To the uninitiated, the path leading in and out of Raub can be unforgiving.
There are lots and lots of slopes and rolling hills and if you are not used to maintaining a cadence on your bike, you most likely end up exhausted with muscle cramps.
Even on a 23-km ride from Raub to the Lata Lembik junction, the journey felt like its forever.
I observed as En Ghani struggled with his load.
He lashed a tent and some personal gear on a seatpost rack.
These are highly unsuitable for heavy loads as it would sway from left to right when you are cycling.
We made a couple of stops for Ghani to adjust his rack and proceeded along the Raub - Kuala Lipis road.
|Lending a hand: Suzali (centre) and Harun (right) with Ghani (left)|
Throughout the journey, Suzali was keeping an eye on first-timer Ghani as he struggles to maintain balance on his luggage rack.
The rest had progressed ahead of the pack.
On the average, I was doing around 9km/h with a constant gradient of 5%.
Our destination was Batu Malim, a small village along the Kuala Lipis road.
Radzi was ahead of the rest and as the day became hotter, progress was rather moderate..
Despite the shortcomings, Suzali had kept an eye on his childhood friend and his wife..
|A friendly villager engaging in small talk with Suzali's wife RJ|
|Ghani, moving on his own pace|
|Radzi left us in a trail of dust..|
|RJ and Suzali on the move|
|Refreshment break at Batu Malim|
Batu Malim is the last stop before we made a left-turn to Lata Lembik.
The guys gathered to rehydrate and filled their water bottles before the last push to the campsite.
The heat was already taking its toll and our entrance into Lata Lembik was greeted by a steep slope.
Crunching my low-gear, I slowly pedaled uphill as the others with heavier loads had gotten down from their bikes to push.
|This slope can take you out if you are not prepared..|
|A nice view from the cockpit|
|Radzi had no problems reaching the last RV point|
The stronger cyclists were way ahead as the bunch broke up.
I was right in the middle and after riding past a technology park, I noticed that someone was riding behind me.
I said: "Okay?" and the respond was a grunt.
The guy was not from our group and as I peep onto my rear view mirror, I noticed that it was an orang asli on a single-speed bike.
He trailed me all the way to an orang asli settlement along the Sungai Lipis.
While riding, I engaged in a conversation with the man who was heading home after finishing some of his personal chores.
|My orang asli companion..|
After parting ways with the friendly aboriginal man, I slowly cruised towards Pos Buntu, an orang asli outpost at the outskirts of Lata Lembik.
Here, the scene was amazing.
Clear streams and blue skies literally dotted the view.
I rolled down a slope and saw some of the guys who were already hanging out at a shaded area.
As soon as I got off my bike, I began to take snapshots of the area. En Harun, who was ahead of the pack had entered Lata Lembik while we waited for Suzali, his wife RJ and En Ghani..