Sunday, August 11, 2013

Return to Hulu Langat

A session long overdue..

I've made an arrangement with Kevin Tan, the Star Cycling Team captain to meet up at Pekan Bt 18, Hulu Langat for a training ride.
Our plan was to head out to Genting Peras (420metres) and conduct a simple training ride.
Its been nearly a year since I last set foot in this area.
The last time I rode was back in Aug 26, 2012 where I took about 3hours: 13minutes: 26seconds to cover a distance of 56km.
This was my last push before the CFAL 4 ride in Penang.
It was a feel good thing because I did the ride non-stop from Pekan Bt 18 - Genting Peras - Hulu Langat Dam - Pekan Bt 18.

With team captain Kevin Tan at the Kuala Kelawang junction
Road closure on Jalan Sg Lalang

There was a bad landslide at km 17 near Bt 19 and part of the road had collapsed.
So, no ride to the Hulu Langat Dam.
This had shortened the ride to 40km from Pekan Bt 18 - Genting Peras - Pekan Bt 18.
I met Kevin, who rode his Tern Verge X20 at a Chinese school near the Pekan Bt 18 town.
We were supposed to meet his friend Vincent, who was very keen in getting a Tern bike for himself.
While waiting, I saw a couple of familiar faces who rode out to Genting Peras.
We waited a bit and when Kevin's buddy had finally arrived, we rode out to the Kuala Kelawang junction.
Since it was a public holiday, the road conditions were absolutely perfect!

Ten kilometres of pain...

Capt'n leading the way
As usual, I was cranking up my bike rather slow.
On a fast bike like the Eclipse X20, I am technically a "Ninja Tortoise" (slow guy with a fast bike).
And on a 24" bike, the settings are totally different compared to a 20" ride.
There's plenty of power on the top end on a straight and when it comes to climbing, you'll need some effort.
While I was on the second chainring and the lowest gear, there as a grinding sound.
The bike's was experiencing a "chain-rub".
So, this left me with not much but the second largest cogwheel. 
We've passed "Dead Man's Climb" (some dude actually died on this stretch while climbing the infamous road to the junction from Bt 18 - Kuala Kelawang).

The dreaded "Dead Man's Climb"
Beyond the "Point of no return"...

I don't have much issues working my way up "Dead Man's Climb" and while I was at it, Kevin and Vincent were already waiting.
They signaled for a short break, but while I am still on my own momentum, I told them that I would like to carry on.
From "Dead Man's Climb" it was a sharp left-turn to climb "The Point of no return".
This is a straight-forward 10km climb to reach Genting Peras..

The Point of no return..
For any beginners, overcoming the stress of climbing the Point of no return to Genting Peras is something they must endure.
A word of advise: "Breathe properly, crank slowly and don't overexert yourself.."
The mid-point mark is an orang asli village and the toughest section was the last slope near the border of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

The final push to Genting Peras
There weren't many cyclists on that Saturday, so, we took our own sweet time climbing the slopes.
It was long, but not that steep.
Along the way, I realized that my level of fitness was not as good as before. 
Especially on the climb, my heart was beating faster than it should.
So, I took it rather easy and slowly made my way to the Genting Peras signboard.
Along with us was a lone roadie.
We chat with him a bit and carried on with taking snapshots of our bikes.
On the ride, we were the only guys cycling Tern folding bikes.

Made it! 
The Pirate-Ninja brotherhood
Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...

It took us nearly an hour to climb Genting Peras.
Going back was an easy thing.
But Vincent had warned us about potholes along the stretch.
A cycling buddy of mine was hurt last year when he crashed. The poor dude had fractured his ribs.
We rolled down quickly and made our way back to Pekan Bt 18.

A small reward: Nasi Lemak Bungkus...
Not bad, after all...

My personal record set for Pekan Bt 18 - Genting Peras - Pekan Bt 18 was 2hours: 52minutes: 30 seconds on July 22, 2012.
Last Saturday,  I did it at 2hours: 46minutes: 39 seconds. A slight improvement despite the poor level of fitness that I am in.
To make it on the 84km round-island ride, I have to maintain my timing below 2hours and 46minutes.
So, that said, I do have two more weekends to train before hitting Penang to do the CFAL5.
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