Friday, October 09, 2009

Tenggaroh Loop Ride

Artist's impression of ride.

After 6 months of almost absolute inactivity, NicIz2HardKore and I decided to embark on a short ride in the greater Desaru area. The ride was almost called off a week before the trip when some klutz knocked Ivy over, rendering shifting to her smallest cog impossible; then, Peter Chew of Cycle Corner worked his magic and got her back on the road. Whee!

Red = Day 1
Blue = Day 2
Magenta = Day 3
Yellow = Highway / B-road numbers

9:40 AM. Filling waterbottles from a drinking fountain at Changi Beach. As Curious Cat looks on, Nic loads film into one of his cameras.

"You folks are crazy, I'm staying put — where it's nice and shady," kucinta purred.

After waiting the better part of an hour, the bumboat finally got going — everyone decided to fork out an extra SG$2 instead of waiting for more passengers. (Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

11:10 AM. Here's a picture of a really beat up motorbike at Tanjung Pengelih. Temperature  91° F (32.8° C)

22 km of flat roads to the town of Sungai Rengit.

Jalan Besar, Sungai Rengit.

Bak Kut Teh.

Check out my ribs.

What's that about fatty cuts of meat being bad for you again?

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

Reception for "high-end" TRY-athletes from a certain tropical-island-city-state-with-no-mountains. You know? The w(h)inners who cry about not having enough water points, feed points, medical personnel, traffic control, finisher's medals, hugging stations, counseling couches, pow-wow tents; and bad music, uncooperative weather, too much sand, too much mud, strong headwinds, cold water, dirty water, excessive sunlight, et cetera...

Passing by some chalets in Tanjung Ramunia.

Hey! They repaved this section of the road! No more prostate-squishing! Yay!

Mr. Shutterbug.

Highway 90 is on the left.

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

Much earlier (leaving Sungai Rengit):

BEN:  Let's stop at the next bus stop.
NIC:  I am sure you realize bus stops aren't very common here.

Bus stop. I raised my saddle height by 2 mm.
Temperature  98° F (36.7° C)

I promise to do better next time. Next time, I'll say, "Let's stop at the next light."


(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

Well, technically, it's still a (gravel) road.

Taking a few minutes under swaying coconut trees, gazing at the huge LPG tankers barreling off the coast, in the South China Sea.

Well, at least it's not as crowded as the Botanic Gardens of a certain city-island-state.

Batu Layar (Sail Rock).

The hills begin after this.

I like this pic.

It makes me think of this.


Sweat got into Nic's eyes.

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

Desaru, final approach.

4:04 PM. Tajung Balau.
Temperature  91° F (32.8° C)

4:30 PM. Back on the road.
Trying our hands at panda shots again.

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

Not quite.


Watermelon fields.

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

No rest for the wicked.
No sleep for the damned.

Nic rides his Surly fixie north, past numerous oil palm plantations, along an undulating road (J173) to the fishing village of Sedili Kecil.

Lamp post FAIL.

#@$%!!! gravity!

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

The lalang fields — last seen on a Nov 2007 ride — on the left have been razed for cultivation.

Bridge over Sungai Sedili Kecil.

6:28 PM.

Across the road from the sign is the entrance to Sedili Country Resort, where I bunked over on my 2007 Sedili Mega Loop Ride.

We reached Jason's Bay Resort at 7:15 PM.
Temperature  80° F (26.7° C)

Jason's Bay Resort
Tel 607-234-8861
Mr. Amran bin Abdullah

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

As there were many other guests (the place was almost full), the in-house restaurant was open.

2 sup ayam (Malaysian Chicken Soup)
2 ayam goreng (Fried Chicken)
4 nasi goreng cina (Fried Rice - Chinese Style)
4 bandung (Milk flavored with rose cordial)

As we dined, the mosquitos dined on us. Later, a crowd of men arrived — smoking — and the gnats went off to get their own Marlboro.

