"OK, we will set off from Marsiling at 1am sharp. Don't be late," was KCTravel's boss's specific instruction.
|KC Tng's planned route from Singapore to Port Dickson.|
|Click on the above image to see the Strava and access the Flybys|
Our previous 230km ride up to Malacca was an epic one. But epic-ness must always be re-defined. And human nature abhorred status quo. KCTravel worked on that very principle and very soon after the last trip, the boss up the level of the challenge: Epic 300km ride to Port Dickson.
|Before setting off. [Photo: Serene]|
After our previous experience, KC decided to get Kelvin our Malaysian driver to drive right into Singapore to meet us at the start point so that we could load up our bags, and load up our soigneur... who else but Serene.
Factoring the extra distance, and the fact that most of us couldn't sleep the night before the ride, we planned the set off at 1am, might as well make full use of the sleepless night to roll off.
|Well-planned schedule by KC Tng.|
Big Jam at the Customs
So on this day, we rode off, right into a 40 minutes jam on the motorbike/bicycle lane at the Singapore side of the immigration!
|The 40 mins jam on the bike lane at the immigration.|
"Wah lau, how come so jam?" I asked one Malaysian motocyclist beside me.
"It's Friday night and everyone is either going home to Malaysia after work, or some people go in for the weekend from Singapore," was his reply. Thus we gained a new experience - 1am on a Saturday would always be jam like this.
|Some of us on the leftmost lane, some on the middle lane, while others on the right most,|
provoking the ire of the Malaysian motorcyclist.
|Kong Wan's classic wefie at the Causeway. [Photo: Wefie king Kong Wan]|
|Anna's idols - Jacalyn, Jeremy & Kc Tng. [Photo: Anna]|
3am. Checkpoint 1 - Gelang Patah 31km
|Enjoying the floors at Gelang Patah was Ah Meng.|
"We are 40mins behind time due to the jam at the immigration," said KC Tng. "Let's see if we can do some catching up."
|This poor wall at the side of the 7 Eleven. Every time it automatically became the|
mandatory toilet spot for our cyclists in the early hours of the morning, as clearly
|Andy in his classic one-shoe-off pose. [Photo: Serene]|
"Wee How is very clever," I remembered David remarking to Kong Wan when he saw us coming in. "He is really conserving." But what David forgot was I was doing it out of sheer necessity, not from any form of 'cleverness' because I hardly join the guys for their long weekend rides and my training was severely lacking.
|Getting ready for some musical action was Darric. [Photo: Serene]|
I laughed. "Hey, this is not going to be a 30km ride leh, David. It is a 300km ride leh. I know myself just too well. If I don't go slow I will die half way one lah." I remembered how tough the previous ride to Malacca was. And experience taught me if I didn't have the stamina like the rest, I'd better kept far far behind the best.
|A wefie before setting off from Gelang Patah [Photo: Kong Wan]|
"Ok let's go!" KC Tng was always watching the clock like a football referee keeping track of the last few minutes of extra time.
|The bullet train getting ready to move off. [Photo: Serene]|
"The part from Checkpoint 2 to Checkpoint 4 will be the part that may have minimal street illumination. That is when our strong front lights are important to make sure we can spot potholes on the roads quickly," Kc Tng's advice before the ride.Thus we were all equipped with powerful front lights. Some even 500 to 700 lumens kind of powerful lights. Mine was a Lezyne Superdrive XL that could deliver a constant 175 lumens for five and a half hours. I was concerned about the insufficiency of my light. But cycling behind Jacalyn and Kong Wan who had the more powerful illumination made it so much safer for me.
Thanks to the generosity of Wing Lian, from whom I acquired the pair of Michelin Pro 4 25mm tyres, newly-mounted on my bike, I was totally taken aback by how comfortable and jar-free these superb rubbers were. The significantly lower rolling resistance and enhanced comfort from unevenness of road surfaces, especially for a long ride like this, really took a great chunk of fatigue off me.
