Saturday, May 17, 2008

Glenfiddich's tour of Desaru

Blue tracks = Day 1; red tracks = Day 2. Yellow boxes reflect highway numbers. Mileage in kilometers (1.6 km = 1 mile).

Let it fully load, then crank up the volume!

'Decided to stretch my legs today. My trusty tourer, Michelle, my 1992 Bridgestone MB-3, elected to accompany me. Somewhere along the way, another Bridgestone, a fixie, opted to come along.

We missed the 7:20 AM cut-off time (for checking-in the bikes) to make the 7:50 AM ferry, so we had 4 hours to burn. CSPM would be happy to join us — McDonalds! A little later, we had a surprise visitor: John (on his Kona Explosif)!

Nic went for a shower. Here, he is trying to make sense of a surreal sight: a cyclist in full time-trial gear, complete with an aerodynamic tear-drop profile helmet, in full-tuck, blazing along at 5 km/h, weaving wobbly among hordes of children on little bikes with trainer wheels, middle-aged housewives out for a stroll, out-of-control inline skaters with arms akimbo, and sweaty, greasy old men sucking on cancer sticks whilst ogling at lithe young things.

We screamed, "GO! GO! GO! SPEEDRACER!" but apparently, his aerodynamic ear covers made him faster than the speed of the sound. Or so he thinks.

Surreal sight II: I went to get a cold drink but...

The 11:50 AM ferry was delayed until 12:20 PM. By the time we reached Sebana Cove, it was 1:25 PM. In the parking lot, Nic tooted his horn at a Long-tail Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and the grumpy critter nearly attacked him.

It was uncomfortably warm at 98°F (36.7°C). Road maintenance crews were at work on the plantation roads; we mistakenly rode over uncompacted asphalt and bitumen. A few sizzling grains went into my socks, and, as I danced — on my bike — like a man on fire, a cheeky worker quipped, "Panas, eh?

After 17 miles (27 km) of heat and headwinds, we stopped at the town of Sungai Rengit for drinks.

Or, in my case, food. (Yes, both bowls are mine.)

Just before we left Sungai Rengit, Nic and I found ourselves arguing (good-naturedly) about who should carry the extra bottles of water. As the bottles weighed 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) each, he wanted to carry his share.

NIC:  No, man! You are mad! Gimme one of the bottles!
BEN:  No way, dude! I'm carrying it. I've got panniers.
NIC:  Fuck, man! You are crazy! You are carrying an extra bottle around for nothing! GIVE IT TO ME!
BEN:  This coming from a dude who's lugging 1 liter of single-malt scotch in his messenger bag almost 200 km around Desaru.
NIC:  . . . I suppose you have a point.

The detours discovered on the previous ride remained every bit as fun and picturesque.

The penultimate slope before Desaru was brutal though: Nic saw black spots dance before his eyes; I saw stars.

Highlight of the day:  a school sports tournament was held nearby, and soon we found ourselves chasing school buses down long hills.

I hit 41.9 mph (67 km/h) on Michelle, and with panniers too!


Due to the long weekend holiday, all the hotels were fully booked. Nic spotted a hostel on top of a hill. Since we were prepared to spend the night under a tree, a bed and shower at a hostel remained a welcomed option.

NIC: Good shit, eh?


The typical cyclist has a thin, muscular body with a soft stomach (Jack Rose). More certain is a little brown tan mark on the back of the hand caused by riding in the bright sun while wearing cycling gloves (Walt Knapp). Another indication is white hands with tanned arms (Eric Cross). The cyclist's tan is recognizable because the person's back is fully tanned while the front is not (Eleanor MacMaster). Eric also pointed out that smoothly shaved legs on men are a clear sign. Many people reported a black mark on the inside right calf caused by the bike chain. Often, there is a clear outline.
         (Ken Kiefer)

Okay, I'm drunk. G'night!

There was a group of cyclists at the hostel. Looking over the map they were using, I noticed that its route starts from Dairy Farm Estate / Bukit Panjang. Looking at the top left hand corner, it said, "Desaru Ride." "HEY!" I yelled, "This is my map!" One of the gentlemen replied, "Oh, I downloaded it off Pedal Damn It!" At this point, Nic exclaimed, "He is Pedal Damn It!"

It owns  :-D

(Hi, Eric! I checked your bike in the morning. 'Glad to see you fixed your dragging rear brake.)

Ready for more punishment!

Breakfast at the log cabin clubhouse at Desaru Golf & Country Resort.

After demolishing a breakfast of 5 roti canai, 1 iced-tea, 1 coffee, 2 ais kacang, we headed north towards Tanjung Balau.

Yes, that's the same vehicle.

Leaving Tanjung Balau via its old road.

Panda Portrait!

(Ah, Mountain Charlie Road, I still remember it from my Skyline Boulevard rides.)

