Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pain Up Gunung Pulai

So here we go again – to challenge our limits up the mountain closest to home geographically. Still, it was a good 70km away, between Pekan Nanas and Kulai. We set off in the wee hours – I met Kah Kiong and Jan at Marsiling – and we linked up with William in JB.

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Breakfast was a welcome relief when we pulled into Pekan Nanas. I had my “usual” wanton noodles =) We took the opportunity to visit the bike shop where William bought a pair of tights and I stood around admiring the array of bikes sold. Not the greatest range usually available at the major retailers but still enough to keep me happy.

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Pretty soon we were at the foot of Gunung Pulai and I couldn’t help wondering how my third ascent would go. Previously, I managed to keep my gear range within the middle chain ring but I had to take more breaks at the flatter sections.

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The hikers we met along the way were very friendly and it was a pleasure to meet a group of mountain bikers on their way down. We had a short chat before continuing on our agonizing climb. This time round, I took fewer pit-stops and the gradient was becoming to steep for me to pedal in the middle chain ring. My muscles were protesting and I was almost out of breath. Somehow my mental strength couldn’t bring me to the next flat section and I had to drop my gears to the smallest chain ring.

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Despite some prior experiences climbing other mountains, I still found Gunung Pulai a challenge. In fact, every climb anywhere is a challenge. Even in NTU, I find myself out of breath and desperately trying to control my breathing.

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We had a good mix of bikes. Jan was on his road bike, Kah Kiong on his hybrid, William on his hard-tail mountain bike and me on my full-suspension mountain bike. Comparing the gear ratios, Jan probably had the hardest time but he is a strong rider who can pull through very steep sections.

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At the peak, we were so tired. I was looking forward to the ride down though – the advantage of having a full-suspension mountain bike to iron out the bumps and potholes!

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We took more than an hour to get up Gunung Pulai but we were down in five minutes. Some of the hairpin curves were simply amazing. Pretty dangerous in wet weather though.

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Jan and William left for their homes in JB while Kah Kiong and I pedaled further to Kulai where we raided the Tesco for their RM1 nasi lemak. Thereafter, we rode straight home, only stopping just before the CIQ to catch our breath. At the pace we were “speeding” home and the intense heat of the afternoon bearing down on us, I was amazed that we survived!

Total distance: 132km
Expenditure: RM7.50
Participants: LSH, Kah Kiong, Jan, William

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