|Part of the team at the junction to Jalan Besar|
|At Lotus Desaru, missing out BG, SC, Leo, Zoe, VT and CL|
|The boys enroute to Tg Sedili|
|At Aik Seng, with "the cats" starting their chase to Tg Leman. The remaining two returns to Desaru on their own|
Driving into Tg Sedili on the eve of Hari Raya, the small village had a contrasting atmosphere. While the morning market in the village square was buzzing with last minute shopping, the old 1960's shop lots near the jetty, all had their shutters down except for a Kedai Runcit which was bustling with eleventh hour purchases. Taking a view of the river, all fishing vessels were cleaned and tied to timber bollards all along the river, ready for a week long rest, in lieu of Syawal.
Zoe and Iris had arrived at the doorsteps of Kar Pin Kopitiam even before it was opened for business. When Claudine and VT arrived, she bravely barged through its tiny opening to enquire about its opening hours. The proprietor was accommodating, pushing its collapsible metal doors wide open to welcome us. An old and traditional coffee shop, it still uses charcoal to toasts your bread!!! However, other than toasts and eggs, there was nothing else to eat there!
While the 3 ladies were settling down for toasts, VT had already set up his bike to recce the small village. He found an unassuming side lane that led up to Aik Seng Kopitiam.
Tucked away from the village's square, this coffee shop serves pre-packed nasi lemak, fried mee and fried bee hoon besides the traditional kuih-muih stored in an equally traditional wooden box with mesh wire that keeps out insects! Directly opposite the coffee shop is a fisherman's wharf, all equipped with motorized hooks, crates, cold rooms and ice breaking machines.
As Aik Seng is the designated meet up point, we adjourned there to wait for the rest coming from Lotus Desaru. It was quite awhile before everyone arrived and another long wait for everyone to eat. Occupying the main exterior of Aik Seng were our riders BUT some village folks, not supposed to eat on this holy fasting month were hiding out at the VIP table set out in the kitchen, behind!!!
Today, Zoe brought her daughter, Iris, to serve in the support car while Chiam introduced Philip and Simson, both team players of KTBW. Stanley who appeared familiar to Claudine turned out to be Alwin's twin brother, whom she had rode with to Forest City!
We soon left for Tg Leman in staggered groups leaving JM and Amy to head back on their own.
The firsts to head out were Claudine, Zoe and VT. They needed a head start. Others in the JEC group, preferred to play a cat and mouse game....they were the cats!!!
The ride from Tg Sedili to Tg Leman was a mere 36 km but it was an arduous one. Laying the topography down on a line graph, it is filled with sharp pinnacles, some as steep as 11% to 13% !!!
|The bridge in the background|
The route initially takes us past a bridge that spans the river mouth. Climbing up the arch of the bridge, the mere 4% grade marks the first climb on this route. Thereafter, the onslaught ascend continues for another 10 km, until we reached a plateau where we were rewarded a fantastic view of the sea and the far horizon.
|6-7 from Tg Sedili...|
|Note the far horizon|
Somewhere in this vicinity is Tanjung Logok's Ground to Air Firing Range. Their last known official exercise was carried out on March 28, 2016 with the Thales Starstreak missile. The part of GBP100 million deal exercise was observed by Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. Naturally, with the firing range so close by, it was not surprising the area is cordoned off with electric wires and a permanent police post, located a few kilometers away!
This plateau is not completely flat but the climbs were mild and gradual. This gave us time to normalize our heartbeat! At the end of its 5 km span, we started cruising downhill at breakneck speed! Racing down at optimal velocity, most of us faced a tough decision....to brake or to break limbs???
At the end of our descent, Suzanne was waiting with her support car. This was a major T junction where we had to turn right onto Jalan Besar. Cruising along a couple of kilometers later, we had to make another right turn to Jalan Tg Leman to begin our ascend all over again.
Knowing Tg Leman is a seaside village, we sensed our destination is near when we started descending all over again. Soon we spotted Felda Residence, an ambitious beach front project with dining and outdoor pool. Run by the Federal Land Development Authority, a stand alone statutory body with its own financials, it has come a long way from its original purpose of yester years i.e. development of land and relocation with the objective of poverty eradication.
Just a little ahead, we weaved through the boom gates of Tg Leman car park, finally rolling to a stop at its food court that links directly to the jetty. This is the embarkation point for holiday makers heading for Pulau Sibu and its surrounding archipelago. Sharing the property's location was KFC with its seafront verandah.
|KFC's verandah overlooking the jetty|
|View of Tg Leman|
Ideally, KFC would have been our lunch but most of us had drank so much water we were almost seasick!!! The sensible ones had a light lunch at the food court which helped to fuel their journey back. As for those who returned empty except for some fruits, they were completely and absolutely drained by the time they arrived at Tg Sedili.
While Leo and SC weathered on all the way back to Desaru, BG and Matt had drinks at Tg Sedili before continuing their journey back. The rest though, meekly ate their humble meals of fried mee, fried bee hoon and fried koey teow, all carbo, for the energy home.
Claudine, VT and Zoe must have been relieved their journey ends at lunchtime, for the rest of the guys had to labour on another 50 km back!!! While some arrived as early as 3.30 pm, the lasts to reach the checkpoint were as late as 6.30 pm!!!
As for Stanley, a bad cramp on the return route to Tg Sedili was flagged as a technical problem. He was given a free ride on the support car, a blessing backup on this torturous journey!!!
|Morning market at Tg Sedili|
|Morning market at Tg Sedili|
Parking is free in Tg Sedili's village square so do not be intimidated to part with your money unless you are feeling charitable. If you are unsure, walk over and ask our friendly coffee brewer at Kar Pin Kopitiam!
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