"You say again?!" Wing Lian was jokingly threatening, as he was very kek sim that the 25mm couldn't fit his frame. "You make me green with envy! I will buy back the tyres from you!"It was really a pity that they didn't fit, sincerely.
"Oh I have always used the 25mm and they are good," said Lewis before the ride, further reinforcing my confidence in this pair of thicker tyres.
"I use the 23mm for my front," said Darric. "And for the rear, I changed to the 25mm for the comfort." I can understand his logic, for he was a cheongster.
|Jacalyn leading the rear peloton off the Geland Patah 7 Eleven. [Photo: Serene]|
As we spinned our way along the sleeping villages, the only noise we heard were the dogs barking from the sides, awoken by us, and our own breathing and our wheel hub whirring.
"How is the weather going to be ah?" I remembered asking Mike earlier before the ride started.
"I checked. And it looked good. There was a high chance of rain in Johor, but it would only start AFTER we pass Johor, and for the rest of the day the weather is forecasted to be clear further up north where we are heading." Mike was really reassuring.
4:30am. Check point 2 - Pontian at 64km
"Ok we are doing well," exclaimed KC. "We are only 18 minutes behind time now."
"I have learned that 100 Plus gave me cramps," observed Wing Lian. "And this time round by drinking just plain water and other forms of hydration, I am trying to avoid early onset of the cramps."
"Sorry, ada toilet paper tak?" I asked the nice man.
"Wah your speaker is damn good ah!" shouted Jacalyn in full appreciation. That was really so true. The beat of Darric's music gave us the rhythm to follow and kept monotony at bay.
Perhaps the front peloton hadn't the luxury of a similar kind of entertainment, because it was afterwards when Andy said to me: "I was feeling so sleepy right through the first part of the ride and I really needed something to keep me awake."
6:35am. Checkpoint 3 - Shell Station Rengit 100km.
|Just getting ready to set off from Checkpoint 3. [Photo: Kong Wan]|
"Wow the first 100km was really nice and the weather was so comfortable." Kong Wan, Darric, Jacalyn, David and Wing Lian all agreed in unison.
"Kong Wan is pulling at a very steady and comfortable pace," praised David. A sentiment that was again shared by all of us.
9:01am. Checkpoint 4. Breakfast @ Kentucky Fried Chicken at Batu Pahat 136km
|Courtesy of KCTravel|
We were looking forward to our fourth checkpoint at Batu Pahat at 136km as that was our breakfast destination. So far I had been surviving on one Alpen Muesli bar and one strip of Clif Chewing Bloks per hour, which at 200 Cal, was way below my usual replacement level.
But in the shroud of darkness and the coolness of the night, energy expenditures were low.
In all honesty I wasn't exactly sure how to prepare the nutrition for the more than 10 hours of ride. For 130km I had been on Elo water and a combination of plain water and 100 Plus. I was sure my rehydration level was insufficient, because I wasn't drinking as much as I should. This was always a problem when the weather was nice and cool because the body would feel less need for fluid, although one would already be losing fluid through perspiration.
As the checkpoint drew nearer, I could sense myself feeling hungry and was really eager for a full meal.
We had been on the roads for close to 8 hours, with the rest stops in between. So far the ride had been relatively painless. But as we approached the 130km point, several of us at the back were beginning to experience aching.
"Wah lau, the shoulder and the neck is really sng," complained David and Kong Wan.Me too. I was struggling to adjust my arm and elbow position and my neck posture to reduce the strain but could find not much respite. It was really LL. In front of me, I could see Darric standing up on his pedal and then sitting down and arching his back. The fellow must be in some kind of pain too. Darric was also poor thing, having just recovered from a bout of high fever and straight away jumped right into the ride. Right after the third checkpoint I plugged in one side of my blue tooth ear phone and started playing Pentatonix's Christmas songs to keep my spirit going. The motivation from the music only lasted up till the KFC, after which I gave up listening. David was still consistently on his ear phones. This man really needed his music, much like Darric needed his, only difference was David listened to his music privately while Darric announced his music to the world.
