Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gambang to Sg Lembing Eco Heritage Ride 2009

Today we had a wonderful mountain bike riding trip. The weather was cloudy and most of the route went through shaded forest.About 200 cyclist turned out for this ride. The local Kuantan based cyclist assembled in Wisma Belia Kuantan to be ferried to the start point, while the outstation cyclist stayed in the new Gambang Water World Resort.

The RMAF assisted by providing 3 tonner transport to ferry the bicycles to the start point which is at the new Gambang Water World Resort. It has been many many years since I went on a 3 tonner.
The riders were driven in a separate 3 tonner. The ride was bumpy and all the riders were busy chatting loudly. It was almost like a scene from Alex Haley's book "ROOTS" on the over loaded 3 tonner truck.

At the Gambang Water World resort we met up with the other cyclist who came from other parts of the country.
This uncle is one of the "senior"rider. He is 64 years young and is a fast rider too. Shit...I have a lot of people calling me Uncle as well. Do I look that old?The siren for the start was sounded at 0910 hrs. The first 4.3 km was on the old trunk road and there were Police Escort. After 4.3 km we made a right turn and it was trail riding all the way until Sg Lembing. At first it was Palm oil estate but after 5km of undulating terrain we were greeted by the primary jungle. Hill climbing started straight away and after another 2 km we crossed the first river. No problem as it was quite shallow All in all we had to cross 5 rivers . One of it was quite swift and I had to carry my bike so that it does not get carried away by the current. BUT the rivers were crystal clear and cold.. This trail is interesting because the climbs were alternated with some gentle descending. I thought this is going to be an easy outing but the Grand Final climb was at about 18 km. Almost 45 degrees slopes UP and winding and twisting almost like no end! A few of the marshalls were on 250 cc scramblers and they had problem going up all the way. It was slippery as it was raining yesterday. This climb was along and tough one. Pushing the bike is the only way to go but because of the slope the (Mg Sine 45 degrees...Newton's law) downwards force of the bike was a real burden! The scramblers had to make 2 stops to cool their engines. Forget the Hilux rescue vehicles. they backtracked and entered from Sg Lembing to the other side of the slope.Then came the long downhill stretch. It was steep and there were a lot of ruts and erosion. Quite a few cyclist fell and chicken out at the steepest stretch..I got down and push the bike.At the bottom of this 3 km stretch was a stream again. This time a lot of riders took a few minutes to have a nice dip and to give the bike a wash as the tyres were full of mud by then.Time to go again and this time the terrain was more manageable. We began to see signs of civilisation again..Power line on top, more cleared areas again.At the 28 km mark the old faithful Milo van was here waiting for us. I took a few cups and then left for the next 7 km home to Sg Lembing. This time it was through oil palm estates again. Not so hot as the trees provided some shadesSoon we arrived at the village and as you can see from the photo it is a beautiful sight. Can you see the suspension bridge in the picture? We had to ride across the bridge and another bridge before we reached the town. I consider riding on these two suspension bridges to be the highlight of the trip. It brings back memories of the time when we had to walk on top of the Berlin Wall at Castle Camp during our obstacle courses training when I was a Boy Scout and I used to have cold feet! I am scared of heights! The trip took about 3.5 hours. At the end of it a good lunch was served. Participants were given a nice T shirt each.

My observation is that most of the rider were from the 30 to 50 age group. Where are all the young riders? Those from school going age to 25 years old.....Are they still playing Warcraft over the internet?

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