Thursday, November 05, 2009

KLMB Hash # 182 - Sg Buaya South

My lengthy take of the KLMBH Hash # 182 - Sungai Buaya South long ride...KLMBH is short for Kuala Lumpur Mountain Bike Hash. They hold monthly MTB ride on every last Sunday of the month. For more detail on KLMBH please visit KLMBH Forum

FROM "MEDIUM" TO "WELL DONE"...the Kelolo's grilling

I can still feel the heat crawling on my skin. My already "medium" complexion turned to "well done" after the hash. Imagine those who are of "rare" complexion? Grilled by the unforgiving scorching afternoon sun of the Sungai Buaya. No one was bitten by any "buaya" (croc) but many succumbed to the scorching heat.

Gloomy weather the day before did not repeat itself on Sunday. Clear bright sky with patches of thin cloud hung on the bright blue sky. Briefing call was made at 0915. John Chan did the brief. "...the long will be approximately 39kms...". Whaaa...? Did I hear wrongly? Nope..."You fast guys don't have to worry. Mostly flat...bla...bla...bla". That was supposed to console the long riders, huh? Briefing was over and everybody stayed glued to the tarmac. Something was amissed...Oh, he didn't say the magic word...ON ON.

Some 250 odd riders, old and young, white, brown and black pedaled off. Whizzing in between the houses, eyes scanning for the flour marker. Tarmac ended followed by a narrow construction road, opening with a down and up before converging with wide open dirt road directly opposite the Rawang drug rehab centre. Vast openness ensued. Bright morning sun showered its light generously.

The winding wide dirt road passed by a freshly bulldozed land, with its bank stood menacingly by the side as if wanted to swallow all the riders. Then it went down, passed a beaten steel bridge with huge holes right smack in the middle. Word of caution had been given during briefing causing riders to approach the bridge cautiously. The trail then leveled with rubber trees on our right, providing precious shade. A while after, the mob came to a stop. Yellow signs were up, pointing to its respective directions. Time to exchange hugs for the scenic and the long ride. Scenic went straight up, long would have to do the limbo to pass the boom. My son and I opted for the long.

Beautiful undulating rubber plantation track with coupla ups and downs under the cool shade which later turned to a palm plantation. Also decorated with shady doubletracks in most section. Another boom across the path, but this time it was evaded. Trail veered uphill to the right. A small ascent followed by a short, fast, bumpy downhill. View of ponds on the left as you swoop down the descent. Plenty of butt waggling action seen...That section ended with hard right (which I overshot due to over excitement).

Winding palm plantation doubletrck followed, then all of the sudden we were startled by a stampeding herd of water buffalo. Fortunately, they were herded away from the bashers by the plantation worker. At about the same time, another check was stumbled upon. That added to the chaos caused by the stampeding buffalo. Few riders scurried along to find the connecting. I took the lower path on the right that eventually brought me to a doubletrack littered with long strip of paper. I thought I had discovered the out trail without realising that the paper ran both ways. I explored a bit further just to be sure. Not long after I saw another boom then it dawned upon me that I was back on the same track that would lead to the short swooping downhill. Uh oh...never mind. At least I got to savor that short-sweet again. Woo hooooo....back on track to the check and up the track before going down a long descent...Only few riders were left behind.

Trail then converged with a wider palm plantation double track that wound up with a sign saying something like welcome to the kampung orang asli bla...bla..bla. A sudden change of ambience...Gone were the shady tracks, and right before you, exposed and barren land. Ponds, river and barren hill can be clearly seen from afar. The sun threw its sparkling smile all over. The awaiting downhill was gobbled raucously. It leveled off, the over a metal sheet bridge followed by a barren hill looming up front. The sight of fellow riders taking refuge under the cool shade was too irresistable. I pulled over to join the party. My son's whereabout came to mind. Had not seen him since the split. He was already at the scenic and long split up front, confirmed by a phone call. Ah...the beauty of technology. I hurried from the shady stop. There used to be a trail up the barren hill years ago. It was no longer there. A new trail was made that went around the hill, through a green meadow. Very scenic but spoilt by a nauseous stinking smell that intruded the nostril. Yucckkkkkk!

A skinny bridge of double concrete pillar challenge awaited. My pedaling mood was in a good form. I glided clear off the bridge then continued pedaling up the hill. A handsome reward of shaded downhill claimed, that took me down to the kampung orang asli. My son was waiting there. I slowed down and signaled for him to follow. He surprised me by decided to take the scenic and return to base. Hmmm...Perhaps his long absence from the biking scene tired him.

