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Teluk Intan with the R@SKLs – Day 2

Teluk Intan Day 1 Menara Chondong Night Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

While we were cooling down in the lobby after arriving at the Yew Boutique Hotel, we talked about a start time for our ride back to Kapar.  6.00am was mentioned.  Jake asked me if that start time eas confirmed.  I told him to wait until after dinner.

Sure enough.  10kg / 22lbs of udang galah in our collective stomachs prompted some recalibration.  Breakfast at the coffee shop across the road from the hotel at 6.30am, and wheels rolling at 7.00am.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Breakfast Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We didn’t quite meet our 7.00am departure goal.  Heng Keng took the photograph below.  No prizes for figuring out who was the last person out of the hotel door.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Ready to Roll Pai

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We have developed a routine for Day 2 of these Teluk Intan rides.  Breakfast across the road from the hotel.  Followed by a stop at the 7 Eleven 400 meters down the road for ice and water.  Then onto Jalan Maharajalela and southward out of town.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tailwind from Sabak Bernam to Teluk Intan the previous afternoon.  “Effortless” was one description for that 35km / 22mi section where we hit 40kph / 25mph at times.  Well, we paid the full price for that tailwind, plus interest, on the way back to Kapar.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Wind bicyclenetwork com au

Photograph courtesy of bicyclenetwork.com.au

Kapar is almost directly south of Teluk Intan.  As we left Teluk Intan the wind was blowing north-westward at 4kph.  At 8.00am we were at Hutan Melintang, where the wind was blowing westward at 4kph.  At 9.30am we were at Sabak Bernam, and the wind was blowing north-westward again, but stronger at 13kph.

We turned off Route 5 at Sabak Bernam to follow the secondary roads which run along the coast.  While waiting for the others to ensure that they didn’t miss the turn, Pai handed out kokuto, which is brown sugar candy from Okinawa.  Although kokuto is made from sugar cane, it tastes a lot like gula kabung or gula melaka, which are types of palm sugar.

Kokuto Oikinawan brown sugar candy jpninfo com

Photograph courtesy of jpninfo.com

Around this time a good friend to the R@SKLs, Daniel, was well into his Olympic Distance Race at the Port Dickson International Triathlon 2018.  That consists of a 1.5km open water swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.

Respect!

Teluk Intan Day 2 Danial Tri Danial

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Despite being on more sheltered roads south of Sabak Bernam, the headwind was just as bad.  The roads were very nice though.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Back Roads Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We planned to make our first stop at Sungai Besar, which is 50km / 31km from Teluk Intan.   The extra effort against the headwind meant that we were more than ready for a break in Sungai Besar.  One of the first stalls we came upon was selling fresh coconut water.  After drinking the water straight out of the coconut, it is split open so you can spoon out the jellylike flesh.

Pai’s thirst had been slaked, but he was hungry.  So he crossed the road to the 988 Restaurant for a plate of chicken rice.  Before long three or four others were sitting beside him, eating red bean paste filled pau, and toast with kaya (coconut jam).

We weren’t back on the road for very long before we realised that we had lost Natasha and Marco.  Marco had loaded the route onto his Bryton.  However, the mapped route showed a right turn which didn’t exist in reality.  If you turned right at the next opportunity instead of making a u-turn and backtracking, you were on the wrong road.

Everyone found a shady spot while Lay and I went to find Natasha and Marco.  Despite the headwind now blowing straight into our faces at 16kph, it was getting hot.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Waiting For Lost Trio Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We were still on country roads after 75km, with just the odd motorcycle for company.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Back Roads 2 Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Then we came upon a Malay wedding kenduri (feast) in full swing.  As sometimes happens in rural villages, the entire width of the road had been taken over by marquees which provided shade for buffet tables and guests eating lunch.

Rather than detour around the blocked section of road, which would have required us to get back onto Route 5, we decided to walk our bikes around the edge of the marquees.

Traditional village hospitality then came to the fore.  We were invited to stay and eat something.  When we declined, we were plied with drinks instead.  The emcee announced that we were coming through, and asked everyone to make way for us as we wound our way between tables.

Quite amazing!

 

Having declined a meal at the wedding feast, we were ready for lunch when we got to Sekinchan.  Marvin said he knew a good restaurant, but wasn’t sure if

a) it was open, and
b) if it was open, whether it would be full by the time we got there.

I wouldn’t have guessed that this is a restaurant.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Lunch Restaurant Jake

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

Redang Station No. 15 was open, and there was room for us.  The restaurant is essentially a big room on stilts.  The floor is wood planking, as are the tables and benches.  The back of the restaurant opens out to the jetties where fishing boats unload their catch of the day.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Fishing Boats

Alfred was certainly comfortable.  Admittedly it was 36° C / 97° F outside, and he was done riding for the day.  His wife was going to pick him up after lunch.

Teluk Intan Day 2 No 15 Simon

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The online reviews for Redang Station No. 15 are either glowing or damning.  There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.  Marvin had already prepped us for what to expect.  The restaurant serves seafood only.  Either steamed or fried.  No fancy sauces.  No rice.  No vegetables.  Just fresh seafood.  And fried noodles if you insist.

Everything we ate was delicious.  The freshest ingredients simply prepared.  Thank you for taking us there Marvin.

 

Apart from its seafood restaurants, Sekinchan in also noted for Redang Beach and the Wishing Tree.

Redang Beach, like almost all beaches on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is nothing special.  The lack of storm activity in the Straits of Melaka limits the scouring action of the sea.  Which means that a layer of silt has built up over the years, making the beaches muddy.

Those kites illustrate the 17kph wind blowing northward straight up the coast.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Pantai Redang 2 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The Wishing Tree gets lots of visitors.  It came to fame after being featured in the Hong Kong TVB drama “Outbound Love.”  You write a wish on a strip of red cloth, tie each end to a coin with a hole in the middle, and toss the cloth strip into the branches of the tree.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Wishing Tree Jake

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

There are about 70km / 43mi between Sekinchan and Kapar.  We knew that the heat and the headwind would make a rest stop essential.  Conveniently, there is a McDonald’s in Kuala Selangor, which is midway between Sekinchan and Kapar.

