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I Am Sure I’ve Earned That Second Roti Canai

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Calories Banner

My friends and I cycle for exercise, and for social interaction.  Some of that social interaction takes place while we are on our bikes. At least it does when we are riding at a moderate enough pace where talking whilst pedalling is physically possible.

Regular readers will know that most of that social interaction occurs over food.  Be it pre-ride, mid-ride, post-ride, or any combination of the three.  What the group wants to eat is often what determines where we ride.  For example, a hankering for roti canai will take us to Kundang.

Roti Canai Flat Bread, Indian Food, Made From Wheat Flour Dough.

Photograph courtesy of therakyatpost.com

Once in a while, the number of calories burnt during the ride is used as justification for a second roti canai, or whatever else has tickled the taste buds at the time.  Whatever calorie burn the Garmin bike computer reported must surely exceed the calories in two roti canai!

Calories Burned Bicycling com

Graphic courtesy of bicycling.com

Unfortunately, bike computers don’t do a good job of estimating the number of calorie burnt.  These devices use proprietary algorithms to calculate calorie burn.  You are going to get different results from different devices, depending on the algorithms and the technology they use.  There is no single international standard on how calorie burn should be measured.

Another contributor to inaccuracy is what I will call user “error”.  The algorithms all use data like rider height, weight, gender, fitness class, etc. to estimate calorie burn.  If a rider misstates their weight, for example, the estimated calorie burn will be less accurate.

The figures in the chart below are based on a 68kg / 150lb rider (so obviously not me) in constant motion; not including coasting, drafting, and descending.

Calories Burned Cycling Bicycling com

Graphic courtesy of bicycling.com

Lastly, accuracy is much improved with heart rate information.  So if you ride without a heart rate monitor, your Garmin will present you with nothing more than a rudimentary guesstimate of your calorie burn.  And more than likely overstating the number of calories you burnt.  Riding with a heart monitor reporting spurious data will also skew your calorie burn number.

DC Rainmaker has an informative blog post on this subject that you can read at How Calorie Measurement Works on Garmin Fitness Devices.

Even if we did have accurate calorie burn information, we would not necessarily be able to match our caloric intake to our caloric output.  Most of us have no idea of how many calories are in a plain roti canai (approx. 300), or a serving of nasi lemak (approx. 400), or in a Big Mac (approx 560), or in a bowl of cendol approx. 200).

Those figures come from MyFitnessPal, and are approximations.  Add egg to that roti canai, or a piece of fried chicken to that nasi lemak, and the calorie count will go up.

Calories Eating Bicycling com

Graphic courtesy of bicycling.com

Now I know that two plain roti canai and two bowls of cendol contain at least 1,000 calories.  Given my weight, height, and age, I have to ride at 26 to 32kph / 16 to 20mph for between an hour and 70 minutes to burn 1,000 calories.

It is a good thing that my social interactions while cycling are usually spread over three hours or so of pedalling at a decent pace.  So I do earn that second roti canai after all.  Plain of course!

 

Johor Masters Century Ride 2014

JMCR 2014 Banner

The Johor Masters Century Ride appealed to Keat and I.  For the first time we were in an age group that suited our ages.  55 years and above.  We managed to convince Marco and Mark to sign up for the ride as well.  They were in the 35 to 39 and 40 to 44 categories respectively.

It is a 400km trip to the Lotus Desaru Beach Resort, the official hotel for the event.  So Mark and I arranged to meet at the Seremban R&R, after which I followed Mark’s car down the highway, keeping an eye on the two bicycles on his roof rack.

Here we are with Mark’s mother-in-law and his daughter, having a teh tarik for the road.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Keat and his wife were already at the resort.  We piled into his pickup truck that evening for the 20km drive to Kampung Sungai Rengit.  We were on the hunt for dinner.  We found a good one at the Beautiful Village Seafood restaurant.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

You would have thought that all that food would have kept us going for a long time.  But we were among the first at breakfast at 5:00 am.  The resort laid on an impressive spread for all the cyclists staying there.

Nasi lemak, roti canai, fried noodles, fried rice, boiled, fried and scrambled eggs, baked beans, sausages, congee, oatmeal, a variety of breakfast cereals , bread and pastries, fresh fruit, juices, coffee and tea.  One of the best buffet breakfast I have ever seen at a cycling event.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

By 7:15am were were ready to start the ride.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

In a change from recent experience, we got going only ten minutes past the scheduled start time of 7:30am.

