Friday, July 5, 2013

Sabak Bernam - Part 2

Sun, flu and muscle pull...

We did pretty well on the first 10km.
Our team covered quite a distance in the oil palm estate.
From my view, it was miles and miles of barren soil, loose gravel and oil palm trees.
There were no shade from the blazing heat and we had to move as fast as we could to get out of the estate.
What made things even worse was the fact that there were no coffee shops and stalls along the way.
So, to sum it up, we were in the middle of nowhere and the nearest civilization is 22km away.
I was nursing a cold from the days before and the bad air quality that hit the Klang Valley didn't actually help.
While cycling on the loose gravel and sandy soil, I felt the great strain on my body.
It was really difficult to breath with a congested nasal passage and phelgm building up on my chest.
I watched as my Garmin Fenix and EDGE800 GPS began to flash: "heart rate too high!".
We pushed on as far as we could and reached a shaded area where Chris had gestured for a quick lunch.
It was 11:30am in the morning and the Sun was at its full glory.
We had clear blue skies over our heads and the air quality was also good.
The only thing that really bothered me was the blazing heat.

Wey and Ming on their 16" bikes 
Down time!

After lunch, we decided to push on.
It felt as if we were in an abyss.
There were no end to the length of the gravel path and loose sand made it really hard to pedal our bikes.
On the average, we were doing about 10km/h on the bikes.
About three hours into the ride, the group decided to pull over at a shaded area.
I got off my bike and my left thigh began to experience spasms.
Earlier in the day, I downed two time-release electrolyte capsules.
It didn't help as I struggled to stand up.
Michelle saw the colour on my face and told me to take off my backpack.
I removed my helmet and sat on the ground.
My immediate reaction was to pull out my muscle relaxant spray.
Raman, who saw me seated on the ground had helped by showing me on how to recover from a muscle pull.
I rested a bit, regained my composure, got onto my bike and pushed on. 

Riding on the rough

Raman, showing me how its done on recovering from a hamstring pull

Push! Push! Push!

We were still far away from our objective.
While we were blazing a path through the estate, it dawned on me that our team were tight in every aspect.
After about four hours on the trail, we reached the border demarkation of Selangor and Perak.
It was two long ditch linked by a wooden plank.

Going strong: Michelle and her Jetstream P8

The long stretch

Riding past the oil palm estate's locomotive
Siang had earlier instructed us to carry at least 3-litres of water.
We packed plenty and with the intense heat, most of us were feeling the severe effects of dehydration.
Almost every few kilometres were a brief halt for drinking water.
At about 01:45pm, we reached the wooden plank and crossed over to Teluk Intan.

Making our own road: Chris pushing his bike across a fern patch

Log bridge crossing
All of us made it through the obstacles and proceeded to the oil palm estate's administrative centre.
There was a site office and the people there were observing our movement.
We linked up again with Raman who rode ahead because he wanted to escape the heat.
At this point, we were about 5km away from Kampung Banja, a village on the outskirts of Teluk Intan town.
While we were riding, a middle aged man, whom we believed was a supervisor at the estate rode past us on his motorcycle.
"Who is the leader?," he asked.
I responded my acknowledging his question.
"Do you have permission to enter?," he continued.
I told him that we didn't and apologized to him.
The man then turned away.
Later, he came back and asked where we were from and how we found the estate.
Rather than being aggressive, I took the soft approach by being polite.
After all, we were on a private property and he had every right to question our presence.
The man was kind enough to allow us a passage through his oil palm estate.
We continued our journey to Kg Banja and it was a huge relief to see some paved road.
By the time we made our way to Teluk Intan, most of us were really tired.

Roger, cleaning his bike after running over some cow dung..
 The correct estimation..

From Kg Banja, we rode through a series of housing estates on the outskirts of Teluk Intan.
Just barely a kilometre away, Siang suffered cramps on his legs.
I passed on my muscle spray to him to remedy the aches and as soon as he was up and going, we began the final push to TnT guest house.
"Ah, your ETA is correct, we arrive here at 3pm..," said Siang.
Seems that on the weekend we were there, a cub prix race was taking place.
TnT guest house was Angela's choice after Hoover hotel.
This is a cosy place with clean rooms priced at RM50 a night.
There were some hoo-haas with the lady owner of this place, but we got the issues resolved and checked-into the rooms. A cold shower was in order.
The plan later in the day was a ride into town..
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