Event: Melaka International Century Ride 2016 – Update

Another blow from the Melaka Century Ride organizer. 1st, the event was cancelled then they told us to collect the jersey during the collection day. Within days time, they changed their mind again and said it will deliver to us if we provide them the mailing address. Again within weeks time, they told us to pay additional RM10 to deliver it to us. This is clearly telling me they are out there to rob us clean. I will vow not to take part in any event under Azmar AB Hamid or Myskillmedia. See the message below from XIRCOLO.

STATEMENT FROM XIRCOLO

Greetings to all riders,

We, XIRCOLO as the event supplier is concerned about what has happened due to the cancellation of the MICR event. Together with the participants, XIRCOLO similarly has incurred a lot of losses in terms of money, manpower, time and other preparations for this event.

After further discussion with MICR Management, few events organisers, cycling experts, event suppliers and some riders, include from Singapore together with XIRCOLO Management, we have agreed to give away the jerseys and medals to the participants with the postage and processing fees.

Please be informed that jerseys and medals distribution is not the work of XIRCOLO the supplier, but base on our sporting spirit, we reluctantly will do so.

Please provide :
1) Name of participant and MICR registration no :
2) Delivery address to :
3) Postage of Rm15/per participant to :
Nurhidayat Ahmad Jalil
Maybank account no : 151605096149
4) Bank payment receipt as proof for the above STRICTLY via
WHATSAPP to hp no : +60137042554
5) a) Only Singapore participants , please contact via WHATSAPP
to hp no : +601126739290 (Eddie)
b) Processing fees S$10/per participant

XIRCOLO will not entertain any queries or claims concerning jerseys and medals pertaining to MICR event after 7 days from the date of this announcement. Parcels processing period will probably take about 14 – 30 days.

Thank you,
XIRCOLO Management
11th November 2016

 

Event: Melaka International Century Ride 2016

The Melaka Century Ride or MCR was organized by Myskillmedia Sdn Bhd and this year was their 3rd year organizing this event. The 1st 2 events were quite successful and routes were quite challenging. This was my 1st time to register for a century ride. I was quite hesitated to enroll as I was quite lazy to train or busy with my schedule but I did enroll due to their reputed event.

The event was supposed to hold on Oct 30th which was just few days ago. But unfortunately, the event was cancelled 5 days prior to the start date. Moreover, there was no refunds given to the participants. This caused an uproar among all the cyclists. There were few police reports being logged to the organizer and I am sure there is nothing the police can do about it. There were fine prints in the enrollment form clearly stated no refunds shall be given back to participants if event is cancelled. The reason they gave was the event cost was not sufficient to cover all expenses. With about 3000 people registered and each person paid RM130 that was RM390,000. Well, with RM390,000 and sponsors still not able to cover the cost? How much profits do they want?

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Though the event was cancelled but they will still ship the jersey and medal to us. What is the point of having the jersey and medal when we did not even ride the route?

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The Myskillmedia is also the organizer for Selangor Plus Century Ride which is on November 27. A lot of my friends were registered for this but fortunately the event money collected by CyclingEvents has yet to distribute back to the organizer. CyclingEvents was deeply regretted with their actions and they are willing to refund to those who had registered for Selangor Plus Century Ride. They will bare all the financial and handling charges also.

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I am sure this event organizer was to gain people trust for first 2 events and by 3rd one, they will just take the money and make a quick buck out of it. This posted me a question on whether I should join any event in future. For sure I won’t be joining anything that is related to Myskillmedia or Azmar Hamid.

Event: CFAL 2016 8th Edition

This was the 8th year they organized this ride and this time the start and end point were different too. This year they held at Youth Park. There are always bound to have good and bad of each event. It is how they pick up and improve or maintain it. The route was longer compared with last year. Based on my Strava tracking, it was increased from 77km to 85km this year.

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Youth Park is a great location and I will say quite sufficient parking spaces for cars. The only setback was the narrow road getting into and out of Youth Park was crazy. Imagine you have thousands of cyclists squeezed in a single car lane before joined to the main road. Also, during the end of the event there were cyclists rode against the traffic on a small 1 way street. This posted danger to other road users too.