We spent an hour at that McDonald’s, drinking iced lemon tea, 100 Plus, and Coke.  And eating french fries and chocolate sundaes.  And waiting for Marco and Natasha.  Marco had a mechanical problem with his touring bike, and that was slowing him down.

Not that we were complaining about having to wait in the air conditioning.  It was hot outside.  How hot?  That is crusted salt on Jake’s sleeve, from all the sweating he was doing.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Salt Jake Sow

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

We debated staying on Route 5 back to Kapar but decided it wouldn’t be worth riding on a heavily trafficked and rough road to save few kilometres.  So we stayed on the back roads.   This herd of cattle was going with the wind is it meandered all over the road.  The cows and bull appeared to be relatively used to sharing the road.  They weren’t in the least bothered by us riding past them.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Cows Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We had to get back onto Route 5 about 10km / 6mi from Adtek. The road surface is very rutted, and the shoulder is covered in all sorts of debris, including broken glass.  The odds of getting a flat tire are high.  I picked up a flat tire on that section the last time we did this ride.  Now it was Marvin’s turn.

The only good thing was that Marvin flatted next to a shaded culvert.  I assure you we did help Marvin fix his flat!

Teluk Intan Day 2 Marvin Flat Lay

Photograph courtesy of Lay Hoi Cheong

We all got back to Adtek safely, which is the most important thing.  Despite the constant headwind, everyone enjoyed the ride.

Being able to shower at Adtek before driving home was a real treat.  Thank you again Pai for giving us access to the facilities at your factory.

We are already thinking about when to do the next Teluk Intan ride.  It could well become a quarterly event.

Let’s get through CFAL first though!

Seven R@SKLs Ride to Teluk Intan

Teluk Intan Banner

Photograph courtesy of tourismperakmalaysia.com/

My first ride to Teluk Intan, in 2016, was along Federal Route 5, which is one of three north–south backbone federal highways in Peninsular Malaysia.  Which makes it a heavily-used road by all manner of motor vehicles.  The road surface bears the scars of constant pounding by heavy lorries and buses.  Which makes it less than ideal to cycle on.

I rode to Teluk Intan twice in 2017, each time trying to find more and more secondary roads to ride on, as an alternative to Federal Route 5.

It fell to me to plan the route for this ride to Teluk Intan.  Ride With GPS has a route planning feature which is easy to use.  My goal was to put us onto as many roads like this as possible.

Smaller, scenic roads and paths, with very few cars or motorcycles.  For the first 110km / 68mi or so, we rode on Federal Route 5 only when we had to cross a major river, e.g. the Sungai Selangor at Kuala Selangor, or the Sungai Bernam north of Sabak.  We rode all but 13km / 8mi on these quiet, secondary roads.

There were a few surprises though.  We came upon a few sections where the tarmac turned into this.

Off Road 4 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

I had discovered, too late, that Ride With GPS will plot a route along any road possible, paved or otherwise.

I now know that counter-checking a route generated by Ride With GPS with Google Map Street View is essential.  All the laterite or otherwise unpaved roads and paths which Ride With GPS took us onto do not have Google Map Street Views.  This check is easy to do, because Ride With GPS uses maps provided by Google Maps.  So the small yellow Street View man is always available in the lower right corner of the map.

The red line on the upper map shows the route we rode, as created with Ride With GPS.  The blue lines on the lower map show where Street View is available.  That section we rode, where Street View is not available, was a narrow, unpaved track.  We were able to ride it, but it was a bit worrying on narrow 23mm or 25mm tires.

I learned through experience that in future, I must avoid plotting routes on roads and paths where Google Map Street View cameras have not been.

Map 1

Upper map courtesy of Ride With GPS.  Lower map courtesy of Google Maps

Despite the unexpected off-road bike handling skills tests, we all had a good time.  Fortunately no one took a tumble or had a flat caused by the uneven surfaces, which at times were liberally strewn with sharp stones.

As is par for the course with the R@SKLs, a long ride like this one required frequent refreshment stops.

Breakfast was at 23km / 14mi.

Meal 1 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We had a 10am snack at 65km / 40mi.

We made a slight detour to the beach at Sekinchan, to look at some of the catch being brought ashore at the jetty.

Catch of the day Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

And to pose under the “good luck” tree.

Wishing Tree Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The good luck tree didn’t work out for Simon.  He had a flat tire at 89km / 55mi.  It was lucky for the rest of us though.  Simon’s flat was conveniently right next to this stall selling Air Batu Campur, which is a local dessert made of shaved ice coated with with brown sugar syrup, other flavoured syrups, and evaporated milk. Other ingredients are kidney beans, red beans, creamed corn, and crushed peanuts.

Meal 2a 2 Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

While we were quenching our thirst, the stall owner told us that there was a restaurant 2km / 1.2mi away that serves very good mee kari udang lipan (noodles and mantis shrimp curry).

It was 12.30pm when we got to that restaurant.  Which, coincidentally, was when it opened.

After lunch, we had just under 25km / 16mi, including another unexpected off road section, this time 3km / 2mi long, before we got to the bridge over Sungai Bernam.  From that point we had no option but to ride along Federal Route 5, and then Federal Route 58 to Teluk Intan.  Fortunately the roads north of Sabak are wide, the road surface is reasonably good, and the traffic is a bit lighter.

The 55km / 34mi ride from our lunch stop to the Yew Boutique Hotel in Teluk Intan had worked up a thirst and hunger.  It was three and a half hours to dinner.  We needed something to keep our strength up until then.

The famed Teluk Intan chee cheong fun (rice noodle roll, char koay teow, and a fermented barley drink did the trick.

The main event was at 7.30pm, at Restoran d’Tepian Sungai.  The udang galah (giant river prawn) feast.  Clockwise from top left:  curried, grilled, fried with turmeric, and in spicy coconut gravy.

We made short work of 4 kilos / 9lb of Grade A prawns, plus fried mixed vegetables, omelettes, white rice, and three jugs of fruit juice.

After all that food, I barely managed to ride my bike to the Menara Condong (Leaning Tower) for an illuminated photograph to go with the daytime shot we took when we arrived in Teluk Intan.

