We expected the Karak highway to be jammed up on the evening of Friday 31st Dec 2009. We expected lots of cars to be heading out of KL for the extended weekend. We expected to crawl into Temerloh on the eve of 2010. All our expectations were wrong. We were happy we were wrong. We were 3 from a group of 16 who had made plans to celebrate 2010 somewhere in the interior of Pahang. We planned to get to the interior via the eco-friendly way - on pedal power and will park our non-eco friendly vehicles in Temerloh.
We are a mixed group of 1Malaysians, with a common love for burning calories on wheels while exploring the countrysides of Malaysia and neighboring countries. Here are some of us prior to the start on day 1.
While Malaysians in large cities celebrated 2010 with a bang, we did it on the quiet, at the Green Park hotel in Temerloh where we stayed. No fireworks, not even sparklers. We had a cake and candles. We forbid booze but had sparkling juices. And we had durians!! What a combo.
Almost all did not wait till the clock past midnight to welcome the new year. We turned in early to bed for we would have an early day to Tasek Chini on the first day of 2010. It would be a 130km ride.
1st Jan 2010
I posed for this shot for my cycling buddies from Bukit Jelutong Cycling Club. I promised to don the newly-acquired own-designed cycling jersey on Day 1 of my ride. The size L fitted just right, not restricting too much of my bulging biceps and no requirement to hold my breath in the middle anatomy.
We left the hotel minus breakfast. Ride leader Alauddin suggested we take our breakfast stop after about 10kms of cycling.
Fully satisfied with our breakfast, we began our ride and started tackling the corners and some gradients. There were not many vehicles so early on a weekend. Occasionally though, a lorry would pass us fully laden with rubber scrap and leaving foul-smelling trails. Moments like these, you try to take short light breaths and that would be fine on the flats when the cycling is light. It was a different story when foul-smelling lorries overtook you on the hills and you would be breathing heavily to conquer the terrain.
A packet of keropok and a container of butter cookies accompanied one cyclist. One wonders whether this would be a ride for a picnic.
In addition, I should tell friends of mine who are diabetics to buy their durians here if they cannot resist the king of fruits. It is the least I can do for them!!
As the afternoon sun bore on us, the 16 cyclists were spread out quite far apart. The stronger ones were a few kilometres ahead and I was with Alauddin somewhere in the rear.
We rested here for a good 20 mins and took the opportunity to pose for some pics.
We were closed to completing 100km when we came across this signboard. So, which of the 3 places were we supposed to end the ride today? Kompleks Pelancongan Kuala Chini would be fine. It would be only 10kms away but it would be a folly to tune the mind for that.
For this ride, it turned out to be the furthest one, 34kms away. We cycled on in between drizzles and reached Kg Gumum at Tasek Chini as the sun was setting.