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The R@SKLs at the CIMB Cycle 2019

Graphic courtesy of CIMB Cycle 2019

The third annual edition of the CIMB Cycle was held on 21st April. This year there were two options: an 80km Challenge ride and a 160km Endurance ride. In a rush of enthusiasm about fifty R@SKLs registered for the event. Twenty of whom opted for the 160km Endurance ride.

As the 21st drew closer some had second thought and switched to the 80km Challenge ride. We all owe thanks to Heng Keng and his PA Nida for their CIMB insider help to get us registered, manage the changes and collect the ride packs on our behalf.

I was one of the R@SKLs who switched to the 80km ride. My excuse was that I was in the midst of moving house and couldn’t afford the time riding 160km would require. Was I ever glad I made that decision.

3,700 amateur riders and pro cyclists (there were prizes for the winners) from 26 countries were at the start line. Including the pink-clad R@SKLs.

Photograph courtesy of Danial Lim

The Endurance and Challenge rides were flagged of by the Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq, accompanied by Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Aziz, Group CEO of CIMB Group (on the left) and Azizulhasni Awang, Malaysia’s “Pocket Rocketman” and CIMB brand ambassador (on the right). Azizul was the gold medallist in the keirin event at the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

Photograph courtesy of Putrajaya IPD

The events started on time, with the Endurance riders the first to roll past the Ministry of Finance building in Putrajaya and out onto the route.

Photograph courtesy of KBSMalaysia

Putrajaya has a number of man-made lakes and therefore a number of bridges. This is the Endurance ride départ fictif crossing the Seri Gemilang bridge.

Photograph courtesy of Engku Iskandar Photoworks

Half a dozen or so brave souls from the R@SKLs took on the Endurance route.

Map courtesy of CIMB Cycle 2019

This was the Challenge route.

Map courtesy of CIMB Cycle 2019

The Challenge riders hit their first water stop after about 40km / 25mi.

Photograph courtesy of Grace C

The Challenge ride so far had been fun. Despite my falling. A guy got caught in too hard a gear on a steep climb and veered across the road into me. I banged an elbow and wrist and scraped a knee. I’m just glad I stayed out of the open drain along the side of the road.

The first water stop for the Endurance riders was at 50km / 31mi.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

It was still relatively cool at that time. It wouldn’t stay cool for very much longer.

The Endurance guys made a food and drink stop at some point.

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

We Challenge riders made do with our second water stop at 55km / 34mi.

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

It had been humid from the start and it was now getting hot. I was well into my second bottle of water and glad I only had 25km / 15.5mi to go rather than 105km / 65mi.

The Endurance riders were starting to feel the heat midway through their distance.

They were rolling into their second water stop as we were finishing our ride. Our ride was a tad over 80km / 50mi. Those last few kilometres at 33ºC / 91.4ºF were slightly uphill and into a hot headwind. I was glad to see the finish line.

It was so hot that a finish line shower was in order for some.

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Bin Soo

Heng Keng kindly got us into the vicinity of the VIP tent (it pays to have friends on the inside) where he supplied us with nasi lemak, kuih, water and lattes. And arranged a photograph with Malaysia’s only rainbow jersey winner.

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

It was about 11.00am when we all got to the VIP tent. Just a few minutes later the first three finishers of the Endurance ride flashed across the finish line. Their average speed for 160km or so was a smidgen over 42kph / 26mph. Amazing.

Our Endurance ride guys were still on the course and suffering in the heat.

Photograph Ric Foo

I was still sweating forty five minutes after the ride. So I was very happy to not still be out on the Endurance ride course. The rising temperature and the hilly route brought many Endurance participants to a halt well before the finish.

Voon Kiat and Martin persevered and completed the Endurance ride. As did Mokhtar Nadzri but I don’t have a photograph of him.

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Kiat
Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

The Challenge riders were happy with the event. The route was reasonably challenging but not excessively so. The roads were exceptionally well marshalled. The water stops were well managed. And we got to the finish before it got too hot.

