Monday, November 3, 2008

KUALA TAHAN BACK TO JERANTUT - DAY 3

The third day would be a back-track to Jerantut. A short but rolling 70kms awaited us. We knew what to expect, except that the terrain would now be in reverse. What was the climb yesterday would now be the downhill today. Can we therefore expect shorter uphills and longer downhills?


We were ready early. Paid the RM100 for the hostel at Agoh Chalet that accomodated the 5 of us and proceeded on for breakfast. This day was Saturday. Even as early as breakfast, visitors were already coming in for their visit of Taman Negara. The weekend would be busy as Monday was Deepavali. We made the right choice to exit out of Kuala Tahan before the crowd.
The ride was uneventful. We expected the rolling hills and the cool morning was still kind to our heart-rate. I got Man to capture me on this stretch of the road. It was a nice downhill followed by an incline. One usually pedalled fast on the downhill to maximise the speed and the roll for the uphill. We played this game of fast downhills for most of the time.

AN ENCOUNTER WITH BUFFALOES
There had been a few scarry moments on my journeys on the bicycle. It had been mostly with dogs. I had no experience with buffaloes.
Man and I were having our relaxed ride together when we came across a herd of buffaloes on the bridge. They looked lost. They were grouped together, the older (and bigger) buffaloes were on the outer fringe, protecting their youngs.
Their eyes and their heads were alert, I would say ready in attack or protect positions. They were not moving anywhere. They could not move back towards the jungles as they were on a bridge. Their horns looked menacingly curved and sharp. One of them could easily flip both bicycle and owner over the bridge. All that one could hope for would be a soft landing in the river below, shallow enough not to struggle to swim!


At this time, the 2 Zuls and ACID were ahead but not in sight. I hoped they were not by the riverbeds under the bridge! We certainly did not want to join them down there.
A kancil came from our direction, but it was too fast. The car just drove on into the herd, blared the horns and the herd opened up to allow the car through. Would the herd opened up for 2 cyclists, with no horns to sound except 2 dry throats that may not emit any sound?
Man suggested I go first. I knew Man's intention was noble. He was not offering me to be the first victim. He wanted to capture it on camera. Why not, this tiny brain of mine seemed to say. A little excitement. Uttered some prayers and I cautiously cycled on. As I got nearer, I could see the "chief" looking at me, perhaps sizing me up whether I was an enemy or a harmless creature. I tried to maintain the gap between us as far as possible, though restricted by the bridge wall. I was at the right gear, heart-beat was on the high side and thigh muscles alert for a sprint should it become necessary. I knew I need to appear cool. The herds moved a bit as I got nearer. My heartbeat went a notch higher. The "chief" looked as I passed by and I was soon in safe territory.




I waited at a safe distance and Man, cooly cycled through. Further up the road, we caught up with ACID. He was taking a break on another bridge. Acid encountered the herd together with the 2 Zuls. Glad that there were no unwanted incidents.

We again stopped at the same jagung stall and had our fill of the fresh and sweet jagung. There were no further incident. Acid, Man and I took another rest about 10kms from Jerantut. I was chatting up this lady while resting. She was selling bananas, brought to her stall by planters at 50 sen/kg. She sold them for RM1.50/kg. She had no transport. Any unsold bananas would be covered and left there. Next day, she would come to open her stall again. I suppose the process to eke out a living is repeated day in day out.

It was really hot when we cycled the last 10kms into Jerantut. We immediately went to a warong for our lunch. Man ordered double helping of Nasi Ayam. The waiters thought Acid and I wanted double helping too. All 3 of use got double helping, and we cleaned the plates. Cost to us? Unbelievable at RM16.00, inlcluding drinks. We recalled the waiter for a recount, and emphasised we had double helping. It was still RM16.00.

Soon we checked in at our hotels and towards evening, the 5 of us went to the Pasar Malam - jalan jalan cari makan. I had my first taste of Sup Gear Box. SGB is found everywhere but I had never took the trouble to try it. After all, I have enough gears on my bicycle - 3 x 8 = 24 gears!!!

Acid and I retired early, ready for tomorrow's 130 kms final ride back to Bentong.

6 comments:

oops did I just say that? said...

got buffalo wings or not?

Acid said...

say what? buffalo wings? hehe.. its buffalo horns all over behind our backs,..

Yes ARZ, it was a quite an experience passing em' buffaloes.
It was situation where there was no way you could avoid it. I pedalled fast but calmly, dont want to make surprises or stir the air too much, and never made eye contact with any of them too. But I knew at the corner of my eyes,.. they are watching me closely as I passed.

ARZ said...

Momoi,
If got buffalo wings, it would be like chicken wings la - deep fried

ARZ said...

ACID,

When I toured Minangkabau, I didnt come across any Kerbaus. Hopefully, any kerbaus we will encounter in Sulawesi will be in the padi-fields.

Al-Manar said...

En Ramli,
It is a mini National Geography that you have created for your readers. Have you ever thought of adopting a school and building a Cycling Club? With your experience you can do wonders, creating a co-curriculum, imparting enthusiasm into youngsters. I can imagine a busload of students arriving in Batang Kali all raring to have a go at a mini Kuala Tahan – Jerantut route , or in Kampong Mengabang Lekor to try the scenic lorong yang berlekor-lekor while munching the famous local keropok lekor! I cannot think of a better qualified person to initiate this – and you have many enthusiasts to draw help from. One day I will be able to ask a headmaster, “Do you have an ARZ Cycling Club in your school? I know the founder of that club.”
Hassan

ARZ said...

Pak Chik Hassan,
Wow, what an encouragement from you. Now that you raised this noble possibility, it also gives me the opportunity to say with slightly higher decibel that I do have this aspiration of promoting cycling. Amongst my fellow friends, there had been success. I have also moved to new-found friends. This trip to Kuala Tahan is one such trip.
Younger generations in the schools will always have a soft spot in your heart. I recalled on my first visit to Al-Manar how you persevered over the challenges you faced in carrying our your noble deeds.
Your message is very timely. I am currently conducting a leadership program for senior officers of the Min of Education. I would certainly pick their brains on this noble suggestion.
On another note, your Kampong Mengabang Lekor had excited me to plan a ride thru kampongs in Trengganu. You knew my weakness with anything "lekor" sounding, especially the Pagar Besi variety! A new goal for 2009.