"Here, turn left into Jalan Tan Swee Hoe," called out Wing Lian from behind me at about 130km. We were on the main road after negotiating a circle, and were on the shoulder of the road with a couple of lanes of cars lined up to our right.
"Yes, correct. Jalan Tan Swee Hoe," confirmed Mike, looking closely at the navigation GPS on his handphone mounted on the bike.Luckily we had these good men in our peloton. Together with the natural navigational instinct of Kong Wan, our peloton managed to keep to our directions well.
|KCF breakfast Checkpoint. [Photo: Kong Wan]|
The meal really revitalised me, as the sudden glucose spike surged through my veins. I looked around the guys, and it was obvious that some slight bit of very mild cramps had crept into their thighs and legs.
The (almost) obligatory Arcoxia round
A round of Arcoxia was warmly received by several of the usual expectant candidates, who happily gulped them down with their coffee. Those of us who had had prior experiences with this anti-inflammatory knew its effects well, understanding the importance to preempt the muscular spasms before they became debilitating. The anti-inflammatory acted as an analgesic in reducing pain and reducing inflammation within the muscle fibres. Once pain-sensing was alleviated, the natural reflex of the muscle spindle cells to cause excessive protective contraction would be lessened, thus helping in preventing spasm. It was well-known and may athletes actually made use of this effect to ensure that they could continue to perform without too much hindrance. Of course, this medicine would not apply to those who were genetically-talented or who were well-conditioned.
|Getting ready to move out of KFC. [Photo: Serene]|
"We will start to need ice cubes at the next checkpoint already," I mumbled to David as we moved off from KFC, anticipating a rapid rise in the temperature.
|Cycling out of Batu Pahat. [Photo: Anna]|
|Kwan Wei and Lewis. [Photo: Anna]|
"Aircon!" I heard Kong Wan's voice in my mind again.
"But this time round the Aircon didn't feel so cooling leh," said Kong Wan.
"Yah, I think it was because it wasn't as hot this round as the last, thus the contrast wasn't so great," I tried to reason it out.
"OK let's take a small rest in the shade in front," suggested Kong Wan, after some distance.
|Mike and Wing Lian having a breather. [Photo: Serene]|
And we the rear peloton took a short breather, a 'Self-declared-break' as I jokingly said.
"Hey where are they ah?" Kong Wan asked after repeatedly looking back. We both stopped by the roadside and waited.
|David really puzzled by the complicated puncture he sustained. [Photo: Serene]|
"Such a complicated puncture," I remembered myself remarking about it, for I'd never seen such kind of puncture where the offending agent is from the interior structure of the tyre itself. No wonder David's hands were all full, all over the wheel, when Kong Wan and I headed backwards a couple of hundred metres back to where they were.
|Darric to the rescue with his tyre pump. [Photo: Serene]|
By the time we rectified the puncture, moved off and arrived at the fifth checkpoint, the front train was was more than 30 minutes ahead of us. These guys and girl were all lying down on the floor of the petrol station, with shoes out, eyes closed. Andy had his back against the wall, eyes glazed from too long a rest. Anna was sleeping with her head in her arms. And Wai Meng was lying on the floor, fast asleep.
|ALL SLEEPING LIAO!|
|The young and the strong. [Photo: Serene]|
"I told the front guys to go a little slower the next leg," said KC Tng jokingly. "We kept arriving way ahead of the second peloton and the guys ended up waiting so long that they fell asleep."
|KC Tng enjoying a shower of cold water. [Photo: Serene]|
|Wing Lian steady poon pee pee.|
|Kong Wan only action liao liao... but he was still as fit as a fiddle. [Photo: Serene]|
|Lewis finally swallowing the pill together with his banana. [Photo: Serene]|
|Calling out for those who wanted bananas was our very own Banana lady.|
|Checkpoint 5. [Photo: KongWan]|
I found myself sitting on the kerb next to the young blonde in blue as we recuperated in the petrol station.