The route was an anti-clockwise elongated loop from the Lotus Desaru Beach Resort at Bandar Penawar north along the coast to Tanjung Sedili, then west to Kampung Mawai Baharu before turning southward to Kampung Sungai Rengit.  Finally the route followed the coast back up to the Lotus Desaru.

JMCR 2014 Route

We Flipsiders received a topography lesson at the Melaka Century Ride.  I certainly thought of the state of Melaka as being relatively flat.  None of us anticipated just how hilly it is between Masjid Tanah and Jasin.

We got another topography lesson at this event.  The ride started with a climb.  Followed by another, and then another.  Seven or eight in the first ten kilometers.  Then it was flat for about ten kilometers, before more rolling terrain for the next twenty kilometers.

We were at the start of a relatively flat 20 kilometer section when we saw the photographer from Attaque.

Photograph courtesy of Attaque

Photograph courtesy of Attaque

Keat was not far behind.

Photograph courtesy of Attaque

Photograph courtesy of Attaque

The 100 hilly kilometers that came next took their toll.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclomotion

Photograph courtesy of Cyclomotion

Mark, Marco and I took advantage of a roadside air tebu, or sugar cane juice, stall for a drink and a rest.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The next time we took a break, it went a bit wrong.  At the 115 km mark we pulled into the first petrol station we came across on the route.  Everything started out well.  That Petronas station had a freezer cabinet full of Magnums.  And air-conditioning.  And chairs.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

After we had cooled off we got back on our bikes, turned left and followed a few other cyclists onto the road.

JMCR 2014 Petronas

We were very surprised to cross the finish line a few minutes later.

Photographs courtesy of Attaque

Photographs courtesy of Attaque

The sub five hour finishing times were the giveaway.  We had only ridden 120 kms.  We should have left the Petronas station forecourt via the entrance and continued straight down the road, and not taken the exit onto the wrong road.

Having ridden across the finish line, we were given medals.

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia

Despite the medals, we decided to go back the way we came, rejoin the route, and ride the full distance.  A decision we questioned 40 kms later.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

By the 160 km point we had caught up with Keat, who had not made the navigational error that we had.  Taking into account the extra 11 km we had ridden, we should have been less than 10 kms from the finish.

The seemingly incessant climbing had taken its toll on us.  As had the rough asphalt and poorly patched roads.  And the headwind.  Our water bottles were empty, and we were fading badly.

So our joy at spotting the “1 KM To Go” sign in the distance turned into despair when we got close enough to see that the sign actually read “10 KM to Go.”

We had 10 kms of this terrain to cover before we got to the finish line.

Photograph courtesy of Cyclomotion

Photograph courtesy of Cyclomotion

I am frankly surprised that I didn’t throw in the towel and jump into the broom wagon.  I think the same thought must have crossed the minds of my Flipsider friends.  The sight of Mark ahead of me provided just enough motivation to keep going.  Keat said that the sight of me up ahead did the same for him.

We literally forced ourselves kilometer by slow kilometer up those  ☹ ☁︎ ☢  last hills to the “3 KM to Go” sign, and then the “1 KM to Go” sign.  The ride had started with a climb.  So thankfully the final 500 meters to the finish was downhill.

Hot and tired, and happy to be done.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The JMCR 2014 was one of the tougher rides we have done.  We have another cycling adventure to talk and laugh about.  We added another medal to our collections.

JMCR 2014 Medal

We learned about our capacity to persevere.  And we now know from first-hand experience that Johor is not flat!

An Epic Ride – Though I Would Have Preferred it Wasn’t

Strava displays a “Suffer Score” along with other summary information about each ride that you upload.  The Suffer Score is a value calculated using your heart rate during a ride relative to your maximum heart rate, and the distance ridden.  The higher your Suffer Score, the harder you worked during that ride.

A descriptor is assigned to Suffer Scores.  100 to 150 is a Tough score.  151 to 250 is an Extreme score.  Anything greater than 250 is an Epic score.

I have only twice had a Suffer Score in the Epic category.  The first was during the Kuantan Century Ride last year.  My average speed was 28 kph.  My average heart rate during that ride was 144 bpm, over a distance of 161 km.  I felt trashed for the last 20 kms of that ride.

My second Epic effort was yesterday.  I rode with four other Flipsiders from Bandar Sunway to Morib and back.  This ride was  133km.  My average speed was 26.6 kph.  Despite the shorter distance and lower average speed, my heart rate averaged 140 bpm.  Not much less than it was during the Kuantan ride.  And again I felt trashed for the last 20 kms of the ride.

