My body clock usually wakes me up before the alarm clock goes off. I was awake before the alarm clock buzzed this morning, but this time it was thunder and lightning at 4.30am which stirred me. Not a good omen for a ride that thirty people had signed up for.
It was still raining in most of Kuala Lumpur at 6.00am. The last time this happened, I stayed in bed. Only to later see R@SKLs smiling in group photographs taken on dry roads.
This time I took the chance that it would be dry in Bukit Tinggi. Kedai Makan dan Minum Zheng Ji (literally translated as Zheng Ji Eat and Drink Shop) in Bukit Tinggi was the designated meeting point for the start of the ride.
Depending on where you live in Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Tinggi is 40km to 50km / 25mi to 31mi away. The rain put some people off from driving that far. I started to have my own doubts as I drove through the rain at Genting Sempah, which is 5km / 3mi from Zheng Ji.
I needn’t have worried. The rain had stopped by the time I parked my car. Half a dozen buddies were already sitting over hot drinks at Zheng Ji, and more were arriving by the minute. Twenty-eight riders were ready to roll at 7.20am. The roads were wet, but the rain had stopped.
Our destination was the Chamang waterfall, with a stop in Bentong on the way for breakfast.
It is about 28km / 17.4mi from Bukit Tinggi to Bentong. Almost all of it downhill. We were on the old road between Kuala Lumpur and Bentong. The old road runs alongside the Kuala Lumpur – Karak Highway, which was opened in the 1970s to provide a faster and safer link between Kuala Lumpur and the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
There is usually very little traffic on the old road. Add the overcast skies and you have very pleasant conditions for a ride. Despite the short flooded section and the occasional rutted patch of tarmac.
Among us were some cyclists who had never ridden this route before. We stopped after 11km / 7mi at Bentong Hot Spring to regroup.
All smiles at this point.
The next regrouping location was the Shell station on the edge of Bentong town. Clearly some fiddling was going on here.
Then it was on to breakfast at Kedai Kopi dan Makanan Kow Hing (Kow Hing Coffee and Food Shop).
Napoleon Bonaparte said Une armée marche sur son ventre (An army marches on its stomach).
In the case of the R@SKLs, Le peloton monte sur son ventre (The peloton rides on its stomach).
Stomachs ready for more cycling, it was on to Chamang waterfall. The ride to the waterfall requires about 200 metres / 655 feet of climbing. Which is even more of a challenge when you are on a touring bike, as Marco was.
The work was worth it. The waterfall was in full flow. The heavy rain the night before meant that there was a greater volume of water than usual tumbling down the rock face.
Group photo time.
Those darned photobombers!
The first time I rode to Chamang waterfall was in 2013 with the Flipsiders. It was very nice to be still riding with some of that group.
Usually, where hills are involved, our rides end with a descent. This time the last part of our ride was the 550 meter / 1,800 foot climb from Bentong to Bukit Tinggi.
We made the obligatory stop in Bentong to take photos in front of the big sign.
Paul deserves a solo photo for smiling through the longest ride he has done for some time. Despite getting a puncture.
Everyone finished the ride safely, albeit sweatily because the sun had come out and the humidity had soared over the last 20km / 12.5mi. Just what we didn’t need on the uphill road.
Stomachs needed refilling in Bukit Tinggi.
I’m sure the R@SKLs will do this ride again soon. Those who slept in are demanding it!