Friday, May 15, 2009

IS 2009 Day 2 By Affendi

“100 years ago, they said that when a black man became president, pigs would fly, and on the 100th day of Obama's presidency.. .......Swine Flew...... (AH1N1)”.

Now on to Day 2 – Gemas to Gunung Ledang Resort 126.3km (photos uploaded as well): It felt like we had a brass section from the M’sian Philharmonic Orchestra in our room; Amir was on tenor sax and Razak was on bass, even with them snoring away, it was like music to my ears as sleep came easy for me and Sham (all 4 of us shared a room in Gemas). Guess it was the exertions of the previous day which got me into deep slumber without much trouble, not sure if I had snored in harmony too. I awoke feeling fresh and ready to tackle Day 2 of our ride which was from Gemas to Gunung Ledang Resort some 126km away. During the dinner briefing the night before, we were told that this leg would be tougher compared to Day 1 so I was bracing for the worst.

We started off at 7.15am after the morning’s briefing and after about 15 minutes of riding, I caught up with the gang who had the yoga instructor riding in their midst so you could say I sort of gate crashed their private party. Riding on I realized that they were behind and instead had caught up with PK (from PCC), Nahar, Azhar and their regular cycling kakis ahead. I rode together with my new found group for a good 40km and stopped what looked like Segamat’s famous kopitiam. The journey up to this point was one undulation after another even when in the town of Segamat and it struck me that it’ll probably be like that the rest of the way. The food was good as expected and we continued on after about 45 minutes break, a slightly longer stop than usual in anticipation of the effort required ahead. It didn’t disappoint, as we veered off the main road after riding another 10km of further undulations, we turned left into a rubber estate in Labis and into more rolling hills but it wasn’t that severe. There I hooked up again with Zaba, Shambo, Razak and Amir who was taking a break at the turn under the cool shade. The road through was really narrow so we rode slow in the shade, enjoying the roller coaster spins in the coolness of the surroundings.

On our bikes, we were a bit faster than Amir and basically he rode alone on his own while the 4 of us continued on until we got to Kg Durian Condong, some 90+km from when we started. There we stopped at Kedai Makan Asiah Ismail for lunch, an obscure place out of nowhere. Good thing that we found a nice place to stop as at this point my butt was hurting bad. Amir then caught up with us and we had a great lunch of ikan sungai segar (baung & patin) cooked in assam pedas, ikan selar, ikan masin, ulam, etc. I guess eating local and al frasco were the main highlights of our ride and with great company, you just don’t want the day to end. With our bellies full and well hydrated, we took off again for our final section of the ride through the outskirts of Tangkak and Muar with more undulations before hitting a 20km stretch of rolling hills that gained in elevation the nearer we got to Gunung Ledang Resort.

It has been undulations and rolling hills almost all the way so it was a major effort for us on the most part to get through this stretch, particularly Amir on his touring bike. Just before we had to turn right at the junction of the Resort, we caught sight of a rider in full yellow jersey with matching shorts, our very own Carlos Shambo aka Sham who overtook us at breakneck speed as he was drafting behind a lorry on his classic. It was a blurr when he passed me, somewhat like FLASH moving like a speeding bullet so we do have a sprinter and a speedster within our midst. At the junction, he had this wry grin when we caught up with him, you knew he had got that rush and had enjoyed that short sprint. We all got to the Resort at about 3.30pm, earlier then the day before and like the day before, we were the last in again and by this we had push up our visibility several notches as the BJ boys who knows how to take their time and enjoy a ride. Aaahhhh…what a ride.

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