Friday, September 13, 2013

CFAL 05 - Part 3

Everything we've prepared comes down on this one day..

We've had enough sleep and a good rest.
The alarm bell went off at 05:00am and the first thing I did, was to prepare breakfast.
Earlier last night, I bought some food from Cold Storage.
We had bread with ham and some fresh vegetables including a slice of cheese.
This was really easy to fix and after a good fill, we made our way down to the Esplanade.

Rock'n Rolla!
The ride to Padang Kota lama took us about 20 minutes. We covered some 5km to get there and our buddies were already waiting.
This time round, we had six riders from the Star Cycling Team.
But, none of the Star reporting team was on the ground. Not where we were and since it was a no-show, I decided to snap a shot of the team.
I am proud to report that our turnout was higher than before and it is my hope to see more journalists and staff from the company taking part in such rides.

Michelle, at the hotel's lobby

The Star cycling team
Get set, and go!

We rode into Padang Kota Lama and while I was at it, Kevin Tan, our team captain shouted out. He came past and we rolled into the staging area.
There were already a large group of cyclists at the starting line. We linked up with the rest of the team members and waited for the flag-off.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng gave a short speech before he flagged off the cyclists at 07:00am sharp.
As usual, the roadies would go full-steam ahead and complete the ride in less than two hours.
We slowly made our way to the first checkpoint and half-way through, got off our bikes to waterproof our gear.
At the War Museum before Teluk Kumbar, there was an accident.

Cyclists heading out towards the Jelutong expressway
Climbing Bukit Gadung

Working our way up

Getting a snapshot of the beautiful scenery
The long climb...
It began to pour as we made our way around the Bayan Lepas industrial area and the rain actually stopped when we approached Teluk Kumbar.
Slowly, but surely, we climbed the elevated road and made a pit stop to snap some photographs.
I was struggling with my double chainring as it did not engage from the small to the large ring properly.
After rolling down to Balik Pulau, the problem was no apparent anymore.

While cycling there, I bumped into an old friend Derrick Thesiera. 
He was an old macro photography kaki who took up cycling.
We chat a bit while making our way towards Pantai Acheh.

Preparing to climb Titi Kerawang
Cyclists along the route
When it pours, it pours!

Barely reaching the foothills of Titi Kerawang, the sky emptied on us.
Mohd Radzi and Michelle was ahead as I slowly cranked my bike up the hill.
I couldn't snap any photos as the rain was too heavy.
Slowly, I started overtaking the mountain bikers who were pedaling on their 'granny' chainring.
We progressed pretty well and made our way down to the Teluk Bahang dam where Michelle had signalled to stop for carbo-loading.

Our effort to pack enough food and energy nutrition actually paid off.

Part of the cycling lane in Tanjung Bungah

A cyclist suffering from leg cramps
Enduring the ride...

After rolling down from Titi Kerawang, we were really energized.
I downed a pack of energy gel and cranked my bike to a top-speed of 35km/h.
Along the Batu Ferringi route, I smoked a few mountain bikers and noticed a truck carrying a bunch of cyclists.
There, at the far right corner, sat a large-sized dude in a red jersey. 
I can see the faces of people who conceded to defeat in the truck.
The guy looked at me, I raised my right hand and gave him the "peace" sign.
He smiled as the truck sped away.
There were a lot of inexperienced cyclists in this ride who succumbed to leg cramps. Some even crashed and injured themselves.
Michelle and I played it safe and kept in constant communication with our VHF transcievers.
As we progressed, we slowly entered Gurney drive and knew that its a matter of time before we cross the finish line.

Michelle completing the ride
Dirty, but happy!
We did it again...
And for the third year running.. 

This year, we did pretty fine in terms of timing.
Michelle and I completed the ride under five hours.
Our record was 4hours 30minutes back in 2011.
Being in the first bunch, we did not encounter heavy traffic like last year.
I picked up the finisher's medals while Michelle went over to the food counter to claim our lunch.
While we were at the waiting area, the Taiping Foldie Fans congratulated us for finishing.
Their ring leader Jamell said we actually finished faster than before.
I caught up with Md Ehfan Shah and Sean Shazarin from team Star before they head off to their hotel.
Some of the guys had to return to KL on the same day.

Michelle and I stayed in Penang for two more nights before we went separate ways.
I had to drive back alone while Michelle flew off to Bangkok and Brunei for her work.
The CFAL05 was a success with more cyclists taking part in the ride.
We hope that the organizers would continue with the good work next year...

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