|Resting at Pontian|
|At the 10km flats Strava segment|
|Road to Pontian|
|Arriving in Pontian|
|Arriving in Pontian|
Traditionally, third day of Chinese New Year is set apart as a day to pay respects to the dead. As such, it is considered an ominous day and customary to stay at home. Some superstitions went on to forbid house cleaning, fire making and so on as well!
As non believers living in the current age of science and technology, we took advantage of the holiday to burn the excess calories consumed over the past few days. What more, the “Quack” amongst us revered the day, 18 February 2018 as an auspicious one, considering the sequence of the numerics 1 and 8 which denotes to prosper daily!
Coincidentally, our group of 8 riders started rolling out at 8 am this morning! We took the scenic kampung route, passing by the malay cemetery, the madrasah and the national school. Rolling across the narrow bridge that traverse the river, the tide was low, exposing a dirty river bed.
Once out of the kampung, we join the trunk road to Pekan Nanas. Catching up with VT as we were approaching Unc Lim’s durian farm, everyone’s speed dropped to an all time low, as we trailed after him respectfully. He had taken a head start earlier, knowing there is no way a 15 kg touring bike can ever outrun the roadies!
Arriving at Pekan Nanas, we skipped our usual Shell station but pushed on to Kampung Belokok. At their multi-purpose hall, we allowed a 10 minute grace for regrouping before pushing on again.
As we turned into the “cow lane”, we bumped into many cows left to graze by the side of the canal. Some of them were startled to see us BUT we were more afraid they will charge at us!
A little down the road, we met a group of young girls foraging for wild fern by the water edge. The young shoots are a delicacy, usually eaten raw with sambal belacan or sometimes stir fried with chilies.
As we ventured further down the narrow village road, another interesting sight entails. A group of older adults were crouched by the ditch to catch catfish! While 2 of the men were in knee deep water, the rest were just too happy to stay dry!
This morning, Paul was the designated lead rider to which he delegated the job to Hong Yun every now and then. Meanwhile, Hong Yun had taken Claudine’s caution a lot further than necessary. Instead of asking for his parent’s permission to ride with us, he had brought his whole family out with dad acting as photographer and support crew!!!
Out of the “cow lane”, we joined the main road to Kukup. With 5 km more to our next stop, we were only too happy to rev up the speed drafting behind Hong Yun. Some others though preferred a more leisurely ride as we were all not hungry but thirsty only.
Leaving our "Bollywood superstar" after a quick drink and banter, we headed for Pontian as we realized the short cut via the cow lane was not enough to clock the desired 88.8 km. As we rode down the noisy trunk road, Claudine began to realize why she had always preferred the quiet tranquility of the “cow lane”.
Traffic was high with the occasional heavy vehicles screaming past us. The asphalts on the road was almost stripped bare giving us a bone rattling time! With little greeneries to offer a cool respite, we were literally fried by the sun!
Close to the crossroads for JB and Pekan Nanas, we made another regrouping point by a bus stop. By this time, Alwin had downed 2 packets of power gel and sprayed muscle relaxant on his thigh. Yet, we could only admire his silent determination to finish the ride.
As we pushed on again, we bumped into 4 cyclists at the traffic lights ahead. Supposedly from WaCycles, they were powerful riders clocking 136 km today at a whopping average speed of 36 kph!
After a quick exchange, we went our separate ways as they headed to Pontian Kechil for a quick meal while we rushed for a rendezvous with VT at Pekan Nanas’ Petron. Having rode from home, he had easily belted the desired mileage and chose to take a more scenic route instead!
Pekan Nanas came soon enough but not before Hong Yun’s activity tracker flipped 88.8 km right before town. As Paul and Claudine had started their Strava from home, they were the nexts to capture the lucky numbers. Their luck turned right after they pushed off from Petron.
Indeed, it was a lucky day as nobody got hurt as we were approaching the major traffic lights after Shell. We were riding closely, on a single file when a bus came whizzing past. The irate bus driver had honked at us, perhaps to forewarn his impending approach.
Startled by the loud noise, Hong Yun turned to check. Little did he realize, Alwin had slowed down his speed to allow the bus to squeeze past!
It was an excellent reflex on Hong Yun’s side. As soon as he returned his gaze to the front, he jammed his brakes. It was enough to reduce the impact on Alwin’s rear wheel which in turn, allowed him to hold his ground.
The knock, however light had disengaged Hong Yun’s right shoe. Taking advantage of his freed leg, he swung it over while disengaging his left feet at same time. He literally jumped off his bike in a matter of seconds!!!
Watching everything as it happened, Claudine was screaming SHIT in her brain! Jamming her brakes and disengaging her left feet at the same time, she was expecting the worst as her front wheel went over the fallen bike. Grappling to get back the center of gravity while balancing bike and body on a moving wheel, she was amazed she qualified for the circus minus the grace!!!
Relieved, we rode on to the scenic kampung route without Paul, who had gone missing in search for water after feeling overheated. When we came into contact with him again, he gave us the go ahead while he opted to return via the main trunk road.
Arriving at Amin’s, it wasn’t the end of the road for Sibyl, Hong Yun, Philip, Alwin and Stanley. They had a few more to clicks to go for the 88.8 km chase. Watching them from the comfort of the mamak shop, VT and Claudine cheered as one by one, they returned after a successful score!