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Wang Kelian Hills Revisited

29 March 2010

It’s the first cycling event of the year and a decision was made that the hills of Wang Kelian will once again be the distinguisher between men and boys.



After a 5-minute warm-up headed by Shahrom, helmets checked and shoes clipped on the pedals, around 25 cyclists were flagged off. The route was shaded by rubber trees at the beginning of the ride and the road was rolling with small climbs here and there – a nice warm-up for the planned 145km ride.



The ‘train’ was fast, going at about 30-35km/h at times. Everyone was in high spirits and chatted along the way to fill in the gap between the whirring of the chains. The chatters subsided when they came to inclines and some stood up on the bike and ploughed their way through, mashing the pedals to reach the top.



The first stop was at kilometer 55, just before the sugar cane fields at Chuping. It was around 10 am and the sun has started to show its streak. It’s going to be a scorching day by the looks of it. No clouds in the sky to shelter us, no rubber trees to offer a shade. Slap on the sunblock and face the sun, I’d say.



After a few minutes break of water and bananas, the train again made its way to the sugar cane fields of Chuping. The signboard at the roundabout was a grim reminder of what’s ahead – that the area recorded the highest temperature of 42 degrees celsuis some time last year. The road was long and wide. The wind was unrelenting. It’s already bad enough that the day was hot. Coupled with the strong headwind, the cyclists now were forced to pedal down the hills to avoid being slowed down by the wind.



The cemented road made it worse as the friction between the road and the tyres slowed the bike drastically and cyclists were forced to pedal harder in order to get the bikes moving. This caused some cyclists to cramp and some stopped for a few minutes to rest and treat their muscle cramps. However, the green fields of Chuping provided some relief with its lush green and swaying leaves that soothed the eyes and made them forget about the pain and the cramps that have started to creep in. Nevermind, only a few more kilos to go before the regroup stop at Caltex in Kangar.



After a few minutes break of water and bananas, the train again made its way to the sugar cane fields of Chuping. The signboard at the roundabout was a grim reminder of what’s ahead – that the area recorded the highest temperature of 42 degrees celsuis some time last year. The road was long and wide. The wind was unrelenting. It’s already bad enough that the day was hot. Coupled with the strong headwind, the cyclists now were forced to pedal down the hills to avoid being slowed down by the wind.



Moving on to the final part of the day – the last 45km with a 3km climb with the steepness of close to that of the road up to Genting Highlands! This was it, this was the determinant of what each cyclist were made of, whether one is a man or a wuss. Out of the 25 cyclists at the starting line, only a handful dared to face this arduous climb. One of them was Halim from Wirazone, who stayed on from the very beginning and determined to conquer the hills of Wang Kelian.



One by one the pack trickled to form a straight line on the sloping road. Shahrom was in front, followed by Azli and Hamid. En Ahmad Jauhari didn’t fall far behind and stayed focus to reach the top. The road was getting steeper and sharp and winding at the same time. Come on, a little bit more. At times like these, only a strong mental ability that could help them overcome whatever fear or cramps that started to crawl into their weakening bodies. Seriously, at 100 over kilometers combined with a steep hill was enough to make any cyclist shy away and opt for the easier option – get on the van!



It was a pleasant surprise to see Halim had stayed on the saddle and was determined to finish, no matter how long it takes for him to finish it.



Applause and salute to all cyclists who managed to finish the ride in one piece. Alhamdulillah nobody was injured, apart from the normal cramps and muscle aches. This showed that the scorching sun, the relentless wind and the long steep hills were not an obstacle that cannot be defeated by the cyclists.

Some heroes were born that day and the feeling of conquering the hills of Wang Kelian will be forever etched in their minds and their heroic stories will continue to be told for generations to come.


Congratulations to all!