Friday, October 31, 2008

GLC Nite Ride That (Almost) Never Was...

Mid of October was a blessed period. Klang valley was showered with blessing (rahmat) from Allah. Almost every day. Beginning from late noon till midnight. The almost continuous downpour made me defer coupla night ride plans.

Akmal, a close biking buddy from Jay Bee, informed me that he'll be in KL for a few days attending meeting. He rode the GLC nite ride before and was keen to savor it again. So, I got the Element prepped up for him and Thursday, Oct 23 would be the day. That date was also the eve of my 40th birthday. A birthday present for me to ride change of decade in my age...30's going 40's...

Thursday came. I checked the sky almost every hour throughout the day for signs of darkening sky and drops of water. Till evening, the sky was clear. Bright hope for a nite ride happening.

At first, Ummu decided to join the ride, but later withdrew because our children needed help with their art exam. About 8.30 p.m. Akmal pulled over his Avanza in front of my house. I went out to greet him and at the same time glanced at the streetlight. There, could be seen clearly under the bright streetlight, streams of fine droplets of water. Drops was so fine that you couldn't feel it hitting your skin. There was still chance of ride to go ahead.

But later it looked as if it got heavier. I cautioned Akmal that most probably we'd have to call the ride off. I went up to freshen up and slip into my gear. The plan was to get ready in case the rain stop, we could just continue riding. At about 9.00 p.m., Fino texted me. He was already at Sri Gombak and he cycled there from his house in Ampang. I thought he was just pulling my legs. "Iye ke", I texted him back. "Iye le...", was his reply. He asked us to come, at least for some teh tarik if we couldn't ride. Now, who could turn him down?

Akmal all geared up
I conveyed the message to Akmal and confirmed that we would proceed. He beamed with joy. He immediately pulled his magician act and presto, he was in riding gear before I could even say "Selamat Hari Raya". Moments later, we were already astride our steeds and set to move. It was consoling when the visible fine rain was not felt by the skin. Meaning, it was very-vey fine. We headed for RV around 9.20.

Fino's BH rig
Fino was there by himself. The usual kakis were nowhere to be seen. Fino told us of another friend from Wangsa Maju will be joining. So we waited. Overheard a phone exchange between Fino and his friend indicated he was on his way to Giant. A prominent huge gigantic landmark. We waited till 10.20. Later, we learned that Fino's friend headed for the wrong Giant. He was at Taman Permata outlet instead of Batu Caves. He would have to turn back and pedal all the way to Sri Gombak.

Akmal and Fino

Scratching the KLD itch
We decided to change the RV to make things easier for Anis. 10.30, we moved. Away from Sri Gombak headed west onto Karak Highway. We chose to RV at the pedestrian bridge. KLD fever was still in the heat. Time taken for waiting for Anis was put to good use by playing ala KLD on the steps for pedestrian.

Rain continued but still in tiny droplets. Creating mist like ambience. Cooling and soothing. Moderate traffic plying the road which was upgraded to 3 lanes highway and became part of DUKE. At 11.00 we saw flicker of white bluish light from the direction of Karak. Finally Anis arrived. We made quick introduction and allowed him a coupla minutes to catch his breath. Then we moved on. The drizzle continued...

DUKE to Bandar Dalam junction
We proceeded along DUKE then took a right to Sentul at Bandar Dalam junction.From Sentul to Jalan Tanah Lapang taking a big turn around Sentul Boulevard then right into Jalan Enam passing by a condo project then a left at a forking Sentul Link/Jalan Perhentian.

Jalan Ipoh. Akmal recollecting his past. Reminiscing...
From there, we proceeded along Jalan Ipoh northbound. Along the way Akmal was reminiscing his past. Recollecting his childhood days. "Dulu rumah kat sini, BC", he pointed. Thereafter we turned left towards Jalan Duta. In all our nite rides passing that route, we never try going up the elevated highway. The gradient look very un-appeasing. We chose the lower route via the roundabout. As reminder, do be careful when entering and exiting roundabouts. We passed the Duta roundabout then towards Duta bus station.

Recharging before going up Persiaran Duta.

Up up in front of Institut Integriti Malaysia - Persiaran Duta.

We took a breather at Hentian Duta. While resting, I showed them the slope decorating Persiaran Duta. Approximately 300m of ascent with gradually increasing gradient. None of them had passed that route before...Night continued to crawl nearing the change of date when we biked up the hill. Anis in the lead, while Akmal accompanied Fino. Though new, his spirit was strong. He persevered to clear the hill even at a slow pace. I joined Akmal in cheering Fino and cry of jubilation broke out at the top of the hill when he made it.