Menara Condong Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The trip back to Kapar the next day was equally food and drink-filled.

We had breakfast at the coffee shop across the street from the hotel.  Our rooms came with breakfast, but the hotel starts serving at 7am.  We had filled our bottles at the nearby 7-Eleven and were on the road by then.

We skipped the off-road section between Sabak and Sungai Besar.  I’m not convinced that the equivalent stretch of Federal Route 5 was any smoother.

Our first stop was in Sungai Besar, 50km / 31mi into our ride.  We had iced Milo, coffee,  and roti canai.

Meal 7 Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

Our next stop was a sightseeing one.  Our route along the coast took us past a small fishing jetty at Pasir Panjang.

Fishing Jetty Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Fishing Jetty Birds' Nests

We put in a further 42km / 26mi before stopping again.  This time for air kelapa (fresh coconut water).  Most of us had two coconuts each.

Meal 8 Drinks Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The air kelapa stand was 60km / 37mi from our Sungai Besar food stop.  The guys were hungry.  Mark and I knew that the Kuala Selangor McDonald’s was only 4km / 2.5mi down the road.  A sundae was calling my name.  Burgers, chicken nuggets, and fries were calling out to the others.

The air-conditioning at McD’s was another attraction.  It was pushing 30°C / 86°F, and it would get hotter.  40 minutes in cool air was a welcome respite.

There was 35km / 22mi left to ride from Kuala Selangor to Kapar.  Including another unexpected 2km / 1.2mi sandy and stony section.  Fortunately it wasn’t wet like it is in this Google Maps Street View.

Off Road 3

Photograph courtesy of Google

Our tires survived the sharp stones.  There was just one more section of Federal Route 5 to ride along.  It is a toss up between riding to the right of the road shoulder, where the surface is cleaner but rougher, or on the road shoulder, where there is always a lot of debris.  The heavy traffic often makes the road shoulder the safer option, but the risk of having a puncture is higher.

My rear tire went soft. It was hot, and I was cheesed off at flatting with just 5km /3mi left to go in our 290km / 180mi round trip.  In my impatience, I fumbled two changes, rendering both inner tubes unusable.  Lay, Marvin, and Ridzuwan bailed me out with another inner tube, helping with the tube installation, and buying cold drinks from the petrol station across the road.

The day ended well though.  Simon got home with plenty of time before the concert he was going to that evening.  There had been no falls or major mechanical issues.  Everyone enjoyed the ride to Teluk Intan and back, despite the unpaved sections.

And Lay, Wan and I had one more meal together before our day was over.  Braised lamb shanks and cendols all round.

Teluk Intan Quote

Another Udang Galah Dinner – Courtesy of the Bukit Bintang Rotary Club

rotary-112-banner

Graphic Courtesy of Bukit Bintang Rotary Club

Johny Sui, the Deputy Organizing Chairman and Immediate Past President of the Bukit Bintang Rotary Club, one of the 78 clubs that make up Rotary International District 3300, asked Mark if he would help them with a ride to Teluk Intan.

Rotary International celebrates its 112th anniversary in 2017.  In conjunction with the anniversary, the clubs in RI District 3300 are organizing a four-day charity bicycle ride, called Rotary 112 – Cycle 4 Life. Riders will cycle from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh to Penang, and then around the island of Penang, covering a total of 500km / 311mi.

Rotary 112 – Cycle 4 Life will raise funds for the Rotary Kidney Fund to give assistance to dialysis patients from five Dialysis Centres located in the Klang Valley, Ipoh and Penang. The Rotary Kidney Fund also provides education and leads advocacy efforts to help the people of Malaysia.

rotary-112-kidney

Graphic courtesy of MIMS Pte. Ltd

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major health issue in Malaysia.  The number of new dialysis patients who suffer from CKD has doubled over the last decade.  In the last four years alone, 24,000 new patients required regular dialysis.

Rotary 112 – Cycle 4 Life was initiated by Yap Fatt Lam, Organising Chairman & Past President of the Rotary Club of Bukit Bintang.  He was inspired to organise this charity ride after participating in the recent End Polio Taiwan Round Island Charity Ride from 22nd to 30th October 2016.

The charity ride is scheduled for 31st August to 3rd September, and planning is already underway.  This ride to Teluk Intan was to recce the route for Day 1 of the charity ride.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-map

Map courtesy of Strava

Twelve of us did the ride.  Rotarians Johny Sui and Yap Fatt Lam from the Rotary Club of Bukit Bintang, Steven, Ben, Jack, Cher, Mark, Leslie, Lay, Alvin, Liang and myself.  We were a diverse group of riders, ranging from Jack, who had never ridden more than 58km in one go before, to the likes of Alvin and Liang, who were on their fixies

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-start-yap-fatt-lam

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

We all met up at Rasik Bistro in Ara Damansara, where we had breakfast.  Then we loaded our overnight bags into the two support vehicles, driven by Javan and Ivan.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-support-vehicle-ivan-wong-wai-keong

Photograph courtesy of Ivan Wong

Mark gave us a short briefing before we rolled out of the car park.  We were less than 2.5km / 1.5mi from the start point when a recurring feature of the ride made its first appearance.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-first-flat-cher-weng-chun

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

We would have half a dozen more punctures before we got back to KL.

We made our first rendezvous with the support vehicles at the junction of the LATAR Expressway and Jalan Kuala Selangor.  There we dipped into a ice chest filled with chilled Coca Cola and 100 Plus.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-latar-cher-weng-chung

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

By the time we had covered 65km / 40mi it was time for a food stop.  The McDonald’s in Kuala Selangor did very nicely.  RI District 3300 should ask McDonald’s Malaysia to sponsor their charity work.  We certainly ate enough of their food over the two day ride.

The two guys in polo shirts are Javan and Ivan.  They drove the support vehicles, and were a great help to all the riders.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-kuala-selangor-mcdonalds-cher-weng-chung

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

90km /56mi into the ride we had reached Sekinchan.  It was past noon by then, sunny and hot.  The lady running this fruit stall must have felt like she had just won the lottery when twelve thirsty cyclists appeared, all demanding multiple cups of iced mango juice .

