by twodogsroberts » Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:39 pm
Hares: YT Chee, Huang Ying How, Geoff Foote, Yuri Ong, Riza Shaharudin, Shaharudin Damis, Mike Kwan
Date: 28 Nov 2010
How to begin this report? I’m still in a “recuperation” mode after having clocked 33.3-km of riding, 866-meters of climbing, a max elevation of 263-meters (“the” hill with “the” mother of all circulars) in just under three hours of riding. It took me two tandoori chickens, a massive plate of veggies, a large teh o ais limau, and writing this scribe report to begin to remember all the checks!
The Hares did forewarn us that the ride would be “longish” and that the terrain would be challenging. It was good advice to take heed to, and I heard a number of people saying they had only brought 1.5-L of water. Even Liz, who filled her CamelBak beyond norm and whom NEVER runs out of water, ran out on the last hill before descending to the road! When Chee came up to me at 8.45 am and said “we need to give you a warning for one of the checks” I thought “oh my”. His warning was that there was this particular circular that was VERY long, and that there was no paper marking it as a “check”. If you hit paper at a T-Junction, you’d know what it was. When I asked “and does the trail continue within 150-meters from that spot?”, Chee’s response was “No … it’s somewhere on the periphery of the ENTIRE circular!” You guys have REALLY graduated. This is my type of check … and as soon as Chee left, I hid in my car and stuffed a Triple Threat PowerBar into my mouth thinking “I probably won’t get something to eat for another 10 hours!”
Okay, onto the details!
The bash brief was started a little late since people were still arriving at 9.20 a.m. In addition to a few administrative notes, an award was presented to Shah Damis … our illustrious “Dr. Nosedive”. He is the recipient of a brand new medical kit ; a beat up North Face rucksack containing over 12-kg of paraphernalia critical to saving lives on the trail. These were items that he furiously scribbled down as a wish list to acquire during the First Aid Course a number of us attended. Add another 3-L of water to save himself on the trails, and the rucksack will weigh a mere 15-kg . My favorite accessory was the Malaysian Defibrillator; a specially designed set of jumper cable which you can attach to a persons nipples, and with any type of vehicle nearby, you get a guaranteed minimum of 12-Volts of heart thumping energy! If we see you sloughing off on the trails, Shah, we will test the defib on you !
On to the bash description! Long and short would start in different directions, join a little later, but were using the same paper. Signage would be posted to ensure that there was no confusion. Long riders would have seven checks, Short riders would have three … the only question we didn’t ask was “are our checks co-mingled?!” They were mum about the presence of Falsies, which we later discovered why! The Long would head out to the road and the hill that they forewarned us not to climb with our cars after the bridge; Short off behind the car park. And the trail (without checking) would be something like 28-km. At strategic points there would be a Hare loitering to ensure our survival on their bash.
On On. The Long Riders followed Yuri out the car park and onto the road. We climbed that initial hill trying to run Yuri off the road for being part of the contingent about to cause us misery!! Megat, thinking that he would get the same treatment, stayed behind me … smart lad . After climbing for a little more than 1/2-km, we descended (still on the tarmac) until we saw Mike Kwan with his pants down taking a piss. Oh … sorry … he was directing us to turn into the left while also trying to take a picture!
This logging road lead us in and in and in … and … see … I forgot the terrain already. I’m still brain dead! After a left turn through a rutted section, we climbed up and under the power lines to the first check. After tiptoeing forward, and not seeing footprints or tire tracks, I returned to the power lines while the likes of Mike Tighe relieved himself of the alcohol in his blood from the night prior, Robert Madge ripped out his camera for a photo opp (of Mike!), Paul Fejer and Megat went somewhere left, and … yours truly found the check on a single track under the power lines. BEAUTIFUL descent in single track secondary growth jungle and out into the kampung.
Somewhere in here we caught up with the short riders. They were a wee bit shocked to see a bunch of riders blasting by them; sometimes on a lovely single track that we kept going in and out of. As we came upon Shah hanging around in the shade of a fruit tree, his jaw hit the floor and he said “so soon?” Think you Hares made up for that later, my son! A few km later we passed Riza who was hanging out looking mischievous and 150-meters later we hit the Long rider’s 2nd check. I’m taking bets that the Short riders had a check someplace in here which they closed for us … Thank you ! Back to Riza. Since he was loitering behind our 2nd check, I thought … it’ll be back at that direction … and turned left for a steep climb up a cement path … and promptly found paper (ON ON ON ON ON ON). And up we went into lovely palm. About 200-meter later, we hit another check. There was a pile of paper at the base of a palm tree; and out we spread (David Spencer and myself climbing (he went up the steeper section), Steve Sablatnig going on a terrace, Megat, Olivier, Paul, et. al. trying other directions. We never found it. Instead, we did find one falsie back around that steep cement track. After 30-minutes, Riza came and said that whole area was a Falsie; part of the 2nd check we hit after passing him. Eh????? Pile of paper under tree???? Shame on you, Hares! But … interesting nonetheless in that it let me do another 4-km of glorious riding! Yikes … 4-km of additional riding because of that area? It was also kept the pack together.
The “real” trail was finally found forward by Soon, going under barbed wire and a fence. Here the trail was a little confusing since paper was blown away or just not laid enough. When we hit a tarmac, it took us a while to find it going up to another fence line. And some more lovely single track … but don’t ask me to describe the trail in here. It was a blur after checking around the earlier falsie! In fact, I barely remembered the 3rd check that we encountered in young palm, quickly broken by Soon who wanted to get back to the ride site and already fessed up that he would only be doing the Short! This was broken so quickly, that as we went through a bunch of mud I thought “it’s got to be a Falsie”! Nope … we kept going, over a cement dam (and ran over a little kids flip flops … sorry, lah), and eventually on passed Ying How where the long and short split; Long going straight/ short to the left. Soon almost forgot that he was doing the short and kept with me for another 50-meters before leaving his tire treads on the pavement.
