Monday, October 31, 2005

Struggled Up Genting - a 42km journey up and down...

It was friday night and the sky promised to break cats and dogs at the every single chance She could.

Picked up at KSH by 9.30 by Steve and headed straight to RnR at Genting Sempah.

By then, Doc, Azmar, Karoline and Zabil (and family) was already waiting for us 2 dumb-arses to be there.

It started to drizzle a bit but stopped as fast as it started.

Gearing up and having some cakes courtesy of MAS airline, we headed up to Genting Satrbucks/Coffee Bean for this 4th installment of Ramadhan ride, which was, (un)fortunately, my first ride up here after many many many many years.

First 21km
At base camp, my K2-100 watch from La Crosse Technology registered a 1600ft from sea level. (i've already got this watch for months, but this is the first time bringing it up to this altitude).

I found myself searching for the granny gears by the time we hit the start of the ride. Not too good. Was leading the pack in the first 500m before Zabil overtook me and made it looked easy.

Before i know it, i was sweeping all the way at the back of the pack. Not that i mind anyway, it's supposed to be a ride, a fun ride, i was told.

Well, that was until Azmar came up to me and said to "watch out for KM 4.4 and KM 2.8".

It was Steve then that came and say "there is switchback at some points".

Switchbacks? i thought this wasn't a techincal ride? FYI, switch back is akins to chicane in F-1 or motor racing, using to denote a sharp hairpin, almost a 180 degree turn to the other side from the point of entry. Usually it's either a sharp corner GOING UP, or a killer corner GOING DOWN.

I found myself pedalling non-stop, only saving grace is the group waiting up for sweepers like me to reach them at a few designated stops.

At KM 10 (yes, meaning after cycling 10KM from base camp, going uphill in dark cold corner where lights were a luxury), Doc drop back and tell me that there is a great 1km downhill roll. The weather started to get cold as it was almost 2000ft at that point. Great, 10km and only gained 400 feet of altitude. There is 11 more km more to go.

I realised that to be pedalling at grannies at this point (which them 4th timers said as *warm up*) was demerital for the more challenging climb later, i switched to middle crank and almost the 8th sprocket behind.

At the roll downhill, it dawned to me that anything that goes down, will need to be climbed up again later. Shucks. I didn't enjoy the downhill as much as i should.

In an hour 15 minutes, we reached Goh Tong Jaya. Went over to one of the nasi Kandar Mamak there for a quick teh tarik and break before the *real* climb. We spent about 30 minutes at the mamak while Doc and steve down a roti canai each.

BY 12.45am, we were ready to roll. Exited Goh Tong Jaya and was greeted by the second police beat base at the road. We Exchanged pleasantries while riding up the hill, which was already starting to look *friendlier*.

We reached Awana a moment later, puffing (me only) as i keep thinking what is at KM 4.4 and 2.8.

It seems like an hour passed and finally i saw the road marker stating that i'm at KM 5. Meaning, 5 more km to Genting. This also meant that we've covered (21-5=) 16km uphill ride.

Cars seems to be racing up the hill, espcially those souped up cars, which at one point, we saw one of them at the road side, overheated...hahaha...heard from Steve that last week, there was this car that went down a ditch for coming down too fast. Serve them right.

Then, i saw KM4.4. It was a complete switchback, uphill.

The gradient at that point of time was already easily about 10 degrees. It turned UP and straight to what? 15 degrees? I reckon so, it's a short climb, granny gears needed here, unless you are as strong as doc or steve, or even Karoline... Altitude was about 3500ft and perhaps i could say that the thin air didn't let me perform as i should? Nah...it's all excuses, it's a mind game.

I managed to escape the km4.4 hill, yes, at that point, the view of KL was simply spectacular, KLCC was reduced to only two blinking lights. Looking while i pedalled, it sort of takes the tiredness away. The gang waited for me upfront, with steve removing his tshirt to squeeze the sweat out. Yes, we were sweating and we WERE sweating. But stopping isn't good as the cool breeze adds on to the misery.

We went up, and from what i was made to understand, it's all UPHILL all the way, with gradient no less than 10 degree all the way.

And it was, as i found myself gaining altitude faster than the first 16km ride. By the time i reached KM3, i'm already at 4200feet. Doc was cyling with me, as usual of his sweet self not to leave anyone behind.

At km2.8, i saw the temple...it was anohter swtichback...a longer one infact...and only promises to be steeper.

The gang waited for me at the busstop just after the switchback. Apparently there were doing some treasure hunting as Steve's bike slid off the railing and the front lights' LEDs all went scattered all over. Yeap, in almost total darkness with only our lil front lights shinning, the 6 of us went looking for numerous 5 sens sized LEDs...Zabil, being a pilot that he is (and being able to spot a BIG bird in Cameron) saw the last LED. Rectified, we were on our way again, and everyone was told that the next stop is at cradle rock up at KM 1.