As mentioned, they had changed the route for this year. It was not only longer and they were no longer passing through Esplanade as the usual route but passed by Georgetown area. I wasn’t sure if they want to promote the Penang Heritage site but I quite sure they missed out taking Penang traffic into account. You have buses, motorbikes and cars came from all directions. This could be scary scene.

They have improved the water stations area also. This year both the water stations were on the left side, so no one needs to cross the road. As normal, people still complained as they did not provide enough water stations. The 1st water station was at ~35km and 2nd water stations was at 60km. The last station was at end zone where they served food and drinks. I am sure it is hard to please everyone.

Safety wise, this year they did a very good job as they make sure every junctions or traffic lights they have traffic police or RELA (People’s Volunteer Corps) to take care of the traffic. Even we were very slow and near to the cutoff time, they were still there to stop any traffic. I remembered last year we have to take care of our own safety when we reached late.

Overall, I think they have improved a lot this year even with more participants. Kudos! I am not sure will there be another CFAL next year because last year they said were the last and this year they said the same. So, cross your fingers and hope that there will be another CFAL if you do plan to join them. Good luck…

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Travel: Kuching, Sarawak

If you only have a day in Kuching and what can you do? For most Asian, we will find food. Head to Carpenter Street at the old town, you can have a bowl of Kueh Chap. It is basically a mixture of pork intestine, meat and deep fried tofu in an herbal soup. While you are at it, order the famous pork satay too. It sure is delicious. Not many places in West Malaysia can find pork satay and the way of cooking is different also. This place is not difficult to find as the food court is right front of a Chinese temple at Carpenter Street.

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Ok, now you are full. How about a river cruise? There are a few types of river cruise that you can opt for. From a budget sampan to a beautiful boat with meals offered. Of course, we were the adventurous people and we took a small sampan that ferry people across the Sarawak River. It only costs us MYR50 for the whole sampan and a total of 5 persons. It took us about an hour for the whole journey but don’t expect any introductory narrator. Anyway, our purposed was to kill time before our flight. Head to one of the wharf below and you can see many of these sampans.

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The cruise itself… It was all quiet except for the motor on the boat and our laughter.

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Alternatively, you can also opt for this type of river cruise.

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More time to kill? Well, take stroll around the city center or have a cup of drink at Starbuck in the Plaza Merdeka.

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Before ending the day, head to Topspot Food Court for a delicious fresh seafood. We ordered Giant River Prawns (Udang Galah), fried squid, a medium size fish cooked in curry and the famous Paku-Pakis Midin vegetable. And all that, only MYR40 per person. They open at 5pm every day.

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Trail: Gombak to Bentong

To get to Bentong from Gombak, one have to go thru Genting Sempah. This was an old trunk road to Bentong before the 2 lanes Karak Highway was built. The highest elevation here is 654m but actual climb is only 535m from HOA (Hospital Orang Asli). It is spread out to 14.4km distance, so it wasn’t so bad at all.

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This is not entirely a new route for me and I have blogged about Gombak to Genting Sempah before. This is actually a very nice route as both side of the road is covered with rainforest trees. It is not hot and the road is nicely paved. It is also not a hard climb as the average gradient is about 2-3 degree only. A perfect 1-2 hours ride on your busy weekend. There are 1-2 areas that you might want to get the momentum going to push up the sloop or off saddle pedaling. Other than that, it is an easy ride.

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What’s new for this ride was Genting Sempah to Bentong. This was like interstate riding as we were riding from Selangor to Pahang state and back. Bentong is located in Pahang and it is a border town. From Genting Sempah to Bentong town is another 33km but it is all downhill and flat road. Going back Genting Sempah was not so bad as the average climb was only 1.5 degree gradient and climb for 20km. Though it was hot when we rode back but there were trees cover here and there. Therefore, it was not as bad as Titi ride. The only setback here was the road condition. There were holes and cracks here and there. So, you will have to constantly watch out for the uneven grounds and holes. This can be tiring too as it has too much vibration. The last 500-800m was the hardest to climb. It has around 5-8 degree gradient. If your largest cog is at least 28T then you will be able to pull thru. Or, just stand and pedal.

