Roadside Meal stop
This weekend’s AUDAX 600km was the most difficult and best 600km route we have ever done. This route took us to places unknown and included more than 3000m of climbing. So while we did not get to stop at Hotel Super Cowboy we did manage to cover some new terrain that would definitely be better preparation for PBP or anything that includes climbs. A special thank you to Patrick Williams for designing the route and for deviating so the squad of 13 riders could hit McDonald’s in Pontian.
We rolled at 3:30am to ensure that we arrived back in Singapore early on Sunday to enable people to have some rest and time with family before heading back to work on Monday. The first stretch to Pontian was approximately 90 km from Starbucks and we managed to arrive just as the sun started coming up around 7am. After a hearty breakfast we headed up the main road towards Melaka to Batu Pahat. Not sure what they ate for breakfast but both Steven Hon and Dmitry were drilling the 70km distance on the front and when we arrived in Batu Pahat the group was pretty shattered. Dmitry said ‘I tried to keep the average speed at 36km/hour’….to which many replied that we were doing 40+ most of the way.
From Batu Pahat we left the road to Melaka en route to Pagoh, home of the famous cycling-support driver Hafiz. After Pagoh we headed to Labis, and then to Paloh, which is as close as Malaysia gets to Napa Valley California. The roads were in amazing condition and they rolled up and down along fields of grape-less vineyards. Our goal was to hit our sleeping spot before dark. This year we decided to catch some sleep at the Imperial Palace in Kluang. Kluang is the normal spot we stop for lunch for the 300 and 400km rides and luckily for us this 2-star hotel was right beside 7-11 and the food stop we normally go to. Even luckier, it was actually probably a 4-5-star hotel with great showers, AC, TV with 47 local channels and it was very clean. The hotel staff even dedicated a full room to the riders to store our bikes overnight. We were successful at meeting our goal as we rolled into Kluang at 7pm. A quick shower, a few beers from 7-11 and a few pizzas from Domino’s Pizza and we were all content. 380km in the bag and time for some rest before the 4am departure the following day.
Everybody was awake and ready to roll at 4am. From Kluang we were heading east towards Mersing before heading homeward bound towards Kota Tinggi. As we rolled past the 4am motor cycle drag races in Kluang, the roads were empty but dark. The terrain was very hilly and it was probably a good thing that it was dark as the steep climbs may have disheartened some of the riders. Prior to heading south to Kota Tinggi we stopped in the middle of a jungle for breakfast. In the east there is barely anywhere to stop so we were lucky to have Hafiz and his truck load of food and drinks. Nothing beats pizza in the jungle after an 80km hilly ride.
Lundy Worker Award – Dmitry Kabrelyan and Steven Hon both did excessive front time on this ride enabling the other riders to have more beer and pizza time in Kluang. This duo combined efforts to tug the entire group from Pontian to Batu Pahat at a whopping 36km/hour. Solid effort.
The Silk Smile Award goes to Julian Allan. Julian was a bit hesitant to join the 600km ride and regularly would ask what to do if he fell off the back of the HonTrain. Well every time he asked he did it with a smile and by the end of the ride he realized that he had no problem hanging on. Solid effort and see you on the road soon.
The JFT Audax Award really has to go to Andy Bennett. Andy has not been riding that much and with a new job and two young kids it would be quite easy to blow this off…not only did he not blow it off but he hammered out the entire 600km regularly towing other riders along…as a matter of fact people were angling to get behind the big guy calling the prestigious place in the peleton ‘business class’ or ‘beer garden’ given how easy it is to draft off him.
Congratulations to the award winners and to all the riders. It was a very tough ride. Thanks again Patrick for the epic ride route!