Did I say this is a Halloween Ride? Well, here's Skeletor.
(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)

(Picture credit: NicIz2HardKore)


Start  11:10 AM
End  7:15 PM
Total  8 hours 5 minutes

Cateye AT-100
Elevation climbed  1150 ft (350.6 m)
Distance  63 miles (100.8 km)
4 hours 53 minutes 45 seconds
Average speed  12.9 mph
Maximum speed  30.9 mph
Temperature  80° F - 98° F (26.7° C - 36.7° C)
Cumulative distance  63 miles (100.8 km)

Day 2
7:30 AM.
Boiling water for coffee with the JetBoil™.

10:25 AM.
Temperature  91° F (32.8° C)

Having assumed all cattle by the road to be cows, Nic taunted a bull.

Pedal, Nic! Pedal Paddle! Damn it!



(Or, is it, "You two need brains!" or "You need 2 motorcycles!"?)

At the junction of J172 and J173 is first traffic signal since arriving at Tanjung Pengelih.

5 roti canai telur (Malaysian flatbread with egg)
1 roti canai kosong (Malaysian flatbread, plain)
1 nasi lemak (Steamed rice with coconut cream)
2 iced-teh (Iced tea)
1 kopi-o (Coffee without milk)
6 bottles of mineral water (The only form of water high hind-end TRY-athletes drink)

'Dodged a soaking when a thunderstorm passed by.

The water is brown not due to mud (it's an asphalt road) but government propaganda cow manure.


On the east side of the bridge, a view of the fishing village of Sedili Besar. Apparently, accommodations are available there at a place called Le Club, but I have not been able to obtain further information about the place (apart from an expired phone number). FWIW, Tanjung Sutera Resort, accessible via a turn eastwards north of the bridge, offers accommodations.

The road will eventually run along that ridge.

         Pain is only weakness leaving the body.

Detailed road directions (created by Mazon) to Sedili Besar and Tanjung Sutera Resort can be found here.


Surging ahead, chasing a dog, I left Nic behind.

12:31 PM. After waiting for the better part of 20 minutes, I coasted back down the hill and discovered him walking his crippled bike.

What we got here?

For some reason, the 15 mm wrench was missing from Nic's bag.

My Topeak Alien DX has an emergency 15 mm wrench but it neither possess the leverage nor strength to remove the nut from a fixie axle. (The user manual states that it is to be used only for tightening — not removing — pedals in an emergency.) We attempted it anyway and the jaws of the wrench flexed alarmingly. Nic elected to preserve his knuckles and stopped.

Passing motorists (most of them have 14 mm wrenches, but none had the coveted 15 mm) suggested that we hike to the nearest village to try our luck.

Road cycling shoes are only a little easier to hike in than 8-inch heels, so Nic does his impression of a Hobbit.

1:15 PM. Tenggaroh Selatan 1.

Upon discovering the clinic closed, we wandered around for a while before another helpful motorist stopped by and offered the use of his tools.

No such luck. Lots of 14 mm. No 15 mm.

So, we trudge on.

The other Ti(e).

Hur! Hur!

As the village has no shops, we walked from house to house, inquiring after the elusive tool.

A 15mm socket is finally found, but the thin, stamped steel walls are too weak to remove the 15 mm fixie axle nuts.

Hmm... what shall we do?

The gentleman's wonderful friend went back to his home twice to search. The second time, he returned with a crescent (adjustable) wrench. Whee!

The other guy also returned with another wrench; this time, the elusive 15 mm.

So much trouble can arise when a little rubber breaks.
So much depends on a little rubber.
The little prick that caused so much trouble.

The puncture.

"Here, keep this in event of future punctures."

Thanks, guys!



2:17 PM. Back on the road.

Heading in the opposite direction during my 2008 Thailand-to-Singapore Ride, I missed this junction and ended up in Tenggaroh 6.

