Lumut to Kuala Selangor

At 142km, this was by far the furthest ride for the Malaysia leg. Not forgetting also is that the Malaysian roads have not been as friendly as compared to the Thailand ones in terms of the number of bumps and potholes. There we have, 142km of massage for our poor hands!

As usual the day started with reveille timing at 6a.m, and to be honest, I am still not used to this timing as my body clock still feels like in Thai mode, which had a one hour time difference from Malaysia and Singapore. Soon after we had our breakfast, we pushed off at about 0710. At about 15 minutes later, it started to drizzle and not long later, we experienced a downpour. As usual, the girls are quite fortunate to “siam” the rain again. Thankfully, there was a petrol kiosk nearby where we sought shelter and read some of the brochures that they offered in the kiosk.

The rain did not last long and we started hitting the roads again once it stopped. After about an hour of cycling, I experienced my second flat of the trip!! FR quickly swapped tires with me and we continued on our journey to K.S (Kuala Selangor). As this leg was made up of 4 guys, naturally, the speed went a bit faster and towards the end of the trip at about the 128km mark, KY decided to take over and we were travelling at 38km/hr for a good 20 minutes if I remembered correctly. Hmm, it was okay as it meant that we could reach the hotel faster and nua at the restaurant when having lunch. When we reached, they decided to check their speedometer and it was 30.3km/hr for 142km on Malaysia Roads. Quite a mini achievement!!

Lunch was heavy as usual as the 6 of us started ordering rending, maggi goring, maggi soup, murtabak and nasi goreng. Now I wonder how some of us are going to maintain their figures or reduce their tummy like how they have hoped (=

After lunch, we went to check-in the hotel and washed-up ourselves while I started to change my tube. It was a good learning experience as Darren helped me and taught me a bit of it. After that, we headed over to Tesco. Not much there and we didn’t even bother walking into the Tesco supermarket, as it was probably going to be the same stuff. Dinner followed and we headed to our very first zhi char in Malaysia and it definitely felt good eating proper stuff like “Mai Pian Xia” , “ Tie Ban Dou Fu”, “ Yu Tou Quan”, “ Fan Shu Ye”, “Fu Rong Dan” and “Ku Lao Rou”. In case you are having trouble understanding it, it’s cereal prawn, bean curd in hotpot, yam basket, sweet potato leaf, omelette and sweet sour pork.

The girls and Ky then headed to view the famous Fireflies in KS while the rest of us went back to the hotel and had an early rest as we were probably shagged from the ride earlier today.

-siyuan-

Taiping to Lumut

Today everyone was damn stoned in the morning. We have mastered the art of loading the car (ok maybe just the guys.. jm and I just porter them over) so well that nothing much needs to be spoken. Everything was pretty much mechanical.

The day was hot, the ride was agonizing. I was pretty much counting down to every rest stop. We all agreed we should do one every 25km. So at the 27kmh av we were doing, it meant a solid hour of riding before we could take a break. Siyuan and jm were manning the car today so I was rather stressed cos it’s just the boys and I again. After the first rest stop kelv asked me to pull and it was really quite tiring. Head starts to throb under the heat, lactic acid build-up at my knee area, palms numb up at the contant vibrations that jerked up with every bump and crevice (and there was a lot!) On the roads. Gahh.. at some points we were slowed to a crawl cos the headwinds were nasty. I don’t think o enjoy pulling all that much hahh. Was actually quite glad to see high hanging bridges cos that gave me a legit reason to slow down to a comfortable pace so my legs could shake off all the acid while the crazy boys charged on. At one point our dear v-comm got abit confused and we hollanded a little. Nothing to that since it was near the start of the ride and we were not all that shagged yet. The day’s ride was mostly winding round mountain crosses. Some parts were pretty enjoyable cos there were relatively less traffic than the day before. Was I ever glad when we finally got to our JR motel at 94km.

After some washup, lunch was at another bak kut the shop. This one had really good pig trotters although ky felt the BKT soup felt like prepared packet ones. After some dabate, we decided the best way to spend the next 3 hours was to watch another amrican pie back at the hotel since we bought 5pm tickets for the socerer’s apprentice at a local cinema. I had been whining about that choice of movie for a few days now but it turned out to be pretty enjoyable =)

Dinner was more chompchomp-like food at a hawkercenter just opposite the cinema. Tomorrow it’s a long 140km ride to kuala selangor. Jm and I sure are glad we’re not riding!

Fengru

Penang to Taiping

Our morning was delayed by yet another flat on my bike. The front tube that kelv helped me replace last night had busted again and we wasted a good half hour trying to find the source of the trouble. When nothing wrong was found we just gave up and proceeded to have the heaviest brekkie ever-macs (!!!)

