There is always something about birthdays that serves as a reminder that my life is fleeting and the very process of ageing into another “number” makes me so aware of being just a mere mortal in this world. That realisation in itself is enough to make me feel thankful to the All Mighty for still being alive and renew my resolve to make each day of my life counts.
Usually on my birthday I like to do something memorable for myself. So when I turned 45 last December, before my wife and the kids woke up I sneaked out from my house to tackle the local “Dragon Back”, an undulating stretch of about 5.4 kilometers, not far from where I am staying. The “Dragon Back” is quite a challenging stretch for me but I always do it as a litmus test to see if I’m still fit or not. I supposed that by turning 45 today, I need the re-affirmation that “yes, I’m getting older but still healthy :-)”. Furthermore, cycling always clears my mind and what better way to reflect on life quietly than while you are cycling.
To get to the “Dragon Back” if you are in Shah Alam, drive up towards Bukit Jelutong to take the Batu Arang road leading to Puncak Alam. You can also take the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE) and after paying the toll take the first exit to the left. As you drive you will pass townships like Sunway Kayangan, Kayangan Heights, and the big Cahaya SPK sign. Keep driving past the UiTM Puncak Perdana campus, Alam Budiman, Greenhill and once you passed the DB Schenker factory take a left turn towards Jalan Paip/Meru. Just after a few metres on your right there is a traffic light. The “Dragon Back” starts from there and you can already see the first climb which I called “The Wall”.
In my case, I started cycling from home and I particularly enjoyed the descend towards Alam Budiman traffic light as the elevation there allows my bike and me to plunge down at an exhilirating speed on 53km/hour. First things first, I stopped for breakfast at my favorite mamak restaurant, Rahmath Bistro at Alam Budiman to fuel me for the “Dragon Back”.
After one “roti sardin” and two “telur tiga suku masak” later I started cycling slowly towards that starting point of the “Dragon Back”. As the climb starts so immediately/suddenly , it is always good that you warmed up your legs a little bit before you start to climb “The Wall”. Your fresh legs will get you above “The Wall” easily and once you are over the wall the whole view of the “Dragon Back” stretch is opened up for you to view as far as the eye can see.
I had never counted how many peaks and valleys there is in the whole 5.4km stretch (my guess is 6 peaks) but it is indeed so much fun to cycle there. I like the fact that not many people are aware of the place yet and the area is still very green on both sides of the road.
In the mornings, the air is fresh and almost no traffic. There is a lot of monkeys on certain stretches of the road. Occasionally you will see joggers running this stretch and groups of mountain bikers going to Bukit Ramlee for some off road climbing and the “pineapple cincau” drink at the top of the Bukit Ramlee.
At the end of the Dragon Back you will arrive at the intersection of the Jalan Meru Tambahan. I took a right turn going towards Bandar Puncak Alam. I stopped by the PETRONAS petrol station to rest for a while and refuel myself with a 100 Plus drink. Instead of going back the same route home through the “Dragon Back” I decided to make a loop taking the Jalan Batu Arang, passing Saujana Utama and back to Cahaya SPK. All in all I covered 32 km.
I felt good during the climb and the ride through the undulating Jalan Batu Arang to reach home. I’m blessed with good health and I hope I can still cycle and climb hills like some of my cycling buddies who are almost approaching 60 years old (Abg Zol, Abg Syaaban, Pak Ngah, etc). When I get to be their age, I hope I will be as fit as them too.
As I sneaked back into the house and got onto the kids’ room to cuddle them, I said softly to myself “Happy Birthday Haris”.