Tarmac passage ahead briefly. Then off into the dense of rubber plantation and secondary jungle. Undulating tight singletrack which for me, was the cherry on the topping, the crown jewel for this hash. Superb!!! I enjoyed so much. Thank you hares. It concluded with fast terrace like descent which I managed to clear all right to the very bottom where only a narrow ridge connected a drop. I glided down only to discover that there was a swampy area awaiting. Fortunately, I managed to brake in time...Can't imagine how ugly the picture would be if my front wheel is caught in there and I am tossed over the bar to yonder...

The view of beautiful terraces entered. Pity that it's direction was not in favor of gravity. It headed up, not down. Steep gradient too much for my legs to pedal. Pushed up lazily and reluctantly. Once at the top a naughty thought of bombing down crept in. Aboi, who was still below, as if he could read my thoughts, yelled "Turun sedap nih!(Bombing down would be cool!)". Temptation...temptation. But the thoughts of having to push up again, erased the intention. More sweet undulating rubber plantation track. The Pyre galloped in joy like a young pony savoring the cool shaded trail. Such blissful and joyful ride shortlived when trail exited from a tight palm singletrack into an exposed vege farm than onto a muddy and slippery, seemingly endless riverbank trail. The grilling began...

My 2.35 fat tyres front and rear were becoming a liability. Mud and dirt clung to it, creating unnecessary friction and resistance. Bike felt heavier. The slippery road, also laced with thick green grass made navigation more difficult. The scorching afternoon sun was right on top of your head. Potholes at every 10 meter or so. So many of it until I became lazy to avoid it. I just ploughed through with some balancing act compensating for the slipping and skidding. I felt drained, water supply getting low and I was not even at Sungai Buaya yet. Body screaming for a break in the shade but somehow, I refused. I pedaled on ignoring the surrounding, ignoring the heavy breathing, ignoring the fast heart thumping, ignoring the lactic acid poisoning my leg muscle. Only one thing in mind...the shophouses in Sungai Buaya with its chilled isotonic drinks waving seducingly...

After painstaking continuous pedaling, the riverbank trail was left behind. A new challenge of mild tarmac climbing came up ahead. You could see dancing mirage on the heated tarmac. I continued as much as I could before finally surrendering. Took refuge under a scarce shade at the first watertank. What a relief...

Minutes later, pedaling resumed. Tarmac ended, followed by fire road that led to Sg Buaya. A geat relief when the shophouses of Sungai Buaya was in sight. I diverted from the hash trail to seek refreshment and water replenishment. A fellow rider cautioned me of my direction, I told them that there were shops nearby and I was just getting my water supply replenished. A revelation that made many eyes widen adn rounded. Soon, few more riders followed suit. I gulped down a bottle of Revive with just one swig. Another big bottle of 100plus went into the bladder bag, filling it to the brim. Sudden surge of freshness filled the body. Ready to take on more challenges. I even pop a lollipop into my mouth as sugar supplement.

Back into the designated route, fully energised. A short exposed trail before retreating into a shady palm plantation. A mild, much welcomed descent enjoyed then stumbled upon one of the hare minding the traffic. Papers formed the word SHORT CUT laid on the trail. They must have closed a section of the trail to expedite back riders. Time was 12.40 p.m. Shortly after, met Huang and his buddy who were minding the trail. Short exchange of niceties then I rolled on. Still on palm plantation double track that eventually merged with another ascent that looked very familiar. Deja vu? It appeared that the trail went back to the barren hill.

Same routine repeated. Breath held when approaching the foul stench zone. A glide on the skinny concrete bridge, up the hill flocked with bashers pushing their bikes up and the swooping shady DH all the way to the kampung orang asli. The sight of the yellow signage that read HOME was very consoling. There I was, alone, trudging on the last leg of the long route...

I kept a moderate pace. No more worry about hydration as the baldder was just refilled. Orang asli tarmac ended at a suspension bridge. Dirt track followed with mild ascents and descents. Few more riders were seen along the way. The sight of more houses gave relieving feeling. Like beacons indicating that HOME was getting closer. Another yellow home sign on the left gave that assurance. Coupla riders overshot and missed the turn. Too busy pedaling plus oxygen deprivation could do that to you.

Back into the housing estate of Country Homes. More scene of riders lost for direction. They could have easily found their way if they pay attention during the briefing. Flour marking on the road was very obvious. So please fellow bashers, pay a bit of attention during the briefing. It could save you a lot of trouble. Minutes later, I was back at the registration counter, signing out. Time was 1.40 p.m. Distance clocked 37.5km. Discounted distance after one section of lung busting climb closed after cut off time. What a ride! Energy sapping but enjoyable. It grilled me from "medium" to "well done". Well done hares for "well donning" me!

Something to share - I used to ride that area when I first started MTBing in 2006. All solo outings. Cycling from Tasik Puteri to Country Homes to Sungai Buaya and back. But I did not discover the nice trails we rode that day. I guess, when going solo, it was unsafe to venture into unknown territories. Kudos to all the hares for setting the ride.

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