We only started riding at 8.30. Today kelv was driving and darr replaced ky to be the v-comm cos his eye was still sore. Hell the ride was horrids

Thai: smooth roads make u feel like ure just floating along

Msia: roads so bumpy there’s no point pointing out potholes cos it’s like riding through 80km of uneven, erratic speed regulating strips.

Thai: although motorbikes travel at an opposing direction on the leftmost lane, traffic was generally light and polite

Msia: trucks, lorries, impatient drivers galore

Thai: rain every other day so you have to wash, delube and relube the bikes everyday

Msia: you are wet all the time too, only cos the weather is so hot you are forever sweating We were all pretty appalled by the msian road conditions after being spoilt by the thailand roads so progress was rather agonizing. Sy was really having a hard time leading the train. You couldn’t maintain a speed cos the roads were too bumpy to draft properly and we had different levels of competencies handling the roads. The moment we see the familiar HSBC building that houses our hotel as well, we hit our fav bak kut teh joint that gerald’s supposed girlfriend worked (she wasn’t in that day ;)) as usual we downed a few gallons of the awesome soup. It was oh-so-tasty I wished there was some way we could pipe the soup up to our hotel and we could slurp it all night long. Coupled with fried you tiao and salted veggies it was the perfect lunch to replace all the salts we lost.

At the old and tatty hotel, the aircon was terrible so jm went to ask for a change of room. The afternoon was sprinkled in burst of giggles as we mimicked how ky would do his tasmanian devil raised voice on the locals whenever he talked to them. We drove to some local mall and caught airbenders at the cinema. I can’t do fantasy lahh.. dozed off halfway and woke up to realise I didn’t miss much anyway. Dinner was at A&W. Really disappointing when it didn’t par to the standards that I grew up to love. There wasn’t even curly fries =((

The day concluded with American Pie 3 in our room. So raunchy.. I likey ;))) it was 10.30 by the time the show was done.. so much for wanting to have an earlynight :PP

Fengru

Langkawi to Penang

Oh yes! No more Thailand, congratulations Team Velofiles! 10 more days in Malaysia :) To me, it was quite a relief because of less burden and worries. Also, I feel so much at home in Malaysia because I am more familiar with the place and people here. Communication with the locals here is so much easier as compared to talking to the Thai people and the Chinese food is marvellous!!

 

Anyway, it was a dream come through today. I scaled Gunung Raya, the tallest mountain on Langkawi island with about 881m in height.I have always wanted to climb a mountain on my roadie and as I browsed through the map of Langkawi last night, I chanced upon the feature Mount Raya and I thought why not since it’s going to be a rest day the next day? 

The rest were all not interested in riding except for Feng Ru, but she was not confident of going up the mountain so I decided to start the ride earlier and join her later to explore the island.

 I don’t feel good that morning. My legs were still aching from the 2 consecutive days of hard riding in Thailand and I didn’t have a good sleep last night because I woke up a few times to see to check the time. I guess I was just being apprehensive about the climb later. 

It was a 12km ride to the foot of Mount Raya and 13km ride up to the summit. In comparison to Mount Faber, it is 2km ride over 100m in height. Simple maths will tell you that the slopes on Mt Raya are steeper than those on Mt Faber (Mt Faber is not even a mountain anyway). And true enough, just 50m into the first slope I was already going at my smallest chainring.

 

And as I looked down at my speedometer, the numbers kept decreasing until I had to stand up to crank on the granny gear. It was not encouraging at all. I was going at 6km/h. The terrain was equally bad. The roads were badly paved, uneven and filled with potholes. After 200m, the thought of giving up was overwhelming me but the thought of getting to the peak just kept me going.

I had planned to pace myself and cater for rest after every 2km or so but certain sections of the route that were less steep allowed me to catch my breath. The climb seemed like it was never ending; 10mins for 2km and that was like walking speed for 2.4km run. I was supposed to meet Feng Ru at 9am but at that time, I was only ¾ up the mountain. I had no choice but to “PS” her.

The view at the top of the Mt Raya was spectacular. I got a bird’s eye view of the landscape and the air was really cooling. Too bad there was no one to celebrate my first climb with me at the peak, but it was personally very satisfying.

My next worry was descending the mountain by the same route that was filled with steep slopes, sharp bends and POTHOLES! There was no way I could hold the brakes throughout the descend as I was afraid the heat that comes the braking would cause my tubes to burst and that the brakes would wear out the rims of my precious wheelsets.

