What do u do, when an invitation comes to you to cycle from Simpang Pulai to Tapah to Tanah Rata via Ringlet and further on to Kampung Raja and back down to Simpang Pulai - a trip that is 182 kim in distance. Well, being one of two hill climbs that i have not done, i approached this ride cautiously. I too, have not been well having just recovered from a bout of Flu three times running, i said yes with much reservation. The only comfort that i had was from a close friend who had promised to support me in case i bonked out.
There were approximately 70+ riders from all over major towns assembled at the Simpang Pulai junction from KOTRT, MKH, PCC, ATM and many others. Familiar faces were Adzim, Andrea, Vong, Laif, Kimbeley Yap, Ariff, Lim, Shahrin (KOTRT) and Adeline. Upon seeing so many strong and fast riders, my decision to come along was much regretted and my heart waned. Had it not been support from one friend, i would have chickened out.
The route essentially is a large loop which starts at the Simpang Pulai juntion, heading towards Tapah on the trunk road and heading towards Tanah Rata (Cameron Highland) and further towards Brincang and subsequently to Kampung Raja. Here, we will turn left back towards Simpang Pulai.
The trip to Tapah (start time 7:45 am) - distance 50km
Journey out to Tapah was conducted sanely only for a distance of 10km. The next 40km was done at a ridiculously fast 42-44km/hr pace. One thing that I learned from long distance cycling, never let others dictate your pace unless u wanna bonk out early. Pacing at a more reasonable and moderate 32-35km/hr with a handful of cyclist we made the 50km journey in about 1:30. The journey to Tapah town is through relatively flat route. We reached Tapah and convened at SHELL petrol station at the Tapah/Cameron junction.
The trip from Tapah to Ringlet - distance 46km
We pushed out from Tapah towards Ringlet at 10:45 and reached Ringlet at 1:30 pm where we had lunch at Ringlet and had our refills. I was really keeping m eye on the Garmin and was watching us climb a total distance about 1300m above sea level which translate to about 4200 ft by the time we reached Ringlet. Memorable thoughts about this stretch is the never ending climb into Ringlet, there seem no end and I don't remember any recovery area. There is only about 1 km of decent into Ringlet that i can enjoy.
The trip to Tanah Rata and Brincang - distance 19km
We pushed on at 2:00pm towards Brincang and it started drizzling about 5km before Tanah Rata. It seems that the rain had been waiting for us in Tanah Rata and was not able to overtake riders like Adzim and Andrea. There are those that got washed out by the rain and those that started before the rain came. For us, due to our slow speed, we were not quick enough to enjoy the washout and had to endure the tail end of the rain and had to enjoy it during our climb to Brincang and "down" to Kampung Raja. We reached a maximum altitude of 1633m (more then a mile in height). There are two killer climb of about 5%, one leading out of Ringlet to the Bharat Tea House and another just after Bharat Tea House. Each climb is about 3 km. Reached Kampung Raja at about 4:00 pm.
Brincang to Simpang Pulai (via Kampung Raja)- 65km
This was published as "going downhill" but alas was not (as can be seen from the ride profile that i had got from my Garmin). There are numerous climbs that we had to endure before really enjoying the downhill that was promised. with about 3 hours left, i was quite concern that we would not be able to make it home on time. But , with last drawn energy and some supply of PowerGel, we made it down and reached Simpang Pulai at 7:05 pm.
Total Ascent - 2442 m
Max height - 1633m
Average speed - 20.4 km/hr
Maximum Speed - 58.2km/hr
Total Calories - 7281 cal
I think, this is the toughest ride that i have done, even the ride to Broga is easy by this standards.Though I suffered while doing this ride, i would do it again albeit with better fitness level. But at least, that will erase this ride from my checklist and which leaves only the ride up to Genting as my last on the list of hill climbs that i need to do.
My thanks to the MKH group which was there behind me and their presence somehow give me comfort and concerned text and calls from Adzim, Ariff, Tham and Vong. Lastly, i would like to thank my ride buddy who was there for me always, Adeline.