Junction with Highway 3. There's a taxi stand and dispatch office here.

4:04 PM. Drinks and ice-cream at a rest stop opposite the taxi stand.

Distance covered today  30.4 miles (48.6 km)
Elevation climbed  1700 ft (518.3 m)
Temperature  95° F (35° C)

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nuclear-powered motorcade motorbike.

Bigfoot and the kitten.

4:31 PM. Time to get going.

Thankful for little mercies: the wide road shoulder on Highway 3 from Mersing extend here.

5:25 PM. Nic's right pedal (non-drive side) comes loose — the first of many instances. Ah! The joys of reversing your crank orientation!

         NOOO! I DO NOT SUCK!!!


The sun hangs low in the sky.

It's pedal-tighening time again!

5:52 PM. A moment's inattention caused me to run over a large bolt, resulting in a rear tube puncture. Here, adore my beaming visage.

The puncture was interesting. A combination of a snake bite and spoke hole cookie-cutter punctures on both sides of the tube. The Xero rim tape remained intact though.

Mini-pumps look great and look trick until you actually get to use them by the side of the road. Then, you will drop to your knees and beg for the Topeak Road Morph, the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive, or a friendly truck to run you over, sparing you from an — exhausting — impression of spastic roadside onanism.

7:13 PM. Junction of Highway 3 and J172 / Highway 99. Realizing that it can't get much darker than this, we stopped to refuel.

4 Ramlee Double Daging Lembu Special Burger with Telur (Double Beef burger with egg and cheese)
4 Cokes

Hey, where did the ice come from?
Who cares?

8:12 PM. Nic misses the turn off to Highway 99, via Highway 95, a route that would have saved us about 13 km.

Taking a break on an unplanned night ride along Highway 3.

A stop at a gas station just before the junction to Kota Tinggi, Johor Bahru, and Desaru.

What the pics and videos don't show: descending long, barely-seen stretches of asphalt in the dark, our paths only illuminated by anemic headlamps best meant for city streets; the palpable darkness; the roar of the wind, the flutter of helmet straps in our ears; and the subtle interplay of inky black forests and mountain ranges against the indigo blue night sky — a vast chiaroscuro with two infinitesimal figures slowly pedaling across the landscape.

You had to be there.

No, these were not waiting for us by the roadside, nor was Issei Sagawa. (Though Nic did scare the living crap out of me later — you'd never seen me sprint up a hill so fast — but you will have to buy me a cup of coffee for that yarn.)

Truth be told, we were more worried about potholes. Thankfully, we didn't run into any of this size, or its wheel-flipping daughters.

11:07 PM. 29 km from Desaru, a truck stop after Air Tawar 5.

Distance covered today  77.2 miles (123.5 km)
Elevation climbed  3480 ft (1061 m)
Temperature  77° F (25° C)

The coffin nails / cancer sticks / cigarettes aren't mine.
(I don't smoke, I stir.)

Day 2 slides imperceptibly into Day 3.

We left the truck stop at 12:45 AM.

1 AM. Highway 92.

The turn off to the southern terminus of Highway 99 (Lok Heng / Bandar Easter / Wa Ha), our intended route, was utterly dark and desolated. I wonder what sort of adventures we would have run into had we not miss the turn off to Highway 95.

Another time, perhaps.

500 meters after this sign is the Petronas gas station that marks the turn off to Desaru (it was closed for the night).

4.7 km later, the traffic circle at the entrance to Desaru.

1:52 AM.

4:15 AM.

No, we didn't see anything in the mirror.


Start  10:25 AM
End  1:52 AM
Total  15 hours 27 minutes

Cateye AT-100
Elevation climbed  3930 ft (1198.2 m)
Distance  90.1 miles (144.2 km)
8 hours 38 minutes 48 seconds [includes hike to Tenggaroh Selatan 1]
Average speed  12.2 mph
Maximum speed  32.2 mph
Temperature  75° F - 95° F (23.9° C - 35° C)
Cumulative distance  153.2 miles (245.2 km)

10:24 AM. Pre-ride pedal tightening.