True enough, 100m of descend and I could already smell burnt rubbers from my brakes. I had to stop periodically down the long descend to allow the rims and brakes to cool. At around the halfway mark, two motorcycles overtook me and I was like SHIOK! I immediately cranked up and tried to catch their wheels. By following their line of travel, it helped to raise my confidence as I knew what to expect up ahead and I did not have to brake much at the corners. I was feeling so high that I forgot about the big hump at the end of the descend which I had reminded myself to be extra careful of when I ascended the mountain. Oh wells, it was too late to react to it when I saw it and I nearly lost my life and bike there when I passed it at over 40km/h.

To sum it up, the ascend was 90% determination and perseverance, and 10% fitness. All was worthwhile :)

Later that day, we took a 3 hour ferry ride to Penang. Thank goodness, we didn’t screw up the car rental like that time during the recce. All went smoothly except for the transfer to our hotel at Butterworth from George Town Ferry Terminal. The taxi driver actually wanted to charge us RM150 for a 30km ride!! It was hilarious to witness how Jingmin cursed and swore behind the driver’s back because he abused her bike and caused a scratch. We didn’t take the taxi in the end and make 2 trips instead.

Dinner was at Macallister road, but it was disappointing as most of the stalls were closed. Thankfully, there was a food centre which had almost everything from the food street: Hokkien mee, kueh kueh, roast duck, roast pork, omelette with oysters and prawn and sumptuous “Hua Dan Hor Fun”!!

Kelvin

Trang to Satun

The long awaited day finally arrived. It marks the completion of the Thailand leg and the commencement of cycling in Malaysia. The day arrived with mixed feelings. I was already missing Thailand although most others in the team did not fully share my views. Majority were sick of the Thailand night markets (How can one be sick of such awesome food???) and were eagerly anticipating their zichar feast. Physically, the route for today was also the longest (160km). It also did not help that we have a time limit as we had a ferry to catch (from Satun to Langkawi).


The day began at an unearthly hour of 3am! We ended up with 3 riders for this leg as Darren woke up with a state of very bad sore eyes. Nevertheless, it was not lonely due to the excellent companionship of our Thailand hosts and friends. Tigersong rode his motorcycle alongside with fellow Thai cyclist Yao riding beside us. Riding 30kmph in pitch dark illuminated only by our front lights was an interesting experience (or a damn scary one according to Feng Ru). It was nice not knowing the current speed (all cycle computers should come with backlight!) and just cycle along with a relatively (I hope…) constant cadence.


Daybreak was amazing. We coasted along watching the sun rise slowly on our left. The woods glowed orange and it was a sight I never thought I would see in South East Asia. The route led us to a relatively flat valley with mountain ridges flanking us at the sides. As our Thai host explained, this route is famous for its beauty. He was spot on.


We stopped mid-way at a relatively small town (Feng Ru took over the safety vehicle as driver and Kelvin joined the riding ranks) at the 80km mark. While resting, we feasted on sumptuous youtiao with kaya. Thanks to our thai buddies, the shop finally got my drink order correct (less sugar!!!!). Tigersong’s friend Mao from Satun met us at this midway point to escort us for the remainder of our route. Mao runs a bike shop (Bike Corner) in Satun and was driving his vehicle in front of us for the rest of the way. With a vehicle to draft behind, we manage to hit speeds of about 46kmph. Missing the ferry was now no longer a concern!


Mao brought us to a favorite coffee shop in his hometown. The noodles and pork trotter was awesome! And so were the rambutans (big red and juicy). With such a heavy lunch in our stomachs, we all took a leisurely ride into Satun and headed for the ferry terminal. We must have been quite a sight unloading and arranging all our backpacks and equipment.


All of us K.Oed on the 1 hour ferry ride. Langkawi was hot and humid and we soon realize that our days of nicely paved roads had come to an end. Dinner was settled at guess what? A Malaysian night market (to the horror of the girls who somehow had this view that night markets serve unhealthy and oily food which will make them grow fat. If you are reading this, you know who you are…no use deluding yourself…you know you want a bite of that awesome fried chicken drumstick!). Oh yes. Before I forget. The hotel had Discovery!!!!

- Kheng Yew

Krabi to Trang

The ride today started out pretty fine with nice weather, but it didn’t stay that way. Around the 40km mark, it started raining cats and dogs, forcing us to take shelter at an Isuzu service centre in the middle of nowhere. Because of the rain, we were late in meeting our thaimtb friends tigersong and Yao who joined up with us around the 56km mark.

They escorted us into Trang, even calling ahead for more friends such as Sunny to join up and prepare a feast of hokkien mee at the local cyclists’ favourite haunt.


After lunch, they took us on a little cycling tour of Trang, bringing us to the monument of Trang’s old governor, who was also the person who planted Thailand’s 1st rubber tree, in Trang. Next was the monument of the Thai king’s visit to Trang and the manatee fountain.


