The day started off really early. By 5am, everyone was shuffling around trying to get their jerseys, water bottles and bags in order. You didn’t really have to set an alarm clock because all the brouhaha in the hallways could have woken the dead anyways. Breakfast was some dry tasting nasi lemak. Everyone basically shoved the egg down their throats and many of the sandpaper-textured fishes were left intact.
After packing the car (FOR THE LAST TIME YAYY), we started our 110km last leg of this epic journey. For me, it was most heart-warming to have so many friends come all the way down here to ride home with us. Thanks Guangjun, Kenny, Kat, Jamie, Domo, Soonheng, Shih Haur, Boon, Enric, Calv.
I savored every of this last few hours of riding. The ride was pretty relaxing and the mood was light as we had people going up and down the group chatting and reminiscing about the trip. There were 2 safety vehicles so we would regularly see Katrina, Christina Boon, Cheryl C, Soonheng and Shih Haur squatting by the road to try catching our whizzing images on film. Katrina especially looked like she was riding down Sunset Boulevard with her long hair flapping in the wind as she opened the sunroof of the Honda Odyssey and stuck her head out to take our pictures. Thanks guys, I really cannot put in words how much I appreciate you guys coming down on the last weekend of the summer <3.
We took a small break at a Petronas after 20 odd km.
There was no Keropok party this time as we were looking forward to the Ice kacang that we know would embrace us when we reached about the 50km mark ahead. When we took off, I was the third biker after Kelvin and Jingmin. What followed would leave such an amazing image in my mind. Down a small slope, a loud bang suddenly came from under Kelvin’s wheel. His wheels spun out of control as white gas poofed out from his rear wheel. The tyres spun out of the rim as he struggled to retain control of the crazily wobbling bike. The next thought that came to my mind was that JM might not be able to brake on time. I braked hard but intermittently hoping that the guy behind me was alert enough. Thankfully we were travelling relatively slowly so everyone could react on time. PHEW!! It turned out that kelv’s brakes were gripping on the tyres instead of the rims so the tyres gave way. He stopped to replace it with a spare while the rest of us advanced towards the Ice Kacang roadside stall.
FMLFMLFML it was closed =((
we realized it was Ramadan period so the owners probably took it as an opportunity to go for a holiday or something. In any case, we waited for Kelv to come along then we decided to get to the McDonald’s at Johor to take a longer break.
There, we wanted to leave at 10.30am but the boys (KY and Darr) wanted to wait for breakfast to be over so they could sink their teeth into a long-awaited GCB (Grilled Chicken Burger) which they have been eyeing on from the street Ads from Penang to Johor. In the end, McD’s was so inefficient, they gave up and we made our way to the causeway. We crossed the border uneventfully and were soon sitting at the Maccies at Kranji to kill time. It was only 11.30am but we were due back in school at 3pm. Tery came along to join us at Kranji so we had a strong 12men/women strong peloton back to SMU.
Oh god. It’s been.. well it’s been a good month since I last cycled in Singapore. We had to stop almost every 2-5km to wait for a light to turn green, there was perpetual patching on the tarmac, we had to frequently weave between traffic and WE COULD FINALLY RECOGNISE every turn and landmark we see. As we turned towards the Istana towards Orchard, it finally occurred to me that we are FINALLY HOME.
The reception back at SMU was awesome. More SMUX friends were there to receive and cheer for us as we cycled into campus green. I can’t believe it was done! Team Velofiles completed 2010(++)km across 3 countries WITHOUT A SINGLE UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT. OMG I was so proud of ourselves. It was a huge sigh of relief. All those insecurities about our inexperience and insufficient training were crushed. Past accident histories of such trips were against us but WE DID IT! I wanted to hug the whole team because I was so proud of us (alth they were so shy they didn’t want to). We had our differences, we had our arguments but most of all, we had our single aim. It was a huge sigh of relief, good riddance.
