I am back in Singapore from the King Of Mountain Event organized by United Cyclists of Ipoh (thanks to them again). It is an race/event up Cameron Highlands starting from the town of Simpang Pulai. It is roughly 54-55 Km long, shorter than most of my rides around Singapore, but it is one of the toughest that i ever done. With an average gradient of around 3-5%, it has been described as according to some people “A very long South Buona Vista Road”. But I beg to differ, it feels like a very long Morse Road up instead!
At around 1400m of climbing, it is around 14 times higher than what I have ever climbed in Singapore. At 105m, Mount Faber looks like a nipple compared to Cameron’s 1400m height. Being my first time up an actual mountain, I was pretty nervous as I did not know what to expect except torture and pain. Moreover, a crash on my bicycle a few days back also made me more cautious as i am afraid people will become shagged and might not be aware of surroundings and anyhow maneuver their bike. First time going into a race not 100% ready and not fully healed, but still as I have already paid for the event, I decided to go in the end despite going against the advice of my parents.
Went with the Joyriders team for the ride. Shall skip the part of food part, went to eat alot of food in Johore and Ipoh. Woke up at 0330 to do last minute packing and met them at orchard at 0440 or so. Helped to load the bikes into the coach and off we go! Reached Ipoh at around 3pm or so. Did not have the chance to ride my bike for warm up due to lack of time but i had a chance to try an Ultegra DI 2 equipped bike! It looks like the one in the photo shown below. I must say I do not know how to use Di 2 yet lol. Maybe when price drop and it becomes more affordable then I will start using it. Did not have the chance to try the ultra cool looking DA-equipped Di2 Tri Bike there.
Thanks to United Cyclists of Ipoh for the photo!
Woke up at around 530 and went to eat breakfast before the race start at 730.The night before and packed the following into my jersey pocket
1.Tool Tube with spare tube and repair kit
2. 2 energy gel and 1 energy bar
3. Iphone and some money
technically not light enough for climbing but because I am not racing, just aiming for completion, decided to bring some tools in case the roads were in shitty condition, surprisingly the roads were pretty good except for some XL sized potholes which can be spotted from a mile away.
Flag off was at 730, and off the first peleton went off, due to the neutral zone for the first 5km or so, after that was the first hill portion of the race, speeds dropped to around 12-14 kph (at least for me) and i thought it will end pretty soon, but to my horror it continued for super long (lost count actually) about 3km actually according to this mapping website. I swear its super steep can actually see people getting dropped. Somewhere after that my chain dropped out while shifting to the bigger chainring while on the flat part of the road. I mean what the hell. Quickly stopped at the side and put back the chain and off we go(1st time derailed since changing to a Dura-Ace chain)
Moving on, tried to follow little groups of cyclists up, but due to this being my 1st mountain race, I decided not to push too hard and instead just went along on my own pace. Thankfully,there were some flat portions at around 16 km mark so that provided some much needed relief to my knees before proceeding up again.
20km onwards is not as steep as the 1st 10 km. While leading a group of cyclists, I can even help pull along at 20+ kmh up a 3% gradient slope! Its uphill all the way non stop till about 40 km or so. Manageable maybe because my legs have become accustomed to the motion needed for uphill climbs. Did not stop for water point as i still had lots of water left in my 2nd bottle and ate finish my 2 packets of energy gell for that much needed calorie and mental boost. But still, I think more cyclists pass me then usual. Did not really past alot of cyclists so, for next year, I will be training harder.
40 km there was a slight descent(actually quite steep descent) exceeded 50kmh, i think i even pass some cars who are descending the same time as well! Did not even pedal much for the descent. Guess i was lucky i did not push hard as there was another ascent a few km later. Funny how it seems to last shorter than usual.
Recorded Race time was about
2hour 40 something minutes . Edited: Timing just out 2 hours 45 minutes. Not too shabby on my first attempt, feel quite sad that I did not attempt to join some riders who are forming a train, maybe i could have benefited from the aerodynamics of drafting (a little!)
Some pictures during the event.
Me before the start of the race. Either talking cock or sleeping I cant remember. Thanks to CA photographic for the picture.
Me climbing up the mountain. Still smiling.Thanks Joyce for the photo!
Finishing line photo.
And lastly my new malaysian friend, decked out in yellow!
I made another friend but I could not find him after the race. Only know his name is Richard and he is from Kuala Lumpur.
Overall, a good race and thanks to UCI for organizing a great event. Next stop is Genting Highland(I heard its super difficult) and Fraser Hill