Wednesday, April 09, 2008

City Slicker Part 1 - From Chow Kit to TTDI

Monday, April 7th. What was meant to be a brief visit to, turned out to be a huge self deception. Chats about PCC road nite ride TTDI > Damansara Heights struck my interests and hooked me on. I decided to join. Other fellow MTBers decided to join were db and ckng. The rest, including kevinhan will be riding their roadies.

That night, took some time to prep the bike. Bike of choice - my son's GTS Alfa 2 bike. Changed the tires to 1.5 skinny. Checked the lights to ensure in good working order. Office garb packed into my bladder bag. All set...

Tuesday Morning came. Rode to office. Felt slight difference after being so used to fat knobby tires. Skinny 1.5 glided lightly on the tarmac. Felt easier and lighter when pedaling. One setback though, I dare not rough it up by climbing over kerbs like when I am on fat knobby. Usual routine of freshening up and change upon arrival.

More BBS chats during the day sparked the anticipation of the coming nite ride. By 6.00 p.m. I was all geared up and set to depart for TTDI. I decided to take the Jln Raja Laut > Jln Putra > Bukit Tunku > Mahameru > Jln Duta > Jln Semantan > Jalan Damansara. Before the turn from Jalan Duta into Jalan Semantan, a vague memory recollected a cut thru road that could exit at Pusat Bandar Damansara. Without much further thinking, I veered into Jalan Bukit Ledang, one turn before Jalan Semantan. Sun was setting. Gloomy sky. A steep ascent welcomed me. I pushed on. Consoling myself that it was worth diverting. Much distance will be saved. After about 50 meters, the road leveled momentarily then turned into a sweet downhill. I looked like the road was leading towards Pusat Bandar Damansara, but... all was like a mirage. I came to a halt at a dead end. Dang! Time check 7.30 p.m.

Unlike typical prejudice for american gentlemen in refusing to ask for direction, I opted to flag down a car and ask for direction. The driver looked at me suspiciously. Reluctantly wound down his window and asked thru that small opening. I confessed without shame that I was lost. Perhaps, after ensuring that I was not hostile, he wound down his window fully. Oh..a sikh family. I couldn't get a good look before b'coz they have tinted mirror on. Generous and kind sikh explained the way out. Even offer me to grab on to his car to tow me out of my predicament...I politely declined. They moved on leaving me there catching my breath an looking at the looming ascent. Some dogs looked on behind the fence...Two of them already put on their fierce face. Fangs wielded...Ready to let out their noisy barking...Nice doggy, nice doggy.

Gently, I turned my bike around without making any sudden move. sign of barking and yelping. Slowly mounted the bike. In the twilight, I pedaled away without looking back. Bye bye doggy.

So, up back the tarmac. Momentary climb then swooped down a long downhill. My fighting streak was still not giving up. Instead of making my exit, I decided to explore further to try to find the way to Pusat Bandar. There was a right uphill turn which I decided to take. Decision made too swift. I misshift and the chain sucked. I ground to a halt. No choice but to shove the bike up. Luckily the climb was short. I hit left to what I thought was the way to Pusat Bandar Damansara. Coupla ups and downs followed until I came to a junction that look like a convergence between the small road and a bigger hiway. I heaved a big sigh of relief. Congratulating myself for the victory. I increased my cadence to hurry up to reach the junction. As I approached, truth began to dawn (set?) upon me. I was actually back at Jalan Duta. Further back before I turned into Jalan Bukit Ledang. I had actually made a big detour...Very smart, very smart indeed...A short moment of dismay.

(Later I checked back the map and found out that there was no more connection between Jalan Duta and Pusat Bandar Damansara. The old connection was already severed. Well, at least that was what the map say)

Took a moment silence to recompose myself why pedaling lazily. Set back my focus to getting to TTDI soonest possible. Let out a huge exhale. Picture of KSH and TTDI gradually become bigger and clearer like zooming down using the GoogleEarth. A sip of water from the tube and slowly the cadence began to increase until I came to steady rhythm. Before long, Jalan Semantan was in sight. I took the turn maintaining cadence and shifting down to compensate for the gradual increase in gradient. Some climb that was making me gaspfor air and at the same time fighting the tingling sensation in the thighs and calves. I fought hard to fight the evil voices telling me to take a break.

Moment of torment turned into moment of joy once I passed the peak. The roll down was long, very long and I relaxed myself from pedaling until approaching the turn into Kerinchi Link. What a joy!!! Beaing able to use the largest chainring is a rare occasion. At that moment, the largest chainring was used to the fullest...It's about time you start to wear out you big ugly full-of-teeth monster chainring.

I rpoceeded along E23 Lebuhraya Sprint. Evening traffic was chaotic and I decided not to go through the toll plaza. Took the slip road by the Sprint hiway. Dodging the crawling traffic was such a joy. Imagine a bicycle can travel faster than a car! So there I was, overtaking all the automobiles all the way to TTDI. 1945hrs...I made a stop at Petronas TTDI for mahgrib prayer. Weather was clear, it shall be a good ride tonight...

...continued in City Slicker Part 2.

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