First, there was Brookes Business School, now...

'Left Desaru Damai Resort at 10:50 AM.
We doubled back halfway to the Petronas gas station, and then cut through Bandar Penawar, circumventing a couple of hills.
Temperature  91° F (32.8° C)

Playing chicken with traffic on Highway 92.

Car loses!


12:42 PM.
Distance covered today  20.3 miles (32.5 km)
Elevation climbed  630 ft (192 m)
Temperature  91° F (32.8° C)

A bunch of unsuspecting cyclists heading into "Dog Alley" (no, I am not talking about SDN).


         Round 2.

22 km to the jetty via J52.

2:40 PM.
Distance covered today  31.2 miles (49.2 km)
Elevation climbed  710 ft (216.5 m)
Temperature  89° F (31.7° C)

4:09 PM. Back in Singapore, a bus driver behind the wheel of SBS2833B refused to follow traffic laws whilst approaching a filter lane at Telok Paku Road — cutting us off with the vehicle's rear wheels and nearly running us over.

Wonderful. (And we have terrified / repressed lemmings on this wayang island chastising us of the dangers of cycling on Malaysia roads at night.)


[To the guy in the picture (riding a red Cannondale R900), "Hi!"

After an easy ride along Changi Coast Road and a brief foray into East Coast Park — which we quickly ditched for East Coast Park Service Road — we concluded the ride at Cycle Craft with drinks, food, good company, drinks, drinks, and more drinks.


Cateye AT-100
Total elevation climbed  5960 ft (1817 m)
Total distance  197.5 miles (316 km)
16 hours 26 minutes 59 seconds
Average speed  12 mph
Maximum speed  32.2 mph
Temperature  75° F - 98° F (23.9° C - 36.7° C)


Spatula of Doom said...


Jean said...

I rmb the message was
Need new legs n more lights
ETA 0130 hrs
No rest for the wicked
No sleep for the dammed
No condom for the horny

Joe said...

Nice to see another rider who's into green Semporna!

-ben said...

Hey Joe,

LOL! Nic's pretty big on Gudang Garam. Something about the denser packing lasting longer in the wind...

ChrisW said...

Hi Ben,

What a hilarious ride. Reinforces the fact that riding fashion over function bicycles can be no fun in the end. Must be the reverse gear that is enticing. It a real virus you know, these fixies. Saw so many in Thailand recently.


-ben said...


'Was just about to leave comments all over your recent write ups :-P but you beat me to it. The Mount Bromo write up sure brings back the memories, man! One day, one day, I shall be back! The sand sea is really something, especially with the morning fog. Maybe I will hide in one of your panniers and hope you won't notice or something...


Spatula of Doom said...

Chris - Well, actually it was more of a result of not thoroughly testing new equipment combos before the ride. I was using toeclips before and they didn't give me problem, I'd forgotten to apply threadlock to the spindles.

ChrisW said...

Doom, You could always use a captain's tandem crankset The pedals threads are reversed. No chance of loosening. But you guys manage to fix things and get to blog about it and entertain us as well.

I would just grab Ben's bling2 bike and make a run for it ;-)

-ben said...


-ben said...

I fancied suggesting that NicIz2Hardkore simply reverse his pedals as a means to get around the problem but read this:

Note that a normal right-side-drive crankset can not be installed backwards to create a left-side-drive bicycle because the threaded pedal holes at the end of the crank arms would be backwards of normal. Even though some kinds of pedals could simply be installed on the wrong sides to get around this issue, precession would tend to loosen them over time, causing the pedals to become detached and/or damaging the pedal threading in the crank arms.

Perhaps Highpath Engineering can help.

Last but not least, there's always Loctite Red. (Keep a hacksaw handy to assist future disassembly.)

*evil laughter*