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-mango-juice-johny-sui

Photograph courtesy of Johny Sui

Once rehydrated, we decided to get off the main trunk road, Jalan Kuala Selangor – Teluk Intan, aka Route 5, in favour of the secondary roads that run parallel to it.  The road surface of Route 5 is damaged in a lot of places, and the speeding lorries, buses, and cars are no fun to share a road with.

We got onto Jalan Tepi Sawah, which literally means “the road beside the paddy field.”  Those smaller, traffic-free roads are so much more relaxing and pleasant to cycle on.

We rode past the Sekinchan Padi Box on the short jink between Route 5 and Jalan Tepi Sawah.  Padi Box is a homestay location made out of repurposed shipping containers.  A recent addition is N. 16, a restaurant in a converted bus, which I assume, once upon a time, was the number 16 bus.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-padi-box-wc-cher

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

At about 2pm we rolled into Sungai Besar.  We stopped at, surprise surprise, a McDonald’s.  This time just for drinks and a visit to the bathroom, although one or two hungry ones had a burger as well.

The rest of us held off eating until we got to Sabak Bernam.  Restoran Ammin Maju was a food stop on the Flipside ride to Teluk Intan, and so it was for the Rotarians as well.

Here we are, fed and watered, and after yet another inner tube change, ready for the final 40km / 25mi push to Teluk Intan.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-sabak-bernam-yap-fatt-lam

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

We made it before the rain!

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-menara-chondong-wc-cher

Photograph courtesy of Cher Weng Chun

Drinks all round before picking up our room keys at the Yew Boutique Hotel next door.

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-finish-mark-lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The main reason for the ride was of course to help the Rotarians to recce the route from KL to Teluk Intan for their August charity ride.

This came a close second on the list of reasons to ride once again to Teluk Intan!

rotary-kl-to-teluk-intan-dinner-mark-lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

There were twenty of us at Restoran D’Tepian Sungai.  Riders, support vehicle drivers, and distinguished guests from the Rotary Clubs of Bukit Bintang, Titiwangsa and Teluk Intan.

We went through 6kg / 13.2lb of Grade A udang galah, 1.5kg / 3.3lb of batter fried squid, plus plates of chicken, omelettes, mixed vegetables, and rice.  All washed down with twelve pitchers of watermelon juice and orange juice.

A very big thank you from all the riders to Amy Kong, President elect of the Rotary Club of Bukit Bintang and five others Rotarians: Sherman, Wilson, Elsie, Steve and Wendy, for generously picking up the dinner tab.  Very much appreciated!

The ride back to KL started just like the ride the morning before.  With a flat tire.  This time before we had even left the hotel.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-hotel-flat-yap-fatt-lam

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

That wouldn’t be the last opportunity to stand around watching someone change an inner tube!

The Yew Boutique Hotel is a stone’s throw from a 7-Eleven.  Which was a great place to restock the ice chest in the support vehicle, and to refill bottles.  And to take an arty photograph or two.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-arty-fixie-shot-alvin-lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We opted for an alternative to riding along Route 5 again.  That road is the only way out of Teluk Intan, but there are options once you get to Sabak Bernam.  We regrouped after riding 35km / 22mi along Route 5, at the corner where we turned right onto Jalan Gertak Tinggi.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-sabak-bernam-rest-stop-alvin-lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

We wanted to stay on the back roads all the way to Sungai Besar, but we weren’t sure of the way.  We unintentionally ended up back on Route 5 for fifteen minutes before stopping for refreshments at Restoran Rashid Fadil RM3 in Sungai Besar.

It was the network of back roads again for us as we left Sungai Besar and headed south to Sekinchan.  We stopped at Kampung Batu 23 to raid the ice chest following behind us.  This turned out to be a convenient place to stop.  We all needed something to sit on as we waited for yet another flat tire to be repaired.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-rest-stop-yap-fatt-lam

Photograph courtesy of Yap Fatt Lam

We were blessed with perfect riding weather from Kampung Batu 23 onward.  Clouds rolled in, and it stayed overcast and cool for the rest of the day.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-4-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-1-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-2-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-3-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-on-the-road-5-liang

Photograph courtesy of Wong Thean Liang

By 2.30pm we had reached Sekinchan.  We had a very nice lunch at Restoran Bagan Sekinchan, and continued down the pleasant roads along the coast until we got to Tanjung Karang.  At which point staying off Route 5 was no longer realistic, especially as the bridge on Route 5 is the only way to get across Sungai Tengi.

You’ll never guess where we stopped in Kuala Selangor for drinks and to regroup.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-kuala-selangor-javan-yap

Photograph courtesy of Javan Yap

About 70km / 43.5mi to go.  We took a slightly longer route to Bukit Rotan, via Kampung Kuantan, so that we could stay off Route 5, and spend less time on Jalan Kuala Selangor.

We stopped to raid the ice chest again at the entrance to the LATAR Expressway.  And stopped again at the Kundang Timur R&R, where we said our farewells to Ben, Cher, Jack and Steven, who were finishing the ride at MisiCafe in Bukit Jelutong.

Johny, Yap and we six Flipsiders ended our ride where we had started, at Rasik Bistro in Ara Damansara.

Thank you Rotarians for organizing the ride and the accommodation in Teluk Intan, and for providing the support vehicles and drivers.  And congratulations to all the cyclists for riding 350km / 217mi over the two days.

rotary-teluk-intan-to-kl-banner

Graphic courtesy of the Rotary Club Bukit Bintang

Audax BRM300 Malaysia 2017

audax-brm300-banner

Graphic courtesy of Audax Randonneurs Malaysia

December 31st for most people means staying up until midnight to watch fireworks and to welcome in the new year.

For about 550 arguably slightly unhinged people, December 31st 2016 meant either staying up past midnight, or waking up in time, to make the 2.00am start of the the Audax Randonneurs Malaysia BRM300.

I was amongst that crowd.  Regular readers of this blog will recall that after the very first official Brevet in Malaysia, the BRM200 in January 2016, I said that it was unlikely that I would ride another Randonnée.