Here's Nic giving it to naysayers who claim that Desaru can't be ridden to on a fixed gear.

Actually, he went beyond Desaru.

And here's moi giving it to chubby religious wackos overweight morons who insist that I need to fast. (My BMI is 18.4, hello???) If you self-appointed religious rent-a-cops / pigs / frauds fast half as much as you talk, you would have starved to death.

2 Bridgestones.
Left:  26.4 lb (12 kg)
Right:  49.59 lb (22.54 kg)

The road to Sedili Kecil (1), (2).

19.4 miles (31 km) of quiet road.
Another time, perhaps.

As we tackled the hilly roads inland, temperatures climbed in tandem. 102°F (38.9°C) with no wind  :-(

The Petronas Petrol Station outside Desaru actually ran out of 100 Plus, so we settled for cold mineral water. Here, Nic waits for me at the junction to Highway 89 while I grind up the last hill.

11.5 miles (18.4 km) of hills to Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal.

One of the gravity climbs.

2HardKore on a hardcore bike.

His rear brake has been disengaged since we left the hostel  ^_^

According to the policeman at the terminal, we came in 12th and 13th. 11 riders before us managed to make the 3 PM ferry.

With almost 2 hours to burn, Nic breaks open the goodies.

My retired Shimano SH-M225 cycling shoes have been resurrected!

With the trusty Shimano M737 SPD pedals, the gorges left by the wings of the Crank Brothers Eggbeaters are not an issue  :-D

Time to refuel:  2 shots or 2 gulps?

The crew treat your bike more kindly on the Tanjung Belungkor — Changi Ferry Terminal line.

Sign on hatch says, "Keep Closed At Sea."

A peek inside reveals a make-shift clothes dryer. But where does the heat come from?

Ah, the engine room.

Instead of conventional propellers, this vessel is propelled by water jets.

3 huge water jets.

Nic adds a 4th...

Pulau Tekong!

Dinner Lunch at 9 PM at Carl's Jr., Big Splash. (The cafeteria at Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal was closed so we didn't get to eat.)

NIC:  How on Earth are we going to finish all this food?

NIC (answering his own question):  One bite at a time.

This ride powered by Glenfiddich.

Total distance:  cyclo-computer 123.3 miles (197.3 km)
Total elevation climbed:  Altimeter 2480 ft (756 m)
Temperature range:  78°F to 102°F (25.6°C to 38.9°C)


ChrisW said...

Very long life, yr MB and those Karrimor panniers, mine's still alive also. Some topless pics a bit ala Brokeback Mountain lah. Wouldnt ride on a fixie and massenger bag though, too sadistic for my age.

-ben said...

Hello Chris!

Very long life, yr MB and those Karrimor panniers, mine's still alive also.

Yes. They rock. The Bridgestone MB-3 is sorely in need of a new paint job though. 'Will need to pay a visit to Sulaiman sometime soon. Matt powder-coat sounds good. Definitely not purple (for the record, Mr Chew thinks so too). As for the Karrimor panniers, I wonder if they still carry spare parts for it. Especially the plastic hangers.

Some topless pics a bit ala Brokeback Mountain lah.

Oh, you have no idea how happy that comment will make the pro-repeal Section 377A supporters. Especially after I drove them up the wall with my antics last October. I am pretty sure pleinelune, Pat Law, Ambrose, et cetera will still recall me (perhaps not with a little fondness). Too bad for them I am 100% straight — I just enjoy driving people up the wall. Since the current flavor of the month for bandwagon jumpers seems to be multiculturalism — group hugs and multiple renditions of "Kumbaya" — I made it a point to practice inclusiveness, to ensure that they are not excluded from my stirring expeditions. Tsk! Tsk! Some people are so ungrateful, don't you think? :-P

Wouldnt ride on a fixie and massenger bag though, too sadistic for my age.

That's why he's called NicIz2HardKore. He's certifiably insane :-P

ChrisW said...

Hi Ben,

I can see your MB 3 in gloss black with white decals and maybe a Pedal! Damn It! TM on the top tube, and a rigid, sus corrected black Kona Project 2 fork up front. Black out all the parts for a stealthy look.

I'm afraid it's DIY time for the Karrimor panniers. Steel plates or hooks from hardware shops. My elastic cords on them died years ago.

I do love my 20 L Ortleib front rollers. $99 lelong from Campers.

-ben said...

Hello Chris,

I can see your MB 3 in gloss black...

Black, eh? Mmm... Stealth!

I'm afraid it's DIY time for the Karrimor panniers.

Just as I feared. Oh well...

20 L Ortleibs... from Campers.

Ah! Good excuse to pay a visit to the Yen Tao! I wonder how much larger his -- and Xavier's -- biceps have grown :-P

Stay well, Chris!