc Linke

And back in Germany. Looking cold!

Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch. Wir haben es genossen, Ihnen ein bisschen Malaysia zu zeigen. Bis wir uns wieder treffen.

The Germans visit Malaysia Part 2

Day 4

There were two items on the itinerary for Monday. A road trip to Melaka and Leonard’s 3-in-1 party.

The road trip started with a bak kut teh breakfast at Restoran Ah Hei Bak Kut Teh.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Once on the road to Melaka, it became clear that the Jalan Alor food stalls and/or alcohol had claimed one victim.
Luckily a nap and some non-alcoholic Malta drink rejuvenated Matthias.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Pai and TH took the Germans sightseeing in Melaka.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Lunch was at Restoran Seng Kee.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

I don’t think the Germans remember much about the drive back to Kuala Lumpur.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Leonard’s 3-in-1 party was at the Grand Imperial restaurant in the Bangsar Shopping Centre. 3-in-1 because 1. the Germans were here, 2. because he recently scored a hole-in-one, and 3. it was his birthday later that week.

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee
Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee
Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

I must say Ralf was resplendent in his lederhosen. Doing it “My Way!”

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

But he sometimes runs out of steam.

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

Leonard was a wonderful host. He does talk a lot though 💬💬💬.

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

Day 5

The Day 5 ride was 115km from Tanjung Malim to Simpang Pulai.

Some bikes went into Amy’s truck. The other bicycles and people went into three other vehicles.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

It took about an hour to drive to Tanjung Malim. We parked beside a Shell station and got ready to roll. The entire ride would be on Federal Route 1.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

It was 31ºC when we got to Sungkai. We stopped for drinks and ice-cream.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Zaryl had a more urgent reason to stop. Her saddle had come off her seat post. It was Patrik the mechanic to the rescue.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

12km further up the road, we arrived at a fresh fruit stall. Iced mango tastes very good when it is 35ºC.

The heat didn’t bother Marc though.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We made another drink stop at Tapah.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We had lunch at Kampar. We were 85km into the ride.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

That is when Patrik discovered his souvenirs from the Hyatt House Hotel.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Pai dressed for the heat when we left Kampar.

Photograph courtesy of Dieter Fecher

At 2:30 pm we were in Gopeng. The air-conditioned KFC was closed for renovations. We had drinks in the open-air Alif Cafe instead.

I had a puncture 4km from our destination 🤬.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

I must admit that one flat tire among twelve cyclists riding 115km each is good going.

Happy to be at the Mornington Hotel.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng
Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

After a shower some of the group went for a massage. Starting with the feet.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Then it was dinner time. The restaurant TH chose for us was hosting a wedding that night. I think the wedding party was a bit worried when our scruffy group walked in the door.

We were seated upstairs, though. Out of sight of the wedding guests.

The highlight of the meal was the steamed grouper head. Which was something out of the ordinary for our German guests.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Day 6

Our Day 5 ride had been our longest. Our Day 6 ride would have the most elevation.

We checked out of the Mornington Hotel and rode a few kilometres to breakfast at Restoran Nasi Kandar Pulai.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

The road is fairly flat until the PETRONAS station about 5km from the Mornington Hotel. Then it starts to rise. Gently for 7km, and then more sharply to the border between the states of Perak and Pahang.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

The road was relatively quiet, and it was cooler than it was the day before.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

It wasn’t long before we were spread out along the road.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

That sign reads “Heavy Vehicles Keep Left.”

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai
Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong
Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong
Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong
Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong
Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong

Thank goodness for our support vehicles. They created a buffer between us and what little traffic was on the road.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

And were on hand when there was a puncture and a floor pump was needed.

Photograph courtesy of Chan Chee Leong

The support vehicles waited at the 43km point in case any of us wanted water, or in the case of the Germans, beer.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim
Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

The Waterfall Café is 6km further up the road. We all stopped there for a rest, a drink, and some roasted peanuts.

The state border is 4km from the Waterfall Café.

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

It is another 30km and 800 metres of climbing from the border to Brinchang. There is some relief in the form of a 9km descent from Blue Valley to Kuala Terla.

Kampung Raja is roughly halfway down that descent. We stopped for lunch at Restoran Lai Ki in Kampung Raja. Lemon chicken, batter-fried squid, fish in oyster sauce and fried greens hit the spot.

The virgin jungle between Kampung Raja and Brinchang is gone. Vegetable farms, tea plantations, and hotels and restaurants have replaced the trees.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

There were no more tree-lined roads like this for the last 20km to Strawberry Park Resort.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

There are potholes and patches on the road from Kampung Raja to Brinchang. We had to be careful on the fast descents.

Everyone got to Strawberry Park Resort safely. TH’s suite was the hangout room of choice.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Patrik lit a fire.

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Some serious rehydration happened in front of that fire.

Kelin drove up from Kuala Lumpur to join us for barbecued steaks, lamb and chicken accompanied by sweet potatoes, sweet corn, potato salad and green salad.

And pasta. TH demonstrated his chef chops by cooking two versions of spaghetti Frutti di Mare. With marinara sauce and with alfredo sauce.

TH also provided a soundtrack via his Bluetooth speaker. Hits from the 80’s and 90’s.

The evening ended with dessert and wine. A lot of wine.