I arrived at the Penang Esplanade just before 6.30am and the crowd was already swelled. By the time I meetup with Kenny and go to the starting line, we were already at the end of the peloton. The sun was peaking out during flag off and within minutes, the sky brightens up. The entire Weld Quay street was filled with cyclist and it becomes more scattered on the coastal highway. By the time we reach Queensbay, there were already people stopping. Not sure if they were giving up or waiting for friends. The skin starts to feel the heat of the sun, but the air is still cool. I was already breathing profusely, but i did not feel an ounce of tiredness. All my friends were all way ahead of me and I was cycling alone at this point onward.
I reach the back of the airport in about an hours time. By t this time, the air starts to heat up and more cyclist stops and wait for the truck. The ride up to this point was smooth. Thanks to the traffic controllers of the event, I did not need to stop at any traffic light. This is one of the reason why I like to join such events, where we can ride non-stop. Just after the Bayan Lepas town to Gertak Sanggul, was a horrible accident involving a motocycle, truck and a car. The entire traffic stands still and us cyclist have to get down from our bike and push our way through. I was impatient and shouted to ask everyone to continue walking and dont stop and take photos. I didn’t want to loose momentum.
This is the end of flat roads and rolling hills begins. I was able to concur all the hills, but not Bukit Genting climb. This 2km climb was steep and I was only able to cycle up to midpoint, I had to get down from my bicycle to push. This part of the journey was also very scenic. Just before the climb was the first water station distributing 100plus. When I got there, the station was flagging people on as they have already ran out of drinks. I push on as the next water station is at botanica ct, not that far away.
The Balik Pulau segment of the ride was flat roads and I was wheezing through many cyclist. I learnt from my friends later that they were struggling on the flat roads on their mountain bikes because of the wide tyres. They were saying that many road bikes and even foldable bikes were overtaking them like crazy at this point. The second water station was jam pack and the organizers should have look for a location with wider roads. Nevertheless, I got a bottle of water and 2 bananas from this station and moved on.
I spotted Vans Urban Bike riders after Bkt Genting and tried to keep up with them. Just as I lost them ahead of me, I arrived at the end of Jalan Sg. Rusa. At this Junction there is a temple and coffeeshop and a guy holding a sign “6km Climb Ahead”. My heart drop when I saw this sign. The previous 2km climb was already gruesome, this would be worst I thought. I was not feeling tired and my legs were still spinning with a constant cadence, so I was not defeated just yet. The long climb was hard, at occasions, I have go get down to push the bike, but before long I get back up and continue. The climb almost took all that I got and I reach the eventual peak. The downhill was short lived and another set of rolling hills started.
I was tired by then, and the heat started to take a toll on me. My ass hurts from the seat and my shoulder felt like a heavy burden. The trees along the way does provide a quick relief, but it does not help on the heavy burden felt on my shoulders. I keep telling myself that I am almost there, to give up now would have been a waste. Every little rolling hill becomes painful and even flat road is difficult because of the heat. I arrived at the finishing line at 11.19am, clocking 4hrs and 19minutes for the entire ride. I was glad that it was over and most of all, I made it. I have cycled round island 82.8km long on a Fixie, fixed gear bicycle. It was a personal achievement and I even outlast my iphone which went dead after 47km. I was surprise to find out later that my friends finished at 11am sharp, which is only 19minutes ahead of me.