RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Genting Sempah

I’ve Got the ‘Flu. Do I Ride my Bike, or Not?

Influenza Virus Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1)

Graphic courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This is the H1N1 influenza virus.  One of the three or four ‘flu viruses which are most prevalent during this 2016 / 2017 influenza season.

Perhaps the ‘flu virus that caught me (I don’t think you catch the ‘flu.  The ‘flu catches you) was the B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.  Australia is in the midst of its worst ‘flu outbreak on record.

Whichever strain of the virus it was, I started feeling the effects of the infection ten days ago.  It started with a sore throat, which progressed to a fever, upper chest and nasal congestion, aching joints, and an annoying cough.

After a week of Hurix’s Fluaway capsules, and Strepsils lozenges, I felt better.  Not 100%, but well enough to ride to Kundang with birthday boy Mark, Marco, and Khoo.  I was following the old adage to “sweat out a cold”.

I’m was also sure the Kundang pan mee would have curative properties.

Kundang Noodles

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The same had to be true for the chendol from Hasan’s van on Jalan Bukit Mayang Emas.

I didn’t feel any better, but I didn’t feel any worse, the next morning.  The morning of the Man Ride Day.  Lay, Khoo and Mark were coming to my apartment to start the ride with me.  There was no backing out.

Man Ride

Graphic courtesy of The Bike Artisans

There were two distances to choose from.  100km and 200km.  We all chose the 100km route, from The Bike Artisans on Jalan Doraisamy to Genting Sempah and Janda Baik, and then back to The Bike Artisans.  Hardier souls than we rode twice as far, to Raub and back.

The agreement with Lay, Khoo and Mark was that if I started coughing, the pace was too high.  Which turned out to be an effective way of controlling our speed up the climbs to Genting Sempah.  Cough cough cough!

Man Ride Day 1

Photograph courtesy of Qoo Khoo

We started the ride with about one hundred other cyclists.  Perhaps half were ahead of us by the time we got near the Orang Asli Hospital.  Then everyone moved ahead of us, because we stopped for food and drink at our regular spot, Restoran Sidek Ria.

Man Ride Day 2

Photograph courtesy of Qoo Khoo

We spent 25 minutes over roti telur and iced Milo.  Back on my bike, I coughed, spluttered, and blew snot rockets every now and then all the way up to Genting Sempah.

Snot Rocket REI com

Graphic courtesy of REI.com

At the flyover I decided that I felt good enough to continue to Bukit Tinggi.  That cut out the Janda Baik loop, which removed some steep slopes and about 15km /  9mi from our route.

We stopped for more food and drink in Bukit Tinggi.  There are a number of coffee shops to choose from.

My riding buddies kindly kept the pace low as we climbed the 415 meters / 1,360 feet of elevation over the 9km / 5.5mi from Bukit Tinggi back to Genting Sempah.  I had brought some Strepsils to help with my cough, but had nothing to boost my compromised lung capacity.

Once the last slope at Hamburger Hill was dealt with, it was downhill for 25km / 15.5mi to Jalan Taman Ibu Kota.  Then onto flat ground past the Twin Towers and back to The Bike Artisans.

Man Ride Day 4

Photograph courtesy of Qoo Khoo

The Man Ride Day ended with a nasi kandar and satay lunch, a short talk on Mens’ Mental Health by Associate Professor Dr. Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin from University of Malaya, a short talk on reaching out for help by Kenny Lim of Befrienders Malaysia, and an auction of commemorative Black Sheep Chaos kit.

Man Ride Day 3

Chaos Kit (1)

Photograph courtesy of The Bike Artisans

It was a well-organised event, and good fun.  I’m glad I rode the event, albeit for only 90km / 56mi.

My cough and upper chest congestion didn’t get any better over the weekend.  It was slightly worse on Monday morning.

So today, belatedly, I did some research.  Was there any truth to the “sweat out a cold” adage?

The answer is “it depends.”

Doctors differentiate between ‘above the neck’ symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes or a mild sore throat, and ‘below the neck’ ones, such as a cough, a congested or tight chest, an upset stomach, muscle aches and fever.

A light to moderate – and brief – workout is fine if your symptoms are above the neck.

If your symptoms are below the neck?  Give workouts a miss.  Exercising with major cold symptoms will prolong your illness and can be dangerous.

Which probably explains why I still have a stuffy nose and a cough.

Sick

I have below the neck symptoms.  So no BCG Tuesday Night Fun Ride for me today.

Now where did I put those Strepsils?