"But I can't swim!" she protested.
"Huh, you can't swim meh? Neither could I. I started from zero, not even being able to breathe while doing the front crawl. But we all went for swimming lessons and eventually got there," I shared. "It will really be a waste if you don't do at least a Half Ironman, if not a full one."
"Really ah?" I could see that it set her chain of thoughts in action as she perhaps visualised herself doing the 70.3.
|70.3 anyone? [Photo: Serene]|
By late morning, the weather was definitely warming up already. And we were already seeking the comfort of ice cubes. Luckily Kelvin our driver had prior experience and he had facilitated the process. Quickly I dumped several cubes of ice into my helmet, another few big chunks down my crotch and several more over the back of my jerseys.
"Wah lau! Brain freeze ah!" cried Kong Wan.
"Shiok!" this time round David was very familiar with the whole process of icing himself down.
"Actually hor, weather has been kind on us," remarked David. "So far it has been really good. It definitely wasn't as hot as the last ride." We all concurred. It was hot on this day but it was somewhat cloudy, thus taking the edge out of the sun.
I remembered right at our fourth Checkpoint at Batu Pahat KFC, many of the boys and girl were suiting themselves up with sleeves and tights to cover the exposed parts - Lewis, David, Anna, all were covered from head to toe. Kong Wan also guai guai pulled on his arm sleeves. For those who didn't, like Wai Meng and myself, we were applying thick layers of sunblock or spraying them on over necks and such.
"Ok, guys, we got to keep going and do some catching up," instructed KC Tng. "We are behind time."See beh jiaklat. I thought and thought at that moment... we had completed 175km, and it was going to be another around 60km before we will hit Malacca for lunch. It was definitely going to be a hard and hot ride from this point onwards, remembering the tough rolling hills right before Malacca, and the fact that we would be navigating that stretch with the sun right above us.
Fantastically detailed route stickers
|The route stickers were beautifully positioned where I could see them clearly.|
For this ride, KC Tng really outdone himself in many aspects. One of these were the very accurate direction stickers, thoughtfully designed to be of the optimal size to be taped to the stem (or the aerobars) of the bikes. And what more, KC had the foresight to distribute the three stickers stage by stage instead of giving them one shot to all the riders. This move made sure everyone kept his or her sticker updated. Very clever.
|The second of a series of three stickers|
by Kc Tng.
1:02pm. Checkpoint 6. Merlimau Petronas 209km.
I remembered this checkpoint very well during our last ride. It was a little complicated to arrive at this point. Kong Wan was pulling us on this stretch today and I remembered calling out to him, first 3 o'clock at the first circle, then 9 o'clock at the second circle, and then we kept pedalling straight looking for the familiar Petronas on the left side of the road.
"Plain water for me," said Mike.
"One plain water and one 100 Plus," Kc Tng ordered.
"100 Plus for me," decided Kong Wan.
"I just want plenty of ice cubes - big ones, small ones!" I called out to Serene, who pointed to the cold box in the boot of the vehicle.
|Me and my ice cubes. [Photo: Serene]|
We were all feeling tired, it would be telling a lie to say we weren't. But of course different individuals would be in a different state of tiredness. Those of the likes of Jeremy, Andy, Kwan Wei, Anna, Lewis and Wai Meng, not to mention KC Tng, would probably be breezing through the 209km.
|Wai Meng almost wanted to fortify himself with Petronas petrol. [Photo: Lewis]|
"It's just another 100km more to go," I saw Andy sitting down in his classic shoes-off pose.
