Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CFAL4 - Part 3

The moment of reckoning
I woke up at 4:30am. 
The first order of the day, was to prepare coffee and breakfast.
We had a loaf of bread, some cheese and lots of bananas.
To get things going, I ate my chow and checked my Camelbak Octane 24 for the last time.
For this ride, I packed my tools, First Aid Kit and other essentials.
We got ready and started moving out of the room.
There is only one elevator and its already busy with cyclists.
At the lobby, I saw Ehfan, one of our team members.
He had dropped off his wife at the Esplanade where the cyclists would be flagged of.
After making some adjustments on the bikes, we rode off towards Georgetown.
This is a simple 5km ride and since we had our lights on, riding in the dark was no issue.
I was surprised with a bunch of Indonesian cyclists who had nothing by a rear blinker on their tail.
They rode with us till we reached the starting line.

The early birds..

Team Captain and his assistant
Starmetro foldies: Samo and Eddie

The Star gang
Coach Jamell and the Taiping Foldies Fan
Right there at the Esplanade, we were early.
And as usual, I made my way to the rear end of the starting line.
Kevin and Ehfan came later and were interviewed by a reporter from The Star.
We told him that this was our second major ride after the Starmetro Cycling team was formed.
The organizers made their briefing, followed by a speech by the Chief Minister and the Penang Municipal Council President.
Then, came the moment everyone was waiting for: Flag off.
Slowly, the crowd inched towards downtown Penang as we began our ride towards the Jelutong expressway...

Riding downtown
The crowd, cycling towards Queensbday mall
The first casualty
Right up front, nearing Queensbay mall, a cyclist was injured after a motorcycle had knocked him down.
This was a precursor to many things that would happen ahead.
We rode towards Balik Pulau and the traffic began to slowly congest as vehicles had clogged up the two-lane road.
Up ahead, a fatal accident took place.
A female motorcyclist was killed when she was knocked down by a car.
Another motobiker was also injured in the tragic road accident.
Slowly, one-by-one were led by the traffic cops and safety marshal to move out and ride towards Bukit Gadung.
This is one of the toughest sections in the ride.

The power climb
Bukit Gadung was truly a test in the first stage of a long climb.
At this point, many cyclists had to push their bicycle.
My concentration was on the GPS heart monitor.
The trick was not to overexert myself.
We did very fine on this section and began to move towards Titi Kerawang where a major climb lurked ahead...

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