Sunday, October 16, 2011

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2011 Part 2

Cyclists doing their lap at Dataran Merdeka
Friends and some kiasu buggers
I made plenty of friends and most of them are foldies. There were some whom I had shunned due to conflict of interest.
I met some at Dataran. Seems that they were in the Kiasu Racing Team who took part in the 21km Polygon Foldie Challenge. 
These guys paid top-dollar to enter the challenge and their ring leader, to my surprise, was still riding his old bike. 
By now, I guess he might have gotten a new and better performing bike. But seeing as it is, they guy was cycling his bike that was plastered with some crappy stickers..  I wasn't wrong when I said he is a stingy bugger... Hhahaha!
While making a trip to the mobile toilet, I bumped into CH Lee, a bicycle dealer in Kota Kemuning. He was with his family.
We exchanged some information and snapped photos.
At the big flagpole, I met two of the Stormriders - Rita Wong and her friend who were both taking part in the foldie challenge..

Michelle, at the starting line
The long wait...
Like cattle, we were herded onto the pen. 
There, I waited and struck a conversation with a fellow foldie. I couldn't recognise him because the last time I met this guy, he was riding a red Dahon Speed P8. This time, he was on a blue coloured MuP8.
While waiting, the crowd started to swell in the pen.
My colleague Low Boon Tat, who dropped out of the 52km challenge had joined me.
"Eh Sam ah! That Kenny Hills stretch was bad la, a lot of people crashed there!," he warned.
I wasn't worried at all. We had our Jetstreams. The tires had good road-holding qualities and my Ashima disk brakes would take on any terrain.
Our 'secret' weapon, were the front and rear suspension.
While most foldies were riding light, we packed some equipment.
The Jets were like a Boeing FA-18F Superhornet - multi-role and multi tasking.. It will get us in and out alive. 
Word of the day: Survivability!

Cyclists eager to go.. (pix by Cycling Asia)
Blast-off! And Fat man's climb..
After all the speeches and bla-bla-bla, the airhorn blared. 
It was time to leave the pen.
The first section of the ride was towards Bank Negara. This is a long stretch of hills and I can see that the strong cyclists were pulling away, leaving the unfit lot struggling to pedal uphill.
I kept my cadence at 60rpm and a steady speed of 8-9km/h. The strategy was to conserve energy for the second lap.
As the road slowly winds towards a drop near the remote-sensing centre, I saw for myself how easily one could get hurt.
Its an 'S'-shaped curve and the thin road tires wouldn't give enough traction.
My Jetstream's Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires worked its wonder. The Ashima disk brakes gave the stopping power needed to avert potholes.
What made the descent so smooth, were the German-A fork, Kilo front shocks and the Suntour epicon rear shock absorbers.
The road-handling was superb and the Jetstreams had proven its versatility in the 82km Penang Round Island ride in September.

Madness at Jalan TAR
A brief part of my life was spent on the road cycling to work.
Like it or not, I had to ride along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. This is the worst stretch in the city centre.
The ride organizers had cordoned off a section of the road to allow cyclists to pass through. Great job on their part.
The traffic cops were keeping things in tow and line.
This wasn't bad as I kept my speed at 25km/h.
Unlike the lighter Dahon Vector X10 and its high-performance cousin: the X20, the Jetstream wasn't meant for speed.
Its ability to sprint was sacrificed for comfort...
After a left-turn towards Jalan Sultan Ismail, many cyclists were already struggling with the undulating terrain.
This course led us towards KLCC and down Jalan Sultan Ismail again.
There was a water station in front of Life Centre.
Like Penang, the ugly Malaysian scene rears it face, cyclists were dumping water bottles on the street.
I felt no need to hydrate as I packed my Camelbak Octane 24 hydration pack.
The road in Jalan Sultan Ismail is a gradual climb and as the course banked towards Jalan Raja Chulan, its a downhill roll.
On my high-gear, I picked up speed and headed towards Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.
Again, this is the busiest section in the city with plenty of hidden hazards like potholes and motorcycles....

Lap one.. 
As the group were cycling near the Samad building, I noticed that they were cranking for their lives. 
Its no wonder as the crowd cheered on.
"Come on! You can make it! Pick up speed!"
But wait a minute, I am not racing.. hahahah!!!! 
I pedaled my bike towards the RFID gantry as my buddy Billy yelled across the field! 
He was waiting for us to finish our ride. I raised my left hand and gave a thumbs-up sign, indicating that everything was okay.
Then, I pressed towards Fat man's climb near Bank Negara.

As I was cranking up, I noticed a foldie overtaking the group.
It was Mr Kiasu!
The red bike and all those cheap stickers were unmistakable. This guy did five laps earlier and was pulling away. 
Behind him, a couple in a Giant Halfway made their appearance. They weren't friendly at all and later, Michelle told me that one of them had nearly caused a crash.
At this point, I knew that my fitness level had gone to the dogs. Nearing the half-way mark, I was  crunching gears rather slowly.
I am the tortoise on two wheels.
Barely minutes before the infamous 'S'-curve, another foldie, Will, was catching up on his white Dahon ECO-7.
He was rolling downhill fast! I set up my high-gear and rode past my friend.
Riding downhill is favourable to the Jetstream..
And after clearing the danger zone, it was a final push towards the finish line.

The young dude and his Vector X10
Its over in a flash!
Getting people cheering for you on the sidewalk is certainly a rush.
As I made my way towards the Samad building, the crowd was boisterous. They were yelling out their buddy's name.
I managed to ride under one hour and safely make my way to the recovery area where medals were handed over.
Michelle radioed me and cruised towards the pen area.
I saw Mr Kiasu and some of his friends taking a break. 
And meters away from the scene, there was this young Malay dude with his Dahon Vector X10. What a magnificent bike! 
Michelle and I were glad to have completed our ride. She wanted to check her timing on the 21km Foldie Challenge, but details were unavailable...

With the Metro cycling team guys after the ride.. 

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