The next 2 hours were spent sharing anecdotes from the trip with our friends and having JM and Kelv being interviewed by the media.
There was yummy beehoon, choc éclairs, tarts and beer waiting for us too. THANK YOU ALL WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE. SMU, OSL, SMUX. Thank you Velofiles for understanding when I snapped, when I was all frustrated with the stupid hills, when I was tired and cold from the rain. Contrary to my insecurities before the trip, I AM GLAD I CAME AND CONQUERED.
See you next Sunday 7am ride at Longhouse =)
Alright! Finally, it was our second last ride! Fengru, being the loser as she is, changed roles with Siyuan to take over the role of driver when she was supposed to ride that morning. We had breakfast that morning at the hotel which served simple but nice local Chinese food. That included porridge with Ikan Bilis and peanuts which was so tasty the girls had 2 bowls of it.
We set off at about 8am and headed towards Kukup to join our friends. The initial 10km was filled with slopes but we kept a relatively fast pace, hoping to bump into our friends en route to Kukup. Throughout the ride, the mood was high for all of us and we were all very motivated to get to Kukup as soon as possible.
At 11am or so, we reached the intersection of Kukup and Pontian, and we received a call from Soon Heng to say that the supporters just turned into the road headed towards Kukup 15 minutes ago. Upon hearing, there was only one objective in mind: to catch up with them and to reach Kukup together with our friends.
Kheng Yew took over to pull the team and at the last 4km, we heard cheers coming from a vehicle parked at the roadside. It was Soon Heng and his gang, and up ahead we caught a glimpse of the last rider of the support team. We were overjoyed. It was like a reunion of long lost friends. The feeling of seeing my fellow friends after being “stranded” in Thailand and Malaysia for 27 days was just indescribable. Elated and touched.
There was so much to tell them..like the little happenings along the way, our daily routine of shopping and going to night markets, complaints of the weather and bad road riding conditions and so on.
We arrived at Kukup not long later and had a group picture before we settled down for lunch at the usual seafood restaurant. After which, the rest slacked at the chalet while Siyuan, Soon Heng, Ah Boon, Calvin Leong and myself drove to Johor to return the rental car.
The drive back to Kukup was long as the traffic was heavy. Upon receiving Fengru’s call to hurry us back for the BBQ dinner, Ah Boon “turned on her turbo”. The slow and long ride became a fast and rough one. On several occasions we saw our lives flashed before our eyes. The first being the overtaking of 8 cars on a long flat road, the second being a car turning right in front of us when Ah Boon was going at over 100km/h and the third when the car went over a big obstacle and the logistics at the boot rocked uncontrollably. Soon Heng’s heart was pumping hard the whole time and Leong stayed awake throughout as he didn’t want to die in his sleep not knowing what happened. I was thankful I woke up without my left contact lens. I just couldn’t be bothered as I couldn’t see shit and so I went back to sleep. Siyuan being the deep sleeper was unaffected at all and was in “inception”.
We got back just in time for the BBQ. It was so reminiscent of the past 2 trips when we had well-barbecued chicken wings and satays, crunchy sweet corns, fragrant sweet potatoes, and marinated stingrays, prawns and sotongs with sambal chilli. It was marvelous food with great companion. The night ended off with the popping of fireworks with 36 firings.
It was a horrible ride lahh..
It was a total the-end-is-so-near-yet-so-far kind of feeling. We are just 2 stops away from home so I was feeling kind of jaded already. I was all cranky as I was riding with all the boys minus Kelv again. I snapped at some people because I was just so tired of the inconsistency of trying to crank up hills. The pace was so hard to keep with and the boys’ pick-up speed was so quick. Not to mention the potholes that didn’t help the situation at all too. The last 40km was winding roads through a mountain pass and I was getting so frustrated and exasperated I REALLY dreaded every pedal, every stroke.