OK. It's only what? 1.8km to go. Braved myself and pedalled. Quads was bursting by the time i covered the first 500m. Granny gears no less.

It was also then i realised that the sweat in my hand and the twisting action has actually unscrewed the K2-100 backing, which makes her non-functional! Damn it! removed my watch while cycling and placed it in my pouch. The hill was steep, the climb was torturous.

I had to stop 200m from the cradle rock for fear that if i don't, i might just burst my quad and the guys would have to pick up the pieces of my muscles all over the road. Yeah, it was that painful.

I could hear them cheering and shouting *dumbass..come on* as me and doc approached Cradle rock. 5000 feet or so,if i recalled correctly on the cradle rock. I dismounted and made my way up the rock to just chill out.

Wearing only tights and sleeveless fake dri-fit didn't help. It was cold, add on with the miserable wind chill and sweat...i was shaking. My gloves were wet with pespiration and i could feel my fingers numb from the cold.

The final climb up the hill at Ria apartment was equally as tortorous. The last 800m climb and it was over by the time we reached the police station next to Ria. Was very very happy being able to be able to reach Genting.

We rolled down the road to Starbuck, to be greeted by Zabil's Wife and Daughter, Azah and Aiman.

Fixed my watch and it showed 5420feet from sea level.

Total Altitude gained was (5420-1600=) 3820feet with temperature steady at 18.5 celcius ON my hand (usually it is warmer as the watch is close to the skin, hence, body heat will give 1 or 2 celcius reading more).

Grande Hot Chocolate with Extra hot water doesn't taste so good in my life. The hot water that almost melt the drinking bottle seems like a luxury to be held in both hands. I later then went to the toilet and took off my shirt to be dried under the hand drier, ala Mr. Bean...

We hanged around Starbuck for about an hour, sipping the hot choc and coffee and looking at the chics looking at us, wondering what dumb ass we are to be cycling up genting, just to have what? Coffee?

Nah, it's more than that, it's called brain food...mental training at it's best.

Geared up in our wind breakers later and a change of cloths, some of us that brought extra clothing...i suddenly felt scared to be rolling down the 21km at breakneck speed with only a pair of brakes to keep me alive. Nevermind the brakes, i'm more worried that i'll end up frozen by the time i reach Awana.

21KM down.

This is what was orignally the plan is for, to ride up and torture oneself JUST to enjoy the downhill later.

I shifted to High Gear (yay..no more grannies!!!) and pedalled the way down.

Some of us stopped to wait for the others that were more cautious about coming down. Me and Azmar just shot off...Azmar enjoyed the downhill more on his FSR full Sus more than his road bike, which were unsafe in many ways going downhill that fast. he registered a 58.5km/h downhill at the first 3km stretch. All i recalled was that i was going down faster than some cars, much to the annoyance of them...

Then, we stopped at KM 8 and waited for the rest, only to find out that Steve has a punture coming downhill and doc was assisting him with the repair. Me, Azmar and Karoline (Zabil stayed a night there) went down to Goh Tong Jaya's police station to wait for them.

It was then also that we found out that Steve has anohter punture. Thank goodness as there were enough spare tubes between him and doc. We waited for almost an hour for them at the police station. Time was already 4am by then. Karoline took a quick nap at the police station, and a few of them came over to chat with us. One told us that he saw DOc and steve on then roadside repairing their bike.

They reached the police station and one last check was done incase he has anohter punture. Air were pumped in to prevent the tube from sliding in the tyre and against the rim, breaking the valves off, which were the reasons for the two puntures he had. Steve vowed to replace the tyre when he reached PJ.

Curious onlookers that came down at the wee hour looked as if we were some crazy buggers at the police station. Some jsut smiled and a few were stopped for their particulars to be recorded by the police station (for god knows what reasons).

The final 10km downhill was less fun...as, well, the climb back up, especially when the whole body was already cold...yes, COLD from the downhill seems to make the quads creak with every granny pedalling that i does....nontheless, i struggled up the last hill and started to roll down again at breakneck speed.

We reached base camp at 5.30am in the morning, just in time for Doc and Azmar to Sahur...Karoline changed and went to take a nap in her car while Steve ate with the two of them. I stood guard over the bikes.

At 6.30am, we left Basecamp and reached home at 7.30am...don't know about them else, i reached home, did laundry (imagine the stinking sweaty stuff from the ride), took a shower...warm hot shower and slept until 12pm...

will i do it again?

Hell yes.

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