“Famous last words” is a quote introducing my post about the BRM400, which I rode in September 2016.

My excuse for participating in the BRM300 is that my Biker Chick said that I should, because “The colours of the medal are nice.”

audax-brm300-medals

Photograph courtesy of Audax Club Parisien

I didn’t have a comeback for that.  So I booked a room in the Acappella Suite Hotel in Shah Alam, and Biker Chick and I made a weekend getaway out of the ride.

The BRM300 started in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam.  I have driven there many many times for weekend rides.  So why the need for a hotel this time?

Biker Chick and I live a stone’s throw from the PETRONAS Twin Towers.  Where most of Kuala Lumpur seems to congregate as the sun sets on New Year’s Eve.  Roads in the area become clogged, and are then closed to further traffic as midnight approaches.  I really had no choice but to flee to the relative calm of Shah Alam before the area around the Twin Towers ground to a standstill.

Biker Chick dropped me off at MyMydin in Bukit Jelutong at 1am on New Year’s Day.  Lay, Liang, Chon and Mark were already there.  They would be my riding buddies for the next fifteen or so hours.

audax-brm300-start-1-marco-lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The MyMydin area was an excellent choice.  There is lots of parking, and options for food and drink.  A number of restaurants, a 7-Eleven,  and even a burger stall or two.

Audax BRM300 Ramly Burger Sam Tow.png

The Audax Randonneurs Malaysia team had been at the start since 11.00pm, ready to distribute brevet cards.  A brevet card and a cue sheet are the two essential documents for a randonneur.  The cue sheet indicates the route and the location of the checkpoints.  The brevet card is stamped at each checkpoint.  The stamps verify that the rider passed through those checkpoints between the opening and closing time for each checkpoint.

There was a bit of rain about forty five minutes before the start.  As it turned out, wet weather gear was not required because the shower was short and localised.  Although the ground was wet at MyMydin, the roads were dry by the time we got to Jalan Sungai Buloh.

Audax BRM300 Start Sam Tow.png

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

With our brevet cards and cue sheets in our pockets, we rolled out exactly at 2.00am, behind the Audax Randonneurs Malaysia liveried Land Rover.  With Sam Tow, the President of Audax Randonneurs Malaysia, at the wheel.

audax-brm300-land-rover-sonny-sk-chang

Photograph courtesy of Sonny SK Chang

We headed north out of Bukit Jelutong, through Rawang, toward Tanjong Malim and Checkpoint 1.

audax-brm300-route

We made our first stop in Rawang.  It was almost 4.00am, and some of the guys were hungry.  Restoran Al Basheer was one of the few eateries open at that hour.  In 30 minutes we had finished our roti canais and iced Milos, and were on our bikes again.

The moon was in a waxing crescent phase, with only 3% of it illuminated.  The sky was very dark.  Until we got to Rawang, the lack of moonlight wasn’t much of a problem.  There were street lights along most of our route to that point.  In some places the artificial lighting was so bright that we didn’t need our bike lights.

audax-brm300-sam-tow-lee-lee-k

Photograph courtesy of Lee Lee K

That changed after Rawang.  It was very dark between the towns of Serendah, Rasa, Kering and Tanjong Malim.  My riding buddies and I appreciated having 1,400 lumens from my Lezyne Deca Drive 1500XXL lighting up the road ahead when necessary.

It took us 4 hours and 20 minutes to get to Checkpoint 1 in Tanjong Malim.  By which time the sky was brightening, ahead of the sun rise.

audax-brm300-dawn-breaking-chris-soh

Photograph courtesy of Chris Soh

Lee Lee K, Stanley Low and Ong Hock Seong were the Audax Randonneurs Malaysia committee members and volunteers waiting outside the Restoran D Warna Warni to stamp our brevet cards.

Audax BRM300 Checkpoint 1 Volunteers Sam Tow.png

Riders spent time at Checkpoint 1 eating,

Audax BRM300 Checkpoint 1 Food Sam Tow.png

drinking, refilling bottles, and in some cases, napping.

Audax BRM300 Checkpoint 1 Sleep Sam Tow.png

And waiting in line for a bathroom!

It was light when we pushed off toward Checkpoint 2 in Sungai Besar.  There had been some rolling terrain between Rawang and Tanjong Malim.  After we made the left turn at Behrang we hit some steeper hills.  That was the last climbing of any consequence until we got to the Dragon’s Back climbs at the very end of the ride.

audax-brm300-through-the-estates-peter-lim-hang-weng

Photograph courtesy of Peter Lim Hang Weng

After those hills we were on Jalan Sungai Panjang.  A 45km / 28mi stretch through oil palm estates on one side, and secondary forest on the other.  With almost no sign of habitation for most of its length.  Certainly no roadside stalls or restaurants.

We had ridden Jalan Sungai Panjang in the opposite direction during the BRM200.  I had forgotten just how boring that had been.  Especially the sections where the road was straight and seemingly never-ending as it disappeared into the horizon.

We pulled over 40km / 25mi after leaving Tanjong Malim for a stretch and a rest.  We stopped again at the first sign of civilisation in 35km / 22mi.  There were some sundry shops at Merbau Bedarah, where we bought cold drinks and some cakes.

I had packed some peanut butter and some kaya toasties.  It was my first attempt at carrying food other than energy bars and gels.  I had given up gels some time ago.  I think I’ll give up energy bars in favour of toasted sandwiches from now on.

Apart from eating and drinking, it was also time to smear on some sun block.  The weather had been overcast and cool for longer than is usual in the morning, but the sun had broken through the cloud cover.  It was definitely time for some protection from sunburn.

4km / 2.5mi from Merbau Bedarah the oil palm and secondary forest was replaced by paddy fields.

audax-brm300-sekinchan-rice-fields-tourism-selangor-my

Photograph courtesy of http://www.tourismselangor.my

But only for 6km / 4mi before the oil palm estates taook over the landscape again.

We had 40km / 25mi to go to Checkpoint 2.  At 10.45am we got to Sabak Bernam.  We were still some way from Checkpoint 2, but we were hot, thirsty, and hungry.  We could not resist the attractions of KFC.

