akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Sunday 25 December 2011

18.10.2011 - Ronda Riadah Mega Ride 2011: My Family Ride

the family
As the curtain closer for my biking calendar this year, I registered the family in what was targeted to be a record-breaking cycling event. It's been a week since my last offroad event in Melaka. Definitely it would be tiring for me to go for another long offroad, and I'd like to spend the day with the family. So it is befitting to have a 5km slow ride with my family instead of 50km offroad with thousands of brothers and sisters.

There are 5 of us in the family and I sorted out the bicycles so that everyone would be able to ride, except Umar. He'll be my pillion rider. Come to think of it, we used different types of bicycle for each of us. I'm riding my RTW machine - a 27 speed MTB with slicks and v-brakes - with child carrier on the rear for Umar to relax and enjoy the breeze. Naza riding her underused mountain bike. Marsya with my single-speed folding bike and Adam with his BMX.

It's not an easy task to load the 4 bikes into the Innova, with room for all of us. Thankfully, because the bikes are detachable and foldable (except the BMX of course), they fit in the MPV just nice. Well, I thought if we won the Viva for the lucky draw then it would be a huge relief for the Innova.

Early morning we went off to Bandar Dato' Onn. The weather's nice, with a bit of drizzle along the way. When we arrived, the place was already wet but with no rain. Overcast sky, just perfect for a family ride. People have been filling in the parking lot when we arrived, and we found our own spot.

Naza and the children were excited with all the buzz around us; people with their bikes, cars with two-wheelers atop, tents on the field with music in the air, typical of a cycling event; an atmosphere they have never experienced before. And they love it.

unloading and getting the bikes ready
Unloading and assembling the bikes took me about 15 minutes and with ample time to collect our goodie bags (with t-shirts). Meanwhile, the rest of the family had their breakfast that Naza prepared from home. I've got t-shirts for everyone to wear except Umar. I thought XS would be suitable for him, but still he has to wait for few more years to fit in. Ready with our bikes and t-shirts, tummy filled, we went off to the field for the Family Ride flag off.
Umar among the crowd
I see many familiar faces from Pasir Gudang and around JB at the field. However, the focus is on the family. This is my family ride. We're going to have a good time rolling with thousands of others, albeit for only about 30 minutes completing the 5km. Looks like I'm the one who's very excited.

Adam and Marsya
The flag off was a bit hectic with everyone trying to get their way through the bottleneck going out to the tarmac. I was a bit worried about Marsya and Adam, so I rode with them and guide them out to the road. Naza was already in front, but she waited for me to roll alongside.

Our pace was quite slow, a very relaxed one averaging at 10km/h. Not only for safety, but I want to savour the moments riding/dating with her (with Umar on my back). Marsya and Adam? Lost in the front pack, both speed demons.

happy riders
It all seems too short, time and distance; we were back at the field in no time. But I think the memory of it lasts longer. For me, the Family Ride is clearly a good move by the organizer to get everyone riding. And for that, the family and I thank you. I know not only for me but for many of my friends as well. They brought their family along and I guess they had a good time doing what they love with their families. Hopefully there'll be some more of this around JB next year insyaAllah.

Naza riding happy
In the mean time, Marsya needs her own proper bike, with gears. I'm thinking of a strider bike for Umar and his own helmet, too. Perhaps the Innova needs a proper bike rack on her top as well.

Lucky draw? We didn't get any, but all of us went home feeling happy. Plus, there's no room for the Viva on the front porch anyway (yeah, right... sour grapes).

photos in facebook photo album

Saturday 24 December 2011

KSRP MTB Jamboree 2011 - 10.12.2011

Taman Scientex Riders

This event is special in many ways.
1. I participated under MMHE Cycling Club's flag
2. ...for free
3. Exclusive event - open only for Petronas fraternity (under KSRP)
4. I finished the ride with 6 km extra :P (albeit, managed to be top 100 finisher; #99 to be exact)

It all started with an email in my inbox from the good people in MR MoBiC (Melaka Refinery, Wahid and his gang). At around the same time, MMHE Cycling Club was newly formed. Thus, it fits perfectly for the club members to represent MMHE as our maiden activity. However, the road to that is quite tough, red tape and all. Alhamdulillah, it is over now and I'd say it's a successful one for everyone. Our big thanks to people in MR MoBiC especially Wahid and Iwan for their never-ending assistance to us. Right from the beginning and even continued until we were back in Pasir Gudang.

I don't want to dwell on how we got there, but rather on the event itself. The 'how' is actually quite a story, surely.

Long story short, we got all things sorted out - the fee, lodging, transport, meals; plus some extras to boot - club jersey, isotonic, Hammer gel and bar for all 19 of us - riders and chaperons.

