Tuesday, October 14, 2008

GLC Syawwal Nite Ride - The DUKE of Hazards

After a month of cyclo-break in honor of the holy month of Ramadan, GLC is back in action. Well, at least for me because there were fractions of GLC who actively rode during Ramadan. In the wee hour of the morning? Let's leave that at that...

Roll call was made for the crew to shed off the cholesterol accumulated during raya. Oct 9th, Thursday was the date. Usual rolling time of 9.30 p.m. 4 lamers answered the call including a new recruit from Ampang, Fino. The other 3 were me, Shaque and Dino. So we have a Fino Dino in our group.

Fino made it to the RV after a brief navigational mishap. After a brief introduction and raya greeting and we rolled. Route of choice - the partially completed Duta Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE).

From Sri Gombak, at approximately 9.45pm, we proceeded to the stretch of Karak Highway KL bound. Route has turned into a wide 3 lanes highway from its original 2 way trunk road. Night was enveloped by darkness with moderate traffic traversing back and forth. Lights from the inner sanctum of Kuala Lumpur can bee seen from afar. The monumental KLCC twin tower stood proudly, showered by its dunno how many thousands of kilowatt of floodlights...

At the instersection of Jalan Kpg Bandar Dalam, we veered right. Trespassing the barricade laid by the roadbuilder onto the flyover. Casual pedaling interrupted by sudden bumps protruding in the middle of the road. Yelling ensued by frontrunners warning the unwary fellas behind.

We went down the flyover gliding towards Kg Puah. Silhouette of the almost completed toll booth loomed on our right. Kids on motorbikes hanging out there startled by our presence. Shaque suggested we hit for Duta stretch. We took right at the forking hiway. Flowed down passing Taman Dato Senu. The smooth running on tarmac once again hampered after encountering another incomplete section. Not only that it was incomplete, it was also wet and muddy. Our tyres were caught. We continued on only to be disappointed by the totally disconnected hiway. No other choice but to turn back. Resume plan to Titiwangsa.

A quick U-turn and we were back on track. Still on elevated highway over passing the Gombak river. Sounds of water rushing could be heard as we passed the flood mitigation area. The fume of fresh tarmac and bitumen rushed into the nose as we approached Setapak. To go to Taman Tasik Titiwangsa we had to exit right. A brief stop to re-evaluate the situation after we saw the remaining stretch was also paved. Unlike the last time we were there where it was still a big mess of earth. A good chance to explore DUKE. An opportunity not to be missed.

So Taman Tasik Titiwangsa was scrapped. We proceeded down. A rich shower of lights from our right caught our attention. At a glance, it looked like some top secret military installation. Bright flood lights showering the whole complex. High fencing all around with seriuos looking building. It caught Dino's attention and he stopped to take some pictures. A bit later we found out that it's just some sewage treatment plant. Some military complex, huh? Duh....Knowing that, we sprinted as fast as we could from that place.

Darkness still enveloped most of the stretch. Up ahead, another toll booth stood menacingly. Even not operational, toll booth could already emanate the feeling of greed. Waiting to fleece your money every time you pass by. But bicycle is immune to toll booth. My observation of the toll booth disrupted by sudden appearance of coupla canine wandering nearby.

We we disoriented. Not knowing where we were. We just pedaled on. Eyes peeling for any known prominent object that could help us pinpoint our whereabout. But to no avail...Then a change of landscape. From total darkness, we were in a valley like passage. Flats were on both sides and the hiway became dimly lit. From afar we saw an overhead bridge with sound of vehicles going back and forth. We took a quick break underneath the overhead bridge. I took some pics but the outcome was not pleasing, so I decided not to show them off here.

Shortly after, another overhead pass. And finally we managed to identify our location. It was somewhere near Setiawangsa, near the housing for military personnel. Desa Pahlawan, if I'm not mistaken...Knowing that, we knew that we were getting closer to the end of the DUKE. And right we were. Shortly we were above the Keramat roundabout. The highway converged with MRR2. The slip road to MRR2 was still unpaved. We continued on taking left on MRR2 to head back to Sri Gombak.

It's customary for GLC to have a snack stop. Dino suggested the char koey teow of Melawati. Yummy...Unfortunately, it's closed on Thursday. Gotta find another snack stop. Next best place was the shophouses near Tman Melati Petronas station. We chose Restoran Kak Leha. Typical local resturant serving Kelantanese delights. Though past midnight, there were still big crowd flocking the place. I settled for a plate of nasi dagang. Nasi dagang in the middle of the night? Yeap....

After snack, it was the journey back. The climbs on MRR2 towards Sri Gombak didn't appear so appetising. Instead, we took the inner road via Taman Melati > Gombak Setia > Jalan Gombak. Dino bid farewell at Taman Melati. His house was already nearby. The remaining 3, me, Shaque and Fino proceeded. We departed at Greenwood.

Well, overall I quite like the ride. The wide 3 lane partially completd DUKE was fun to ride. Road undulated in certain sections due to overpass added more fun. Distance covered was more than 35KM. The absence of traffic on the highway was really a big plus. Better go and savor it yourself before it i completed and open to public.

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