conquering penang hill

Slow and steady may not win the race… But it’ll get you to the finish line.

At least this is what kept me going at the Penang Jamboree this weekend!

It was a grueling 36km ride, not just on the body but on the mind. With the various forms of endurance training undertaken throughout the year, I figured somehow it would carry me through. But another factor very nearly kept me from crossing the finish line.


This time it really wasn’t about keeping going – in fact, I hardly wanted to stop. Every time I hit a feed station, I topped up on fluid and left right away.  Compared to the second half of the ride, the first four checkpoints seemed almost easy to clear.

the ride profile

The last 6km was what very nearly brought me to my knees. I felt like I was at the mercy of the downhill Gods. Tried as best I could to ride what I could, but all I can say is I’ve never had to carry my bike so far downhill in my life.

At one point, this dude overtook me and I muttered something like ‘how on earth do you ride this’. I must have sounded pretty desperate, coz he turned around and said: ‘You have to be strong in the head. Just don’t think about it and RIDE.’

So I did. I braced myself and tackled some of the gnarly rock sections. I mean it sure beat portaging my bike all over the place! At one point, I nearly lost momentum and found myself teetering beside a ravine. I was saved by the strength of my left calf, which held my foot on tippy toe at the very edge. Prayed very hard for my calf NOT to cramp up and then pulled myself in towards the safer side of the single track. Another point, I nearly ate it going down a rutty section when a big leaf smacked me in the face. Reached out just in the nick of time to hug a big rock on my left. Saved by the boulder – Literally!

It was honestly the most traumatic downhill ride I’ve ever done in my life and I am still reeling from the experience. The strange thing is I felt absolutely fine physically – Mentally, especially 1km from the finish line, I was absolutely drained. No more drop offs, please, I thought.

Thankfully, I emerged from the ride fine but there were honestly a few hairy moments where things could have gone seriously wrong. Crazy Hubba rode it all and made it back to finish without so much as a scratch. Nutter. Everyone else rode at their own pace and we all straggled in at different times. I made it in sometime after Angela, who made it in sometime after Ling, who’d come in just after hardcore riders Linda and the winner. The boys all made it in with smiles on their faces and like every ride, every rider had a story or two to tell about how things could have gone horribly wrong! Good times – Haha!

Meanwhile, we ate like absolute kings in Penang. I don’t think I’ve been to Penang since I was a kid with the fogies but all I can say is the food could easily keep me there another few days if I could spare them! Hardcore biking and hardcore eating. Woah!

Thanks to the Warriors for such a great ride! Apparently, this was the last Penang Jamboree and the toughest to date. All I can say is, I’m glad I missed this year’s run for the ride and that I got to experience it. I need to work on the whole fear factor thing though!

Courtesy of Mingloid

One Response to Kayuh Lasak 2007

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