Located in a valley surrounded by rolling hills, Mantin is a small town with a rich history. About 16 km northwest of Seremban, close to the Negeri Sembilan-Selangor border, it was a tin mining town that the British (or so the legend goes) simply called 'Mine Tin'. The Malays supposedly collapsed this to Mantin (or Many Tin).
Today, the tin is long gone and the town’s main economy is agriculture. Hashers will notice the variety of produce such as jackfruit, mangosteen, rambutan and of course, the King of Fruits. Durian is now how Mantinians roll.
Mantin was a favourite sanctuary and hiding place for war refugees and criminals of yesteryear. It was only fitting therefore that Hares Mike Kwan, Albert Chua, Toh Hoon Chew, Chee Yih Tzuen, Yeo Lee Nya, Eric Teo and Julian Gomez attempted to make it as a sanctuary for MTB riders too. Thanks to their efforts, the 310 KLMTB BASH was born.
Julian’s briefing told us that it was a short ride of around 15km with 300 meter of ascent. Flagged off, we turned left onto the main road led by Eric for 2km ride before making a left turn. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an endless tarmac decent. Was I taking a pilgrimage to the Promised Land of Adrenalin 8 Chakra Enlightenment?
Cold sweat poured out of me but beyond the horizon, the towering hills sat Nirvana-like waiting for me to stir its balley. If God were an E-Bike I would have been Its disciple in an instant.
Anxiety aside, the grade of the descent was nice, a delightfully rare moment to savour. Hares cleverly grouped on the downhill, cheering and pointing to the right turn for the long ride into the abyss. All but a handful chose the short ride.
As a brief wind rushed by, I turned left into the beginning of a rustic village and a wide plantation-abused mud track road. Typically, it was covered with plenty of gravel, broken asphalt, fallen branches, sharp turns and steep hills.
The beginning though was an easy enough ride. As we advanced deeper, however, houses were further apart, the incline became steeper and I began to pray for a downhill portion.
Luckily, Hare Albert volunteered to “hold our hand” while riding alongside. It was more XC and nothing exceptionally technical, however, a right turn saw more to climb and another right turn, a climb with seemingly no end. Being an old man, my only option was to push forward slowly, one left and right at a time.
Finally, there stood the now famous bird house at the top. Overcome by fatigue, I stood there feeling elation, a sense of achievement but most of all, relief. I knew that it would be mostly downhill from then on.
After navigating a short, bushy single trail, there came the long adrenaline-boosting descent. Passing jackfruit, rambutan and durian orchards, I focused on the wheel slicing through mud. Avoiding the occasional motorbike, I felt a connectedness and flow that made one feel serene.
Overall it was splendid day. I had not ridden for five months and it was good to be back in the saddle.
Thanks to the organiser and the participants, I know where is Mantin now, have experienced the town and eaten its food. And hey! I got my dopamine “pure cut”.