We gathered at PPMSB Training Center on Friday night for the ride briefing, goodie bag and plate number collection, with dinner provided by the organiser. Right after that, we went off to the huge homestay bungalow in Cheng for the night's sleep (well, for most of us).

Before we departed from the house, we had a breakfast of nasi lemak and teh 'o' delivered to the homestay. At 7.00 am we hit the SPA highway from Cheng to Sungai Udang and entered PPMSB some half an hour later. Unloaded the bikes upon arrival, and we proceeded for rider's check-in. The usual, photo session and warm up before the flag off at 8-ish.

The total number of riders is actually very small - 145. I think the one held in July 2009 was with bigger crowd. Anyway, not a big issue at all. No congestion on the trail, guaranteed.

My ride was quite sluggish during the first 10 km. I have never felt that worse before this. To get to checkpoint 1 which is less than 10 km is quite taxing. Every small hill that I would usually blast uphill was a torture to climb; was reaching for the lower gear but I was already at the lowest and struggling. Upon arriving at the CP, I regrouped with fellow MMHE riders who were also having the same problem with me. What being concluded was the nasi lemak to be blamed. To think about it, yes, I never take nasi lemak for breakfast before a ride all this while. One lesson learnt there.

The effect of NL began to fade after about km 13, after which only I get to enjoy the ride. Coincidentally, the trail from CP2 to CP3 and CP3 to home are very nicely laid. The biggest hill (max 90m elevation) was before CP1. I really enjoyed the section from CP2 to CP3 especially where it is practically downhill most of the way. There's also a singletrack downhill where you could blast down and enjoy bumping over the roots. Pure bliss.

Well, it was also from CP2 to CP3 that I overshot the trail and missed the left turn. I saw ahead of me after the wide wooden bridge shredded paper markings; hence I followed, not noticing that there were no arrow or caution tape (white/red) accompanying the paper. I met with fellow (lost) rider and we tracked the bogus trail. It brought us to a section of the trail which I knew I had ridden before. Knowing that I have to ride the same trail twice was a mixed feeling. It will eventually bring me back to one of the CPs with extra mileage, but I get to enjoy the slalom like trail for the second serving.

Thankfully I met the marshalls who said that I am the last rider in the trail - some motivation, eh. Anyway, they escorted me back to the point where I went astray - about 6 km away. So I continued on towards CP3 and savoured the trail along.

I was already tired riding from CP3 to home. Muscle cramp on the thighs creeping in, but I didn't give in. Continued on spinning and enjoying the trail as much as I could. The finale was quite nice - a blacktop slope towards the main gate at PPMSB under the hot sun. Reached the finishing point and signed out at about 12.20pm, being the #99 finisher.

I like the trail very much. Of course, some of us cursed at Sulong for cutting short the downhill section and having to veer to the right midway of what was a nice slope. Well, we blasted downhill anyway, only noticing that we lost the marking and had to go uphill to get to the trail proper. It's a fun trail, very much suitable for beginners up to intermediate riders. Seasoned riders would have no problem at all. Kadafi, the fastest in our group arrived at the finish line at about 10 am, together with a newbie in the group. Well, if only I didn't overshoot the trail. And what if I had something other than nasi lemak for breakfast...

I'd say the 38km fun trail was nicely thought of - loaded with nice uphills and rolling downhills, some technical sections, technical downhills, flat sections too. CPs were adequately manned with enough water and bananas, and trail markings were ample. I would like to think that the 'extra' shredded paper that I (and few others) followed was by other group for their other event (running hash, maybe). Bike wash stations were also provided. Lunch and lucky draws completing the event. Kudos to MR MoBiC and KSRP Selatan for an event well organized and executed. Typical of them.

Well, what's also nice is that the event was on a Saturday. I spent half of my Sunday on bed, recovering.

MMHE: Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering
PPMSB: Petronas Penapisan Melaka Sdn. Bhd.
MR MoBiC: Melaka Refinery Mountain Bike Club
KSRP: Kelab Sukan dan Rekreasi Petronas
Petronas: Petroliam Nasional Berhad

Tuesday 13 December 2011

MMHE Cycling Club

We had our first meeting on Thursday 17.11.2011, 12 members present and with Hasamuddin from Young Executive Club (YEC) Sports and Recreation unit.

The formation of the club is under the YEC banner for now, and once it is strong enough it would then fly (pedal?) by itself (read: bigger fund).

I'm hoping for a good future for this club, and insyaAllah it will as our brothers from Sime Darby Engineering will be joining MMHE next year. Familiar faces from PG Gerek, actually.

President: Akmal
Vice President: Pak Din
Secretary: Yad
Treasurer: Zaid