We spent 45 minutes ploughing through plates of fried chicken and chicken nuggets.  That perked us up enough to get us to Checkpoint 2, the McDonald’s in Sungai Besar.  We had our brevet cards stamped as soon as we got there.  Then we stood outside eating lime sundaes.  Which were just as good as they had been during our credit card tour to Teluk Intan.

mcdonalds-lime-sundaes-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

There was about 100km / 62mi to go.  We were on our way from Checkpoint 2 after a 30 minute stop.

As we drew close to Sekinchan we caught up to Danial and Farid.  Two guys who ride with another group of cyclists that Lay is also a part of.  The seven of us rode together the rest of the way.

Marco wasn’t able to ride the BRM300, but he met us south of Sungai Besar, and took on official photographer duties.

audax-brm300-toward-bestari-jaya-marco-lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The sun kept breaking through the clouds often enough for us to get hot and sweaty, so we needed to stop in Sekinchan to get some ice and refill bottles.  We hung out in the shade for 25 minutes before moving on.

audax-brm300-sekinchan-marco-lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

After Tanjung Karang we had some long arrow-straight roads to endure.  Jalan Raja Musa includes a 7km / 4mi stretch heading due east, then a ninety degree right turn and 2km / 1mi due south, followed by a ninety degree left turn  and a further dead straight 17km / 10.5 mi.

The sun was still out while we were on Jalan Raja Musa, but an hour later, ominous looking clouds were on the horizon.

audax-brm300-rain-coming-ray-lee

Photograph courtesy of Ray Lee

The route had been fairly easy to follow throughout the ride, although there were a few tricky sections.  I had learned my lessons from the BRM400.  Which were to study the cue sheet and a map of the route before starting the ride.  I also added the distances between turns to the cue sheet, so I wouldn’t have to rely on potentially faulty mental calculations mid-ride while trying to figure out how far it was to the next turn.

I’m happy to report that we didn’t get lost this time.

brm300-cue-sheet-revised

The others stopped at the Burger King in Bestari Jaya.  Hunger had struck again.  Lay and I didn’t need to eat, so we pressed on.

The slightly rolling roads after Bestari Jaya were the merest hint of what was the final act of the BRM300.  The 16.5km / 10mi and 360 meters / 1,180 feet of climbing that is Persiaran Mokhtar Dahari.  A real sting in the tail after more than 280km / 174mi.

Petrol stations are a regular stopping point on long rides.  Lay and I bought a final cold drink at the Caltex station at Bandar Seri Coalfields.  The last petrol station between us and the Dragon’s Back.

audax-brm300-caltex-happy-cycling-photos

Photograph courtesy of Happy Cycling Photos

There were quite a few other randonneurs there as well.  All psyching themselves up for the test ahead.

Lay and I made it over the seven humps of the Dragon’s Back and down the last kilometer of Jalan Sungai Buloh and Persiaran Gerbang Utama to the finish at Kafe An Nurs.  Which got us that last, all-important stamp on our brevet cards.

audax-brm300-brevet-card

Then it was time for finish line photographs.

audax-brm300-lay-finish

Photograph courtesy of HC Lay

audax-brm300-johan-finish-lay

Photograph courtesy of HC Lay

audax-brm300-finish-farid-and-danial-danial

Photograph courtesy of Danial

Liang, Mark and Chon arrived safely at Bukit Jelutong too.  Which was the result we had all hoped for when we left Bukit Jelutong fifteen and a half hours earlier.  No punctures, no crashes, and not getting lost were bonuses.

audax-brm300-finish-1-marco-lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Those rain clouds on the horizon?  By the early evening riders were getting doused.

audax-brm300-rain-mohd-radzi-jamaludin

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Radzi Jamaludin

By 7.30pm a storm hit the Shah Alam area, creating what one rider described as near typhoon conditions.  The combination of torrents of water, wind, and poor visibility forced some riders to walk up the climbs on Persiaran Mokhtar Dahari.  As far as I can tell, everyone who was out on the roads during that deluge made it to the finish without incident.

Congratulations to all finishers!

So despite the rain showers and storm, the BRM300 was a great success.  Due in no small part to the long hours and hard work put into organising this event by the committee members of Audax Randonneurs Malaysia.

Thank you very very much:

Sam Tow
Okay Jaykay
Chong Su
Ray Lee
Lee Lee K

audax-brm300-banner-lee-lee-k

Photograph courtesy of Lee Lee K

I hesitate to ask Biker Chick if she likes the colours of the 600km medal.

Udang Galah Tour – Petaling Jaya to Teluk Intan

teluk-intan-banner-itbm

Graphic courtesy of ITBM

Two days after completing the Cendol Tour to Melaka, four of us embarked on a credit card tour to Teluk Intan.  This time Mark and I had Marco and Lay for company.

Everyone was on road bikes this time, all sporting Apidura saddle bags.

ready-to-roll-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We started the ride under the sun, the moon, and clouds.  It looked like we would have nice weather for our ride.  Looks can be deceiving!

moon-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We rode from Ara Damansara to Denai Alam.  Once on the motorcycle lane alongside the Guthrie Corridor Expressway, we cycled past the Lagong toll plaza to Exit 3501.  There we joined the LATAR Expressway toward Ijok.

Our first stop was at Sin Loong Kee Noodles in Kampung Baru Kundang.  Steaming bowls of beehoon and mee, accompanied by strong coffee.

That breakfast set us up nicely for the ride along the rest of the LATAR Expressway toward Ijok.

latar-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

At this juncture it was still overcast and relatively cool.  It didn’t stay that way.  By the time we were riding through Bukit Rotan on our way to Kuala Selangor, the sun was out, and the heat was on.

getting-hot-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We stopped in Kuala Selangor for a photograph by the Selangor River.  And truth be told, a bit of a rest.

kuala-selangor-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Then we were on the hunt for something to drink.  Which we found at a roadside stall advertising ‘kelapa wangi’ (fragrant coconuts).  You pick the coconut that you want, or just let the vendor choose for you.  Four or five swings of his cleaver, and the top of the coconut is off.  Add ice and guzzle.