I was scheduled to ride tomorrow but I begged SY to swap with me because I was feeling so miserable keeping the speed and when I could keep up, the boys would speed up thinking I was fine. Thank god SY agreed so I was to v-comm the next day. I wanted to conserve some energy so I could chat and play with the SMUXIES who were coming to Kukup to meet us. I am really quite excited for that. Finally we had more company than just the 5 of them and our presence would at least be felt on the roads.
On reaching Crystal Inn, we found the 2 rooms we booked way too small so we decided that since it was the last night, we should sleep comfortably and conclude the trip nicely so we booked another room. Since JM didn’t ride that day I could take my time to shower as I was the only one who needs to, in our room. There was a small incident about KY and JM breaking the cupboard door trying to trap me in (SO CHILDISH RIGHTT) Lunch was KFC at some small mall and the boys wanted to shop around that boring place. (from 2pm to 6pm !!!) Jm and I got bored after awhile and camped at a café leeching on their WIFI. Dinner was at a Zi Char place that had DAMN SHIOK prawn mee. KY bought durian which we all shared too. I wanted a nice movie (American pie of smth ;P) after dinner but everyone was too tired. Oh wells, I didn’t last 3 minutes after hitting the pillows myself :P
As it was one of the relatively shorter days (in terms of distance), we had the luxury of sleeping in a little longer. There is no point ranting about the horrible Malaysia roads and killer potholes again and so I shall spare you all from that. The route out of Port Dickson was rather boring and I was daydreaming most of the time for the first 20-30km.
It is quite wonderful to be a sweeper, especially in a small and tight ridding outfit like ours. You do not need to point out road hazards to anyone since there is no one behind you. There is no need to maintain a constant cadence as there is no one behind drafting. In short (dun kill me), it is slack behind. It was quite scary when I realized what I was doing, going through all the twist and turns alongside heavy vehicles on a bumpy road without really thinking or looking about. It is as if riding the bike is done on auto-pilot mode. I only manage to “wake up” from auto-pilot when we hit the top of a hill and greeted with above-average scenery (no photos taken though).
Entering into Melaka, we were on the lookout for food as we were all ravenous. We feasted ourselves on Melaka’s famous chicken rice and durian chendol. Afternoon was shopping time and we raided (according to Kelvin, I personally dun remember it to be so many) a grand total of 5 shopping malls, including the largest in Southern Peninsula Malaysia.
The plan for dinner was to stuff ourselves full of Nonya food but we did not manage to find any. Instead we stumble across a hole-in-the-wall restaurant along one of the numerous small alleys connecting Jonker Street. It served the best food we had in all of Malaysia (by a mile!). The chilli sambal they had was so good that I finished about half of the container in came in!
- Kheng Yew
Today’s ride was extremely hot, the sun was out and there was really a lack of shade. we may all have turned a shade darker. ok, maybe not all of us, kelvin spammed the sunblock at macdonald’s after breakfast.
so the road to Port Dickson was rather scenic, winding through the oil palm and banana plantations and there was this final stretch of rolling hills that felt almost like we were back in Thailand with Fengru struggling up the hills but overtaking all of us on the downs.
we finally reached the hotel after 96km, showered and headed out to lunch at one of the local seafood joints we spotted on the way in, very decent food. next came shopping, the nearest jusco was a 45min drive away, a drive we didn’t want to make, so we headed to one of the local department stores “the store” which wasn’t very spectacular. but we did find a tshirt very fitting for FR. here it is…
we then headed back to the hotel for some wifi time at the cafe. but i chose to go back to the room, read some nat geo and take a nice nap. hah.
ok, then came dinner, we went to this atas looking seafood restaurant, but were sorely disappointed with the quality of the food, the fish was half raw and the mantis shrimp was chopped up into super small pieces. lunch was definitely way better.
now it’s back in the hotel to prep for tomorrow’s ride.
The day started off with me and fr waking up feeling real shag, surviving on just 5 and a half hour of sleep and recovering from the post-theme-park syndrome. Our bones were aching already after that horror scream park yesterday and my throat was definitely sore too! We had breakfast at the 24hr indian-muslim restaurant (some look-alike al-meen store) before setting off.
