There's no better place to introduce Giselle to the world than at our happy hunting ground, the Broga loop. Since PCC, KOTRT, MKH, P2K and a whole bunch of others were out there on Sunday, it would make a fitting debut for her.
Unfortunately, what may sound like a good idea at the beginning may not always be at the end.
We started at Tekala and as I took Giselle out of the car, there were some oohs and ahhs. She looked splendid in her all-white livery and because it was her debut, i kitted her out with the Zipps and the 23t cassette on her feet. She started blushing as the compliments flowed in.
We rolled out of Tekala, and she was all business, sticking to the front pack all the way to Lenggeng. At this point, Giselle was brimming with pride, and so was I. Never before have i rolled into a regrouping point with the front pack. I'm pretty sure Giselle's used to it. Pretty soon, the other riders who started from Bt14 showed up and Lenggeng looked like a Village Depart of a Tour de France stage. We felt it was getting crowded, so we left early.
This is where it started to get pear-shaped though. For this is when the road started pointing upwards. Up the first short, steep climb, Giselle performed brilliantly. Up the second, I started to fade. Giselle was urging me on, but my legs couldn't take it. She started to shake her head, embarassed. As we peaked the second climb, she insisted on showing me what she can do, taking me down the descent at 70km/h!
But the final straw must have been going up Bukit Tangga. As I was struggling up this climb, Giselle urging me on, I was given a push by William Mok on his scooter. It was a nice gesture, immediately bringing my speed up from 13km/h to 26 but Giselle just couldn't take it. She was embarrassed beyond words. I'm sure she must be thinking, "My siblings get to ride with Credit Agricole. I get stuck with this loser!"
So embarrassed was she, that we zipped down the descent at break-neck speed and maintained a steady pace all the way into Kelawang. This has not been a good ride for either of us so far.
After a quick refuel and refill, I headed off towards the dreaded 14km climb that is Peres with three others. As the road to the Peres foothill was relatively flat, with some slight undulations, I used this opportunity to let my legs recover and burn off some excess lactic acid. As soon as we hit the foothills, I began dropping my three companions with ease. Giselle's head suddenly propped up! "What's this?" she said, "We're finally dropping people now!"
And so it began, her ruthless climb up that hill. Sure, we still got passed by the likes of P2K and Letua, but that's alright, we were doing some passing of our own. Giselle was relentless, chewing up the riders who were falling by the wayside. The heat and fast pace earlier on had taken a toll on many riders and now they were paying for it.
We breezed up to the Peres Spa and Waterfall Resort. We took a quick stop there so that I could refresh myself. A lot of other riders had the same thought and there was a little party going on there. Feeling better, Giselle and I continued. We started catching and passing riders who passed us while we were stopped at the waterfall. We just kept going and going, even passing her twin, which made her feel even better! The highlight must have been passing a certain bike shop owner. The pride she must have felt!
Finally, we reached the top. We stopped for a quick drink before she decided to reward me with one of the best descents I've ever experienced. She was so smooth around the corners, gripping them like she was on rails. There was no wobble, no shakes, just smoothness rounding every corner. She just gave me the confidence to not even touch the brakes as we headed down. I was duly impressed.
We finally arrived at Tekala before 2pm. Senn was already there waiting for us. Unfortunately, she and Miss Diva had to pull out of the ride early because she wasn't feeling so well. So she took on the duties of support car driver and did a good job, picking up riders who couldn't continue anymore.
In the end, we were both pretty satisfied with the ride. This being my first long ride since Ironman and the fact that she should have been wearing the 25t Ksyriums instead of the 23t Zipps, there was not much more we could have done. I was amazed at how well she handles, I've never experienced anything quite like it before. Today, my legs are feeling the burn, but I hope that soon I will be the rider worthy of Giselle's prowess.