by Haris Kelolo » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:42 am
Deception can come in many forms. Words can be woven, knitted and twisted so that its appearance can camouflage its hidden concealed meaning. I read and re-read the directions for bash 207 with caution and disbelief. Could a bash be set in the way it was described? Or was it just another ploy by the usually mischievous (and a bit sadistic) hares to lure the innocent?
I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and to accept the trail description at face value. Brought along a friend from the office who had just got acquainted with a mountain bike but had ridden and completed 2 jamborees, and my 12 year old son.
A pleasant surprise awaited when my name was hollered by “The King” right before the ride brief. A snappy presentation of award from KLMBH in recognition of me for setting 5 bashes. A nice pewter mug with my name engraved on it! Then Adilah took over the mic, reiterating on how easy the long ride would be.
ON ON at 0930hrs. We were off on our way. I maintained a relaxed pace so that junior can keep up. Sam, my ride buddy, trailed closely behind. Flat tarmac on Jalan Kampung Batu 7 then a left turn into Jalan Kampung Lombong. The morning sun hid shyly behind scattered cloud. What a blessing.
2 KM of tarmac was enough for warming the legs, then trail turned right at Taman Seri Orkid. Off the tarmac and flavor was changed to dirt. As we went in, another mob of MTBers were seen coming from the opposite way. A quick glance and I noticed that there were no tags on their bikes. That explained the cars with bike racks parked right in front of Taman Seri Orkid. It appeared that, the trails were regularly frequented by mountainbikers.
Exposed undulating doubletrack palm trail was on the menu later. Trails seemed to run on the main artery of the palm estate track. I would occasionally rush down the mild downhill stretch just for the fun of it. Caught up with Geoff Foote who seemed to be riding at a pace slower than usual. Oh, because he was minding a girl riding with him. So, two elderly men, played catch for a while, overtaking each other alternately as we occasionally slow down to wait for our charges.
KM6 marked a change in the offering. Gone were the highways, replaced with narrow reclining singletrack. Continuous rain for the past few days made the track damp, moist and in some part pretty ugly muddy. Out from the exposed palm into shades of taller and older palm trees.
All of the sudden, traffic ground to a halt. A jam caused by a gaping ditch. The bank was too steep to cycle over. No choice but to go down the ditch and carry the bike across. Aha! There goes 0.275% of rideability.
More shady twisting singletrack followed until Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Kemandol. A short ride on the kampung’s tarmac then back into a descending singletrack. I made a stop there to wait for my son. He was way behind. I left the bike and double backed on foot to check out on him. It was an unfortunate moment for one rider who veered off the track a bit, had a front tire washed out and he was thrown over the bar. Poor chap. Fortunately he didn’t suffer any serious injury nor did his ride.
My son caught up and we proceeded along another stretch of winding singletrack. That turned into another wide ascending doubletrack. Moderate rideable climb but spoiled by yucky mud turning that stretch into treacherous, slippery and difficult to pedal path.
The mud cleared off, the trail swung down then flowed up again reaching the highest elevation for the day. My GPS recorded 35M. That coincided with the junction that split the long and the short. My son decided not to continue with the long. I reluctantly let him continued alone on the short back to the starting place. Sam and I continued with the long. Another stretch of muddy affair welcome us. Tire dipped and covered in mud kicking up dirt and crud as we picked up speed enjoying the descent.
It has been the style of this hash to abruptly turn into smaller tributaries from the main track. Many were caught off guard and wandered of into unchartered territory. Yours truly was no exception. From yucky muddy track, it veered off into what look like a perimeter line between the palm and its neighboring bushes. Gradual winding climb on damp soil covered with slippery green moss. Spinning tire unavoidable. The perimeter path soon ended at another ditch crossing. This time the banks were more slopey and riding through was possible.
A brief exposed trail and then we went in circle again looking for papers because we never learn. While we were supposed to be keeping our eyes on paper, we looked at tire tracks instead. There, served us right. So back to another ditch crossing. Thank you hares for the teeny plank laid across it. Made pushing our bike across much easier.
Another stretch of winding singletrack followed by a double track and then another stretch of yummy singletrack with sprinkle of technical spices thrown in. The excitement made me sped down and almost ended in a watery grave when I failed to notice the ditch.
A stretch of double track followed. Passed by a highway under construction then snaking back into the tightest singletrack for the day. Then out in the open before retreating back into the shaded palm double track. Undulating palm double track treaded with caution as patches of mud and potholes were practically everywhere. The end of that section caught us again as it veered a sharp right while descending. We overshot because we saw a group of riders already up ahead. Lesson never learnt. Don’t follow others, follow papers!
So we got back on track. Singletrack section that hugged the terraces tightly before venturing into a vast open and very muddy area. Fortunately, the afternoon sun’s ferocity was toned down by thick clouds. Presence of piles of old tires made the eyes sore. Irresponsible buggers chose to dump their factory waste there.
Passed by some ponds which look like disused mining ponds. The meter clocked 21km when we hit the tarmac. Jalan Bukit Kemandol. Followed the right marker and went up and down the road. I yelled to Sam telling him not to count on the asphalt to take us home. Just seconds after, right enough, we were led back into the wilderness.
A short stretch of singletrack, then back on palm estate doubletrack then onto a wide highway under construction. After a about a kilometer, it went right back onto estate track. The sight of HOME signage was very much welcome. Track went around the estate and exited at Taman Seri Orkid, the same place where we came in.
I immediately thought that the ride back home would be on the tarmac, the same way we rode in. Wrong again! Another sight of the HOME signage dragged us across the road back into the depth of the estate. Series of ups and downs then a quick right that took us through some bushes and lalang…And all of the sudden, the RV area was just meters away. We were home. 28kms of pure mountainbiking fun…Well at least for a mere mortals like me. The immortals might feel otherwise…
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole ride. And for personal record, it was my first bash NOT using the granny gear at all. Superb trail setting and composition. We should have a bash like this at least once every year. Thank you hares…Splendid job. Thank you KLMBH.