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RHB LEKAS Highway Ride 2022

LEKAS is the acronym for Lebuhraya Kajang Seremban, a 44.3 kilometre six lane highway connecting those two towns. 

Map courtesy of

Since 2013, the highway concessionaires, Kajang–Seremban Highway Sdn. Bhd. and IJM Corporation Berhad, have worked with other sponsors to hold an annual cycling event on a closed section of LEKAS. 

The first was in 2013, when it was known as the Shimano Highway Challenge.

In 2014, the event name remained the Shimano Highway Challenge

There was no event in 2015.

In 2016 RHB came on board as a sponsor for the RHB Shimano Highway Ride.

I did not participate in the next three events. In 2020 I registered for the RHB LEKAS Highway Ride.

Then the lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic started. This event was initially postponed to 2021, but continuing COVID restrictions meant a further one-year delay to 2022.

Graphic courtesy of

I had forgotten about this ride until I got an e-mail from the event organiser, GoSportz, telling me that my 2020 race entry remains valid and will be automatically transferred to the new event date. At the time I wasn’t sure I would take part. I had not ridden at all between March and August 2022. And since August 2022, nothing close to a 120 kilometre ride, the distance I had registered for.

Graphic courtesy of

But as the event date drew closer I began to consider doing the 78km route. Not seriously enough to remember to collect my race pack on the designated dates a week before the event, though.

“Race pack” because there was prize money for the first five finishers in each of three categories for both the 78km and 120km distances.

Fortunately GoSportz accommodated late race pack pick ups from their office.

This event is always generously supported by sponsors, so your race number and timing chip come together with some goodies. This year the highlight was the two-colour LED rear blinker. There was also a head scarf, a large tube of skin lotion, and an energy gel.

Graphics of prizes courtesy of

I opted not to pay for the event jersey. I own more than enough cycling jerseys as it is.

Graphic courtesy of

There were thirteen in our group. Most of us got to the event venue early, so as to beat the traffic and to get a convenient parking space near Restoran Yip Sheng. Our usual dinner venue before the LEKAS Highway Ride. We weren’t the only early ones, and we weren’t the only ones wanting dinner at Yip Sheng at 5:00pm. We were wise to make a reservation.

It was a short ride from where we had all parked to get to the Kajang Selatan Toll Plaza complex.

Photograph courtesy of

And as usual, there were lots of amenities for participants: food trucks and a variety of services under the tents.

Photographs courtesy of

This event has evolved over the past ten years or so. A variety of supporting activities have been added to the programme, including a kid’s event this year.

Photograph courtesy of

We joined more than 5,600 other cyclists at the start line.

Photograph courtesy of ML

The 120km participants were flagged off at about 7:55pm. It was closer to 8:15pm by the time the 78km participants got underway.

Our route was out-and-back. The 120km participants did a U-turn at the 75km point and another U-turn at the Mantin toll plaza in order to cover an additional 42 kilometres.

Graphic courtesy of

There was intermittent rain, some of it quite heavy, from about 4:45pm. That helped to cool the air, but it did mean that it was very humid. Nevertheless, it is always a lot of fun to have the highway to ourselves.

Photograph courtesy of

We all made it safely to the finish. No flats. No falls. And we didn’t get hit by the rain that fell near the finish mid-ride.

Photograph courtesy of ML

Medals were handed out at the finish line. Nice ones too!

I for one was too tired to worry about getting some of the satay that was available at the finish area.

Photograph courtesy of

We also didn’t stay for the lucky draw, despite the very nice first three prizes:

  • A Dura-Ace R9250 groupset, worth RM16,000 (USD3,400)
  • An Ultegra R8150 groupset, worth RM12,000 (USD2,550)
  • A set of Ultegra WH-R8150 C36 wheels, worth RM8,500 (USD1,800)
Graphics courtesy of

Once all of us had crossed the finish line and caught our breath, we rode the 2.5 kilometres back to Restoran Maulana, which is three shop lots down from Restoran Yip Sheng. We were hoping for a drink and some mamak food, but Restoran Maulana was closed. We were told that the restaurant cannot stay open on a 24-hour basis because of a staff shortage. Quite a common problem in the F&B industry now.