The R@SKLs who did the Endurance ride had a much tougher time. A tip of the hat to them for giving it a go.

Graphic courtesy of CIMB Cycle 2019

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Logo 02 CM

Putrajaya is a popular venue for sporting events.  Duathlons and triathlons are regularly held in Putrajaya because of the wide and rolling roads, and the easily accessible man-made lake.  So it was no surprise to see the announcement of the first Putrajaya century bike ride.

Putrajaya is a visually impressive location.  It is only twenty years since construction started on this planned city, which serves as the administrative capital of Malaysia.  Buildings are still going up, in a variety of architectural styles.

The ride would start and finish near the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, also known as the Iron Mosque.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Iron Mosque Ezry Abdul Rahman

Photograph courtesy of Ezry Abdul Rahman

The first kilometer of the ride would be over the Seri Wawasan Bridge.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Sri Wawasan Bridge Dien Aj

Photograph courtesy of Dien Aj

Less than three kilometers later riders would recross Putrajaya Lake, this time over the Seri Saujana Bridge.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Seri Saujana Bridge Brandon Lim

Photograph courtesy of Darren Lim

Then over the lake again via the Seri Gemilang Bridge.  The lake has a surface area of 650 hectares / 1,606 acres.  There are eight major bridges and one pedestrian bridge that cross Putrajaya Lake.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Seri Gemilang Bridge

Photograph courtesy of Nguyễn Thành Lam

Which is the main approach to the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 PICC Badangperkasa

Photograph courtesy of Badangperkasa

All this in the space of just over 6 km / 4 mi.  It should have been a great event.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but in hindsight the postponement of this event just nine days before it was scheduled to run, was an omen.  Then came a very late change to the route.  This route map was published in March.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Route 01

A very different route map was confirmed two days before the event took place.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Route 02

Instead of a simple figure-of-eight route that would take us to the coast (and ais kacang) and back, the revised route stayed north of the KL International Airport, and crossed over itself a number of times as it wound around Putrajaya.

Again, hindsight is 20:20, but all this should have been an omen that all was not well behind-the-scenes.

Everything started well though.  The collection of jerseys and ride numbers was quick and relatively efficient.  Although I do think that matching your itinerary number to the appropriate collection desk would not have been so easy in the afternoon, when lots of people would have been there, all pushing to look at the same sheets of paper tacked on the door.

Nine Flipsiders were at the start the following morning.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Start 02 Alvin

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The ride started bang on time.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Start 07 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Kudos to the organizers for getting the pre-ride briefing out of the way, and ensuring that the VIP was ready to flag us off by 7.00am.

This gentleman deserves a medal just for turning up on an ElliptiGO, let alone trying to cover 160km on one..

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Start 08 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

We always start at the back of the pack, because a) we aren’t interested in recording fast times, and b) we want to stay out of the way of those who are in it to win it.  So we don’t get the benefit of an escort throughout the ride.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Marshalls 03 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Which is usually not an issue, but we don’t normally have courses as complicated as this one was.  The marshalls had their work cut out for them, trying to keep all of us on course.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Marshalls 02 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

The Flipsiders were still in a group, and feeling relaxed as we spun though Putrajaya.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Early 03 Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Early 08 Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Early 04 Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Early 01 Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Early 05 Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Early 02 Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Early 06 Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Early 07 Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

The weather forecast 12 hours before the ride showed a high chance of rain by noon.  As the sky brightened it looked highly unlikely that we would see any rain.  Probably because I had packed some rain gear.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Rolling at Start 02 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Though the sun was still low in the sky and casting long shadows on the road, the temperature was rising steadily.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Rolling 04 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Rolling 02 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Rolling 01 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Rolling 05 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

None of us believed the course elevation published by the organizers.  1,955 meters / 6,414 feet of climbing was overstated.  We did climb more than I had anticipated.  Lots of short climbs over bridges and overpasses, and the steeper stuff in the middle of the ride, do add up.  By the end of the ride we had climbed about 1,200 meters / 3,937 feet.