I have had rides that had a lot more climbing, and were therefore more difficult  – although this wasn’t easy either, given that the sun was beating down and that the temperature felt like 36 °Celsius.

I suffered, despite the flatness of the Morib ride, due to an alarming lack of fitness.  I knew that being inactive for more than three months would have a negative effect, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad.

The route took us west along the KESAS Highway.  It was my first time riding west of Sunway Lagoon, though my companions have done this ride before.

We exited the KESAS Highway at the Bandar Botanik interchange, where we turned left onto Jalan Langat.  I have been on that section of road before, during the ride to Port Dickson, and during the Klang Premiere Century ride.

Morib

We weren’t on Jalan Langat very long before we had to make a stop at a PETRONAS petrol station.  Justin had a flat tire.  I took the opportunity to take an opportunistic photograph.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We had stopped at the PETRONAS Johan Setia.

Two hours into the ride my left arm and shoulder had started aching.  I spent a lot of time sitting up on my saddle to give my arm and shoulder a rest.  Marco is smiling in his selfie, but you can see that Mark and I are wilting in the heat.  At this point we had another fifteen kilometers to go before we got to Morib.  Those were some of the longest kilometers I have ever ridden.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

It was a relief to finally arrive at Taman Seri Bayou Morib.  Marked on the beach side by this pretty art installation.

Morib Sculpture

We had ridden 75 kilometers.  There were serious doubts in my mind that I would make it all the way back to Sunway.

I didn’t look it at the time, but I did feel somewhat rejuvenated after these.

Morib Dutch Lady

Four cartons of cold chocolate milk.

The others looked cheery while waiting for their nasi lemak.  I had some too.  It was very good.

Morib Makan

It was about 11.00am when we started the return leg.  This wasn’t the last sit-down I needed before we got back to Bandar Sunway.

Morib Sign

The return leg was 17 kms shorter than the outbound leg.  We had done a loop to the east of Bandar Sunway at the start.  Despite the shorter homeward distance, my average speed dropped from 27.6 kph to 25.5 kph.  Even with the slower pace, my average heart rate went up from 137 bpm to 145 bpm.  That must be when my Suffer Score ventured into Epic territory.

I really was struggling over the last 20 kms.  I kept looking at my Garmin, convinced that I had covered three or four kilometers since the last time I checked it.  Only to find that I was only fifteen hundred meters further forward.  Right about the time I was going to pack it in and collapse on the edge of the road, a rest area hove into view.  There was only about 6 kms to go, but I wouldn’t have made it without that final fifteen minute rest in the air-conditioned PETRONAS shop – and without an ice-cream.

I would have preferred an easier ride.  Especially after such a long time off the bike.  It does however make me believe that I will finish the Malacca Century Ride next Sunday.

Hopefully it won’t be another Epic!

Another Place to Eat

Life in Malaysia is all about food.  So it stands to reason that cycling revolves around finding new places to eat.

Last week Mark had noticed a particularly well-patronized stall on the Kampung Sri Kundang route.  So we set out from Bukit Jelutong just before dawn to check that place out.  Our hope was that we would get most of our riding done before it got very hot.  The sun had other ideas.

IMG_1211

So we kept the pace relaxed along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and Jalan Kuala Selangor.  Mark slowed down as we made the left turn at Kampung Sungai Pelong.  He thought we were close to the stall he was looking for.   Sure enough, it was 300 meters down the road.

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Sate Sri Subang has made a name for itself as a place to get good satay.  Satay is an archetypal Malaysian dish.  In my days of business-class travel on Malaysian Airlines, courtesy of my employers, the beef and chicken satay served onboard was always a highlight.

The satay grill comes to life in the evenings.  In the mornings the offerings are nasi lemak and nasi dagang.  Nasi lemak is available everywhere in Malaysia.  Nasi dagang is a dish more commonly found in the northern states of Kelantan and Terengganu.  It was no surprise that the ladies running the stall this morning were from Kelantan.  Immediately identifiable as such by their Kelantanese dialect.

Having been denied our nasi lemak last Sunday, we had our minds set on some today.  As we waited for our nasi lemak to be plated up we were tempted by a range of savory and sweet items laid out on the table.

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Being weak-willed when it comes to food, we added curry puffs, pulut panggang, and kuih koci to our plates.

We will be stopping at Sate Sri Subang again.

So now we have two breakfast options during our Guthrie Corridor Expressway rides.  A stop at Sharif Roti Canai in Kampung Sri Kundang is compulsory though.  We haven’t found a better teh halia anywhere else.