The restaurants in the vicinity that were open were, unsurprisingly, packed. So most of us drove to the closest McDonald’s for burgers and fries instead of teh tarik and roti telur. Which I would have preferred.

Blood sugar level restored, there was just the 40 kilometre drive home. The mamak restaurants near home were still hopping at 2:30am. By then, all I wanted was my bed 💤.

Yin and Yang

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My riding buddies and I try to do two rides on weekends.  Usually the intent is to make the Sunday ride a slower, more relaxed ride.  Usually the Sunday ride ends up being as hard or harder than the Saturday ride.

In most cases we alternate between a route that includes the Guthrie Corridor Expressway to Kampung Sri Kundang, and a jaunt up Jalan Gombak Lama to Genting Sempah and back.  This time we did a variation of the Kampung Sri Kundang ride on Saturday, and a new loop from Semenyih to Lenggeng and Broga on Sunday.

Weekend Routes

Our Saturday ride started as it usually does, with a relatively quick run to Kampung Sri Kundang for roti canai and teh tarik.  Liang, Marco, Mark, Marvin and I made short work of breakfast.  There were no table scraps for the cat.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

We then decided to tackle the Dragon’s Back on the way back.  Despite the rising temperature.  We had an 18km run to the PETRONAS Puncak Alam petrol station, where we stopped for cold drinks and the bathroom.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Then it was on to the main event.  I’ve shown this profile before.  The Dragon’s Back starts at the 47km point with a wall that hits 12%.  Then it is up and down the rest of the way back to Bukit Jelutong.

Saturday Profile

This is Marco, happy to see the end of the first half of the Dragon’s Back.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Needless to say we were all toasted by the time we got back to D’Bayu.

So it made a very nice change to have a true recovery ride on Sunday.  About fifteen of us made the drive south from Kuala Lumpur to Semenyih.  After a pit stop at the toll plaza we rode onto the LEKAS Highway.  The same highway we rode during the Shimano Highway Challenge.

Lenggeng Toll Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

This was a very relaxed ride.  VERY relaxed.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

After 25km we exited the highway.  Not long afterwards we came to the only serious climb of the day.  100 meters up in about 2km.  In keeping with our 16kph average speed to that point, we took it very easy up the hill.



The view at the top is spectacular.


We had quiet back roads all to ourselves.


And the leisurely pace meant we had time to explore.  There was a time when rubber was the number one agricultural export of Malaysia.  There aren’t many rubber estates left now.  Most have been replaced by oil palm , or housing estates.


The goal of the ride was the Broga ABC Pan Mee shop.

The best place to be is around the back, sitting at a marble table, eating curry mee.  This was Mark’s order.  With roast pork and cockles.  I had the no-meat option.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

And drinking iced coffee.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Now this is the kind of recovery ride that I want more of.

Shimano Highway Challenge – LEKAS 2013

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Banner

My riding buddies and I had been looking forward to this ride ever since it was announced.  The full length of the Kajang – Seremban Highway (LEKAS Highway) would be closed for the morning so that 1,500 cyclists could ride from the Kajang South toll plaza to the Ampangan toll plaza and back again.  As far as I know this was the first time in Malaysia that an entire expressway has been closed for a cycling event.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Route

We drove to the Kajang South toll plaza on Saturday, after our usual morning ride, to pick up our race packs.  You could tell that there were some major sponsors involved.  Apart from a jersey and bib and bike numbers, our race packs were loaded with goodies.

