Kayuhan Mental (It’s all in your mind) and some life lessons from bike touring
The noise from the group of families camping and having their BBQ party until very late after mid night made it quite difficult for me to fall asleep the night before. I was trying hard to get some rest knowing that today there will be some mentally challenging climbs to face.
I was not sure what time I actually dozed off but I was awaken by sounds of children crying nearby. It was still early around 5.30am so I took the opportunity to beat the queue at the communal bathing and toilet facilities at the campsite. After Suboh prayers, I rested for a while in my tent while waiting for the others to get ready.
At around 8am, everyone was busy packing their panniers and started to dismantle their tents. No plan for breakfast this morning at the campsite after the heavy dinner we had last night. We would catch breakfast on the road as always.
Once all the bikes were loaded up with panniers, tents, sleeping bags, etc. all six of us waited for Ann and Merah to join us for this morning’s ride. Both of them were riding light on their mountain bikes. We soon made our way out of Port Dickson towards Lukut.
It’s funny how used and dirty clothes had the effect of making my panniers feel heavier day by day. Or perhaps it was the 2 kilogram of Dodol Melaka that I was carrying that seemed to drag me down a little bit.
Picture credit: http://www.semanishitam.blogspot.com
(A simple tip for all the married male touring cyclists, when you are out for days having fun with your buddies, bring back something for the wives who have been so understanding and waiting patiently at home, otherwise obtaining a visa for your next long bike outing will be difficult) 🙂
We had a good breakfast and I used the opportunity to charge my Blackberry at the food stall “borrowing” the power outlet. As long as you are eating there as well normally the stall operator would not mind you charging your phones, laptops, iPads etc. But do keep an eye on them as many people would be coming and going into the stall and as it is an open space you cannot take it for granted that no one would try to slip them into their pockets or bags. (I always carry with me a simple Nokia phone (find the cheapest possible) that is fully charged with a pre-paid SIM card (you can top it up at almost every corner shop in Malaysia) in my pannier in case of emergency if I lose my phone. At least, you have a way to call home or to call a friend for assistance.)
The ride this morning was very relaxing as we took in the view of the beaches and the morning traffic was not that heavy yet. Furthermore the excitement of going home added some extra springs to your legs as you pedaled along. The pace was leisurely at about 20km/hour and most of the time we rode single file as the road shoulders were quite narrow.
Before long the sun started to heat things up and we made our first pit stop at a petrol station just before we started the long climb from Lukut to Tanah Merah and Bukit Pelandok on our way back to Sepang. On our first day of this journey we actually took a barge from Sg Pelek to Bukit Pelandok so we managed to skip the climbing section of the route but this time there was no escaping.
One by one we pushed off our bikes from the petrol station to start the beginning of the climb, it started gradually and the pinnacle of the climb was probably after the Sime Darby Tanah Merah estate’s entrance where there is a very big shady tree waiting so temptingly for you to stop for a breather. Just after the bend of what I thought was already the end of the climb there was an additional hair pin corner than leads even higher. At that point it was just a mental game versus your physical state. You just had to maintain focus on the climb and keep on pedaling (furthermore, Ann had already over taken me on the climb, and I can’t let myself be beaten by a lady) 🙂 Along the way a group of young road cyclists (I think it was the junior cycling team from state of Terengganu or Pahang, not sure) passed us on the other side going down-hill and were cheering us on. We also rang our bells, and blew our horns loudly in return.
It was tough for a moment there (thoughts of going down to push the bike did appear momentarily) but in the end, I made it through the climb. We waited for all the others to reach at the top before we made our way to a roadside hawker selling fresh coconuts for a well- deserved reward victory drink.
We were soon joined by two road cyclists at the stop over (sorry I forgot their names; one had a very long beard and the other slightly older but I recognized his face as he was an ex national cyclist). They stopped to chat for a while before making their way. We also decided to start cycling again as the day was getting very hot. After that the road was smooth and mostly downhill. Once we reached Sepang town, Ann and Merah left the group as Ann had parked her car there. Abg Syaaban helped them to load their bikes on the bike rack and we said our goodbyes.
The six of us then continued cycling towards Dengkil and once we reached the intersection to Putrajaya, Abg Syaaban, Herman and Muzammil parted ways as they need to cycle towards Seri Kembangan where they had left their cars.
A strong friendship bond had been developed over the last 3 days we cycled together. There was a certain sadness in the air but we promised each other that one day we will cycle again as a group and said our goodbyes.
So finally only Abg Zol, Nazry and I left to continue to Precint 15 where Nazry’s place is.
We cycled slowly and quietly perhaps the exhaustion had started to affect us. We took the route through the Putrajaya Challenge Park (PCP) and the Putrajaya International Conference Center (PICC) where there were some small climbs to conquer. In that quiet moment my mind was clear and with clarity comes good thoughts and observations.
There are many life lessons to be learned when you go on a bike touring and slowly cranking a fully- loaded bike up a hill; some observations
1. In life you must pay your dues in the long, hard and slow climb first before you can enjoy the rewards, the fast acceleration going downhill and the big smile on your face
2. If you started off your life easy going downhill, remember that whatever goes down must climb up again at some point (the flipside of the saying “whatever goes up must come down”). So remember to be humble, save what you earned today for tomorrow, make good friends along the way, as you never know what would be waiting for you at the end of a bend and whose helping hand you will be holding on to later.
3. In achieving anything in life, keep focused on your goal, take the challenges one revolution at a time (and keep on pedaling no matter how hard it gets or get down and push your bike to the finishing line if you have too) it will be a matter of time before you get there. The taste of success is sweeter when you have toiled for it.
4. As in life, you need to carry your own panniers, during good and bad times, excess baggage will only slow you down, so choose wisely what you carry in your life. Bike touring will teach you that you actually need very little to be happy and live your life.
5. Don’t go too fast in life, you will miss a lot of the simple pleasures along the way. Stop and relax once in a while. Enjoy the journey too not just the destination.
We finally arrived at Precint 15, Abg Zol had decided to cycle back through the Bangi/Kajang route to his home (this man is built like a robot!). I reminded him to be careful on his own on the road and we soon parted ways. The road leading to Nazry’s apartment was a steep climb, one last push, one last test for the body and mind. Nazry made it all the way to the top, but I had to push my bike for the last few metres. (Well, Nazry has a 7- year advantage being younger than me hehehe)
Finally the trip to Putajaya – Melaka – Putrajaya has been completed. We had covered slightly more than 300km pedaling our bikes. It was the first long trip for me and I was happy and proud I did it. Even as the sweats on my forehead had not yet dry, I was already busy thinking of the next bike touring trip.
See you on the road!