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Turning right here is to Janda Baik route but there is no turning require going towards Bentong. Well, at least not until you reach Bentong town.

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You will cruise downhill and along the river. It reminds me of driving in Colorado except that the water in Colorado is clean and clear.

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Also, you will be passing by a waterfall and a hot spring.

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The iconic sign of Bentong. I saw this post in every cyclists Facebook.

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Coming back may be hot but there are trees cover here and there.

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This is the start of the last tortures climb. It may seem easy from here but there are 1-2 stretches that may require hard pedaling.

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While you are at Bentong town, don’t forget to get a refreshing Ice Kacang from Kow Po café just next to Hong Leong Bank. A can of 100 Plus and a small bowl of Ice Kacang with ice cream cost me $6.

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Enjoy your ride.

Is Competition Good or Bad?

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Lately, I have 2 groups of cyclist friends keep talking about fighting each other timing or during rides they would like to test power. Sometimes even a stranger ride along the road will do that also. It can be quite annoying especially if I am not up for any competition. Some were definitely born to be competitors but definitely not me. I ride for health and fun. Of course we all need to be fit enough to ride along with our gang. If not, they will wait for you for too long and eventually they will not include you in the next ride.

I even have friends keep pushing me to join competition and all they care is standing at podium. I know my standard and riding once or twice a week won’t help me to get up on a podium. So, there is no point to compete. But, if they rephrase the wording to join a jamboree is to gain experience, enjoying the crowd or let the adrenaline fill in your blood when everyone is racing, then I may consider. To get on a podium is definitely not my cup of tea.

I feel that a bit of competition is good, so you will know where your standards are. Also, this will give you a gauge to join or not to join a certain group ride. What’s your say?

Trail: KL Car Free Day

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This is mainly for recreational or fun ride, so it is very suitable for family outings. Part of the KL city center is closed for 2 hours (7-9am) from traffic for people to enjoy the outdoor outing. They used to hold it once a month and always on the 1st Sunday of the month. Now, it is twice a month and on the 1st and 3rd Sunday. You can get additional info here: http://www.klcarfreemorning.com/index.asp. The loop covers about 7km long so you can do about 2-3 loops of leisure ride.

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Don’t want to ride? Well, you can join a bunch of joggers or you can walk also. Basically it is opened to all people except for motorized vehicle. But I saw a bunch of noisy motorized scooters. I guessed it is allowed.

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As said, this is fun ride for families. Therefore, you can’t ride your bike fast here as there are people jogging in the middle of the lane, slow cyclists or some will just stop in the middle of the road without giving any warnings. You will need to be alerted at all times or ride at the most outer lane.

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The route covers the iconic Petronas Twin Tower (KLCC) and Menara KL (KL Tower). Lots of people (including me) stopped for photos. So, do watch out for those people. If you do stop, please stop at the side of the road.

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Do remember to stop for pictures at the Merdeka Square.

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Hungry? Food trucks are ready to serve you.

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If you are staying around the area and don’t feel like driving out, then this is a place to bring your children to ride. I would consider quite safe if your speed is slow. Or, if you are a tourist and wanted to join the crowd, the OCBC bank has donated some bikes that you can borrow it for free. Just don’t expect they are giving you Trek, Speicalized or Cannondale bikes. They are rideable but some are in bad condition. So, be there early to choose your bike and have fun.

Trail: Nanshan aka Namsua (南山)

This is another killer hill in Penang but don’t be despair. The trail is wide enough for you to do a zig zag and it is cemented track. Yes… it is cemented. 😦 Nanshan (南山) or literally translate to English is South Hill and Penangnites called it Namsua (in Hokkien). This hill is located in Paya Terubong which is in between Sg Ara and Air Itam Dam (AID). In fact, it is connected to Hilton stop but today I will not blog about it as I have yet to explore there.

