while the rest of malaysia slept in on this day that celebrates workers, a bunch of sick cyclists decide to put in some hard labour and ride to the top of fraser's hill.
now i have to admit, i had the idea to do a labour day ride the week before. i figured since we had two days off, might as well ride on the first so we can relax on the second. now, i could have easily chosen an easy, long route (bagan lalang, for instance) but nooooo, it had to be a climb, hadn't it? so frasers it is. if you're going to work on labour day, you may as well work hard.
so that is how we found ourselves at the kkb stadium, bright and early tuesday morning. it was quite a big turnout. it would have been bigger but most of the other riders were still recovering from the cameron's MUDD.
of course, this was the day that senn's diva made its debut. there were the usual ooohs and ahhhs when the diva was pulled out of the car for the first time.
there was also bernard's new carbon aero wheels to get excited about.
after a quick photo session we were off! we picked up PK and family on the way to the dam and that's when the climb started. almost immediately there was a breakaway, with some of the faster guys (bernard, gunter and the dutch guys, and a few others)setting a quick pace. i settled into the next group, riding with laif and azmar. we caught up with kenny as we approached the dam and the four of us held a steady pace through the dam.
at the bridge after the dam, i remembered i had my smll digital camera with me, so i decided to stop after the bridge and take some pictures of the riders behind me. also i wanted to see how senn was doing on the diva.
after taking the pictures, i caught up with senn and PK. then went ahead, picking of the riders i took pctures of one by one on my way to the gap. first, william and chin hoe, then a long lonely ride before catching up with kenny's friend, then another long lonely ride before catching up with big mac. the last person i caught up with was PK's wife and we rode into the gap together.
disapointment greeted us at the gap as the regular coffee shop was closed. that means i couldn't have the fried noodles that had kept me going those last few kilometres before the gap. which means no fuel for the long burn up to the clock tower.
we carried on.
the first hill was always going to be the toughest. once through the first 3 kilometres, the climb settles in a bit and the gradient is not so bad.
by the end of the first hill, my legs were spent. looked down and relised that i was on the wrong gear. i could have been two gears lower. no wonder it was so tough. the five of us (adzim, laif, gunter, kenny and me) got through that first hill together. then adzim broke away and disappeared. so gunter, laif, kenny and me laboured on. no point getting a pace line here, at the speed we were climbing there would be no benefit.
soon, it was just me and gunter, the italian cursing under his breath. i kept telling him the worse was over. he just muttered, "bastardo!" and kept on pushing.
finally, after 12 long kilometres, we reached the top. luckily, the warungs were opened and we refueled with nasi lemak, and roti canai. bert, one of the europeans, had three roti canais!
all this while, senn still hadn't shown up yet, and i was getting worried. the other riders were all about set to make their descent back to kkb, and she was still a no show.
i decided i was going to go and look for her. at that moment, she rolls in. apparently, the new saddle on the diva hadn't been positioned right. it had cut off blood circulation in her legs, giving her pins and needles. she was pedalling numb!she didn't even know if she was pedalling! and to make things worse, she had run out of water.
as the other riders made their way back to kkb, senn recovered from her hellish climb with an order of nasi lemak. we topped of our water bottles and took a slow ride back, even stopping at the waterfall to take pictures. by the time we reached the dam it was hot and very, very windy. when we finally got back to the stadium, the car park was empty except for our car.
the verdict on the diva: very responsive bike. the saddle needs some adjusting but other than that, a bike that rides beautifully.
the verdict on the ride: fraser's is and always will be my favourite climb. it's always a good ride here and today's was no exception.