Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Melaka Heritage MTB Jamboree 2008

The trail:
I have always wanted to join Jamboree ride since few years ago but never had the chance to do so. Somewhere around August this year, I came across someone putting a link of the Jamboree event @ Melaka in BBS(BicycleBuySell).
So tempted to join, I pulled along my cousin Kelvin, my colleague Chow, Noob & Fear.
Early morning of the event day:
Noob and Fear have their own respective teams while Chow, Kelvin and myself stick together as a mini team.
That morning, we can't wait to meet up @ A'Famosa. Noob already calling me when Chow and I was approaching the event site.
Kelvin was already there with his bike plate. Chow and myself quickly setup our bikes and kits for the ride, upon reaching the Cowboy Town carpark area.
So many bikers already there queueing! Oh my. I was so nervous. I ran to sign up for all three of us before returning back to check my bike for the final run. Wheels were good, brakes were superb, gear shifts were smooth but I still felt something missing. Oh yea, I gotta apply my mossi-guard repellant and Banana Boat sunblock!
Once done, we went to the starting line area whereby almost all riders can be seen there. Some riders were still at the car park setting up. I guess something must have gone wrong with their bikes.
Once flag off, we did a 10km warm up lap along the road @ Alor Gajah area. We passed by some wooden houses, shops and stalls by the road side before heading in into the forest area. We had to ride slowly in lines to avoid accidents due to some small path to CP1 (checkpoint 1).

CP2 and CP3 were okay with some climb @ rubber plantation area. I had two bananas @ CP3 knowing that my energy will be drained further for upcoming sections. Right after CP3, there was a climb with rope for the rider and his/her bike. Everybody had to queue up for quite sometime due to the narrow climb. The way up was so slippery with dark brownish soil and dead leaves.
Once done with the rope climb, I left my bike and went down to assist Chow. Someone slipped and his bike tumbled down to a nearby tree. He was lucky.
Fear, David, Chow and myself took a photo after the climb. We looked happy but for sure it won't last for long. Next is the fast downhill whereby I gotta lower my seatpost to the max for the thrilling dive. I saw a guy laying by the side of the path with his orange/black bike. He must have skidded or hit some rocks before tumbling across the path to the other side. Scarry. I continued on.
I then prepared myself for the downhill section by lowering my seat post to the max in order to be able to have better control. The first downhill section was so fun with my rear wheel screeched a little and swerved whenever I use my weight to maneurver left and right.
I was so unfortunate that day when I poured some water on my hot head without realizing that the cool water actually caused my sinus to take place. Sigh, that was a huge mistake. I then rode all the way with dripping nose. So difficult to breathe!
The next section was abit relaxing before heading towards CP 5 and 6. If I am not mistaken, there were few deadly climbs throughout the two most difficult section. I had few stops due to scorching hot climate in the open oil palm plantation area.
At one of the stops on the way up to Bukit Botak, several riders were complaining about the hill. It was so difficult for me, not about riding, but rather pushing the bike up the hill with 3 consecutive climbs to reach the 180m peak. That was nuts! I received a call from Kelvin when I was at the peak. He told me to becareful when going down from the peak as the downhill section was bad for him - he crashed.

I proceded downhill by riding my bike at first but it was so slippery that when I jammed my rear brake, my bike swerved to the left so hard that the rear wheel hit a huge rock. I was so terrified that I broke my rim. Fortunately, it was bent a little, thanks to Sunrims.

Looking like and old tired dog after the downhill, I took my one and only PowerBar and head to CP7. Few riders were there waiting for transportation. I was told by one of them that I can get the finisher medal for all nine check points (not true actually, you can get it even if you finish only 5 check points). Without much tought, I left CP7 slowly and cycled all the way to CP8 and then to tarmac section. Tarmac was a killer when I released the air pressure from my rear wheel during the earlier stages.

Lastly, miles by miles, I managed to cover all 9 check points. On they way to finishing line, I stopped once more and met some friends. 2 marshals came over to our resting point. They told us that two riders were hospitalised due to the mad downhill section after CP6. One of them broke the seat post and injured his most important part. Guess what? He couldn't even climb on to the ambulance for treatment. That was a pity.
Finally, all of us managed to cross the finish line together in a small group after crossing 2 water patches. I hate that patches - they wet my shoes! That was my very first jamboree simple story. Tired but happy to have completed it. Thanks also to my Fuji Tahoe SL baby!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Backpost: Mount Nuang Climb June 2008

Nuang was the main topic in office on the third month I resigned from Thailand. Diong, my colleague who is also known as the iron man in my office loves to organize hiking trips. He does multisports as well.

He invited me to join him for Gunung Nuang full day expedition. I was exited when he said that Nuang is usually used as training ground for Mount Kinabalu climb. This could be challenging for me. Well, I should try, I said to myself.