The sun was unrelenting.  By 1.00pm the “feels like” temperature was 40° C / 104° F.  We were in Sekinchan, and had covered 101 km / 63 mi.  It was time to stop for lunch.

We sat in the KFC in Sekinchan for seventy five minutes.  Half of that time was spent eating.  The rest was spent sipping drinks and summoning up the willpower to leave the air-conditioning and venture back out into the furnace.

We got as far as Sungai Besar before we needed another dose of air-conditioning.  This time in McDonald’s, where we chilled our insides with lime sundaes.  The green food colouring in the lime topping might have been flourescent, but there was nothing wrong with the taste.  Those sundaes hit the spot.

mcdonalds-lime-sundaes-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Back on our bikes again, we were starting to get worn down by the double whammy of the broiling heat, and the frequent stretches of rutted, poorly patched, and pot-holed roads. We were expending a lot of energy negotiating around and over the holes and bumps in the road.  A raised or depressed manhole cover is just an irritation to a driver, but it is a hazard to a cyclist.

After a particularly bad section of road north of Sabak Bernam, where even the patches over older patches had themselves been patched, we pulled over under some trees, beside a small Indian shrine, to rest our tired hands and forearms.

indian-temple

It was nine and a half hours since we left Ara Damansara.  That dead straight road ahead of us seemed endless, disappearing into the horizon.

We had roughly 25 km / 15.5 mi to go.  Not a lot.  But we were getting to the end of our reserves of energy.  We were at that point where every kilometer seems to take an age to cover. The distance markers at the roadside were becoming more of a hindrance than a help. Seemingly mocking our slow forward progress.

We covered just 15 km / 9 mi before we needed another stop.  The Shell petrol station at Taman Aman was a haven of air-conditioning and cold drinks.

As the distance between us and the Yew Boutique Hotel in Teluk Intan fell to single digits, the sun finally dropped low enough in the sky so as to make the heat less oppressive.  At this point the distance markers were in partial numbers.

Teluk Intan 3.5 km

Teluk Intan 2.5 km

At 6.00pm we made the left turn onto Jalan Mahkamah, and then left again onto Jalan Mahkota.  We had arrived at the the place that was the reason for making this trip to Teluk Intan.

The Restoran D’Tepian Sungai.

The udang galah (giant freshwater prawn) restaurant right on the bank of the Perak River, where the participants in the BCG Tour to Teluk Intan had feasted.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Udang Galah

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

We wanted to order our food ahead of time, so that we could come back at 8.00pm knowing that we had a table, and that our food would be ready.  Just as the proprietor was telling us that the largest of the udang galah, the Grade A ones, were finished – “Boo”, a supplier pulled up with a fresh delivery – “Yahoo!”

We made one last stop before the hotel.  The Menara Condong, or Leaning Tower, is the iconic structure of Teluk Intan.

we-made-it-2-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We were back at the Restoran D’Tepian Sungai at 8.00pm sharp.  Waiting for us were 2 kilos / 4.4 lbs of those Grade A udang galah, prepared three different ways.  500 grams / 1.1 lbs of batter fried squid.  And a couple of steamed crabs.

It sounds like a lot of food.  It was.  But we consumed all of it!

dinner-remains-3-mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

You would have thought that everyone was full after eating all that.  Think again.

Teluk Intan is noted for its chee cheong fun.  The best is reputedly made by Liew Kee (Ah Lek) Chee Cheong Fun.  Which is not far from the Yew Boutique Hotel.

We took a few night shots of the Menara Condong on the way to the chee cheong fun shop.

menara-condong-at-night-marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The chee cheong fun shop looks like a maximum security prison.  There are no tables and chairs.  Strictly takeaway only.  Nevertheless, the queue was long.  The place is famous far and wide.

There was talk of a few drinks before calling it a night.  That turned out to be talk only.  Once we got back to the hotel all thoughts turned to sleep.  And dreams of cooler weather for the ride back to Petaling Jaya.

Audax BRM200 Malaysia 2016

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Banner

When I first read the terms “Audax,””Brevet” and “Randonneurs,” I had to look up what they meant.

  • Audax:  A cycling sport in which participants attempt to cycle long distances within a pre-defined time limit. Audax is a non-competitive sport: success in an event is measured by its completion.  Also known as Randonneuring.
  • Brevet:  A long-distance bicycle ride with check-point controls.  Also known as a Randonnée.
  • Randonneur:  A rider who has completed a 200km event.

Apart from noting that audax is an excuse to market hi-viz jerseys for brevets (see the zipped chest pocket for carrying a brevet card), I thought little more about that variety of cycling.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Jersey

Image courtesy of Rapha

Some time later I read an online article in CyclingTips titled “Paris-Brest-Paris – Never Again.”  Written by James Fairbank, a finisher of the 2011 edition of the quadrennial 1,200km brevet from Paris, to Brest, and back again in a time limit of under 90 hours.

Then I read the accounts of four other riders who also completed the 2011 Paris-Brest-Paris in “PBP 2011: Four Journeys” on the Rapha website (the provider of the Brevet jersey above).

Utterly mad!

So when I was invited to participate in the first Official Audax Brevet in Malaysia (thanks Yue-Jin), I thought “No way!”  220km / 137mi was further than I had ever ridden in one sitting, so to speak.

But the more my cycling buddies and I talked about it, the more we thought “Why not?”

Which led to ten of my buddies and I being amongst the 480 or so mad folk who registered for this event.  Here we are in Kapar, ready for the 5am start.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Start Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We collected our brevet cards and then rode off into the darkness.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Brevet Card Collection Lawrence Loh

Photograph courtesy of Lawrence Loh

Fortunately we didn’t have to make any turns during the first two hours.  In the dark I couldn’t read the nifty cue card that Liang had made for us.  Brevet routes are not marked, so this cue card taped to my top tube was consulted often after we got past the first check-point.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Cue Card

By sunrise we had reached Sekinchan on our run northwest up the coast.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Route

Just before 8am we rolled into the first check-point at the McDonalds in Sungai Besar.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 1st Checkpoint Liew Jho

Photograph courtesy of Liew Jho

We needed breakfast, but an Egg McMuffin didn’t appeal.  So some of us went on a hunt for roti canai.  Which we found at what is apparently Sungai Besar’s oldest Malay restaurant.  I think the wait staff were a bit surprised to have a dozen lycra-clad guys turn up together.  All demanding food.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Breakfast Shop Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Six more of these please!