Whatever the Weather

My Not Possibles friends in Den Haag rode the Joop Zoetemelk Classic yesterday.  By all accounts it was cold and windy, with a high of 8°C / 46°F.  My West End friends in Houston are just about to start the Tour de Houston.  It is a balmy 17°C / 62°F in downtown Houston now.  It was 34°C / 93°F by the time Chon, Mark, Marvin and I finished our ride in Hulu Langat today.  Houston wins the best biking weather award for this weekend.

We rode from Kampung Batu 18 along Jalan Sungai Lui to the T-junction with the B32 and the B19.  Logically enough Jalan Sungai Lui follows the Lui River along the valley floor.  At the junction the only option is to turn left onto the B32 road.  The B19 is still closed 5km from the T-junction because of the landslide that dropped a section of tarmac into the reservoir.

Genting Peres Route

The B32 takes you to the border between the states of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.  The border is at the top of a 10km climb that rises from 170 meters / 560 feet above sea level to 500 meters / 1,640 feet above sea level.  It was very misty at the start, which meant great views once we got about a third of the way up the climb.

IMG_1191 IMG_1188

Genting Peres isn’t the steepest climb in the area.  Nevertheless we appreciated the stop to take photographs.

Genting Peres Photo Stop

Photo courtesy of They Wei Chon

It was still hard work, especially after we broke through the mist into bright sunshine.  I am sure I leaked the equivalent of a Camelbak Podium Chill bottle by the time I got to the summit.  Mark and Chon are waiting for Marvin, who got extra credit for doing the ride on a 29er mountain bike with knobbly tires.

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I explored a bit, and found these decorative blocks at the base of the “Terima Kasih.  Sila Datang Lagi / Thank You.  Please Come Again” sign behind the guys.  Not bad for a sign that most people whizz past in cars.

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The plan was to go back the way we came to Kampung Batu 18, and then ride on to Sungai Chongkak Recreational Forest for a nasi lemak and teh tarik breakfast.   It was a hot and humid second half of the ride.  The thought of packets of tasty nasi lemak sustained us through the 6km climb to the restaurant.

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“What?”

Our disappointment was palpable.  Our mood was not improved by the very mediocre roti canai we ended up with at Kampung Batu 18.

There was one saving grace for all of us.  The thick undergrowth between where we always park and the river has recently been cleared.  So we could get to some cool water to wash the sweat off our faces and arms.

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There was another plus for me.  ISKY 2 has stopped ticking.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013

My alarm went off this morning at 4.15am.  It was time to get ready for the OCBC Cycle Malaysia ride.  Malaysia’s only mass participation cycling event on closed, public roads in Kuala Lumpur.

OCBC Route

Our start time was 6.15am.  That would give us time to complete four loops before the city streets were once again opened to motorcycles, cars, lorries and buses at 8.30am.

By 5.00am my Racun Cycling Gang buddies were arriving at the entrance to my apartment building.  The ride started in front of the Petronas Twin Towers.  The building I live in is 500 meters from the Twin Towers.  So I had access to some of the most coveted parking space in the KLCC area.

At 5.30am we were gathered in front of Restoran Pelita, about two-thirds of the way to the start.  That was where we met those of our group who had parked further away and had ridden to the KLCC.

Time for some last-minute adjustments before we rolled to the start.

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This ride was billed as one of the largest of its kind in Malaysia.  It certainly seemed that way as we waited amongst about 5,000 other riders at the start.

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There were riders from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and from further afield.  Being amongst so many riders was a bike-spotter’s dream.  The “splash the cash” award went to the rider on the bike right beside us at the start.  I had never seen a Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge in the wild before.

The only difference between the bike in the photo above and the one we saw this morning was that the Zipp 404s had been swapped out for a Mad Fiber carbon wheelset.

Photo courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photo courtesy of Procycling at procyclingwarehouse.com

So it was with the heady sight of a RM 54,000 / US 18,000 bicycle disappearing into the darkness ahead of me that I started the ride.

Photo courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

Photo courtesy of Cycling Malaysia Magazine

I soon forgot all about the Venge as what was supposed to be a fun ride exploded around me.

For some reason the organisers had given each of us a timing chip.  Perhaps that was the reason for so many people blasting along the fairly narrow start chute at maximum speed.  Sadly a number of riders came to grief a few minutes later along Jalan Raja Chulan when they hit a pot hole at speed in the pre-dawn darkness.  From the pieces scattered along the edge of the road I think at least two riders are in the market for new carbon front wheels.  A few others required medical attention after going down hard.