"Yeah, like a couple of small (Seletar) rounds," this Ang Moh is really something. At his age, his fitness was no less than a man half his age.
|Andy must have been feeling a little more tired, as he had both shoes out instead of |
the usual one shoe. [Photo: Serene]
|Photo: Kong Wan|
Ok, so we had to move on because otherwise we would be arriving way after sunset at Port Dickson. Meanwhile the immediate objective was to get to Malacca about 25km away for lunch and a bit of a breather. A sumptuous Peranakan lunch was promised us in Malacca. And the 25km distance from Merlimau to Malacca was a seemingly brief affair.
Along the way we spotted the usual road kills - a few dismembered lizards, a couple of chickens, and Kong Wan happily called out 'Chicken!' as he passed by the flattened remains of one. So far we hadn't seen any monkeys, unlike what we did in Bintan.
"David, this IS your coastal road!" I shouted to David as the road took us up towards Malacca. "But I still can't see the sea leh." Because David was complaining how come we didn't get to see any bit of the sea at all despite travelling along the coastal road all the while.The fringe of Malacca city became merged with the city centre as the traffic turned obviously heavier. We made several turns but still ended up at the wrong place. Fortunately for those of us in the rear train, we spotted KC Tng waiting right up in front. At that very moment the bullet train boys and Anna came speeding in the opposite direction along the road across the central barrier. Apparently they made a wrong turn too.
Thankfully re-united, the two trains followed KC's lead up the Malcca bridge and several turns more to arrive at the Amboi Heritage Nyonya Cuisine Restaurant at the side of a really busy Lebuhraya Coastal road not far from Mahkota Hotel.
2:27pm. Checkpoint 7 ~ Amboi Heritage Nyonya Cuisine Restaurant, Malacca. 232km.
Cleverly, KC Tng led the group through some side lanes, one part just carrying our bikes and walked across the road.
"The traffic is so heavy here, it's less dangerous if we do this, than to just cycle along the main road," said KC.
Darric and Serene were superb in ordering from their menu. By the time we arrived at the restaurant, all had been set, and we were placed on tables just next to the front door to keep a close eye on our bikes. Mike was ingenious in instructing us to use our helmets to strap the wheels and forks of our bikes together.
"If anyone were to make off with our bikes, at least this will delay them a bit," said Mike.
|Group photo at lunch point. [Serene's camera]|
Eh? Where's Lewis and Wai Meng ah?
|Filling our stomachs on peranakan delights. [Photo: Anna]|
The dishes were simple Peranakan fares. But they were authentic and delicious. Sincerely delicious.
"Wah I love the sambal chilli!" declared Wai Meng as he walloped the spicy stuff.
Wai Meng was always the very careful eater. And he would carefully avoid certain high-fat food. "Hey, I must keep my cholesterols low leh," he said to us on the dining table.
"But yours already very low liao mah," asked David. "Not low enough meh?"
"Cannot leh. He needs to cheong 30km run every week one," said Serene. "He needs to keep his cholesterol very very low."
"Just eat lah!" said Darric as he swept the prawn and otah off the plates.
"You must put plenty of gula malacca in order to taste nice," he emphasiesed. "Last week a few Ang Mohs came and said the Chendol had no taste. But that was because they didn't add any gula malacca at all." He laughed.So reluctantly Wai Meng added several drops more of the black syrup onto his Chendol.
The boss met us at the front door and wished us a safe ride to Port Dickson with a bow of his head. Good man, he was. We would come back for more, I was sure.
