Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bikepacking, Rawang - Sekinchan Expedition, Part 5

Man of the hour
Chris Wong had earned a chilled glass of beer.
Why? He towed Mr Tan on his little bike for more than 20km.
Rather than being told what to do, the man did this without question. 
Throughout the ride, he was the team's live-wire.

Dinner and a little side story
We made arrangements to have dinner near the paddy fields. There is a well-known seafood restaurant there.
By 7:45pm, the entire team were waiting at the entrance of our hotel. 
We stayed at a decent place and for RM68 a night, one cannot complain. It has a cold and hot shower and ample space for us to keep our bikes.
Later, we walked to the restaurant and the air-conditioned dining hall was a relief from the hot and humid weather.
The beers came non-stop as Chris had helped himself to a cool brew.
We exchanged stories and was told that the trip to Northern Thailand earlier this year was really awesome.
Siang also told me his differences with another folding bike master-guru and how they didn't get along.
I wasn't surprised at all when all the other guy did was talk, talk and talk.
The night went down really smooth as we continued to drink and indulge in a conversation...

Chris helping himself to a chilled glass of brewski

Good dinner, great company...
  Rice and shine!
All we needed, was six hours of sleep.
My back was aching and my butt hurts, with ample sleep, it had lessened the fatigue.
Michelle and I got up and started packing as early as 6:00am in the morning.
Then, we took a walk to the paddy fields to snap some photos for our record.
As the hype of activity in Sekinchan began to bloom, we assembled and checked out from our rooms.
One of the cyclists, Uncle Yeoh, was complaining about his bicycle that was kept on a dormant staircase.
He had a bad back and said he couldn't get to the bike.
I made my way down the staircase and got Mr Tan to help move the bike out.
Since his injuries were rather serious, Tan had decided to take a cab back to Kuala Lumpur, rather than completing the ride.

Sekinchan, one of the best rice producing districts in Selangor
 Saddle-up! Lock 'n load...
 From eight cyclists, only six are left to complete the 75km ride back to Bandar Country Homes.
We had breakfast at a coffeeshop across the hotel.
The fare was very decent and also cheap.
After the meal, we took a group photo in front of our accommodation place and slowly, one-by-one, we rode off to Sekinchan A.
To get to Bandar Country Homes, we have to back-track towards Sungai Tengi, Kg Raja Musa, Batang Berjuntai and the Batu Arang Road.
A series of hills awaits us at the Selangor Fruit Valley...


Checking out
A group photo in Sekinchan town

Riding towards Batang Berjuntai
Doing good time...
With the weakest-links removed, we've had six cyclists who are equally strong and capable of completing the ride.
We rode towards Sungai Burung and Sungai Tengi, covering nearly 20km in a decent timing.
From Sungai Tengi, the plan was to make a lunch stop at Kg Raja Musa, where we had a refreshment break the day earlier.
Siang was also worried about the security risk at an oil palm estate where a couple of Indian guys had harassed Angela.
We rode in a tight formation through this village and reached the Batang Berjuntai junction safely.
Instead of going into the peat swamp, Siang decided to navigate straight towards an agricultural station at the entrance of the Batang Berjuntai sand mines.
From this point, we rode about 8.5km towards the UniSel junction and then, to the Selangor Fruit Valley..


Michelle, charging through the sand on her trusty Jetstream P8
Sleep deprivation and fatigue did not deter Angela from the rigors of offroad riding with her Dahon Curve SL. By completing the ride, she put a lot of foldies to shame...
The fun is about to begin...
The sand mine and oil palm estate was moderate.
We started our journey back to Bandar Country Homes on the Batu Arang - Batang Berjuntai road.
This is a series of long and short climbs and I must say that with a broken butt and the 75km ride to Sekinchan from the other way round a day earlier, I gave this hill everything I got.
Every strand of muscle on my legs were pushed to its limit.
Even with a wide range of gear on the Jetstream EX's SRAM Dual Drive II's drivetrain, I felt the strain - especially when was hauling more than 20kgs of gear on my backpack.
This was a test of mental integrity and as we started crunching gears hill after hill, a sigh of relief was felt when we rolled down towards a junction leading to a kampung - our ticket to Bandar Country Homes.
It took us about six and a-half hours to get to the junction of Bandar Country Homes and we have completed more than 75km on our little bikes.
The last push was a slope towards the housing estate where we parked our vehicles.
At this point, I was really exhausted.
So, we got down from our bikes and started pushing it up the slope. Then, it was a smooth downhill roll towards the finish line.
Michelle and I had felt a sense of accomplishment by completing 150km of the journey on our Dahon Jetstreams.
In short, it was the perfect bike for the chore.
We thanked Siang and Angela later for organizing the ride and told them that we are looking forward to future bikepacking rides.

Packing up: Michelle giving her Jetstream a wipe-down
 Summary and statistics
I wouldn't recommend bikepacking for beginners.
Nor I would invite cycling fashionistas and pretty-boys for such a ride. Such losers should stay at home.
Doing long-distance on a folding bike and riding on mostly offroad courses demands mental strength and physical preparedness.
If you love your bike and you're obsessed about cleaning up your ride, better skip this one.
It takes a certain willingness to ride in a pack through the backroads and bumpy terrain. 
If you have what it takes, you might end up asking for more!


Stats
Total distance covered: 151.4km
Time on the road: 10:31:00
Time overall: 17:00:00 
Number of punctures: 1
Number of mechanical breakdown: 0
Dropouts: 2
Average speed: 8.6km/h
Average moving speed: 14.0km/h
Maximum speed: 46km/h
Elevation gain: 318metres
Average temperature: 31C
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