Rumors of the ride first surfaced during the trip to search for the "new nasik lemak makan place" when I heard Apai and Bang Man talked about a planned New Year Ride on 1st January 2009 (duh! of course). I tried looking for it on JK, but it was nowhere to be seen. Hmm... maybe I got it wrong, I think. Anyway, talked to CH and Lei, informing them of the ride and they are game to do it, all the 80km of it.
Finally, a notice came up on 30th December on JK inviting MTBs and roadies to participate in the ride. Abg Man also forwarded me a SMS of the ride, and I duly passed my name to the organizers. I forward the same to CH and Lei, who both confirms of coming. Great guys, see you there.
The night before Lei asked me to call him early in the morning, while CH asks for directions. Ini betul2 nak kayuh ni, semangat sungguh... Anyway, on the day itself I got up early, make some breakfast and out of the house by 0700hrs. Will meet Lei somewhere near the meeting point. After making some calls, decided to wait at the mosque instead, and join the group when they cycle through.
Met Abg Man and the rest of the riders and decided to wait for the riders at Shell. Apparently, the ride starts 30 minutes later than planned so we wait and talk and do the necessary. At about 0845 the riders zooms in, and the first thing I realise is that the front riders are going really, really fast.
We tag along at the back and I make my way slowly to the middle of the pack. It seems that there are a few KOM competitions along the way, which explains the hurried pace. Jangan ikut orang punya pace, ride your own race. With that I ride with Hafiz (found him somewhere in the front of me) and stayed all the way till that first hill where he sped away.
No worries, just aim to maintain an average of high 20s up till the first stop after riding for 20km. We waited up for all the riders to regrouped to the next stop. It was a short wait, as it was still early in the ride (and the riders are still strong, hehe). It was a marshalled ride and it make the ride easier, as the marshalls stops traffic whenever necessary to enable us easy passage. Kudos to the organizers.
After a short drink break, work to maintain the speed of the previous sector. The undulating, flattish route enables me to consistently hits 30s. Not too bad for a starting again cyclist. But then, for all the high speed you have a price to pay. It almost kill me at the De Palma incline. I slowed down all the way to 10kmh, struggling along. Felt like pushing my bike, but I can't let Sham Dewa sees that, hehehe (I ride with him at De Palma)
At the second stop, I gawk at all the nice bikes and components around. You name it, you can see it there. Treks, Colnagos, Pinarellos, Specializeds, Meridas, Orbeas, Shimanos, SRAMs, Campags, C50s, carbon, alloys, scandiums... its all there. Be proud Scotty, you are in the company of nice bikes. Some of wheelset even costs more than you, but I do believe, its the rider that matters most. And in 6 months, we'll dance..
In the last 65km, managed to maintain an average of 28.4kmh. Hope to work more on that in the next few months. The last 5km was a warm down ride to the mosque where Lei is waiting, after he decided to "visit" Azman while cycling somewhere near Pekan Salak. CH got a puncture about 10km from the finish line and he has to menggendong his bicycle on one of the marshall motorbikes. This is the second flat that he had experienced this week.
Word of "THANKS" to the organizer for a safe ride, complete with Marshals and support car. Good start to the year 2009 :)