Okay, a respite from the Trail. I have to tell you the things that FROPS do to stay in front or the excuses they make along the way:
1. At the top of the list is Mike “Skeletor” Tighe. At the beginning of the ride he was whinging something fierce “oh, I’m not feeling good, oh, I’m knackered, ohhhhhh … barf … there goes the alcohol from last night” … and we didn’t see much of him for the first section up to “the” hill/ circular. Now, for those of you who aren’t aware, this is an energy conservationist tactic that lets you slough off to the last part of the ride when all other FROPS are knackered … and they surge forward to “win” the day!
2. Paul Fejer, coming a close 2nd, was heard to say “the only check that counts is the last one”!!! In other words, he was also sloughing off, picking his nose hairs, watching everyone who was wearing tights … until the very end!
3. “Oh, go ahead, you check this trail and we’ll wait for you if we find the trail on this side!!!” Forget who’s mouth that one emanated from!
4. Lastly, as one of us slips on a technical section, the person behind says “aw now look what you’ve done … I have to get off and walk too!” I still crack up every time it’s mentioned, and this time it came from Derald.
So, back to the trail. We hit the main road about 1-km later, turned left, went down it a short bit, then turned right where Mike Kwan was patiently waiting to show us our misery. And here started our “big” climb. We just kept going up, and up, and up, and up. A key indicator that we were on “the” circular was first coming across Geoff Foote smiling mischievously on the right hand side of the trail. Shortly thereafter, Skeletor came up behind me, over took me, and disappeared around the next three corners in a mere 10 seconds … gone. Eh????? Remember Tactic #1 above. Still climbing, we next came across Yuri sitting on the left side of the path. This is too obvious! So, amongst us conniving FROPS we decided the best way to break this was to a) first look together, b) look around Geoff, then c) look around Yuri. After a loop of 2.4-km, we hit the t-junction with the back-of-the-pack climbing the hill, and we implemented our strategy. Yours truly did the first trail off to the right, Paul Fejer the next one, and then we let Olivier do the next one.
Here’s where Olivier’s history was very apparent. He set off down the trail twirling his Brazilian machete and whistling Le Boudin … and the words “Tiens, voilà du boudin, voilà du boudin…” echoed throughout the valley of rubber trees. We thought, “this guy is nuts” … and he never came back. About five minutes later we knew he was going too far down the trail, and we tried luring him with the lyrics to “alouette je te plumerai”. When that failed, we tried “voulez vous couche avec moi c’est soire?” amongst other more provocative French words. But he didn’t bite. Must have been our body odor. So, Tactic #3 from above came to play!
Now we encountered Yuri and three paths to chose from on the outer side of the circular. Skeletor went down one, Paul on another, and … sitting with Yuri were a number of lazy bas***ds. Winston, Steven, … and who else???!!!! They saw Yuri’s earlier mischievous grin and decided to befriend him. That tactic didn’t work too well, because it was only after we yanked out his third toe nail that he fessed up that the trail wasn’t on any of the three trails near him, but at the next intersection further down the circular! Woohoo!!! When Olivier and Yours Truly found paper, we encountered Chee sitting on a fallen tree in the midst of the rubber contemplating whether or not to divulge the trail via his mobile phone!
Beautiful downhill bombing in the rubber estate, skidding turns and into an intersection with our 5th check (6th if we count the Short check). Megat and I checked the wrong paths, while Derald and Winston (who doesn’t count, the bugger!), found the correct trail. By the time I got back to the intersection, it was a chore to race and catch/ over take them … and … discovered that Kenny was in tow too??? Tactic #2 was very evident here!
Together, the four of us bombed down the next hill and almost missed the right turn. As we crossed a stream, if I hadn’t fallen in the soft sand, I would have missed the left turn DOWN the river, where paper continued … not on the path. Eh??? This was a pure hiking section with soft sand that led to a check 150-meters inside (#6 for the long/ #7 in total). Here, the only people we had on hand were Kenny, Derald, Robert Madge, Winston, myself and a Hare (Geoff) … am I missing anyone? After checking for 10-minutes, we started a water board treatment on Geoff. He didn’t know this area, so we tied him to a fallen tree and continued in the river going forward. We could hear cars up on our left above the river, so we had to bushwhack out to the road where we found a bunch of riders going past us. Eh? WTF????
As we went along, people in this pack said “check, what check?!” They had missed out on the river slog; just came down the hill, went over a bridge and turned right on the road. Gurgle!!! From here back to the cars was 3.5-km with a few more climbs, a few more single track sections (beautiful I might add) and a descent down to the road about 300-meters from our car park.
There, hanging out at the cars were my fellow FROPS all wondering where we disappeared to! I need a Tactic 2.5; bypass the last check!!! Please see the attached track file!!!
Regardless of any Tactic, lack of paper, unclear Falsie or such, the trail was BRILLIANT. Beautiful scenery, challenging, devious, well chaperoned, and the mishaps are what the bash is about … so no complaints! This also obviously took a lot of planning, had elements of luck to find some of those trails, and a lot of patience. Well done guys.
All the best,
P.S. Having a Rohloff was also the perfect formula for the mud holes we encountered!