Just to summarized it all, flowy but tough.
Bentong, a town known to grow durians, a Malaysian fruit with a pungent smell is where KLMBH bash #305 was held. I knew this hash will have some serious climbs and descents.
The safety briefing held at approximately 9.30am for a duration of 10 minutes, then flagged off. I rode through a tarmac bridge and immediately turn left into the trail head. Initial ride wasn’t too bad where the surface had some gravel sections and some gentle climbs, and surrounded by greeneries. The good thing is, it did not rain the day before and nor it looks like it’s going to rain.
After 30 minutes into the ride, came across some local villages and kids waving us by. A feel of how cheerful the “orang Asli” are and one could see the wooden houses beside the narrow tarmac road. Then comes the first horrendous climb. I wasn’t sure of the gradient but surely it was a long and tricky climb. I need to choose the line carefully as they were fresh loose gravel. Towards the top of the hill, it gets better as the trail surface becomes hard pack. Certainly, a good and grippy set of tires would help.
As they all say, whenever there’s a climb, there shall be a descent. The doubletrack descent was rather flowy and enjoyable. Not to mention the fantastic view from the top and I notice there are lots of varieties of plantations. My guess, perhaps durian, palm oil and some other fruit trees. From here there were some gentle climbs and descents somewhat cycling through from a hilltop to another. There, I come across a family of local Chinese standing at their doorstep cheering us on and the riders’ waved back. I stopped to take some photos of the surrounding valleys and in the background, I can hear gun shots firing off in the distance.
As I approached the long-short split, there were a group of riders at the top of the hill having smiley chats and taking breaks. Towards the left is the short but looks deceiving as it turns out to be another steep climb. Towards the right is a rather smooth descent on hard pack. After my break I took the long loop and it was perhaps one of the best stretches that I’d ever experienced.
I went into high gear and the descent was fast! The surface is rather smooth and some flowy turns, then came into a section where a wide and shallow stream parallel to the doubletrack on my right. Fresh air, surrounded by greens and sound of water splashing, I came to a small and shallow river crossing. Rode through that and continue on till I reach the main road. This road is the trunk road that connects from Janda Baik to Bentong.
Rode for approximately 1 km along the road and came another trail head leading to another hill. I have lost count of how many hill climb throughout. One good feature is these hill climbs doesn’t have those rugged terrain where deep trenches are all over the track from erosion. There’s a section of single track that was very well done. Kudos to those that contributed. No thorny vegetation, no saplings getting in the way, just flowy.
Approximately at kilometre 12, there is an interesting experience where riders are able to ride on a stream. The stream is shallow and riders are able to take advantage of this time to wash their bikes. The stream ride was about 20 meters or so, and there’s a water pipe that riders have to carry their bikes over it.
Pass the halfway mark, riders are looking forward to head home. I ran out of energy gel, riders are feeling the heat but with some cool breeze on hill tops. I bumped into a group of 5 riders coming in with gravel bikes! One of them had a Specialised gravel bike equip with dropper post and a 40mm travel fork. Sharp sensory and skilful riders. We eventually came to a section where the descent starts to become tricky. It was steep, singletrack with some shallow trenches left over from motorbikes and a short and super steep section with loose gravel. Everyone made it through beautifully and eventually back onto the climbs.
We come into a section of climb consisting of roots, concrete slabs planted by the locals, I guess, then pass through loose gravels and back on top of a hill. This hill would be the last and it was a breath taking panoramic view. At a glance, I can see a series of mountains and valleys, even part of the trail that we took, pointed out by Ridzuan (one of the locals from Bentong Extreme Cycling Club).
On the way home, riders pass through a private property where we carried out bikes over a fence, and proceed with a kind of garden ride. We weren’t careful and miss out a left switchback and headed in the wrong direction towards a main road. After 20 minutes, we found our way “follow the paper trial” and head back to “home” on a smooth gravel ride. Another spectacular view, riders get a chance to ride over a wooden bridge that crosses over a dam. Riders stop to take photos of the dam with the mountains in the background.
All in all, it was a good mixture of mountain biking experience. Certain parts consist of fast flowy sections, with a mixture of different surfaces and some tricky descents that demand a rider to apply his/her skills. Not to mention those serious climbs, a test of stamina and strength. I wouldn’t mind riding this trail again.
Thanks to the KLMBH guys who set this fantastic trail and do keep them coming!