Desaru Trip

Posted on Posted in HAPPENINGS

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We had an amazing (is that the word I’m looking for?) ride to Desaru on Sunday. Rode down to Changi Point from Mt Sophia with James and Jerome, picking up Bertram along the way. It was great speeding through the centre of the city in the dark at 5.30 in the morning when no one was around.

The problems started from the word go – we were supposed to have 3 fast boats but one was a slow boat – so that immediately threw the arrangements into turmoil and then the decision making about who should go on the slow boat kicked in. My group eventually took the slow boat but the others had to wait for us on the other side – 35 minutes traveling time as opposed to an hour and a bit. On the way we passed a ship with a helicopter pad and crane to lift the bikes on and off. Next time we go we really must get one of these! Joyce can you chat them up please?!

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The plan was to ride as a group to the first Kampong at Sungei Ringgit to pick the restaurant for lunch but things did not go according to plan. Up in the middle of the peloton there was a wobble and a crash and two guys went down. Tuck Seng was riding a Pinarello Dogma that was reputed to be worth a small fortune and the frame cracked in the crash. Hope he was insured!!! He had to abandon and the delays caused the group to splinter. Paul soldiered on and managed to complete the ride – wounds and all – well done mate!! The restaurant Joyce was looking for at Sungei Ringgit turned out to be burnt down so we had to go to the Jade Palace which James remarked sounded more like a brothel than a restaurant.

Almost immediately on heading out of Sungei Ringgit it started to rain, lightly at first, so you could kid yourself that it might stop soon. It didn’t. 35 kilometers later at Desaru it was still raining and then we had to turn around and ride back. Then it really started raining. Thunder cracked and a heavy downpour set in. All the potholes in the road, and there was no shortage of them, filled up with water and a few people got showered from cars and trucks throwing up gallons of water as they sped past on the other side of the road. The word “hole” must be a Malay one; as soon as we arrived in the country everyone was using it! There was no letting up and everyone was totally drenched as we arrived back at the Jade Place for lunch. Miraculously, it stopped raining.

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We had one of those 5 or 6 course classic joyriders’ Chinese lunches salad, veggies, lobster, fish, tofu, rice and so on and set off for the last 18 km back to the ferry terminal. Did anyone else notice that we forgot Joyce at the restaurant?? She certainly reminded us when she rode past a few minutes later!!

James got a flat. We fixed it and continued on. Thanks Brian – the other one. The rain started belting down again. In fact it was raining so hard it was like combining 2 sports, cycling and swimming – at the same time. A few km down the road we came across Sow Fong who also had a puncture and we stopped and fixed that. It was a long, final 6 km slog back to the terminal to find the others all waiting for us to return (or return back as they say in Singlish). We had to take the slow boat again for our soggy trip back to Changi. Funnily enough, we paid less for the slow boat but on the way back we arrived before anyone else, now that’s value for money! Then we unloaded, jumped on our bikes again and did the final 35 km back to Mt Sophia, rather briskly with Bernard and Jerome leading. Couldn’t find Bertram but later got a text, he had been detained at the terminal for importing chewing gum into the country – naughty boy!!

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Had a shower at James’, and went out to dinner to eat some hot spicy Thai food, then went home and crashed. 170km in total and about 100 of them in rain!! My bike is gritty and passport is soggy b/cos I neglected to put it in a plastic bag. I hope it will still get me into Indonesia and in and out of Singapore for the rest of the year.

After such a testing day it was still smiles and laughter all the way home. No one complained and there have been lots of appreciative thank you texts and emails for organizing the trip. Very kind of you all. My final word to all the people who we encouraged to sign up: ‘If you haven’t ever done a wet ride before …well now you have. And at least it wasn’t scorching hot.’ Something to talk about at dinner or to tell your kids or grand kids in a few years’ time!

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