Sunday, January 23, 2011

Breaking the 10k uphill barrier

At the state boundary marker this morning

Jubilant: Michelle is one of the very few 16" folding bike rider on a 3-speed bike to reach the 10k uphill mark
Veteran rider Bil Choy remarked: "Ah, you guys ah! If you keep this up, the folding bikes are going to be respected in the Hulu Langat circuit.."
Choy was making reference to this morning's training ride where a small group of folding bike riders including Uncle Meng on a recumbent and Choy who rode his hybrid bike who made it all the way from Pekan Bt 18 to the Selangor - Negeri Sembilan's boundary marker.

I couldn't believe it myself as I pedalled my Dahon Speed P8 and made it to a slope area where the rest of the riders were cheering.
Earlier, an elderly rider who rode past me said: "Dah dekat geng!" (you are very near!).
I knew that the next 200metres meant everything I had and one of the riders Wey shouted: "Hey Sam! You must hit the signboard and turn back.."
The rest was history.
Make or break, today was the 'decision day' after we rode to the Kuala Kelawang - Semenyih junction.
Michelle had some reservations as we had a late night on Saturday.
She had drinks with her cousins while I lay sulking away because no beers were served at her cousin's wedding dinner.
I also had little sleep because we had to push off from our home at 06:00am to reach the starting point at pekan Bt 18.
We were the first to arrive, followed by our friend Wei Ling, Wey and Ming.
Uncle Meng, a regular feature now at the training ride. He's a recumbent bike rider and an experienced tourer who inspired many of us.
As usual, I shot off early and after riding continuosly at an average speed of 24.2km/h, I started to wear down.
This was apparent at the km-7 of the route where I was struggling.
At km-10, our usual pit-stop, I arrived with Wey and Wei Ling already waiting.
We weren't sure as to how far we would push and well, as usual, the last 800 metres to the Kuala Kelawang - Semenyih junction was a test of skill and endurance.
I rode behind Michelle who was struggling with her 3-speed bike.
Finally, after reaching the junction, the gang was resting on the left hand-side of the junction.
At this point, the word was cast in stone. "Make or break".
Uncle Meng gave a few words of encouragement and led the way.
The next 10km was an uphill ride that took nearly an hour.
I struggled all the way, making a few stops to regain my composure. If I push myself too hard, I end up suffering from cramps.
At one stage, I was very comfortable with the low gearing, but with a bike that could only yield 8-speed, the challenge was to stay focused and on course.
Some roadies overtook me including a dude who looked like a Polar Bear in a pink riding jersey.
He was escorted by a pick-up truck.
After riding the last 100metres, the Selangor - Negeri Sembilan boundary maker came in sight.
To me, it was all over. My wife and friends were waiting on the other side of the road and this called for a photo session to capture the sweet moment.
It took another 45-minutes to reach pekan Bt18 and to my surprise, another group of folding bike riders were already having their breakfast there.
These are high-end people with their fancy British-made Bromptons.
One of them was a familiar face. A lady who rides in the middle of the road.
We laughed it off and exhanged notes on the ride.
Since I had to work today, I excused myself from the crowd and headed home for a shower.
For the rest of the day, I am really spent. But the feeling of making the 10K uphill challenge would be an inspiration to take on more training rides in Hulu Langat.
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