by virgule » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:43 pm
Despite what the subject might lead you to think, there is no connection betwee the two parts of this post’s title
Since I can find only one complaint about this bash, despite searching hard, let’s start with the negative part: astute observers may have noticed that 99% of technical sections in Malaysia occur in rubber plantations. Never in palm plantations, open terrain, etc.
Rubber plantations are well-known for two things: rubber pots (where rubber is collected), and mosquitoes. Sometimes, the density of mosquitoes is such that no reasonable amount of repellent will do. There is only one thing to avoid the darn things: keep rolling The relentless buzzers are very good at stinging through MTB gear, but incapable of following a rider at normal speed.
Which brings us to the “technical sections” of rubber plantations, which by definition are usually slow to pass through. If you don’t keep rolling, you might loose balance and perhaps hit one of those ruber pots hanging off the trees you are precisely trying to avoid. An interesting feature of Malaysian flora, is that the water in these pots has a pungent smell that makes durian seem like eau-de-toilette, and liquid rubber is, well, rubbery. I’m still peeling off goo from my arm hair 4 hours later, as I type this post. If anyone know of a rubber-solvent that is not a controlled item, I’m interested
As you can tell by now, I failed to “keep rolling” a few times this morning!
Other than these tidbits, this was a well-organized, pleasant and fast-rolling bash in easy to moderate terrain. Not much to say, appart from a very nice look-out point over the north-south highway at the top of the first hill. You know you are really close when your GPS says ” Make a u-turn whenever possible”, despite you being offroad… The ride offered a mixture of single and mostly double-track, intertwined with some nice off-trail technical sections to keep everyone happy. No particular difficulty other than the normal endurance effort of riding in our humid climate. Fortunately, the skies were covered for most of the morning, making the ride much easier than under the usual roasting sun.
Leading into the first part of this post’s title, is an observation that many newcomers to bashing may miss: what makes a bash pleasant, fast-rolling, with nice technical sections….is not the terrain! Riders only go where The Hares have laid paper. I hope aspiring young hares take note, when riding a bash, of the choices made by hares in deciding whether to go up, down, right or left and each and every junction, obstacle, hill, river, etc. A ride is only pleasant because skilled hares have consistently chosen a good path over 20+ km of forest and jungle. Next time you are riding a trail, ask yourself in which direction you’d lay the trail if it was your turn. You can’t consider yourself to be experienced if you have never tried to lay a fresh trail at least once!
Finally, a bash is almost always fun if you are a reasonably trained/experienced person…but it can be a bit traumatic if it’s your first ride in the jungle, in hot & humid weather, if you lack experience and friends to keep you company
Sweeping is the second job of The Hares on a bash, to make sure no one gets left out and everyone makes it home safely. A good sweeper bites his tongue and waits for the last person, with a smile on his face. It was nice to find myself in front of Pat for once today
You may have noticed this morning one special Hare with an inimitable smile, waiting for you in several sections of track : Paul Moir, a very long time celebrity of the KLMBH, returning soon to his home country after a lifetime overseas.
The KLMBH will sorely miss you. Farewell…