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IIUM Endu-ride 2020

Graphic courtesy of IIUM

During a R@SKLs ride in November last year we met a group from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) who were doing a recce for a planned 280km / 1,200km cycling event. They invited us to take part. “Not a chance,” we all thought to ourselves.

Photograph courtesy of Hamzah Abu Samah

Never say “never.” Fast forward to this weekend and Johan S, Kenneth, Mokhtar and I had signed up for the 280 km / 174 mi ride from the IIUM campus in Kuantan to the IIUM campus in Gombak via the IIUM campus in Gambang. We had 26.5 hours to complete the ride.

The 1,200 km / 746 mi Ultra-ride event includes a visit to the IIUM campus in Pagoh. That event (going on as I write this) is many kilometres too far and many hours too long (105 hours) for us.

The logistics were painless thanks to Mokhtar. He has an apartment in Kuantan where we stayed on Friday night and a pickup truck that transported our bikes. He even drove us from KL to Kuantan.

We got to Kuantan at about 1:00 pm. We had some time to burn before collecting our ride packs, so we got a head start on carbo-loading at lunch.

Photograph courtesy of Mokhtar Nadzri

The ride pack collection and briefing went very well.

Photograph courtesy of Ali shamsul Bahar

I don’t know why my name was the only one not in all capitals.

I’m not sure that we needed to carbo-load as much as we did at dinner.

Photograph courtesy of Mokhtar Nadzri

We were ready to roll out of the IIUM campus in Kuantan as scheduled at 7:30 am. Fazwan was a great help driving the pickup and loading and unloading our bikes.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

We had a detailed plan for the ride. Our strategy was to take short breaks every 25 km or so and to maintain a pace which would get us to the Suria Hot Spring Resort on Bentong by 6:15 pm. That was the plan anyway!

The route to the IIUM campus in Gombak from Bentong is via Genting Sempah. That road is unlit and in need of resurfacing. It would be a risky ride in the dark, so we chose to spend the night at the Hot Spring Resort.

The first checkpoint was at the IIUM campus in Gambang.

Photograph courtesy of MY1200

We got there on schedule but stayed much longer than planned. The organiser was serving cendol, and we had to have some after we got our MyPassports (akin to a brevet card) stamped.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The cendol was worth lingering for. From that point, we fell further and further behind our schedule as each five minute stop stretched to ten or fifteen minutes.

Our next stop was at Restoran Mak Lijah in Kampung Berkelah. We ran into Brian, who was doing the Ultra-ride.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

I have driven to Kuantan and back along these roads many times. Passing through places like Kampung New Zealand. I don’t know why it is so named, but now I have cycled through it.

Photograph courtesy of Kenneth Lim
Photograph courtesy of Kenneth Lim
Photograph courtesy of Kenneth Lim
Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Our next scheduled stop was the just after we rode through Kampung New Zealand. The Two Brothers café was closed, but we made ourselves at home anyway.

Photograph courtesy of Mokhtar Nadzri

About 10 km later we pulled over to chat with AiLin and Mark, who were on their way to Kuantan by scooter.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

We got to Taman Jaya near Temerloh at about 1:45 pm. It was 36ºC / 97ºF, so we lingered at over lunch for an hour and fifteen minutes.

Despite it being even hotter at 3:00 pm – 38ºC / 100ºF – we had to get moving if we were to have any hope of getting to Bentong before nightfall.

We only made it about 20 km down the road before we needed to cool down at the Petron station in Mentakab. By which time we had resigned ourselves to getting into Bentong after dark.

Photograph courtesy of Mokhtar Nadzri

We had 45 km to cover before the next checkpoint at Mempaga. Those kilometres happened to be some of the hilliest of the day, with gradients approaching 10%.

We got to the Mempaga checkpoint at about 6:30 pm.

Photograph courtesy of MY1200

We all needed fluid, and in some cases, food. It wasn’t until 7:15 pm before we turned on our front and rear lights and left the Petronas station in Mempaga.

The run into Bentong includes a nasty little climb which rises 125 metres over 5.8 km. Welcome to Bentong!

Photograph courtesy of Mokhtar Nadzri

The last 10 km to the Suria Hot Spring Resort is along an unlit road. I would not like to be riding on that road alone at night. Which is what Johan did. He stopped to eat as soon as he got to Bentong town. We planned to eat dinner at the resort. Johan told us to proceed without him. He made it to the resort unscathed.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

234 km in the bag.

Map courtesy of

We all slept like babies that night, despite the children carousing outside our rooms at 1:00 am.

We were ready to get going again at 6:20 am. We had to be at the IIUM campus in Gombak by 10:00 am to make the time cutoff. 46 km and 570 metres of climbing away. We couldn’t afford to dilly-dally today.