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This trail is a very good training ground for those who are staying around or want to do a quick 30-45 mins intense hill climbing training. It was like me trained at Pearl Hill. It is definitely not for enthusiastic mountain bikers as it has zero technicality and the trail is nicely paved. Not to mention it is wide too. The only difficulty is endless climb. Average gradient is ~8 degree climb but some part is around 14-25 degree. It is a category 3 climb in Strava. So, it is not as bad as in Hye Keat or TSLK.

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To get there:- Turn into Jalan Oriental 6 from the main road – Jalan Paya Terubong.

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There are always bond to have a good view when you ride in Penang. Whether you are riding along the coast or up on a hill. At the middle of the hill you will see the Paya Terubong suburb.

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Continue on with the journey…

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Normally, people will stop once they reached a Chinese temple but that is not at the top of the hill yet. If you opt to continue after the Chinese temple, you will see a wider view of Penang. After the temple, it is easy riding with gradual climb and part pf the trail is cemented and non paved road.

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If you wish to continue, the trail will lead you to a fruit farm. Highest elevation at this place is 432m.

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Review: Supacaz Grip for MTB

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This is the 3rd grip that I have used for my MTB. The 1st was the Specialized SIP Locking Grips that comes with my bike which I have used it for more than 2 years. Then I got another grip from online store in China which it lasted for 1-2 months only. Then, my friend introduced me to Supacaz grip which I felt in love with it until now. Supacaz was founded by a group of cyclists in California. I would said they have a very good engineering.

The rubber compound is soft and sticky to hold with or without your gloves. My hands can be all sweaty and yet I can still get a good grip on my handlebar. Previously when I used the Specialized grip, my hands tend to numb especially long ride and slipped off when it was wet. With Supazaz I hardly have that problem anymore. I have a full control of my bike all the time.

They have very striking colors because most of them are neon colors. Of course, they have black too if you prefer the conventional way. I had the neon green not because I like it but they are clearing stocks. For MYR4x, I can get a pair of comfortable grips. The retail price in US is USD25.

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Do apologize for the dirty grips but that shows I have used long enough to blog this. 😛 (hahaha)

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I will definitely use this again next time. Also, I will try their roadbike bar tape too. There are 2 shops that carry this brand in Penang and they are Pro Cyclist (PC) 04-827 7811 & BMC 04-656 5001. I got mine from PC.

Trail: Fox Hill via Bat Cave Temple

As I mentioned earlier there are 3 ways to get to Fox Hill but Bat Cave trail is not a complete trail. Why? The Bat Cave trail will eventually link up to Hye Keat before hitting Fox Hill. Most of the trails in Penang are interlinks. So, you can hardly get missing if you follow the downhill cemented path. Most probably you will be chased by dogs.

Which is the hardest to climb among the 3? I would say Thai Siang Low Koon (TSLK) is still the hardest as it has nonstop climb. But, there is no easiest trail to get to Fox Hill. Hye Keat and Bat Cave trail are very subjective to each individual liking. The 1st 2km of Hye Keat is difficult to climb whereas Bat Cave is easier to climb at starts but it gets harder after 1km. The elevation for the 1st km climb is 89m only but from 1km to 2.4km, it climbs 310m altitude or an average of 12.5 degree climb.

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Personally I like Bat Cave trail as I drive there and I don’t like to do hard climb when my body is not warm up yet. So, the 1st km ride work out fine for me because by the time I hit the area where the climb is harder and my body is all warm up. The average gradient is about 10 degree for the whole trail but there are few areas about 12-15 degree. Once it connects back to Hye Keat trail, it is pretty easy ride from there onward.

The start of the trail

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This seems like the end of the road but it has a single cemented track connected to this road. Just get onto the cemented track.

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Then follow all these red arrow path that I have marked here.

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Some of the harder  climbs.

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Ride after ride and all the hard climbs I have made. There are always cool breeze and magnificent views waiting for me. Just stop and enjoy it. I am sure you will love it too.

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Eventually, you will connect back to Hye Keat trail as I have shown this earlier.

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Do read my Hye Keat and TSLK trail to continue to Fox Hill and back to AID.