Postscript

I saw a doctor.  He put his stethoscope on my chest as I took deep breaths.  Well, as deep as I could manage.

He heard lots of crackling.  Walking pneumonia was his diagnosis.  I left his clinic with an antibiotic, and something for my cough.

And with strict instructions to avoid any exercise until my lungs were clear.

Seven days later, I could ride again.

R@SKLs do Bentong

Bentong Sign gobentong com

Photograph courtesy of gobentong.com

Before 1977, all traffic across the Titiwangsa range used the winding, narrow Federal Route 68, which runs from Gombak in Kuala Lumpur to Bentong, Pahang.  Everyone going to Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bharu, and other points east of Kuala Lumpur drove through Bentong.

The Kuala Lumpur – Karak Highway, opened in 1977 and upgraded to a full expressway in 1997, bypasses Bentong.  Today, the majority of traffic uses the Kuala Lumpur – Karak Expressway, leaving Federal Route 68 to learner drivers and cyclists.

Regular readers will know that the climb up to Genting Sempah is popular with cyclists from the Klang Valley.  A more ambitious ride continues to Janda Baik.  Even more ambitious is a ride to Bentong.

The R@SKLs are nothing if not ambitious.  About twenty of us turned up at the Hospital Orang Asli Gombak car park for a 7am start toward Bentong.

Bentong 2

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

The first 16km / 10mi is uphill to Genting Sempah.

Bentong 7 Kiat Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

This was early on in the ride.  Clockwise from top left, Luanne, Tomoe and Daniel, Arthur, and Kelin.

 

We regrouped under the flyover at Genting Sempah.  Behind us is our support vehicle.  Leonard very kindly provided his pickup and driver.  Plus coolers of ice and drinks.  Top man Leonard!

Bentong 6 TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

From the flyover we let gravity take over for the 20km / 12.5mi run downhill to the Suria Hot Spring Resort.  We regrouped there before riding the flatter 17km /  10.5mi to Bentong town.

Bentong 12 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Some of us had the dubious pleasure of being dragged along from the hot spring at up to 44kph / 27mph by Daniel, as he waved his hand in the air, urging us forward.  I for one was glad to see the outskirts of Bentong.

Once in Bentong the only thought on everyone’s mind was food.  We rode into the streets where the Sunday morning market is held, and stopped at Po Lai Kam kopitiam.  We queued to fill our bowls . . .

Bentong 10 Kiat Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

. . . and then filled our stomachs.

Bentong 11 Kiat Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

There had been some talk of riding on to the Chamang waterfall.  The consensus on the day was that it was too hot for extra kilometers.

So we rolled back toward the hot spring.  At a much more sedate pace.  Well, some of us rode at a more sedate pace.  About half the group had shot off ahead.  We all stopped at the hot spring for a rest in the shade, and something cold to drink.

If it hadn’t been a hot spring I might have jumped in.

Bentong 8 Kiat Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

We had all enjoyed the 20km / 12.5mi downhill roll to the hot spring on the way to Bentong.  Now it was time to pay the piper.

After 10km / 6mi and 270 meters / 885 feet of elevation we were ready for another rest.  This time outside the Bukit Tinggi secondary school.

Bentong 4 TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We weren’t yet halfway through the grind back up to Genting Sempah.  There was another 8.5km / 5.3mi and 405 meters / 1,330 feet to climb before we got to the Genting Sempah R&R.

We all got to the Genting Sempah R&R – eventually.  But we couldn’t celebrate yet.  There was still the not insignificant obstacle of Hamburger Hill to surmount.  Exhilarating to descend, but a lung-burning, leg-breaking 81 meters / 266 feet, 6.4% average grade climb over 1.1km / 0.7mi, especially after the kilometers ridden and meters climbed to that point.

Lay, Mark and I delayed the inevitable by detouring to the McDonald’s at the R&R.  I for one needed a sugar boost – in a big way.  McDonald’s delivered.

I might not have been able to get up Hamburger Hill (you see the reason for the name now) without that pie and sundae flooding into my bloodstream.

The other R@SKLs didn’t need a McDonald’s boost.  They had made their way up Hamburger Hill and down to the Hospital Orang Asli car park, and had packed up and left by the time the three of us got there.

As Leonard said, it was fun.  Painful fun at times, but fun nonetheless.

You know what they say about ambition.  It grows.

The R@SKLs have decided that Fraser’s Hill is next.

