Twilight took over like a calm blanket setting off more than 50 cyclists pedalling into the light evening drizzle that remained after the thunderstorm. Energy levels were high and everyone was excited at the 200km they would cycle over the next 12 hours from dusk till dawn.
Aptly named PCC Extreme Ride, the ride is a unique cycling event organised only once in a few years by Nabil Jalil from PCC Malaysia. The route would take them from Gombak to Bentong, climbing Frasers Hill in the dark till the Gap, and descending towards Kuala Kubu Baru and Rawang before returning to Gombak.
As dusk set in, the cyclists on their road bikes, touring and foldable bikes were reduced to ‘fireflies’ with their rear lights blinking away into the night. It was the durian season, and they did not hesitate to stop for a quick snack on durian, after all, durian should load them up with carbohydrates and lots of energy.
After some close encounters with fallen trees and a loose water bottle, the group convened at Bentong for dinner. Even as they set off towards Frasers Hill, the weather gods did not relent and showered us until the foothills.
It was an adventure not many had done before, and most of the cyclists were impressed at themselves for still being in the zone. Cycling at night does come with its own set of challenges, but everyone was still taking it in stride.
As the ‘fireflies’ climbed towards Frasers, they were in imminent danger with many fallen trees and branches littering the way. Support crew were crucial in marking out these hazards and allowing the cyclists to pass safely. The night tolled on with every single turn the cyclists negotiated, they had to be more focused on the road which takes their mind off the fatigue and the incremental gradient.
Rumour had it, that a rogue gorilla might sprint out of the darkness with a ferocious roar. The cyclists didn’t know whether the seen or unseen would be worse to fear.
The bright lights of a 5-star ‘mamak stall’ was a welcoming sight at the Gap rest area of Fraser’s Hills at midnight. The support crew were serving ‘best in the world’ homemade blueberry muffins, hot dog buns, korean cup noodles, piping hot coffee and milo for rest, refuel and recovery.
Any signs of fatigue were soon forgotten amidst the friendly chatter discussing their achievement of 90km thus far. Only the crazy would attempt climbing Frasers in the dark on a Saturday night, when mere mortals would be enjoying a weekend at restaurants or in the comforts of home.
Some 110 more kilometers beckoned but some cyclists decided to throw in the ‘bicycle’ and join the support crew instead. Little did they know, supporting the cyclist is even harder than cycling itself, having to keep extra alert and anticipate hazards before the cyclists face it themselves.
The rest of the brave set off to finish the adventure they had set on. Descending Fraser’s Hill at high speed and pot-hole laden roads was tougher than climbing it. Bright front lights were crucial to avoid fallen branches, debris, gravel and pot holes in due time, before causing a domino-effect crash. Support cars lit the way as best as they could for the cyclists.
The remaining streets were long and lonely, but the few cars plied at extremely fast speeds and were not expecting cyclists to be on the roads in the wee hours of the morning. A last pit stop in Rawang at 5am, was much needed to reenergise the cyclists and support crew with caffeine for the last leg home.
One extra hardcore group, Team IR had started from Bukit Tunku in KL, so they detoured back to their start point from Rawang, incurring 216km over 12 hours. Some 8 cyclists made it back to Gombak, 13 hours and 200km later, and from now on shall be known as ‘Extreme Cyclists’.
Thanks to Vans Urban Bicycles Company, the participants of the ride received knog rear lights which kept them visible to the motorists throughout the night.
For more photos, view BaikBike’s photo album on Facebook.
More about the author
Jyn loves travelling the world, cycling to explore new places and finding yummy eats in the smallest towns. Follow Jyn on Facebook or blog.