|The Bullet train lining themselves up outside the restaurant. [Photo: Anna]|
|The Bullet train waiting to set off at Amboi Heritage Nyonya Restaurant. [Photo: Darric]|
|Kwan Wei moving off, not knowing that soon he will be re-arranging the under-water roster. [Photo: Serene]|
|Jeremy moving off, with minutes between a slightly dismantled shades and an intact one. [Photo: Serene]|
|Anna moving off, moments before she was shaken until her face turned as blue as her jersey, |
that she almost decided to retire from cycling. [Photo: Serene]
|Lewis moving off, minutes before he stepped in as acting director of the local traffic authority of Malacca. [Photo: Serene]|
|David and Kong Wan moving off, shortly before they were automatically propelled to become official pullers of|
the second train for the rest of the ride. [Photo: Serene]
|Mike moving off, still swirling in the post-prandial sugar rush, oblivious to the fact that moments later that would|
be replaced by an adrenaline rush. [Photo: Serene]
|Yours truly moving off, only to realise moments later that the luckiest thing in my life was to have|
Serene at my side every second of my life, holding gauze and solutions for me. [Photo: Serene]
And then at 3:52pm at the 236.1km mark, the manhole struck. Shucks.
Lewis shouted out and waved to Kong Wan, David and I right after a traffic junction, indicating the spot right ahead. Serene, Darric and Kelvin kicked into action. And Wing Lian grabbed his bike, forgetting his handphone and passport as he left them in the car.
"Jacalyn, quick come, let's go!" called out Darric. And Jacalyn put back her bike which was already in her hands half way out of the car boot, ready for cycling, and guai guai followed.
|Lewis directing traffic at the offending manhole. Photo: Anna|
4:55pm. Checkpoint 8 - Sungai Udang 251km.
"Ok, from this point onward, let's cycle steadily and carefully. Please point out any potholes to warn fellow riders. There are roadworks ahead and the traffic will be congested there. Cycle slowly," warned KC as the troupe started off towards the next leg.A visibly shaken (but still pretty) cyclist in blue quietly followed behind KC and the rest of us continued. I had not much recollection of this part of the ride as I was sure most of us were deep in our own thoughts.
Half way my phone rang. It was from Serene. It was good news from the Doctor. I announced this to the pack who was patiently waiting for me 100m ahead. It was with a lighter heart that the group now headed towards the next stop.
Of low heart rates
I couldn't remember much about this 8th Checkpoint. All I knew was Kong Wan and myself and David taking turn to pull. I was still on my last bottle of Elo water. This ride for me was a great challenge because I had never done anything so far ever.
"Honestly," I told Kong Wan. "I wasn't sure if I could complete this 300km ride. I was really worried that I may have to up the lorry. So I was really conserving all the way."
"A few times I thought I had to go up lorry liao," shared Kong Wan. But I knew he was a strong rider, and his determination pulled him through.I noted with interest how my heart rates were throughout the ride. It started off being in the 110's and then slowly it went up to the 120's. When I was pushing a little, it crept up to the 130's. But mostly through the ride, I was keeping my heart rates in the 120's. This was really strange. Because usually I would be in the 130's and 140's very soon.
I wasn't sure what was the reason. I kept listening to my breathing during the ride, trying to detect any signs of labour. There was not much. And the beatings of my heart remained lowish. I could only attribute this to the fact that I was on plenty of Elo water. How else could I explain it? I knew I had one more bottle of Elo water hidden somewhere in my pack. But after the manhole, Serene was so confused she couldn't find that last bottle for me. So I had to go on 100 Plus and plain water. But the three full bottles (4.5 litres) of Elo had done their job. Man, I could have sworn.... Had she found my last bottle of Elo, perhaps my heart rate could have gone right down to the 90's even. Hahahaha...
In fact at one stage on this section of the ride, I was following closely behind David as he surged forward and we actually got quite close to the front peloton, although when the front peloton climbed up slopes, we fell back and could only catch up later on the downslope.
We came to the seaside (finally) at the 269.9km mark at 5:59pm. The rear peloton wasn't far behind. KC led us right to the beach. Someone called out to take a photo. And David kept receiving calls on his handphone from an unidentified number.
|At the seaside.|
"Ok let's quickly take a photo and continued along," KC said. Hmmm.. that was some quick thinking. "The rear peloton will not probably make the detour to the beach, so we better rendezvous at the designated checkpoint."
|The failed Pro Camera HDR shot.|
6:15pm. Checkpoint 9. Shell station somewhere dunno where liao. 274km.