Freeze in ‘Little England’

Photograph courtesy of malaysiasite.nl

Come Back Soon

Andak's Place Logo

There were rumours that my favourite destination in Janda Baik had closed.  No one had the details.  Recent rides by others to Janda Baik for pancakes and nasi lemak had apparently ended in disappointment.

Hope springs eternal though.  Michael from Denmark was spending a week in Malaysia visiting friends and riding his bike.  I wanted to show off some of what makes cycling here so appealing.  Andak’s Place is one of those things.

So eight of us convened at our regular meeting point near the Hospital Orang Asli on Jalan Gombak Lama.  We have all ridden this particular route many times.  Apart from Michael of course.

16km / 10mi and 700 meters / 2,300 feet up to Genting Sempah, on the border between the states of Selangor and Pahang.

Janda Baik with Michael K 05 Leslie

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

Then a 6.5km / 4mi descent to the right turn under the arch that welcomes you to Janda Baik.

 

Janda Baik Arch 02

Followed by a final 7km / 4.3mi and 130 meters / 425 feet of climbing over rolling terrain before arriving at Andak’s Place.

Janda Baik Andak's Place

Illustration courtesy of Andak’s Place

The rumours were true.  Andak’s Place was closed.  Their Facebook page reveals the intention to reopen on a date to be announced.  Andak’s promises to be back with a fresh concept.  The Kuala Lumpur cycling fraternity is certainly looking forward to Andak’s reopening.

But what to do about feeding Michael and the rest of us?

We decided to try Kopi n Kraf.  We ride past it every time we complete the loop through Janda Baik after we have filled our faces at Andak’s Place.  We suppressed our hunger pangs for a further 5km / 3mi to the steps leading up to Kopi n Kraf, which is the café that serves the Danau Daun Chalets.

Janda Baik Kopi n Kraf 02

Photograph courtesy of Danau Daun Chalets

The café is certainly attractive.  Raised and nestled within the trees.  Kopi n Kraf wins the competition for scenic views.

Their menu is a little restricted on weekdays, so we weren’t able to try their nasi lemak.  They did serve us some of the Malaysian breakfast classics:  toast with kaya, soft-boiled eggs and roti canai.  One data point is not enough to form a definitive opinion, but on the basis of our visit to Kopi n Kraf, I think Andak’s Place, as it was before it closed, wins the competition for quality of food.

Janda Baik with Michael K 01 Leslie

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

After breakfast there was the small matter of  345 meters / 1,130 feet of climbing over 11km / 7mi before we were back at Genting Sempah, ready to enjoy the 16km / 10 mi descent back to where we had started.

I hope Michael enjoyed his stay and the rides he did in Malaysia.  Come back soon Michael, and come back soon Andak’s Place.

Breakfast Options

What we want for breakfast often determines where we ride.  If it is roti canai, we ride to Kampung Kundang.  A hankering for duck drumstick noodles means a ride to Kota Kemuning.  There are a few options if nasi lemak is the breakfast choice du jour.  Genting Sempah, Kampung Cempedak or Kota Kemuning are all possibilities.

Breakfast options have now grown with the discovery of Andak’s Place in Janda Baik.

The ride to Janda Baik starts with the climb to Genting Sempah.

Andak's Place View

The turn around point for most of our rides along Jalan Gombak Lama is either at the summit, or at the McDonald’s at the Genting Sempah R&R, one kilometer down the other side of the hill.  4 kms further down the hill toward Bentong is the right turn toward Janda Baik.

Andak's Place Map

There are more short but steep climbs to deal with along Jalan Cherangin before this place comes into view.

Andak's Place 01

Andak’s is definitely bicycle friendly.

Andak's Place Bicycle Rack

And big bike friendly.

Andak's Place Big Bikes

There is lots of seating, both in the main building and outside under umbrellas.

Andak's Place 02

The kitchen at Andak’s Place puts out a wide variety of food.  Including this winner.

Andak's Place Pancakes

Pancakes with butter and honey.  Worth the climbing to get there.

Rapha Festive 500

Festive 500

I have not covered many kilometers in 2014.  Thanks in no small part to my extended time off the bicycle.  Both self-inflicted and health-inflicted.

My total mileage on 12th October 2014 was the lowest it has ever been on that date in the five years I have been cycling.  That was the day of my first ride in almost four months.  I rode as much as I could, and then had another month of no rides from 23rd November.  Rain and weekend travel are to blame.

Total Distance

Graph courtesy of VeloViewer

So the Rapha Festive 500 came at the perfect time to motivate me to add to my total kilometers ridden in 2014.  The challenge is to ride 500 kms between the 24th and 31st of December.