Mark L picked up a double puncture along the same stretch of road.  Fortunately we had a spare inner tube each so he was able to fix both flats.  The upside, if you could call it that, of having a double puncture is that by the time we got rolling again the sun was up, and the high-speed riders were all ahead of us.

The rest of the ride was a lot of fun.  A few meandering cyclists notwithstanding.  After the drama of the flat tires there was a short climb into the Lake Gardens followed by a u-turn back down the hill.  We rode past the Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Banks of Malaysia) building and through a wooded and quieter part of the city.  The second half of the loop took us back past the office blocks, shop houses, hotels and apartments of the city center.  It was a treat to ride on streets that are usually clogged with traffic.

Photo courtesy of Yuri Wong.

Photo courtesy of Yuri Wong.

When I was sixteen I cycled to school along some of these same streets.  So I really appreciated the opportunity to ride through a city center that has changed dramatically since then.

The morning ended in the best way possible.  I made it safely to the finish in front of the Twin Towers, where I got my participant medal.

Photo courtesy of Irene Cho

Photo courtesy of Irene Cho

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Then it was back to Restoran Pelita with the Racun gang, where we traded ride stories between mouthfuls of roti canai, nasi lemak and teh tarik.

Shall We Climb?

Wind comes with the territory, so to speak, in the Netherlands.  So often the key decision for the Not Possibles is whether to start a ride with the wind or against it.  Hills come with the territory in Kuala Lumpur.  The choice to be made here is to ride a route with some climbing, or to ride a route with a lot of climbing.  The choice on recent weekends has been to climb a lot.  1,319 meters / 4,300 feet the Sunday before Christmas.  1,069 meters / 3,500 feet the Saturday before New Year’s.

So it was nice to climb ‘only’ 684 meters / 2,240 feet last weekend.  The Racun Cycling Gang met at Pekan Batu 18 at the usual unearthly hour of 6.45am.  Well, some of us were there at 6.45am.  This is Malaysia after all.  Our peleton of folding bikes, mountain bikes and road bikes started into the mist along Jalan Sungai Lui at about 7.15am.

11km later we got to the T-junction with Jalan Sungai Lalang and Jalan Hulu Langat – Kuala Klawang.  Every other time we have turned right toward Tasik Semenyih.  There is some climbing along the way to the Sungai Tekala Recreation Park, but nothing like the climbing awaiting those who turn left.

On this day our only option was to turn left.  The road to Tasik Semenyih was still closed following a landslide that took a section of the road into the reservoir.  Here we are at the T-junction, waiting for the folding bikes to catch up to us.  Mark is helpfully pointing out the “Road Closed” sign.

Hulu Langat Comfort Break

Photo courtesy, I think, of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

We regrouped, girded our loins, and started the 9km climb to the summit of Genting Peres.  I had struggled to the summit from the opposite direction during the Broga 116 ride in November 2012.  This time the climb was almost pleasant.  It was much cooler, and I didn’t have cramping quadriceps.

A third of the way up the climb we turned a corner to a spectacular view of the mist-shrouded valley below.  That view alone made the climb worthwhile.

Hulu Langat Mist 01

The summit of Genting Peres is on the border between the states of Selangor and Negri Sembilan.  We waited at the border marker for the rest of the foldies to arrive.

Hulu Langat Genting Peres Summit 02

As always the payoff for all the climbing, the view notwithstanding, is the “look ma, no brakes” descent.  Well, perhaps not quite “no brakes.”  It is a twisty road, the surface is a bit sketchy in one or two spots and there are cars and motorbikes to watch out for.  Nevertheless I surprised one driver by overtaking at 60kph.

The mist had burned off by the time we got back to the T-juntion.  We had blue skies and a crescent moon overhead (I promise the moon is visible in the photo) as we rode back to Pekan Batu 18.

Photo courtesy of Mark Lim

Photo courtesy of Mark Lim

From Pekan Batu 18 some of us rode on to the Sungai Congkak Recreational Forest.  The others drove there.  We all went there for this . . .

Hulu Langat Nasi Lemak 01

Photo courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Nasi lemak, curry puffs and teh tarik of course.  At the stall beside the river.  Note that the unopened packets of nasi lemak were not for me!

All that was left to do after a beautiful ride and yummy food was to roll back down the hill and gently pedal the short distance back to Pekan Batu 18.

Photo courtesy of Mark Lim

Photo courtesy of Mark Lim

And of course to take a nap once I got home.