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.
The detour through Kampung RTP Lebu added 6km to the route, making the ride 108km long.
This event got off to a good start. Jersey and ride number plate collection were fast and friendly.
Seven R@SKLs joined the five hundred registered riders at Dataran Bentong.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ride was starting to take some prisoners.
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.
It was one climb too many for some.
Then it was downhill to the finish.
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.