Cycling is like life. Cycling with no goal is meaningless. What meaning is there cycling in circles? Or living aimlessly? Meaning comes from direction and destination. Join me in my life's journey on a mountain bike :)

Blogging since 2003. Thank you for reading :))

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Swept away

Moving off in the morning mist
9-11 Jun, Pahang, Malaysia, 283 km

Background
Charity Bike n Blade #11, a charity ride in aid of Beyond Social Service and Peacehaven (The Salvation Army). Over 80 cyclists raised close to SGD300,000, which, with government matching grants, amount in total to about SGD500,000.

Route: Day 1 by bus to Kuantan (non-cycling day), Day 2 to Lanjut 142 km, Day 3 to Tanjung Leman 141 km.

Ride details
Day 2. At “wheels up”, I take care to hang back so I don't cycle with the fastest. After a great two hours, I drop off. My lack of training (just over 40 km per week for a month) shows.

Another breath taking sight
M comes up behind me and says “Hi, I think I'll stick behind you." Then she offers to pull me along. "I might not be able to keep up," I confess. "I'll pull you at 20 km/h,” she says. That doesn’t last long. When I see a support car by the roadside, I and stop to top up on Gatorade (sponsored) and bananas. She pedals on.

The crew take good care of me. When they drive past, they ask if I need anything and stop when I do.

The broom wagon comes along at 1pm. I ask for permision to carry on and it is granted. Two other cyclists get off to join me, including intrepid sweeper S. It’s so early in the afternoon, why be swept up? The reason is lunch, or rather the lack of it. There is no food along the way other than Gatorade, bread and bananas from support vehicles.

I arrive at 2 pm, 2 hours later than the faster cyclists. At least, I make it on my own steam, in the steaming heat.

Day 3 is like Day 2: a great 1-2 hours speeding through the cool morning air, then the first stop at a water point. I linger and watch the roadies ride off. I'm solo most of the time now. While people overtake me, I don't see the recumbent cyclist. It seems some other cyclists don't ride today, not just the casualties from yesterday who lost skin and blood when wheels touched and when someone went into a pot hole and took others down.

Whole lot of calories. Thanks, crew
for keeping me going
To save time, I don't have a hot lunch today when I could’ve, just bread and bananas. I pass a roadie who stopped upslope. "I am done," he says, and claps to cheer me on.

Sweeper S and my room mate KC debus. S says he'll ride with me. He punctures and changes two
tubes before his tyre is fixed. Time ticks away. A support car comes along and the crew ask me to go on. I speed to avoid being swept up. Barely 12 km from the end point, the broom wagon catches up with me, sweeping me up. We see KC, there is no room on board for him. S is apologetic as I don't get to finish the ride but I’m glad we get to ride together; in past years, he’s the sweeper while I’m ahead.  We arrive just after 2 pm. What's the rush this time? To catch the bus home.

Why am I slow this year? Besides my lack of training, Day 2 offers high heat and headwinds while Day 3 has high heat and rolling hills. And fat tyres don’t help!

Nightstops
Zenith Hotel, Kuantan: this big hotel feels new and things work. The hotel sets aside an empty hall to lock up our bikes.
Lanjut Golden Beach and Golf Resort: I've been here before. It's more dismal this time. The ceiling pours when the shower is turned on. The toilet doesn't flush well. For another cyclist, the aircon in his room doesn't work, but he got a room change.
Tanjung Leman: Felda Residence Tanjung Leman. We don’t spend the night here, but I wish I did as it has big and luxurious grounds. The hotel lets us stop here to shower and ready our bikes for the bus ride back to Singapore.

Tech note
After struggling with a stock saddle that came with my then new bicycle in Sep 2014, I'm back to my Brooks saddle, owned since 2011. After several adjustments, I've gotten to the bottom of it and found the sweet spot. Sweet! The only pain isn't at my rear end, just heart ache that I got swept up and didn't ride all the way to the end.

Oh! This is my 800th post on this blog :)

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