Then it was time to check in to the hotel, it was a good thing that our friends were around, the hotel staff didn’t speak a word of English. Probably one of the least enjoyable hotels.

After washing up, we headed out to hunt down Tesco for our last Thai dinner, MK hotpot once again with the lots more roast duck, roast pork and dimsum. Round 2 was at the Trang night market and foodstreet , trying to find and gobble down our favorite street food for the last time, the guys’ meat on sticks and kelvin’s pancakes and waffles.


Back to the hotel for an early night, we’re waking up at 3am tomorrow, utter madness, our Thai friends are even coming to send us on half of the journey.

-Darren

Krabi (R&R)

Rise and shine for Dim Sum breakfast! :) Highlight of it was the super alot of “longs” the guys managed to clear. Oh wells, and of course the super nice pork porridge!

Afterwhich, we headed down to Railay Beach for some RnR. Frolicking etc etc for the entire day.

Dinner was at Tanta’s Restaurant. The food over there is REALLY REALLY AWESOME MAX! Talked about heart shaped rice, nice seafood pizza, superb massaman curry and great pasta etc etc. One of our best meals in Thailand thus far! Cfm better than the “yi kou mian” so far in the towns! :)

Next up, NIGHT MARKET! The only night market I enjoyed! Same goes for fr too! Finally, there are places for us to shop while the guys indulged themselves in sinful night market food again! :)

So there goes our Day 1 of RnR! :) Stay tuned for Fr’s Day 2 of RnR in Krabi!!! :)

- Jingmin

Phang Nga to Krabi

Our next stop is to Krabi! :) The day started off bright and sunny with 85km to complete today. Terrain is kinda rolling hills for most part of it. Thank god I had fr to draft after the third rest stop which is pretty cool! But then there comes the hills at the last stage of the journey, spanning across 20km, it was pretty ROLLING AND ROLLING AND ROLLING! :(

The weather is pretty unpredictable over in Thailand, one moment it was bright and sunny, and the next, it started pouring and pouring. Morale was an all-time low for me then. Thank god the rain didnt stayed by for hours. Pretty soon, it was sunny again and back to those rolling hills! :(

There was a hill whereby I was already down on my lowest gear and I’m not even near 1/3 of it yet. The climb up was shag shag shag, using every single ounce of my energy to get there. The legs went wobbly and I thought GG GG GG. :( Thank god for the awesome fried chicken wings at some random petrol kiosk though. One of my very first time indulging in such sinful fooddddd!

So we reached Krabi! :) Well-known and true to its name, really pretty mountains!!! :)

We checked into Ban Mai Mansion and it’s one of my fav hotels. Awesome big rooms, clean and great toilets! After washing up, headed down to Krabi Shopping Mall wantingto catch a movie, however, there’s just movies in Thai! :( So we went on to Ao Nang (which is a very awesome long street with shopping, foodie and pubs!)

We had our dinner at Subway (YES, SUBWAY!) then headed down to Blue Moon Cafe for drinks and chill-out. Back to hotel for a good night sleep! 2 more days of RnR ahead! :)

- Jingmin

Phunphin to Phang Nga

Today’s ride is from Phunphin to Phang Nga. To say the truth, I was actually quite excited and looking forward to the 2 times Faber as shown on the elevation that Kelvin printed.   Distance wise, not very gian as it is going to be 144km. Nevertheless, it is still good training for the Satun leg as we are going to be riding 160km for that day.

So the day started at 5a.m with the alarm clock waking me up and by 6, we were off on our bikes on our way to the next town. We were riding comfortably till the 35km when it started to rain. Haha, that “sian” feeling started to kick in again as it meant that the bike was going to be damn dirty later and it was going to be a cold ride.

However, we managed to seek shelter immediately and thus were not really caught in the rain. After nua-ing with all the breads and cookies that we bought the day before, we continued riding when the rain had stopped.  During the ride, we encountered plenty of slopes or hills, whichever you called it that was “siong” but challenging and fulfilling after each upslope conquered. The supposedly 2 times Faber that was supposed to come didn’t turn up in the end probably due to the road extensions that were not shown on Google Map, however, it was still a long and tiring ride due to the distance as well as the mini-climbs. After reaching the hotel, we had a shower before having some noodle soup lunch at a random road-side stall that we passed by. We then had some pau before whacking even more food like the super succulent chicken and satay!

After the heavy lunch, it was back to the hotel for some bike maintenance again and this time, we used the degreaser till the whole room was filled with citrus fragrance. Not bad ah, free fragrance for the hotel (=

Dinner was simple, fried noodles and fried rice for us before a comedy movie , Mall Cop.

Time for Krabi tomorrow, 80 plus km, and then 2 days of shiok relaxing days (=

-siyuan-