Atop Jalan Changkat Duta
A relieving fast downhill followed but shortlived because another climb appeared but shorter than the first. The vicinity of this area was populated with big huge mansions. Invoking awe and envy simultaneously as we painstakingly pedaled up. We turned left into Jalan Changkat Duta then stopped upon reaching the junction to Jalan Tunku Putra. The night view seen from atop Jalan Tunku Putra was so spectacular prompting us to pause for a while to enjoy the view. Far below, steep tarmac descent awaited.

Fast and furious tarmac downhill
We wasted no time in bombing down Jalan Tunku Putra. All the agony sustained during the climb was paid off...triple fold!!! The momentum gained from the roll was enough to take us to Jalan Mahameru. Exhilirating!!! I didn't have speedo but I guess top speed was more than 6okmh.

Dark Tasik Perdana jogging track
From Jalan Tunku Putra we took a right on Jalan Mahameru. Light traffic traversing the highway in the wee hour of the morning. From Jalan Mahameru, left into Jalan Sultan Salahuddin then right into Jalan Parlimen. From Jalan Parlimen, we turned right into Jalan Cenderawasih and a quick right into Jalan Cenderamulia in Tasik Perdana. During daytime, Tasik Perdana is a beautiful and refreshing recreational place. At midnight, shrouded by darkness and silence of the night, it could look creepy. We went into the jogging track. Dark passage lit only by our puny lights. Fino nearly kissed the earth when suddenly half of the track was barricaded. He went of the edge of the interlocking block track. That track took us into the depth of Tasik Perdana till we came to a richly lit area complete with gazebos. We ground to a halt for another breather.

In all our excitement, later only we realized that the rain had completely stopped. Nobody realized exactly when. 12.20 am, Oct 24th we made a stop. I stood there for a brief moment of silence. I had just did a 2 decades of my life ride. Going from my thirties into my forties. The fellas knew about it and they remembered wishing me Happy Birthday...On a cool dark night...

Nearby were several sets of steps and stairs which I intended to do my KLD. Damp surface after the rain dampen my spirit. Fear of slippery steps made me scrap that thought. After all, I was not that young any more. Being forty made me a whole lot wiser (and a coward?).

Jalan Ria
Three quarter of the journey completed. Time for a teh tarik before adjourning home. A motion put forward with no objection. We hit Jalan Kebun bunga, a paved tarmac. Suddenly, peaceful quite cool night was disturbed when a rank smell invaded our nostril. My mind instantly related that smell to horror movies where normally shortly after a hideous creature will pounce on us. I started scanning left and right and to my relief, there was a deer park on our right. Phewww...Rank smell left behind when we took a sharp right right ala switchback into the ascending Jalan Ria.

Memorial Tun Abdul Razak
Jalan Ria then converged with Jalan Perdana. We passed by Tun Razak Memorial, Planetarium Negara and then Jalan Perdana boasted a magnificent urban winding fast downhill that went down to Masjid Negara. We let gravity took control, minding the brake not to let gravity get overboard. Picture of a glass of kopi-o filled my head. Soon...We sped pass Dataran Merdeka. Still a huge crowd around. We were sort of racing already when D Tebing got nearer and nearer but only disappointment greeted us when all the stalls were already closed.

Time was already nearing 1.00 a.m. Fino and Aniz decided to go separate way since their house were not in our intended return route. With that we bid farewell. We proceeded to Jln Sultan Sallehuddin then swallowed by the darkness of Jalan Tun Ismail. A climbing dark path with plenty of surprises especially of the K9 kind. After the junction to Jalan Tunku, gradient changed to down and 2 mountainbiker with dubious sanity status glided down all the way passing The Mall then PWTC.

We went against the traffic flow, crossed over to the other side of Jalan Tun Razak then pedaled away towards Jalan Genting Kelang. Akmal was given a brief tour of the DUKE when we entered it at Setapak. The clear 3 lanes highway was all ours. Opppss...I spoke too soon because thereafter we saw many motorcycles parked along the highway. There were couples, groups of teenagers hanging out. Several mat rempits rempiting away. Hmmmmm....

We rode along and then exit at Bandar Dalam. Turned into Taman Pelangi Jaya then all the way up with another contra flow on DUKE before having a wee bit of off road to get back to my house. Time was 1.30 a.m.. Never too late for a cuppa at Restoran Thaqwa...There, a lengthy account of one KL Downtown urban night ride held in honor of a special guest from JB. I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did...

More pics of this ride can be viewed at my Picasa album


Akmal Hizam said...

Being featured in your article made me feel like a celebrity pulak.
Thanks for the memorable ride, BC.

You checked the sky almost every hour? Fuhh...

KeLoLo said...

Errr...can I have your autograph :)