That morning, I woke up so early and proceeded to the Cheras Bt 9 toll booth. Soon, I saw Chin Pin Hon's Honda Civic by the side. Diong arrived few minutes later and I followed the convoy. We stopped at a nearby Chinese restaurant for a quick breakfast as some of the ladies have not eaten yet, sigh, this gonna be late!

Once done with the food, we continued our journey to the Nuang carpark area whereby we prepare ourselves for the full day hike trip. I sprayed some anti-leech ointment to both my legs.
The journey to the bottom of the mountain takes a while on the flat and gradual climb terrain - a bit boring at first but weather was sunny.

We then came to the first stream after walking on the open path for about half an hour. The first stream marks the the beginning of the journey to Gunung Nuang. After the crossing, we started to encounter damp forest area mostly caused rain or nearby natural water catchment area.

As we proceeded further, we arrived at the second stream whereby we rested for a while. Nice place. I could see the beautiful sunlight shone directly into the water, like a straight spotlight in the mist - so beautiful and peaceful.

The moment we left the second stream, we started to climb to higher ground gradually. Guess what? I got a leech that crawled into my shoes! Thanks to the damp forest area!
The worst part after the leech was the climb on orange coloured muddy terrain. Dude! I hate to keep on looking at my shoes (for leeches) while climbing, extremely tiring!

After an hour and a half, we reached Pacat Camp which marks the middle way to the peak.
Oh man, still there is half way to go! We also met our friend with many legs - the wild caterpillar.
Diong told me that we should not stop so long because we need to move out from Pacat Camp by 12pm in order to arrive peak at 2pm.

Another nightmare is to climb from Pacat Camp to the peak. The terrain on this stretch of the mountain is much more different. More rocks and much more slippery. You can even feel that it is cooler as you climb further through the black rocky terrain.

One of the toughest part was the final climb towards the peak. It started at the point where you could see the sign with arrow showing the word "Peak".
Larger rocks can be seen and at certain point, you have to climb over one of the huge rocks as it is the only way to get to the peak. The area was misty and muddy.

Approximately 50 meters towards the peak, I had to climb 90degrees upwards through some roots and rocks by stretching both legs far apart just like rock climbing sports, hehe. So tiring.

After struggling for 2 hours from Pacat Camp, I finally arrived the Nuang's peak.
There were concrete GPS blocks placed at certain corners of the peak to indicate the borderline between the state of Selangor and Pahang.

Honestly I cannot discuss any further about my journey back except about my whole body aching all the way back from the peak.
Finally we returned back to our carpark area around seven fifteen. I was lucky to have made it back before sunset.

Overall, I am quite happy to have made it to Gunung Nuang's peak although my whole body was aching for another several days after the climb. What an experience, hey...

Monday, October 13, 2008

What a Weekend

Riding @ Frim on Saturday was okay with Kelvin (my cousin) and Chow. Chow brought along 2 T-bolt newbies; Roy & James. They went separate way as Chow has to guide them over Rover & the path to Horse-shoe. Nothing special on that day, Kelvin & I just proceeded to Sg. Buloh area for some climbs and tarmac path back. The trail heading to Sg. Buloh area was so muddy, yikes!

I landed on one spot with the depth of 2 inches without having the abilty to move at all - wrong gear engaged. Arrghhhh! It was a nightmare to see the super thick mud on my wheels, thanks to the lousy Kenda tires without good mud clearance. It took me so long for me to shed off the mud and as soon as I return back to FRIM from Sg. Buloh, same thing happened (tires covered with super thick mud) again. No escape. My advice is... do not ride to Sg. Buloh area if you wanna care for your expensive drive-train, mates.

Washed my bike @ Rover's restroom, and we both head home. I performed usual routine to wash my bike again together with helmet, gloves, old Deuter hydration pack and shoes(attacked by mud this time). I was so careless that I left all these on the swing for drying until evening. It rained so heavily and I wasn't at home! The stuffs got so wet that I couldn't ride @ Elmina the next day, sorry to Kelvin, It was my stupid mistake.

I went to 1U and scout for extra hydration back pack for rainy season like now. Sigh, gotta spend some cash again. I got stunned when I saw Hydro Lite 2.0, so slim and compact like Chow's CamelBak. Can't resist on Deuter's product as they perform so well. Even my phone pouch is also Deuter! My older hydration back pack is now >6yrs already. It has now no longer able to be water proof as the protective layer is now gone.

After thinking for a while, I waste no time and tested it. Solid for the price! Yey! Check it out @ [ http://www.deuter.com/en/products/print/32155_HydroLite20_953_05_ENG.htm ]

Another problem, this pack comes with Streamer. I already have one! Sigh, gotta post this in BBS again. Hope someone will buy it. Feel so lazy but happy to have xtra pack.

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