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Roti Canai Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

By the time we got going again the sun was breaking through the clouds.  The weather forecast had called for continuous rain, and I had come prepared with a rain jacket and shoe covers.  We were all looking forward to the cooler temperatures that rain brings.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Weather

However the only water we saw all day was in this canal.  No need for that rain gear.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Canal Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The sun got brighter and brighter as the day progressed.  There was some cloud cover, so we had occasional respite from direct sunshine, but we felt the heat anyway.

Photograph courtesy of Eric Chen

Photograph courtesy of Eric Chen

At about 9.30am we turned onto Jalan Sungai Panjang.  Why did the squirrel cross the road?

Photograph courtesy of Ahmad Nasir

Photograph courtesy of Ahmad Nasir

Jalan Sungai Panjang, or Long River road, is appropriately named.  We were on it for 40km / 25mi.

That is not the river on the left by the way.  Sungai Bernam is a couple of kilometers to the left of this road.  That river demarcates the border between the states of Selangor and Perak, starting from the river mouth on the west coast and meandering 90km / 56mi or so eastward to Tanjung Malim.

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Radzi Jamaludin

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Radzi Jamaludin

Before long some of the group got bored and upped the pace.  The rest of us followed for about 10km / 6mi before letting the faster riders go.  We needed a break.  Mark spotted a stall in the midst of the oil palm trees.  Literally in the middle of nowhere.  Just what the doctor ordered.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Coke Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We cruised the remaining 17km / 10.5mi to the second check-point at Kampung Soeharto, posing for some GoPro shots along the way.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Liang and Mark Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 JM Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Leslie Liang

Photograph courtesy of Liang

And enjoyed the shade beneath the clouds where we could.

Photograph courtesy of Denny Zulkasi

Photograph courtesy of Denny Zulkasi

The first order of business upon arriving in Kampung Soeharto at 11.30am was to get our brevet cards stamped by a group of cheerful volunteers.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Check-Point 2 Lawrence Loh

Photograph courtesy of Lawrence Loh

Then it was time for lunch.  The brevet organisers had warned us that there was no food or drink to be had for 40km / 25mi beyond Kampung Soeharto.  We crowded into Laila Restaurant for chicken rice and lime juice.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Lunch Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Shade was in demand!

BRM 200 2016 Looking for Shade Joel Tanmenghan

Photograph courtesy of Joel Tanmenghan

We spent about an hour in Kampung Soeharto.  It was almost 2pm by the time we got to the outskirts of Batang Berjuntai.  The first sign of refreshment after the previous bone dry 40km / 25mi was a roadside stall selling coconut water.

Take one freshly-opened young coconut, add ice and a straw, and say “aaaaaah!”

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 JM Air Kelapa Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

We made one more stop at the PETRONAS station at Simpang Tiga Ijok.  That was only 10km / 6mi from the coconut water stall, but it didn’t take long in the 35° C / 95° F heat for us to want more cold drinks and some time in air-conditioning.

At that point most, if not all, of my buddies had ridden further than they had on their previous longest rides.  I was in new territory also.  Despite having ridden 190km / 118mi we were all still in good shape.  Tired and a bit sore perhaps, but no one was cramping.

Our decision to ride conservatively (there was one collective rush of blood to the head before our Coca Cola stop, but that turn of speed didn’t last very long) had paid off.  I was certainly feeling better at 190km on this day than I remember feeling at 100km / 62mi on a number of previous rides.

We also had the good fortune of not suffering any mechanical problems.  Not a puncture amongst us.  Respect to this gentleman, who finished the ride solo on a tandem that had suffered a broken rear wheel spoke.  Thereby embodying the self-reliance that the Audax culture prizes.  External support is expressly prohibited in the Audax rules, and if you go off course or experience a mechanical, you are expected to take responsibility for finding your own way home and making your own repairs on the road.

Photograph courtesy of Liew Jho

Photograph courtesy of Liew Jho

With ‘just’ 30km / 18.5mi to go, we lost our conservativeness.  Our average speed went up by at least 4kph / 2.5mph as we pushed for the finish.  This despite riding over the poorest road surface of the entire route between the 200km / 124mi and 215km / 133mi points.

The organisers had been forced to make a last-minute change to the end of the route, to avoid presumably worse conditions.  The roads on the rest of the route were by and large in good to very good condition.

Audax Randonneurs Malaysia did a terrific job putting this event together.  Kudos to the committee members.  And a heartfelt shout-out to the volunteers who distributed and stamped the brevet cards.

All the information that went out ahead of the event was very helpful. In particular the cue sheet and photographs of the turns along the route, like this one.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Directions Sam Tow

Photograph courtesy of Sam Tow

All my buddies and I finished the ride in about 10 hours 45 minutes.  Well within the time limit of 13 hours 30 minutes.

As did this group, which rolled into the final check-point at the Kapar KFC about 8 hours after they started.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 1.04 Finishers Lawrence Loh

Photograph courtesy of Lawrence Loh

In the spirit of Audax, all 389 of us who finished the event before 6.30pm, including getting to the check-points on time, were successful.  One last stamp on the brevet card.

BRM 200 2016 JM Finish Joel Tanmenghan

Photograph courtesy of Joel Tanmenghan

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Brevet Card

We are all very pleased with our achievement.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Finish Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

I think all my riding buddies joined me in stumping up the cash to get a 200km medal from the Audax Club Parisien, the body that administers randonneuring around the world.  This will be quite a memento.

Audax BRM 200 Malaysia 2016 Medals Johan Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The teaser video for the 400km / 248mi brevet in September is already out!  The time limit is 27 hours.

Video courtesy of Sam Tow.

The question now is, will my buddies and I ride it?

“No way!”

For now.