Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lata Kekabu - Part 5

An early start..

I woke up at 06:00am. 
The Kelty Bug Bivvy did it's job by keeping those pesky sandflies and gnats away. If they gnaw on your skin, it will itch all night long.
Not a good situation for a dinosaur like me who need at least three hours of deep-sleep.
Everything went well as planned and the Kelty gear were a good investment! 

Packing up for the ride to Sg Siput
All set to roll
I managed to get some snooze and the insulated sleeping mat helped a lot. And so is my Thermarest pillow that provided some plush cushioning.
With my petzl Myo XP headlamp and the Black Diamond Orbit lantern, I began to pack the Kelty Bug Bivvy into it's stuff sack.
I had enough time to wash my Snowpeak Ozen solo folding table and all the other titanium utensils before I packed them up.
My only beef was the rain water and dew collected on the tarp. All I can do was to roll it up and shove it into the stuff sack and pray for the best.
By daybreak, all my gear was packed into the Ortlieb Backroller Classic panniers. The Rackpack 24 was also packed to the brim.
Two days of soiled clothing and wet gear added to the weight. 
I met Suzali who went to perform his early prayers and thanked him for wonderful time and great leadership.
While I was setting up my gear, Kak Raha came by and took a snapshot of me with the bike. Then, Abang Din came up to me and asked if he could ride along. I guess he wasn't in the mood to wait for the rest and decided that it was best to break camp and take advantage of the early morning for it's fresh air..

A picture of me taken by Kak Raha on her tablet.. 
Riding into the mist

Abang Din and family.. 
A nice roll.. 

I said goodbye to the rest of the guys and started to move my bike out to the entrance of Lata Kekabu.
Abang Din and his family followed suit and began to cycle out into the main road.
It was an easy roll and as they made their way to the route towards Kuala Kangsar, I stopped by the park's signboard to snap a picture. Take nothing but photos. Leave no trace.. 
From Lata Kekabu, it was a slow roll and climb towards the Raja Nazrin bridge.

The Warrior, still wet from the rain and dew

The long roll to Kuala Kangsar
The day is getting hotter! 
Sunrise at Tasik Raban

Rustic scenery! 
We stopped at a stall to get some breakfast. It was Abang Din's treat.
He complained about his wheel skewers being too soft, causing the chain to drop several times. 
I told him that it is wise to upgrade to a pair of heavy-duty skewers - especially on a touring bike. 
The Surly Long Haul Trucker that he rode can go places. Me, I am just happy with my Warrior as it yielded virtually zero-downtime on this trip.
After breakfast, we pushed on towards Kuala Kangsar.

Oh what a climb!
To ride from Kuala Kangsar to Lenggong and beyond, one must be able to endure the long climbs with gradients ranging from 3 - 10%.
And with a heavy load, it's seriously no joke. To the uninitiated, one might end up hurting himself as the legs are subjected to strain and fatigue.
If you climb a lot and can spin your wheels at a constant speed of 60rpm without stopping, this would be a piece of cake.
But if you are not, be prepared to suffer.
As far as the climbs are concerned, I would rate the level of difficulty to medium-hard. 
I was riding rather slowly with an average speed of 14.9km/hour and linked up with Abang Din, his wife and two sons on a signboard showing the road's gradient.
There, we parted ways. I never saw them again.

A promise

Prior to this trip, I have contacted an old friend, Uncle John Pah from Ipoh. He told me to keep him posted and since I am staying a night in his town, the only decent thing I could to, is to pay homage to the guy.
Back at camp, I had plenty of options. One of the guys who live in Klang came in a large van. He offered me a ride home, which I politely turned down.
So, there I was, rolling down a ramp towards Kuala Kangsar.
I set out at 07:30am and reached the entrance to the Royal town around 10:45am.
From Kuala Kangsar, I had the option of packing my bike onto a hired car and head towards Ipoh's railway station. My plan was to change the departure time for my ETS ride back to KL from Ipoh.

Cab stands - a BIG no-no!

Based on past experience, hiring a car from a cabstand in a small town is basically bad news. 
The cabbies would try their best to fleece you.
A ride from Kuala Kangsar to Ipoh costs about RM65 one-way. Basically, you charter the whole car.
In Kuala Kangsar, it took me a while to locate the cab stand and I finally found it, I kinda stuck out like a sore thumb.
An elderly Indian man asked where I wanted to go, I told him my destination and was assigned a driver.
I pulled the cabbie aside and asked if he could show me the price list. The man, who claimed to be the chartered car association's secretary was offended. He started to raise his voice and made condescending remarks. 
"We charge you for the fare and you pay extra for bringing a bicycle! Don't talk a lot and waste my time!"
I told the guy to take a chill pill. I was only asking. The right thing to do, is to avoid confrontation. So, I left the cab stand and rode towards the edge of town and called Mr Sugu, the polite chartered car driver from Sungai Siput. From Kuala Kangsar, there's roughly about 25km to cover. All, a route too familiar.
I rang up Sugu who told me that he was outstation. He rang up his son Yogeswaran who agreed to fetch me in Sungai Siput.
So, that said, I skipped the hostility in Kuala Kangsar and made my way further South. The day, as it seems, was still young.. 

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