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

We stuck to our plan of short stops at the Bukit Tinggi and Janda Baik junctions. We made such good time to the McDonald’s at the Genting Sempah R&R that we were able to have breakfast there.

Photograph courtesy of Mokhtar Nadzri

A McDonald’s scrambled egg sandwich always tastes better during a ride.

Photograph courtesy of McDonald’s® Malaysia

All that was left between us and the 19 km descent to Taman Permai Jaya was the 1 km 7.9% average gradient climb up what is known as Hamburger Hill.


Photograph courtesy of Fazwan

There was a slight sting in the tail on the final 3 km to the finish at the IIUM Gombak Sport Complex. A small matter of a few 6.5% slopes to get over. We got a bit lost inside the campus too, but that didn’t dampen our sense of achievement as we got our MyPassports stamped at the finish.

Photograph courtesy of Mokhtar Nadzri

Hamzah was of the guys who last November invited us to take part in this event. He was at the finish line.

Photograph courtesy of Hamzah Abu Samah

46 km on the day.

Map courtesy of

280 km over the two days. Thumbs up all round!

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

My Name is alchemyrider and I am a Bikeaholic

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Rain has returned to Kuala Lumpur with a vengeance.  The Tuesday KESAS ride was called off because of it.  We managed to squeeze a make-up ride between downpours on Wednesday night.  We did get caught in a sprinkle, but escaped getting soaked.  The  Thursday night KESAS ride was cancelled.  The inaugural VUBC Setia Alam evening ride on Friday night was washed out.

My bottles were in the fridge.  My bike light was charged.  My tires were up to pressure.  My cycling kit was ready.  Since Thursday.  I was suffering withdrawal symptoms.  That is the only explanation for the number of cookies I have eaten over the past few days.

I was looking forward to a ride this morning.  None of my buddies could ride today, so I could choose the route.  It has been a while since I have pedaled up to Genting Sempah, so at 6am I pointed the car north toward Gombak.

The roads were damp from the previous night’s rain.  I didn’t know it when I left home, but the roads were about to get a lot wetter.  Here is this morning’s weather map for peninsular Malaysia.  Dark blue = heavy rain.

KL Weather

10km / 6mi into my drive the skies opened.  It was immediately clear that if I did the Genting Sempah ride it would be in a deluge.  I don’t mind getting caught in the rain, but I am averse to starting a ride in the wet.  “Hard-core” must not be in my genetic makeup.

What were my options?  I could give the Batu 18 to Genting Perez route a try.  But that was also to the north of Kuala Lumpur.  And probably just as wet.

I could go home, eat more cookies and go back to bed.

Or I could head south-west toward Bukit Jelutong and see if it was dry there.  I may not be a hard-core cyclist, but I do like my bike rides.  A lot.  So I did a u-turn and headed back the way I came along the DUKE Highway and then on the North Klang Valley Expressway towards Shah Alam.

Drive to Ride

After 50km / 31mi of driving I was at D’Bayu in Bukit Jelutong.  The skies looked threatening but it wasn’t raining.  So I took a chance and rolled out of the car park and down the hill toward the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.

Tomorrow’s ride will be along the same expressway.  So for some variety I turned left at the first intersection onto Jalan Batu Arang.  Jalan Batu Arang is nicknamed Dragon’s Back.  The ride profile tells you why.

Dragon's Back Profile

It isn’t Genting Sempah, but it does have more climbing than the Guthrie expressway.  Especially if you do an out-and-back ride.

Dragon's Back

Driving all the way to Bukit Jelutong turned out to be a good call.  I was able to scratch my cycling itch.  It drizzled a little bit as I got onto the first climb on Jalan Batu Arang.  The clouds quickly blew over though, and I rode in sunshine after that.

I was the only cyclist on the road.  Perhaps everyone else had more sense than to be on a bicycle at 7am.  A big plus about being out that early was I didn’t have much traffic for company, at least on the outward leg.  Once the hills were out of the way I got to the Jalan Meru Tambahan intersection, where on previous rides we have turned right.  This time I kept going.  The road changes its name to Persiaran Puncak Alam 6, and comes to an end in Bandar Puncak Alam.  Exactly 25km / 15.5mi from the start.

I hit my top speeds for the day on the way to Puncak Alam.  Which meant I had some long uphill slopes on the way back to Bukit Jelutong.  I certainly got to do some climbing this morning.  In relatively cool conditions too.  I was back at my car at 8.40am.  Well before the day really heated up.

Drive 50 km / 31mi one way to ride 52.7km / 32.7mi.  Sounds reasonable to me!


We got caught in a proper storm on the Guthrie Corridor Expressway this morning.  The monsoons must be here.