So we finally reached the second last checkpoint, a Shell petrol station somewhere after a curvy road.
I remembered this small little petrol station because it was getting a little darker. In my heart I was thinking about arriving at Port Dickson before the sun set.
"There are going to be some rolling for the next 13km from here," said Andy and Wai Meng. But I really couldn't care much. My thighs were numb from being in auto-pilot mode for a great part of the ride. And my mind was simply thinking of the end point.
Kong Wan came up to the station. "Ok, Wee How, from this point onward can you please pull?" And I gladly obliged. we received a Telegram message from Serene that the driver Kelvin will be sending them to the hotel before going back to the hospital to do the transporting back to Singapore. That was good news.This last stretch was some nice rolls, in fact. And at this time of the day, the evening traffic was still heavy, passing by us on the right side, all heading towards home. I drifted off into my own reverie as I rode, only to be woken up by Kong Wan calling from behind: "Hey slow down slow down! Keep at 25km/h!".
"Sorry sorry!" I apologised. And dutifully reduced speed. That was my problem. I could never be as good a puller as Kong Wan, because his judgement of a constant pace was so good. I would often drift into a state of acceleration and ended up not providing sufficient pull for the riders behind. I really needed to work on my pulling.The sun finally set. And the sky turned from orange to blue and finally to pitch black. And we were still pedalling frantically on the road trying to reach our destination. I specially brought another set of front white lights and rear red blinkers for I kind of suspected we would be riding into the dark as we neared Port Dickson. So I turned on this second set of lights and pressed the button on my Lezyne front light, which surprisingly, still gave off decent illumination despite being constantly on for about five to six hours at the start of the ride. Kc Tng, by then, was sandwiched between the front peloton and the rear peloton.
"I'd better be in front of the rear peloton, so that you all won't get lost and incur more distance," joked KC. But it was the truth. We really appreciated his cautiousness.
7:43pm. 303.2km mark at the Thistle Resort Signboard...
This last stretch seemed endless. The traffic had thinned on the roads and most people had gone back home. We were cycling on stretches with scattered houses and scattered resorts. I hadn't been back to Port Dickson for decades and I knew Port Dickson was a sleepy little town. My sight was focussed on KC Tng's rear blinker all the way. "This last 10km seems never-ending!" kao-behed Kong Wan.
We were nearing the resort when suddenly we saw Andy and Kwan Wei cycling out from one side road on the left.
"Eh, what happened?" I asked.
"We made the wrong turn into the Hibiscus resort," said Kwan Wei.
"Wah, like that good, man. Add more mileage to your ride," I said.
"Not me. Add more mileage to THEIR rides," replied Kwan Wei.
"Wah inside the road to Hibiscus there was a steep slope that I had to prepare for it and switch to all the small gears and spin all the way up. The gradient must have been at least 30%," said Lewis afterwards.
"Yah lor," concurred Anna. "I had to get down and push the bike up that slope!"Somehow things happened for a reason. The fact that the front peloton made the wrong turn into Hibiscus resort and incurred the additional distance meant that we all ended at the lighted Thistle Resort signboard
|FINALLY! [Photo: Kong Wan]|
|"Group picture,Group picture!" shouted Kong Wan. [Photo: Kong Wan]|
The group rolled into the front porch of this beautiful resort as the clock past 8pm. It had been a long and eventful day. Those of us who rolled into Thistle Resort were simply just contented to have our muscles still working.
|[Photo: Anna's handphone]|
Wing Lian: "Wow, today I achieved three firsts - first time I cycled from dark to dark, first time I cycled such a long distance, and first time I managed to complete the longest distance before my cramp set in."Definitely something to be proud of, I agree. For me it was also many firsts I had achieved. But I dare not count them. I was just glad that I managed to complete.
|The rear peloton. [Photo: Anna]|
|The Bullet Peloton. [Photo: Anna]|
No wonder he was spinning and pulling at his pedals so effortlessly. This man was a genius, combining the comfort and airiness of his sandals and the power transfer of the MTB cleats!
|The youngs and the younger. [Photo: Anna]|
"I am so happy I want to shake hands with the two oldest riders in the group," I announced. And my hand reached out to David.