We got a Tacx bottle.  We also got a personalized Touch ‘n Go card.  This is a prepaid smart card that can be used as a mode of payment for highway tolls, public transport fares and parking charges.  Shimano provided a medical identification card.  Ford contributed an annual planner.  That Rudy Project 25% discount voucher is already burning a hole in my pocket.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Goodies

One sign of a well-organized event is the quality of information provided to participants.  It was very clear what you could ride in the event, and what you could not.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Allowed

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Not Allowed

I’m not sure if it was purely coincidental that Shimano were displaying some of these yellow Di2 demonstration bikes.  Perhaps just in case someone thought that only yellow bikes would be allowed.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Demo Bike

We were very impressed that the organizers expected to see the winning riders at the finish ninety minutes after that event started.  That would require an average speed of a mere 49.3 kph / 30.6 mph.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Race Info

We started gathering at the parking area behind the Kajang South toll plaza at 5.30am on Sunday morning.  Takeaway breakfasts and coffee were consumed while we pulled on jerseys and cycling shoes.  At 6.30am we rolled down to the start.  Shahfiq, Chris and Mark made up a third of our group.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Start 01

Shahfiq, Marco (behind Chris’ right shoulder, Chris, Mark (behind Chris’ left shoulder, Raj and I rolling under the start gantry and out on to the course.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

We headed north from the start at the Kajang South toll plaza to the Kajang South interchange.  We looped around the cloverleaf to get to the southbound lanes for the first half of the course.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Interchange

We had the entire highway to ourselves, but I suppose force of habit kept riders largely on the left side of the road.

Photograph courtesy of Shimano Highway Challenge

Photograph courtesy of Shimano Highway Challenge

We positioned ourselves at the back of the pack to stay out of the way of the elite riders and anyone else who was in the event to race.  Once we had a few kilometers under our wheels the pack had thinned out and we had plenty of space.  It helps to have three lanes of roadway to play with.  It was a gently rolling course, so we were able to keep our speed fairly high.

Except for on the King of the Mountain section, which was a three kilometer climb with about 120 meters / 394 feet of elevation.  The payoff was a near 70 kph / 43 mph blast down the other side of the hill.

There was a water stop on the northbound side of the Ampangan toll plaza, just after the midpoint U-turn.  We ran into Chean Kye at the stop.  He is more of a runner than a cyclist.  As you can probably tell by his shoes.

Photograph courtesy of Kean Chye

Photograph courtesy of Chean Kye

After regrouping and catching our breath we headed back up the Gunung Mantin-Seremban hill to the Setul toll plaza, which is the highest toll plaza in Malaysia.

From the Setul toll plaza it was another dash down the hill and then over the rolling terrain of the last 20 km / 12 mi or so to the finish.

The weather had been kind to us for most of the morning, staying overcast and relatively cool.  The sun did come out toward the end of the ride, raising the temperature.  So I was very glad to see this van amongst the tents in the finishing area.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Milo Van

Photo courtesy of Openskies

This brought back memories of my primary and secondary school days, when the Milo van was a fixture at school sports meets.  The Milo served this morning was as cold, sweet and thick as I remember.  And it still comes in small paper cups.  I had ten of them.

Which meant that I was then too full to sample the satay, ice cream and whatever else was on offer in the finishing area.

After guzzling down all that Milo I made my way to the shade of the toll plaza, where the early finishers amongst us waited for the rest of the group.  I took advantage of the closed highway and had a bit of a rest on one of the concrete barriers that protects the toll booths from being run into by wayward vehicles.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Finish 02 (Mark)

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Here is the full crew at the toll plaza after the finish, minus one.  Griffin, Chris, Marco, Mark, Raj, Gary, Shahfiq and I.

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

We were missing Azlan, whom we didn’t connect with until after all the photographs had been taken.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Shimano, the other sponsors and the organizer, High Velocity Events Sdn. Bhd., put on a fabulous Highway Challenge.  Everything from the start to the finish of the event was well thought through and flawlessly executed.  A new standard has been set for other cycling event sponsors and organizers.

We all hope that there will be a 2014 edition of the Highway Challenge.

Shimano Highway Challenge LEKAS Medal