Zaba booked the Mayang Sari Resort for our one night stay in Dungun. It is a small boutique-like resort. A stone's throw away is the beachfront. The three cyclists Zaba, Sham and Razak have had the time to soak in the winds of the South China Sea and spent a full night at Mayang Sari. They arrived about 6pm a day earlier.
For Jalil, Fendi and I, we must be holding the record for the shortest stay in a hotel - checking in at 5am and checking out at 7:30 am! We had no opportunity to enjoy the ambience of this Mayang Sari Resort nor the beach front.
Our 3-day cycle tour of the East Coast begun on this day. It was the dawn of another new beginning for the 5 BJCC cyclists - Zaba, Jalil, Fendi, Razak and Sham. The only thing they have not tried is a self-supporting tour, and this was it! I was looking forward to be part of this excitement.
We were ready by 7:30 and rolled our bike to the foyer. A group photo to start this 3-day journey was a must.
6 BJCC cyclists, eager to experience the charm of the East Coast
First thing first. In cycling term, it is "carbo-loading". Put simply, our stomach needs taken care first. We cycled out of Mayang Sari. The beach front was relatively quiet. The sea was calm and the morning breeze was the right tonic for the 3 sleepy-heads. We found a warong and enjoyed the Nasi Minyak and Nasi Dagang and the hot Nesacfe and Teh Tarek.
For the first part of the ride, we took the village road that led us to Tg Jara Resort. Exiting the town, we were soon on the bridge spanning the wide river with great views. A stop before we even begun. A photoshoot on the bridge to capture the memories of this maiden tour.
In a car, one would whizzed through this bridge and missed the opportunities to capture moments like this.
And it is moments like these that put meaning to cycling tours. And moments like these are aplenty, when one is not in a hurry. It is after all, not about the destination but the journey.
Continuing on through the canopies of the kampong road, we soon reached the gates of Tg Jara Resort. Tg Jara Resort is for deep-pockets. We are on a shallow-pocket trip and hence a photo-shoot in front of the gate would suffice.
I requested the guard manning the entrance to Tg Jara Resort to take our group photo. He said he was "busy". He was sitting in the guard house, busy doing nothing. I suspected this guard must have been asked zillions of time to take shots for cheapo tourists who stayed in no star hotels but want a shot taken in front of this 4 star Tg Jara. To him, we cyclists are no different! Ha...ha... So, Jalil sacrificed his face for this shot.
We moved on and was soon on the main road, heading for Kuala Trengganu. We made good progress. The road shoulders were wide and passing traffics remained at comfortable distances. 15kms into the ride, it was time to stop at the Petronas Station to fill up the water bottles. For Fendi, it was to run to a toilet.
Fendi had a run, for the entire 3 days. He was not sure what food he took that caused the run. Nevertheless, we admired his gut and perseverance to complete his maiden tour. He hardly showed signs of fatigue despite being weakened by dehydration from the runs. At most stops he could only watch the 5 of us enjoyed our heavy meals. He had to be careful of his food intake. Syabas Fendi and thank you for your frequent stops. We enjoyed the frequent stops - at your expense!
We hardly covered another 15kms before we saw a warong selling young coconuts. Presto, we stopped again for young coconuts. "Ride to eat and drink" would be the motto for Day 1. The motto was carried over on subsequent days.
When the sun was high in the sky, we headed for a siesta by the beach in Kg Pulau Kerengga. We had to push the bikes across a rickety bridge and the sandy beach but it was well worth the efforts.
Fendi, despite the runs captured Zaba in a pose
One for the album for Fendi too
We spent about an hour at the beach, purely soaking in the wide expanse of the blue sea stretching into the horizon. Sham too posed for a memory shot with his newly acquired folding Dahon bike. This was his first long ride with the Dahon and he was very happy with the performance.
But Sham had to make way for Razak who wanted the space to sleep. This was one brave man, dozing off under a coconut tree. As an insurance man, I guessed Razak had calculated his risk well!
He must have reasoned out that only "nyor kote" or old coconuts drop. And old coconuts are not heavy. They are shrivelled and dry. Landing on Razak's well-padded tummy will not damage either the coconut or his tummy!
The not so brave ones like me chose the relative safety of the hut. Using the fishing nets as pillows, we tried to catch up on our lost sleep.
One last photo shoot for the Dahon-Brooks team of Zaba, Razak and Sham. The three of them bought the Dahon folding bikes specifically for this tour. And I must add, for their future tours too!
We overstayed for an hour and reluctantly have to move on. We had not covered half of the 90kms we had to cycle today to Batu Rakit. We would have Pak Chik Hassan waiting to welcome us to his house by the sea in Kg Pengkalan Maras in Batu Rakit.
We had out late lunch at Pantai Kelulut, again by the sea. To provide moral support to our "running" Fendi, we decided to make do with just soups - mee and meehoon. Someone though ordered 2 pieces of ikan kembong goreng tepong. The very fresh kembong and the specially made chilly sauce that came with it was superb. The poor cat meowing at us in self-pity was only left with the bones. Terrible!
I called Pak Chik Hassan to inform him of our possible late arrival. I gave him an estimated time of 5 pm. We got going, passing Marang and bypassing Kuala Trengganu and headed straight to Kg Pengkalan Maras. Rain came before we entered KT but we continued on the journey and arrived Pak Chik Hassan's house a little past 6 pm.
It was Day 1 touring experience for BJCC's 5. In the words of Fendi "Time waits for no man, toilets or no-toilets, you should pack up and ride".