"I also want!" said Kong Wan. And he had the same honour.Thinking back on the ride, I could still remember the chiselled hamstring and calves muscles of several of the powerful riders - Andy, Kwan Wei, Mike, Jeremy... I remembered staring in awe at their well-developed muscles.
"Andy, you know, I couldn't help but admire your lean and mean leg muscles," I was telling Andy later.
"Well, I guess you are right. For me, waist-down I am pretty ok." he replied in jest.It was later that I learned that Andy clocked his best Full Marathon timing at 2 hours 46 minutes during his younger days. Now, THAT was something! I couldn't believe I was actually cycling with a sub-3 marathoner and a sub-5 marathoner on this ride!
"It's my honour to complete this ride with you, Andy!" I said as I shook his hand.It was at this juncture that I stole a look at Anna's bike and realised that it was a Poly 300! Oh.. this young little lady in blue was really something!
"Yah lah yah lah, I know! Mine is a..." she started to defend herself.
"No no no! Can you imagine, Anna? Had you had the mechanical advantage of smooth gears, a much lighter frame and higher profile wheels, coupled with perfect geometry, I can only imagine how much faster you will be cycling at! You are fantastic!" I praised her.
An unforgettable dinner and post dinner drinks
"Ok, all gather at the lobby at 8:45pm for dinner," instructed KC. But of course, Serene and I were fashionably late.
|Waiting for dinner. [Photo: Anna]|
The buffet dinner was literally a protein-loading session for most of us as we tucked into the lambs, the beef, the chicken, the otah, the satays and the ice creams and ice kacang. Personally I thought the buffet dinner food was really good and I enjoyed every bit of it. Somehow the boys and girls hadn't had enough of calories and adjourned to the bar out at the garden compound.
|The bar. [Photo: Darric]|
It was here that someone mooted the idea of a longer, multi-staged ride for the next destination. Something that set KC's and Mike's brains thinking of the logistics and executions of such a great undertaking.
|I really didn't know what they were congratulating Wai Meng about. But whatever they were congratulating him, it must have been something very worth congratulating.|
|The brother and sister.|
Next day, buffet breakfast and home-bound!
The buffet breakfast was just as good. With plenty of egg white protein and such.
Lunch at Restoran Weng Heong at Taman Bukit Blossom, Port Dickson
We were delighted to be back again at this Restoran Weng Heong, where Joyce brought us for lunch on our trip with JoyRider some years ago. It was a real feast, a lovely gastronomic treat, and a great bonding time for the group.
|Wai Meng and Anna ordering at Weng Heong Restoran at Taman Bukit Blossom, Port Dickson.|
As the dishes got gobbled up, and laughter and cheers filled the air, and as every single one opened up and started spewing jokes and not, the minutes ticked by and we found ourselves once again on the comfortable cushions of the coach heading towards a second link Singapore immigration that bore a one-hour-long private car queue, but miraculously the bus lane was clear.
So the members of this ride...
A most unforgettable ride this was. Epic enough to allow each and every one of us to discover something new about himself or herself, and also about the coping mechanisms to adapt to different riding conditions.
|The Team leader|
|The Mountain Goat|
|The ever-so-dependable Sweeper|
|The Ironman-to-be on a Poly300|
|The Builder with an office for partying|
|The quiet Tri-ster|
|The quiet underwater rosterer|
|The Aircon peloton puller|
|The Music-blasting Giant|
|The poor BANANA Lady|
|The humble Panadol dispenser and his assistant|