It was rather warm when we left the city that afternoon. Our next ride was something of an opposite to the city’s climate. Saiful, Alwin & me headed towards R&R Rawang to meet the rest of the members. It was 4.00 p.m. when we started to hit the highway and most of the journey was wet. Our drive up to Tanah Rata through the winding road was made easy due to the abscents of busy holiday traffic. We checked in at the apartment, all 12 of us at 7.30 p.m. in the blistering wind and cold rain.

The evening was too cold, maybe due to the rainy clouds above that had not discharge it’s total capacity. A nice peaceful dinner at Tanah Rata town followed by attending the ride briefing at 10.30 p.m. and we were off to attend to our final preparation for tomorrow’s biggy. However, the last hour of the night was not left with late chats about bikes and jokes in the kitchen, served with tuna spread and a whole bunch of 12 bikes to review…of course the white Orbea was the center fold topic.

There were about 80 mountainbikers rolled off from Habu at 8.15 a.m. that morning. They came from as far as Penang, Kulim and Kuantan. The roadsides of Habu were packed with bumper to bumper parked vehicles. What a rare sight for Habu eh? We headed towards Ringlet before navigating ourselves down winding road heading to another smaller & busier town choked with diesel fuems from local farmers’ land rovers.

As we exited the town, the sight of massive vegetable farms on steep hill slopes started to envelope with smell of fresh organic fertilisers by the roadsides stifled our noses. Popular as it’s highland attractions, Cameron Highland didn’t fail to provide nice long granny climbs as part of our warm up stretch. The breathtaking views turned ugly when we came across devastating earthworks which will be making way for new road alignment. Hills were cut, rivers were choked and silted, while muds were all over the place. We were already covered by them even before we hit the off-road sections. Yeah, thanks to “good” hillside development policies.

When the ugly feelings started to get on our nerves, we finally ventured out to an off-road trail and regrouped. Mizi’s chain broke just as we continued our offroad climb. Then it followed by an unplanned regrouping with more jokes and chats. Acong hurriedly lead the climb right after Mizi solved his problem but too bad for Acong, he didn’t get far. The stress that he put on his bike during the climb resulted to a bent hangar. Everybody laughed away as Acong transformed into a mental kacau face…hehehe.

The following 9 km descent on winding earth and partly concreted road sections was the excitement of the day. The shattering and speedy rolling seemed endless to reach the bottom when hands, arms and legs gone numbed. Upon reaching the flat, a huge laughter roared the air when I attempted a discovery dive studying microorganisms in a mudhole with my oakley & the half side of me. A slight twist of my handlebar while avoiding lots of massive mudholes ended up with a face plant…choit!

We started to enter orang asli settlements. The kampungs were connected by a concrete road mixed with steep, slippery and broken ones. The sight of exposed rebars was a nightmare to koyak the tyres. The locals called it their highway but the Kulim guys, whom rode it before, named it Bukit Meluat. The name was reflected through our faces as we climbed every hill one after another. Long lungbusting ones. This section of the trail separated our group, in fact any other group riding today. Aimie can’t barely cycled up the climbs, his legs gave way to severe muscle cramps. The cramps got worst when every foot steps brought pain. He had to lay down. A few of us had to follow our own pace to survive the demanding grannies lies ahead.

My trauma of Mat Kilau almost got me when Saiful suddenly yelled at me from behind when his chainrings jumped the cassette during one of the climbs. We were lucky that it wasn’t a complicated problem, it was resolved in a few seconds.

Alwin, Yunus, Saiful and me arrived at a pondok which marked the beginning of the Boh tea plantation. The gorgeous views of tea plants all over the hills was something of a reward from our devastated granny experience. Strong winds and fair weather hailed us as we enjoy tuna spread and California prunes for lunch. Milage has reached 33 km. Mizi and Ija turned up moments later. We decided to wait for the rest of the members, hoping they survived the climbs.

Riders came and go at the hut. An hour passed but still no sight of Aimie, Acong, Lias, Pi’e, abang Zul and Ghafar. Every passing group of riders brought us the news about Aimie’s condition. It was worrying. At 3.00 p.m. we decided to ride on towards the Boh cafeteria and wait there. Just as we started pedalling of in 500 meters, the rest of the guys appeared from behind the hill. Smiles of relief and joy gleamed on all our faces…and the nonsense started all over again…hehehe.

Another 6 km of gradual climb on the tea plantation road. Half of the way was bike pushing escorting Aimie. Clouds of rain from the distance sky hovered above us and started to trickle highland’s precipitation with cold wind that adds to the challenge. We put on our raincoats and joked our way through. All those sticky muds were rinsed away. Still, stunning views of the terrains made the climb worth while.

Mizi, Lias, Pi’e and Ghafar took turn pushing Aimie’s bike as he can barely walk with more burden other than himself. Another 3 km to go, a vehicle arrived to fetch Aimie, it a one of the Kulim guys. Upon his departure, we were energised to finish what we started…cycling! The spinning session heated up our cold muscles and half way through we stopped to remove our raincoats which started to annoy the pleasurable climb.

Finally we made it through to the cafeteria and rewarded ourselves with hot exclusive tea, brownies and cakes. Wind was still blowing furiously as we sipped our tea by the verandah. Bought myself a packet of Columbian coffee as a token of all the hardships before embarking on to the next thrill.

Soon it was time for us to roll down the last 6 km tarmac back to Habu in the strong chilling wind. We were trembling tremendously on our bikes as we deal with the slippery road. We reached Habu moments later, changed to clean clothes and drove back to Tanah Rata for a bowl of hot sup tulang and fried rice. We started our journey to Tapah at 7.00 p.m. cutting through the pitch black winding road paving a much slower trip. Arriving in KL at 11.30 p.m., we were singing the Beatle’s song…Life goes on.

Facts :

  • Trailname : Thompson trail, Cameron Highland
  • Distance : 45 km
  • Highest elevation : 1300m
  • Members : Azahari, Alwin, Saiful, Aimie, Mizi, Ija, Lias, Pi’e, Ghafar, Yunos, Acong, abang Zul & aku.

7 wonders of the world :

  1. Mizi broke his chainrings
  2. Acong bent his hangar moments later
  3. Aku attempted discovery dive in mudhole
  4. Aimie down with severe muscle cramps
  5. Saiful’s chainrings jumped the cassette like Mat Kilau
  6. Pi’e fell of the bike sebab baju hujan tersangkut pedal
  7. Alwin mabuk on the way down to Tapah
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