Rapha has partnered with Strava to keep track of riders’ mileage.  No small undertaking, seeing as 46,360 cyclists are currently in the challenge.

Strava is doing a great job of displaying every participant’s current mileage, and rank overall, by country, by age and by weight.  Strava is also providing additional motivation by presenting riders with ‘achievements’ as they meet interim targets.

125250375

I got the final one today.

500

I have ridden every day since Christmas Eve.  I am putting my vacation time to good use.

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

514kms over six days.  Mostly over the usual routes:  Genting Sempah (2), KESAS (3) and (6), and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (4).

There were a couple of forays into new territory, starting with the first Festive 500 ride on Christmas Eve (1).  Keat, Mark, Marco, Fahmi and I started with a ride to a favourite nasi lemak stop in Kampung Cempedak.  But instead of following breakfast with a ride through Kampung Melayu Seri Kundang, we followed a back road toward Rawang.  Here we are, happy to be at the summit of the climb along Jalan Ciku.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The ride that took me over the 500kms target was an entirely new one.  I drove my biker chick to the airport, then parked and pulled my bike out of the car.  It was raining quite hard, but that didn’t stop me from riding alongside runway 2, and the new runway 3 serving KLIA 2, watching aircraft come and go in a cloud of spray.

AA

I didn’t want to continue onto the highway serving the airports, so I doubled back along runway 3 and went to Sepang.  I had fun, but would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been raining the entire time.

LCCT Map

Weather permitting, I might get to 600kms by New Year’s Eve.  A relatively large total by my current standards, but paltry in comparison with 1,644kms already ridden by the person leading the Festive 500.  He has cycled almost 14,500kms in 2014.  He must be very fit.  And not have a full-time job.

Riding into the Year of the Horse

8 Horses

Friday 31st January marked the start of the Year of the Horse.  The horse is the seventh of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac.

Federal Territory Day was celebrated on Monday 3rd February.  So we had a four-day weekend.  My riding buddies planned to ride on each of those days.

Four of us started the Lunar New Year with a morning ride along the KESAS Highway.  We did one and a half of the Bandar Sunway to Bukit Jalil Sports Complex loop.

Now that I think about it, four was not the most auspicious number of riders.  In Chinese tradition, certain numbers are believed by some to be auspicious or inauspicious, based on the Chinese word that the number name sounds similar to.

4 is considered the unluckiest number of all, because it is nearly homophonous to the word “death.”  Despite being a quartet, we had a fun ride.

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

We did much better, numerologically speaking, the next morning.  Eight of us did the climb to Genting Sempah.

8 is an extremely auspicious number, because it sounds similar to the word “prosper” or “wealth.”

Photograph courtesy of Gary Wong

Photograph courtesy of Gary Wong

As always with our morning rides, this one ended with breakfast.

Photograph courtesy of Eric Siow

Photograph courtesy of Eric Siow

Sunday was a “Go Green Car-Free Morning.”  On the first Sunday of the month, some roads in the city center are closed to motor vehicles from 7.00 am until 9.00 am.  Giving walkers, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers and cyclists a chance to use these stretches.

About ten of us met here for a wake-up coffee or a teh tarik before cycling to the start.

IMG_2616

There was already quite a crowd in front of the City Hall building.

 Car Free Day 01

Including some on vintage bicycles and in period costume.  The infantrymen were a reference to the Japanese invasion of Malaya and the capture of Singapore.  One of the keys to the success of that invasion was the use of bicycles by the Japanese troops to move swiftly down the Malayan peninsula from Kota Bahru in the north to Singapore in the south.

Photograph courtesy of Tengku Nash

Photograph courtesy of Tengku Nash

Marco, Shahfiq and I did three loops of the 12 km route.

The highlight for me was cycling past my primary school.  Batu Road School.  In the 1960s a narrow access road ran in front of the school.  I remember walking out of the school gates into a group of ice cream vendors, standing next to bicycles with cold boxes mounted on rear racks.

That access road has become Jalan Raja Laut, a five-lane thoroughfare.  The school is still there.  Sadly the ice cream vendors are no more.

Batu Road Boys School Panoramio Kunawi Sokaguro

The route also took us past the PETRONAS Twin Towers.  They must be the most posed-before buildings in the country.

Car Free Day 04

Here Shahfiq and I are rolling away from the Twin Towers, along a deserted Jalan Ampang toward the junction with Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

I had a bonus ride in the afternoon.  Ronnie held a Chinese New Year open house.  Complete with chinese tea prepared with water collected from a natural spring that comes to the surface in Kuala Kubu Bahru.  Which is an hour’s drive from KL.

