By the Queen’s order, I was to share my story…. and I am happy to do so.
Thank you Joyce and the rest of the organizers for planning and executing a fantastic cycling trip.Â Â It was truly a wonderful experience for me and I am sure for many riders as well. There were a lot of “firsts” for me on this trip.
This was actually my first cycling trip with the JoyRiders. Â I have been riding a road bike for just about 20 months and about the same time with the JoyRiders.Â In fact, it was because of theÂ JoyRiders group and my small group of Filipino friends that I got into road cycling in Singapore after about 5 years of mountain biking in Japan.
The trip was professionally organized with detailed itinerary, well planned routes and maps, a nice and comfortable coach with a very able driver who knows how to handle expensive bikes, excellent support for drinks, never ending photos and always having encouraging words (Thanks Kelly and also to Serene and Lily when they were not riding and cheering us), fantastic makan which made me gain 1 kg at least after he trip even with all the calories burned.Â Or maybe, I want to think that was a kilo of muscles.
The main purpose which was to cycle around Malaysia’s famous highlands, was challenging but nevertheless a fantastic bike route choice with scenic spots and a good combination of ascents and decents.Â Truly, what goes UP, must come DOWN and I must admit, I really enjoyed more the going down parts.
Another first for me is the total distance covered, 299.5 km in 3 days. Â Darn, I should have gone another 500m before I put my bike back into the coach to complete 300 km. Â Not only was this long ride a test of endurance, leg muscle strength, patience but also how much your back and butt can handle it…. oh my butt!
Within this first cycling trip with the JoyRiders and this longest total riding distance in 3 days is also my longest ever 1 day ride, 190km. Â And that included 2 major climbs, Fraser’s Hill and Genting Gohtong, ulala!
Fraser’s Hill was already quite challenging but Joyce said that’s nothing compared to Genting… hmmm, I wonder what that means. The loop up the top of Fraser’s Hill was a really nice ride and one of the highlights of the trip for me. The cool, narrow winding road with a combination of some steep parts and some flat parts, was a pleasant experience. Â It was even more pleasant to have Bobot and Sven as company and we had some nice chats while pedaling along.Â Sean caught up with us just a few minutes after we got to the top and was able to join a nice group photo by the famous clock tower.
Now Genting, that climb was simply brutal.Â Â Joyce was right, as always.Â The first few km were ok but as the slope gradually became steeper, the gaps between riders also became bigger.Â I kept on checking how many gears I still have on my rear cassette as “reserve”.Â I clearly remember the point where you can see in front of you a loooong straight but very steep road which curves to the right and hell, you don’t know if it will become flat or not after that curve.Â Oh wow, I guess this is it. Â This is what Joyce was talking about, the real thing.Â It wasÂ my first long climb on a gradient that I was told to be about 9-10deg on most parts and simply, it was just goingÂ UP and UP and UP with NO flat parts toÂ glide without pedaling to rest and stretch your legs and recover unless you stop.Â Yes, you just simply stop if you donâ€™t pedal.Â Darn, there is no more gear to shift to.Â There were definitely moments that I asked myself…. should I or should I not turn back and end this pain? Â I was glad I was with Bobot and we kept on telling each other, let’s go and finish this… and we did.
As I mentioned, what goes up, must come down.Â With that gradient going up, the descent was zoom, zoom, zoom reaching 70kph.Â Good thing the roads were quite smooth and wide so it was pretty safe.Â We only realized how steep the climb was when we were going down.Â It was super fun going down and that was the reward for us.
Overall, it was a great experience and a realization that… I enjoy cycling not just because of the fitness I can get, challenge of going through new and difficult routes, fresh air and scenic views but really reallyâ€¦. more because with the people I ride with.Â This was a very memorable cycling trip with the JoyRiders and close friends and even more specially because it was a farewell ride for a very close friend and biking buddy, Poch.
Norman De Villa