Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Long Ride Home - Kukup and Back (3 June 2017)

No drones required!
Good cloud cover until we hit Kukup
Gelang Patah
Gelang Patah with Tracy, Jansen, Adrian and Henry
Group photo after the "almost dominos" effect
Cow Lane
Cow Lane
Cow Lane
U Cycle saying goodbye!

We were blessed with a cool morning. The sun hid shyly behind a blanket of clouds as we rolled out from the Southgate of Horizon Hills. All of us were in good hands as Leo, the captain of JEC, led and set the speed. Besides him, Jonathan, Philip and Sai Kit, the respective leaders for U Cycle, LHR and IRC were all present to help guard over their own packs. Further gracing our ride, were the indie riders who were all strong, independent and ready to lend a hand!

Heading out, we looped twice on the butterfly interchange, headed south west on Iskandar Coastal Highway before turning off to Lebuh Kota Iskandar. When the first steep climb began, the peloton broke and the road littered with riders all the way to Gelang Patah. 3 traffic lights later, the first group had vanished out of sight!

Jack was found waiting for one of his sons, caught by the red lights at Taman Nusantara. Reunited, they joined the trailing party to the last frontiers of the housing estate only to see Leo's group whizzing past on a longer route!

Regrouped, they screamed past Kg Jelutong Tengah, a scenic route that traverses a narrow river with bobbing sampans. At the speed they were going, we wondered if anyone noticed the malay cemetery, the madrasah and the primary school, besides the quaint kampung houses...

Joining the busier road of Jalan Ulu Pulai, the air stank of plant fertilizer. We were passing palm oil estates, a nursery and a memorial park. As an afterthought, we could only hope we were not breathing in the decomposing fumes of any human remains!!!

Bill, Terrence, Adrian, Jack and his boys
TH, Eddie and Philip
Adam, Desmond, Trevor, Sai Kit and friend!
Jansen, Jonathan, Charlie and friends!!
Henry, Andrew, SK, Leo and friend!!!
Christina, Clement and the junior team!!!!
Regrouping at Shell's Pekan Nanas, the lead riders waited patiently for the lasts to trail
in before pushing off. While taking a group photo, there was an almost dominos effect when Sai Kit lost his balance while his shoe was clipped to the pedal. Thankfully, the third rider held his ground!!!

It was impossible to keep everyone together as we rolled past Pekan Nanas town. The strings of traffic lights and vehicles on the road separated us.

We were further separated on J110. It was a flat road with low traffic. Having said that, it was only right to allow the speedsters to rev their engines. Everyone that could, pumped their pedals hard on this "10 km flats" stretch! Those that could not keep up with the peloton, were very much riding alone!

Kg Belokok
We had a short regrouping at the end of the "race circuit" before turning left into the "cow lane" for another scenic stretch. This lane cuts across palm oil estates, chicken farms and kampung houses. Cows were tied loosely all along this lane, allowed to graze on the lalangs that grew wild along the canal.

Cow dung hazard
Cowprits responsible for the cow TH puts it!!!

Almost arriving at the T junction to Jalan Kukup, Adam was trying to avoid swabs of cow dung when he lost balance and fell! In all adversities, heroes will stand out. Jin and Clement went quickly to his aid while Jack pulled out an antiseptic spray for him.

Not cowered by the "cowprits", Adam pulled out his bullish spirits to ride on to the junction, a few hundred meters ahead. When a taxi miraculously appeared at the junction, he refused to get in but fought on to Kukup with us before riding all the way back to Gelang Patah!!!

In Kukup, the groups split to find their own eats. Norsiah's bollywood star was still around but at puasa month and shorthanded with only 2 staffs working, we had to self serve!!! Jack's plan to bring his boys to the jetty was short lived when he had to repair a puncture!

Leaving Kukup, we went via the cow lane again. Jonathan who sped ahead, missed the turn and had to be called back. When he did make the turn, he skidded and fell!

The rest of us who knew the way, tried our best to guide everyone. With long stretches and waning stamina, the riders were spaced out. Only the leader and sweeper remains but in between the sub groups of 2-3 riders, they were only given cues on the important junctions.

Priscilla and Jeanny with IRC
Somehow, everyone managed to make it to Pekan Nanas. Terrence, Adrian, Bill and the Tan's were at Petronas, unaware of our fruit stop until much later. Jin and Clement left on their own from hereon.

When we received news that Eddie was slowed down by cramps at the cow lane, we started sending groups back on their own. Leo and Henry left with the junior team. Much later, Sai Kit, TH, Kee Tiam and Andy left with the rest of IRC.

It was already midday and the sun was out with double the vengeance. Temperatures were soaring at 35 degrees C when VT and Eddie finally rolled in.

After cooling down over a drink and a cigarette, Eddie was still reluctant to budge. He was in bad shape, ranting about a drinking spree on Thursday night.

It was then that Jack called for a contingency plan. It was decided that Team LHR should have lunch at Pekan Nanas, allowing Eddie a longer rest.

Leaving them to dine on their own, VT and Claudine decided to ride home together. They returned via the scenic kampung route of Kg Jelutong Tengah. While cutting through the kampung, VT called out for a cool respite but no shops were open on fasting month. They finally found shelter under the zinc roof of a convenience store where VT had no choice but to drink thirstily from his water bottle. The remaining water was used to drench his cap and towel as a cooling measure.

Thinking they were going to hit home base soon, VT requested for yet another stop just as they were pushing off. It was ridiculous considering that Amin's was only 3 km away!!!! Not wanting to leave him to ride back alone, they compromised with a lunch stop at Tea Garden, Taman Nusantara.

It was a great idea to sit out the mid day sun even though home was only another 7 km away. When they finally hit the road again, they bumped into Sai Kit on a rescue mission to get Christina. "Rescue car" was heading for Gelang Patah, on the opposite site of Lebuh Kota Iskandar while they were already within the outer perimeters of Horizon Hills!

Right after Khass, on the Iskandar Coastal Highway
Today's extreme hot weather took a toll on a few vehicles. U Cycle had a tyre puncture near Khass while the returning Singapore party witnessed the fiery blow up of a truck on the Iskandar Coastal Highway!!!

Topping all these mayhem, Adam was advised to sit out all sports for at least 2 months. His X-ray report revealed 2 hairline cracks on his collarbone!

Photo Credits :
1. Leo
2. Adrian
3. Bill
4. Andy

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