Photograph courtesy of Ronnie Khoo

Photograph courtesy of Ronnie Khoo

Three-quarters of the residents of KL appeared to have left the city for the long weekend.  So I took a chance that the roads to Ronnie’s place were relatively traffic-free.

Ronnie CNY Route

I stayed off the main roads as much as I could, although there were some stretches where I had no other choice.  Up the hill on Jalan Semantan for example, which was bit tricky because of the construction of the new MRT line and station.

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

It was worth the effort though.  The chinese tea and the company at Ronnie’s was great.

The plan for the Day Four ride had to be changed.  Some of us had to be back home by 11am.  That ruled out a long ride along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and beyond.  Seven of us did the climb to Genting Sempah again instead.

It was probably good that we didn’t ride from Bukit Jelutong.  It was a public holiday in Kuala Lumpur but not in the state of Selangor.  The motorcycle lane along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway would have been crowded with people getting to work.

The road up to Genting Sempah was very quiet.  We had long stretches where we were the only ones on the road.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

There was only one other person at the summit when I got there.  Marco soon joined me at the sign marking the border between the states of Selangor and Pahang.

JGL Summit

Once the rest of the group got to the top of the climb we all turned around and shot back down the hill.  Breakfast was waiting.

Chinese New Year social obligations prevented us from doing any long rides.  Even so I rode about 160 km over the extended weekend.  Which was a good start to the Year of the Horse.

Though not as good as it would have been if I had been on one of these.

Photograph courtesy of cmybacon.com

Photograph courtesy of cmybacon.com

Kilo Months

I started keeping track of my rides in January 2010.  I had a new road bike, and an even newer Garmin Edge 705 cycle computer.  Uploading the details to the Garmin Connect web site after every ride became standard practice.   That year I rode 3,173 kilometers.

The heat map below shows where I rode for the first six months of 2010.  The most-ridden routes are depicted in red.  Click on the heat map to open the image in a new window.  You will see that most of my kilometers were accrued on the West End Tuesday and Thursday evening rides, and the Sunday Taco rides through Houston.

2010 Heat Map

Heat Map courtesy of Strava

I had some big rides outside metro Houston:  The Humble Lions Club Ride, The Space Race, and the BP MS150.  But I didn’t have a kilo month, which is my term for riding more than 1,000 kilometers in a month.

In mid-2010 I moved with my biker chick to The Netherlands.  The excellent cycling infrastructure there gave me more opportunity to ride, albeit on my own as I didn’t connect with a cycling group until the following year.

I started riding with the Not Possibles in March 2011.  The Saturday and occasional weekday rides with them boosted the distance I rode in 2011 to 6,985 kilometers.  In 2012 that number increased to 11,054 kilometers.  Almost of those kilometers were around Den Haag, with the 2011 and 2012 Ronde van Vlaanderen sportives, and the 2012 UCI World Championships sportive in Belgium thrown in for good measure.

Heat map courtesy of Strave

Heat Map courtesy of Strave

I racked up my first kilo month in August 2011.  The fine summer weather allowed me to ride eighteen times that month for a total of 1,085 kilometers.

Somewhat surprisingly I didn’t have another kilo month until January 2012, when I rode 1,091 kilometers.  I then had four more kilo months that year.  March, and three in a row from June to August.  My Not Possibles friends and I had a good summer that year.  My biggest ever kilo month was in July, when I rode 1,718 kilometers.  I had the luxury of being able to go on twenty five rides that month.

In October 2012 my biker chick and I moved home to Kuala Lumpur.   My ride frequency and average distance dropped dramatically for some months before slowly increasing again.  So it took more than a year before I had another kilo month, in September 2013.  Helped by five rides of at least 100 kilometers each.

My 2013 heat map looks a lot like my 2010 Houston heat map in that most of my rides are limited to a couple of routes.  Int his case KESAS and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway, with Putrajya and Genting Sempah thrown in for variety.  Scattered around the map are the one-off events that I rode in Johor Bahru, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan and Penang,  My Racun buddies and I also rode to Fraser’s Hill, and I joined Dave Ern on a ride to Cameron Highlands.  You can also read about the Bike X and Broga 116 rides.

Heat Map courtesy of Strava

Heat Map courtesy of Strava

It looks like I will ride about 7,300 kilometers in 2013.  And perhaps have another kilo month this quarter.  Garmin Connect will reveal all.