Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kayuhan Raub 2012 - Part 3

An earl day...
The night before, I told the guys to assemble at the hotel lobby.
Our plan was to head to town to have breakfast at the pasar minggu.
There is a corner shop that sells nasi lemak.
We set out at about 06:15 in the morning and rode towards town. 
This is a clean 2km ride towards Raub's open market area.
When we got there, the shop was already open and most of us had our breakfast before moving on to the starting area in the Lake Gardens.

Early birds: Michelle and Kevin

Riding out to town..
The Jetstreamers
 After a good fill, we set to the assembly area.
There, we waited while the crowd had slowly swelled.
At a glance, there weren't many riders. Kayuhan Raub 2012 attracted some 200-odd cyclists from all the the country.
What got us back for our second ride was the great hospitality shown by the good people of Raub.

The Usual Suspects
I met Pak Din Misai last year.
He was so accommodating, he actually accompanied me to the finish line.
At the stage area, one of the foldies encountered some issues with his front tire.
It was flat.
The guys tried to help, but my friend's problem is much worse that perceived.
Kevin, our Starmetro cycling team captain had lend a hand. The rest of the guys too had done their bid.
I knew this problem too well and observed from a distance.
It was a busted valve on a Schwalbe 20 x 1.65 inner tube. The bike owner brought the wrong stuff to replace the busted tube.
I had mine stashed in my Camelbak Octane 21 pack. 
And I did the rightful thing by offering the poor guy my spare tube.
Once the change was made, he was back in action..

Kevin lending a helping hand..
An old friend: with Din Misai
Saved by the bell
With the bike fixed, we were just minutes away from flag-off.
While riding to the back of the pack, I heard my name being called.
It was my friend Ah Hoe from Bentong.
Then Michelle shouted out: "Hey! Your friend is calling you la!"
I turned around and saw Pak Din Misai.
"Apa khabar Sam! Lama tak nampak, kita sampai numbor satu dengan dua dari belakang la..," he joked.
I was very happy to meet this man.
Pak Din spotted a beard and as usual, he's jolly and cheerful.
The organizer gave his speech and briefed the cyclists before blowing off his airhorn to mark the beginning of the ride.
We rode off towards the Lurah Bilut junction in Bentong and proceeded towards Sungai Ruan..

Riding the rear of the Peloton with Pak Din

The long road ahead..
 Same-same, different..
This year's Kayuhan Raub is much longer than the previous one.
Its 96km through the district's rugged countryside.
And as usual, Michelle and I had planned to complete the ride.
We don't have the speed, but we had the endurance.
The first 60km was okay.
But beyond that, my legs had started to rebel against my body.
Upon reaching Sungai Ruan, my thighs started to suffer cramps.
Instead of giving up, I pushed on. 

Not even a busted thigh would hinder me from reaching the finish line.
Pak Din was very kind to accompany us all the way.
Michelle and I made a pact. Never give up, never surrender.
As we crossed the 75km mark, all the cyclists on the tail end were picked up by a truck which accompanied us.

The valley of pain..
We hit the 80km mark in a village called Dong.
It was the last water and feeding station before the finish line in Raub.
At this point, only three of us were left cycling.
My Garmin EDGE800 showed a timing of 6hours 15minutes.
Pak Din suggested that we take a bypass route towards the Lake Gardens.
We managed to reach the stage area where our friends were already waiting.
All the foldies in my group had completed the ride.
One of them, Mohd Radzi did very well..

Sungai Koyan's finest: Pak Din Misai
 During the ride, I also got to know my friend Pak Din better.
He told me that he runs a small plantation in Sungai Koyan to make his end's meet.
Din has three children with the eldest in secondary school.
He is 53-years-old this year and a retiree from the Armed Forces.
I thanked him at the finish line and told him that I hope to meet him again next year at the 2013 Kayuhan Raub.

We did it again!
 Michelle was the happiest person of the lot.
She managed to complete the ride. 
I was just too happy to make it all the way despite the thighs giving way.
We didn't train for this and are grateful that we did not suffer any serious injuries.
As for Michelle, she said it was her taxpayer's money back because of the police escort that we had enjoyed for 45km from the starting line.
The Kayuhan Raub experience is something that we would cherish for our entire cycling forays.. We hope to be back next year!
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