Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fraser's Hill Day 3 - Descending on empty and returning home too full!

Pic KC

Pic KC

It was hard for me to get up as sleeping in the cool weather of 16c, I was just too snug. The long climb yesterday ensured too that all of us slept like babies. Had to yank myself out of bed only to find everyone almost ready to go and with their morning coffees downed. I was not too concern as we were heading for breakkie just 5 mins ride away at an Indian Roti Cafe. Mike was also advising us to dress warmly as it can be quite cold blasting through the early morning mountain air and we all heeded his wisdom. We took a group photo at the Silverpark sign and then freewheeled to the cafe in the cool of the morning.

Pic KC

Horrors of horrors, there was not a soul in the food centre as all the eateries were closed. Yes, it was Ramadan the fasting month but it was also the school holidays! Surely there are tourists like us looking to start the day with some food? I was mortified to think that we had to start this 40km ride without breakfast but such is the unexpected excitement of a tour. I reasoned that since it will be mostly downhill and when hunger pangs come, I do have a few biscuits and water.

There is always a first time for everything as they say, and descending on empty is not something we would recommend as some years back, one of our Perth riders fainted and blacked out because he skipped breakfast. With that challenge in front of us, we said goodbye to Fraser's Hill which strangely resembled a ghost town on a Friday morning. As Mike returned the keys at the hotel recep near the Clock Tower, I marveled at the charm of the town center with it's quaint colonial houses and lovely gardens. Truly, this is a place that deserves more visitors.

My knees still ached as we pedaled up some hills to reach the start of the gap, passing the beautiful golf course. I was sure glad that today's ride will be a breeze literally. With its cool and agreeable weather, I would imagine Fraser's is the best place to tee off but alas there was no one in sight!

It was exciting to begin our descend and the key word to remember if you want to come down safely is control. Do not rush. Do not race. Go at a speed that you are comfortable with. When approaching corners and hairpins, always remember "slow in, fast out" because "fast in, never come out!"... O yes, also make sure your brakes are effective and know the grip limits of your tires. Choose your cornering lines properly and watch out for broken road surfaces too. (Better stop here as I'm beginning to sound like a nag...)

Here is an unedited video I shot at the start of our fun! My apologies for the shakes and all as I was recording this with one hand on the Samsung S7 and one on my handlebar. When it got too fast, I had to stop recording as I didn't want to crash! One hand downhill riding is not exactly very smart.

If you live for downhills, this is heaven for you. No need to put any effort and the bike just flies down automatically. With the many hairpins thrown in for good measure, it really tests your skill to the limit if you want to break speed records. Mike was nowhere to be seen while Ying Chang dutifully played the sweeper role. We passed some very awesome scenery with mountain ranges, lovely fauna, and even streams. Traffic was minimal and very courteous. However, it is hard to take photos when zooming pass at break neck speeds but I managed to coax the boys for a few shots.

The 8km descend ended all too soon and we all re-grouped at The Gap. The downhill experience proved too much for Ying Chang who could still continue flying down even without his bicycle!

All this speed really got some of us high in adrenaline and KC could not wait to take off for part 2 of the descend down to KKB. No one, no one could restrain him!

Pic KC

The next 30km or so towards KKB proved a bit more gradual and we enjoyed going down together. We were all worried for George who had a blown up tire but aptly repaired by KC. His excellent craftsmanship saved the day for George who came down confidently and safely. It is always such a blessing to have such talented people on the LTF Team.

Pic KC

We took a break at the mid-way point waterfall where we rested our brakes and stretched ourselves. It was there that KC reminded me of the last trip our 2 faithful 16" foldies went on a tour together to Betong Thailand where we had an amazing time discovering the communist hideout. How significant it was to be here at Fraser's where the communist probably had their best "win" in the assassination of Sir Gurney only to be driven up 500km north to Thailand years later and be defeated.

Pic KC

As we proceeded downhill, I heard an unusual rolling sound as I overtook YC and George on a bumpy corner but did not think much of it. Later, YC handed me my battle scared water bottle and trust him for being such an excellent sweeper. The yellow bridge appeared in no time and I remembered the Commando Mozzies lurking and was determined to fly past there unmolested.

Pic KC

As we approach the dam, the friendly dog we were looking out for was nowhere to be seen and we kind of missed her. But what caught our eye was on our left, a beautiful stream with the mountain range in the background that reminded us of Yosemite National Park or even those in Taiwan. We had to stop to drink in the gorgeous views and to capture that beautiful moment. This is priceless!

As we hit the newly constructed roads next to the dam, it was safe to go maximum speeds as the roads were fairly wide, billet table smooth and straight. Here KC unleashed his Flamingo's wings and aero tucked its gullet to achieve an unbelievable top speed of 96km/h. Is this really possible? I'm still scratching my head but in Chiang Dao Thailand, his speedo registered 116km/h!

Pic KC

Poor Mike all this time was waiting patiently for us just before we entered KKB. It was the price to pay for going too fast I guess but like in all our tours, it's always best to go at your own pace and it is our policy to always wait for one another like this.

Pic KC

We took a mere 2 hours to come down but it felt like 20 minutes. Going down was over too fast and too soon. The first order of the day was to eat something and after going around the small town of KKB, we settled on Indian pancakes. This proved to be below par as the man making it was pretty lazy and took a short cut way of preparing. That was not appreciated by Mike! The curry too was very watery and we seldom complain about food, especially feeling really famished. But there was lunch to look forward in 2 hrs and we just gobbled down and left.

We went to the hotel where we left our car and was glad it was still there. A quick freshen up and a change, then the tedious procedure of packing, storing and tying the bikes properly for the long journey home.


It was hard to believe that our adventure was over just like that. But YC had a surprise birthday planned the next day and I was under strict instructions to return him to base before midnight otherwise I would have to kiss him on behalf of his lovely wife. Something I would rather she do than I.

We celebrated the success of our Fraser's Hill Climb with what is arguably the best BBQ pork I have ever tasted. This delectable lunch spot in Shah Alam is run by one of Mike's 4WD buddy and it was worth every fatty calorie. Crispy on the outside, soft and tender inside. Sweet, a light hint of burnt edges and absolutely succulent. This eaten with roast chicken and roast pork with rice really made our day and was a fitting end of a special trip. We were all so full and it was hard to drive home after such a huge and satisfying meal.

All gratitude and praise be to our Heavenly Father who watched over us, and blessed us with superb weather, safety, amazing scenery and most of all, the warmth and generosity of caring friends. Somehow being connected with God's creations high up in the mountains with good mates triggers a sense of quiet joy and contentment and there is nothing like experiencing and arriving there, pedal by pedal. We all returned home a bit different that day, richer, stronger and more ready to face life back in the urban jungle.

My grateful thanks to my brothers YC, Mike, KC and George for a most memorable trip. This is what life is all about, at least for us touring cyclists.

Isaiah 55:12,13

So you will go out from there with joy.
You will be led out in peace.
When you come to the mountains and hills, they will begin singing.

    All the trees in the fields will clap their hands.
Large cypress trees will grow where there were thornbushes.

    Myrtle trees will grow where there were weeds.

All this will happen to make the Lord known,
to be a permanent reminder of his goodness and power.

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