We had one mechanical between us.  Marco hit a pothole after about 25km / 15.5 mi.  And a cumulative 250 meters / 820 feet of climbing.  I think we were all secretly pleased at the opportunity to catch our breath.

After Marco had fixed his pinch flat, Liang decided that we needed to speed things up a bit.  And proceeded to pull us along in the high 30s / low 40s kph for twenty minutes.

We were riding too fast to stop at the first water station at 35km / 21mi.  Then we realised that we were near our regular nasi lemak and roti canai stall in Dengkil.  Everyone was ready for that break.

Liang stayed at the front of the group when we got going again, though thankfully limiting his pace to the mid 30s kph.  By the second water station at 70km / 43.5mi we were hot, and we had climbed 566 meters / 1,857 feet.  To get there we had been on a jaunt toward the KL International Airport and through Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi.  We needed a short rest and to refill bidons.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Airport Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

The third water station at 105km / 65mi was in Cyberjaya, with Putrajaya to the east, on the other side of the lake.  Not only did that station still have water and cold isotonic drinks, there was also a fire engine spraying a mist of water on us as we approached the stop.  That felt good.  I was sorely tempted to ride back through the spray a second time.  Instead I made do with emptying a bottle of water over myself to cool down a bit more.  I probably should have sat down for a while, like this gentleman was doing

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Rest Break CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Did I mention that it was hot?  It was very hot.  2 kilometers after that third water station we came upon Shaftsbury Square.  Shaftsbury Square is a commercial and residential development in Cyberjaya.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Shaftsbury Square

Of interest to Alvin, Liang and I because amongst its many shops at ground level is a 7-Eleven.  Which equals cold drinks and air-conditioning.  And a place where we could sit while we guzzled our drinks.

By the time we got to the 7-Eleven we had separated from the other Flipsiders.  The three of us headed back out into the sun for the last third of the ride.  One disadvantage of wide roads with generous sidewalks or motorcycle paths is that there is no shade on the roads themselves.  So we slow-roasted.

Things really went pear-shaped for Alvin, Liang, and I at 120km / 74.5mi.  What marshalls there had been on the course had long beaten a retreat out of the scorching sun.  Without anyone to point us in the right direction, we were relying on the yellow arrows at intersections to stay on course.

Well, either there wasn’t an arrow there, or all three of us didn’t see it.  We should have  stayed to the right side of the intersection and taken the ramp that looped round and onto the Damansara – Puchong Highway (or LDP) heading south.  Instead, we took the ramp to the left that dropped us onto the Damansara – Puchong Highway going north west, i.e. the wrong way.

After we had ridden past three highway off ramps without seeing a yellow arrow, I knew we were in trouble.  We were in Puchong, and we were supposed to be in Putrajaya.

It was hot and we were getting tired.  Once we realised we were off course we lost interest in getting back onto the route.  We just wanted to get back to the finish line in the shortest possible distance.

Waze to the rescue.  That app gave us the most direct route back to the finish line.  In those final 18km / 11mi we passed many a rider who had also missed a turn and ridden off the course.  If I had known this was waiting at the finish line I might have ridden faster.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Finish Spray Crankyard

Photograph courtesy of Crankyard

We ended up riding toward the finish line from the wrong direction.  Which sums up the day that many participants had.  The official Facebook page for this event is now full of complaints from people who got lost, or got to water stations that had run out of water, or felt short-changed because the length of the ride, even for those who didn’t get lost, was less than 160km.

Others complained that there were no freebies, like a power bar, or a magazine, or a drink, in the event goodie bag.  In other words, there wasn’t a goodie bag.  The upside of no freebies is that the event jersey does not have any sponsor logos on it.  Just a simple graphic of the Seri Wawasan Bridge.  Which makes a nice change from the logo-laden jerseys handed out at other century rides.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Jersey

Apart from getting lost, I had fun.  I wasn’t up for complaining.  All I wanted to do at the finish was get into the shade, like these folk.  Even if it meant standing in the hedges.  By the time I got to the finish the fire engine shower had lost its appeal.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Finish Shade 01 CM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Oh, and I had to collect my finisher’s medal.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Medal

All nine Flipsiders made it back to the finish line, albeit via varying routes.  Leslie was the only one who stayed on course and rode the full route.

