Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tanjung Karang - Sungai Besar Endurance ride

At stage one of the ride in Tanjung Karang

Siang riding on the dirt road in Sekinchan

Our Speed P8 and TR - some eight kilometres away from Sungai Besar
I floated the idea of engaging in a 108-km endurance ride from Tanjung Karang to Sungai Besar in Selangor.
This is moderate ride in the state's rice growing hub and since the terrain is mostly flat, I managed to get at least half-a dozen people to participate.
During the ride, I was fortunate enough to have the company of veteran rider TT Siang whose knowledge of Sekinchan and Tanjung Karang was indispensable.
Earlier, I planned to begin the riding route from Jalan Kilang Padi to Sg Besar. That'll yield 54.2km in a single journey. 
Roughly, the journey would take about two hours or slightly longer.
Since Siang and Catherine, his friend was rather late, we adjusted the route a bit and staged our ride to Sekinchan A village. 
The real ride began at Parit 2 in Sekinchan when we joined the Sungai Tengi road. 
This is roughly about 18km towards Sungai Besar. 
By the time we hit the road, the sun was already out. We had an overcast earlier which made riding a breeze earlier.
I guess that most of the less-experienced riders were worn out when they cycled on the gravel road in Sekinchan.
Lucky for us, our Dahon Speed P8 and TR were equipped with Schwalbe's Big Apple tires. These proved to be useful on uneven terrain although they were much slower on the road.
Michelle was getting used to her new Dahon Speed TR which is equipped with a SRAM dual-drive system that gave a wide range of gear.
My Dahon Speed P8 held up pretty well on the road. Its now rigged for some light touring and our pannier systems are also ready for a trip to Southern Thailand next week.
Back on the endurance ride, one of the cyclists had to drop out as he suffered cramps on his leg. He had a support vehicle and this proved to be a blessing in disguise.
We made it from Tanjung Karang to Sungai Besar by 12:45 in the afternoon.
Lunch was at a restaurant in the town centre and as soon as we were done, we took a quick ride  to a fishing village and started to head back to Tanjung Karang.
By 2:30pm, the weather was starting to turn on us. 
Heavy rain forced two more riders to drop out. 
The remaining riders: Siang, Catherine, Michelle and me remained committed to our objective - complete the ride. 
When it rained too heavily, we took shelter at a farmer's house who gladly offered us his vehicle shed.
About half an hour later, we rode in the rain towards Sekinchan.
The rain, wet road conditions and a section of off-road area in the paddy fields had slowed us down. 
At this stage, the true test of mental and physical endurance was in full swing.
We managed to ride to Sekinchan by 5pm and reached Tanjung Karang at 5:45pm.
On the cyclometer, we did 86.5km - about 13.5km short of 100km. 
Total time spent cycling was 5hours 35minutes.
We have pushed our Dahons as far as we could and 86km is a decent mark.
I have TT Siang to thank for his knowledge of the area and some useful advice about long haul trips. 
Soon, we'll be planning some extended rides to parts of the country and at the mean time, its back to more training rides for strength and stamina.

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