Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Keledang Experience - Part 1

Our next mission..
I had some mixed feelings about starting out on the next day in Ipoh. 
Part of me wanted to bug out and head home.
But the desire to explore had left me with an option to continue with the group that I was with the previous day, cycling from Batu Gajah to Ipoh.
I persisted and continued riding with the guys. It was the team spirit and good company that kept me yearning for more....

Riding out out Ipoh town 
Ipoh's lost glory
I must admit that I don't really know much about this town.
I've hardly been there and the only places that I've been to, were some makan places.
Expedition leader TT Siang had done a great job, mapping the route.
We rode towards an abandoned Colonial Government quarters in Spooner Road and began to  find our way towards a housing estate in Taman Mas which led us to Taman Wang and later, towards the foothills of the Keledang Hill.
It was an adventure cycling through an old tin mining pond with sand and puddles. 
This reminded me of the early days when I used my road bike to go fishing at an abandoned sanitation pond in Air Panas, Setapak.
My Speed P8 held up pretty well and the Schwalbe Big Apple tires worked its magic, keeping the bike firmly on the ground.
It took us nearly an hour to reach the foothills as we began our push..

Beginning the climb
Pushing the limits
Of all the slopes and hills I've encountered, Keledang is one of the hardest.
Not even a quarter way, I had lost my ability to climb.
So, I got down, rested and started pushing the bike.
Siang and Chris who were the strongest of the lot, were ahead while Kim Hwa and I lagged behind.
I had to lean forward to push the bike and half way through, I met an elderly Malay couple. 
The man worked in the Batu Gajah prison while his wife is with the National Drugs Agency.
We talked a bit while working our way up and actually made it to the mid-way point.
Siang and Chris were already nearing the radio transmission tower.
I caught up with Kim Hwa who was resting at a hut. 
At Keledang, there are plenty of pit stops where you can take a break from hiking up the hills.
The total distance to the summit is 810metres with roughly about 8km to cycle.
Later, Siang told me that he nearly suffered cramps on his legs and also pushed his bike all the way...

The radio transmission towers

A view of the Kinta Valley
The descent
Kim Hwa and I had decided that it was best for us to slowly begin our descent.
He was afraid of overheating the brake pads on his bike.
We rolled downhill and took breaks every 500metres and it dawned on me that the 3.5km roll was so fast, we reached the entrance of the trail much faster than we did climbing.
When we reached a public parking lot, the journey was over. Well, at least to Keledang that is..

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