Despite the heat and the fact that eight of us got lost, everyone was in pretty good spirits.  If nothing else, the challenges of the morning gave us a lot to talk, and laugh, about.

Which we did, over lunch of Chicken Mendy and Lamb Kabsa at Mr. Kabab & Briyani.

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Lunch Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

Putrajaya Century Ride 2016 Lunch 02 Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark

Any day that includes a bike ride with good friends, and ends with yummy food and a nap is a good day!


BCG Putrajaya Ride

22 of us met at the crack of dawn outside the Rasa Seri Alamanda restaurant in Putrajaya to ride a 45km / 28mi or so circuit around Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia.

We rode a smaller anti-clockwise loop followed by a second anti-clockwise loop that took us through Cyberjaya.

BCG Putrajaya Loop Route

Map courtesy of Ride with GPS

The early part of the ride was under overcast skies.  So there was no real need for the arm screens.

BCG Putrajaya Loop 1 2

Photograph courtesy of Danial Anis Marzuki

The pace was relaxed, and we all made sure the group stayed together.

By the time we got back to the Rasa Seri Alamanda restaurant, the sun was out.

BCG Putrajaya Loop 1 Finish

Photograph courtesy of Danial Anis Marzuki

We filled up with drinks before half the group headed out to do a second circuit.

BCG Putrajaya Loop 1 1

Photograph courtesy of Danial Anis Marzuki

Arm screens were much more of a necessity on the second circuit.  As were regular breaks to allow everyone to regroup.

BCG Putrajaya 01

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

BCG Putrajaya Loop 2 1

Photograph courtesy of Danial Anis Marzuki

Our last stop was at Shaftsbury Square in Cyberjaya, where we had our pick between a 7-Eleven and a couple of 99 Speedmarts.  Or a Chatime, as was the choice for some.

Safwan Siddiq produced an excellent video of the ride:

Everyone had a good time.  I’ll definitely be doing this ride with BCG again.

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.

A Capital Idea

The Racun Cycling Gang does regular rides through Putrajaya.  Putrajaya is the administrative center of Malaysia, much like Brasilia is for Brazil and Canberra is for Australia.  And like those capitals Putrajaya is a planned city, albeit the newest of the three.  The seat of government moved from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya in 1999.

The 32 km/ 8,000 acre greenfield site presented architects with a blank canvas to cover with buildings and bridges in all manner of of traditional and modern design.  Much of Putrajaya is lit up at night, and the spot and colored lights make the buildings look even more spectacular.  Our ride started below the International Convention Centre.  Sadly we weren’t allowed to ride up the hill and circle the building.

We rolled down the hill from the International Convention Center and rode along the Putrajaya lakefront.  We passed in front of the Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside Hotel.

We then crossed the Seri Gemilang bridge toward the Ministry of Housing and Local Government buildings.

The next spectacular building we passed was the Energy Commission’s Diamond Building.  This is the first office building in the counry to obtain the Green Building Index platinum rating.

After the short sharp climb to Wisma Putra or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we shot back down the hill and covered a roughly semicircular route from east to west.  We then turned eastward again across the  Seri Wawasan bridge to get to Persiaran Perdana or Perdana Boulevard.  Persiaran Perdana runs north-south and is the longest boulevard in Putrajaya.

We headed north on Persiaran Perdana to the circular Dataran Putra.  Around the 300 meter circle are the Prime Minister’s office complex, the Putrajaya Souk and the Putra Mosque.

From the mosque it was a straight ride southward back across the Seri Gemilang bridge to our starting point below the International Convention Centre.  Here is the final look back across the bridge.