The first 25km of the ride was torturous to me, I felt as though I did a few fabers or completed a few night bikes. Bones were aching, eyes were closing, everything was just bad bad bad! This is definitely going to be one hell of a ride, but trust me, the terrain was relatively flat compared to Thailand, but it’s just one of those bad days where you just felt really bad. Potholes were anywhere and everywhere. Everywhere you can place a pothole, ta-dah! There it is! :( It’s tiring siam-ing potholes every single moment almost, breathing in all exhaust gases and feeling like crap. At times, you just go through all of the potholes because its everywhere till you just can’t siam it at all. So I call this Mountain Biking 101 on roadie. Oh wells. Malaysia roads are definitely perfect for those who are adventurous enough to try Mountain Biking 101 on their roadies!
So there came the first rest stop at 26.74km mark. It’s the first time I remembered it so clearly as I was feeling really dead by then. Yeah. All I can think of is, get there soon get there soon. We were pretty fortunate enough to have good weather for the day.
After the first rest stop, things started picking up. Momenturn everything started going on much better than that first 25km. :) Things looking good, the bak kut teh calling out to me makes me pedal way faster. Traffic was still bad though. I was whining to fr that how unfair it is if we get lung cancer just like that, breathing all the crazy exhaust gases.
Decided to start doing something different and pull the last 25km of the leg. My first time pulling and it was definitely a different experience. To me, it’s definitely more scenic. You get to see the potholes first hand and of course, you get the stress, the stress to move on faster, because you are the front man, you can’t afford to go that slow. So pushed on, pushed on, and ta dah! Reached!
Awesome bak kut teh for lunch! :) Once again, bak kut teh is LOVE! :)
Went to wash up after lunch and we headed down to Jusco for some shopping! We had a 2 hr plus OTOT! :) Fr and me combed the entire shopping centre, each and every shop and we end up with really good buys from ROXY and NICHY! :) Not forgetting the shopping from Springfield that day in Sunway. We conclude that shopping is really essential in such trips! :)
Dinner was at this food centre near hotel. The food’s not bad and there’s open-air projector screen too! Back to hotel after that for a real good night sleep! :)
Today, we headed over to the same Indian shop for some pratas before we made our way to Sunway Lagoon for our R and R. The drive there took us 1.5 hours and we were in awe of the hotel that we parked our car in when we reached the place. The hotel accommodation probably would cost at least 4 to 5 times the amount that we are paying considering how posh it looks and the cars that were parked outside of the hotel.
We made our way quickly to the theme park and started our very first ride getting wet. We tried out several rides including the one that would spin 360 degrees, which hung us in mid-air before dropping down. Lunch was at this fast-food restaurant that served relatively decent fries and chicken which I felt actually tasted better than KFC!!
After lunch, we headed to this horror house. Haha, I must admit that it was scary at times but I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the whole trip because FR and JM was so scared the whole time. Kelvin, being his cheeky self, also joined in the fun and would hide in a corner once in a while and scare the girls. What I found most amusing was that, there was one guy that was so scared that kept pulling my arm during one part inside the house. HAHA, and the 2 girls, were also so terrified by the “ghosts” that they pulled both my arms so hard that I constantly had trouble walking. At the end of the haunted house, I think all the guys had a good laugh to see the girls so “kia” by the short walk. Haha, that’s quite evil of us !
We continued with a couple more thrill rides before Fr and Ky went to try the G-Force machine that the rest of us were too “hum” to try. It really takes some courage to try that out and RESPECT for daring to try that. The rest of them then went to try out the flying fox while I headed to the fake beach and went to play some soccer with the Malaysians.
Dinner soon followed before we made our long journey back to the hotel for some much-needed rest again. Tomorrow’s another day of cycling and 6 more rides to Singapore!!