The Meander to Mersing

[Have you noticed how many French there are in ANZA Cycling these days?  There are so many that we heard a rumour that the committee had a serious discussion about changing the name to F-ANZA Cycling, but then thought better of it.  Anyway we are ever grateful to our French contingent who seem as adept at orginising things as they are at riding their bikes.  So, we thought it only right that after all his hard work organising the trip Nico be allowed to write up The Meander to Mersing from last weekend in his native language.  We have of course, at great expense, had it translated so that you all might understand, and as Nico said, now we know how much of our jokes and Banter he gets on a ride 😉 Ed.]

“Many kilometers later, on the second day of the Mersing ride, as we faced the grey wall of rain coming towards us, we were to remember that distant moment when Barry said this would be a badass ride. Rule #9, we all exhibited a large smile.”

Nine of us of ANZA cycling met at Changi Point Ferry Terminal on Saturday before dawn. We were all excited to take part in this trip to Malaysia, that would start with a one hour bumboat journey to Pengerang. Most of us were also fearful of the long road ahead, that promised to bring it’s share of pain, and that would offer no bail out option. Only Raoul, in a pretty good shape that allowed him to do well in the Tour of Friendship, was confident enough to add 30 clicks to the day by riding to the meeting point.

Relaxing in the only space left

Relaxing in the only space left

The bumboat was full of bikes so we stayed outside on the deck, watching a large cloud flushing over Singapore. We thought of our friends on the Changi ride. The cloud went north and we never saw the rain again on that day. Here is my account of the ride, and it is in French so it is a good exercise for those of you travelling in July to a place where English is not always spoken!

– The Google Translate version [See below for our expensive translation Ed.] gives you an idea of what I get of your jokes during rides

Our trusty trip organiser
Our trusty trip organiser

Depart vers l’est le long de la cote, avec une jolie vue sur une flotte de bateaux a l’ancre, comme a Singapour. Mais pas le temps de faire du tourisme, les costauds imposent le train, et la route est pleine de trous. On signale et on maintient des ecarts. Pas un bon jour pour les suceurs de roue. Au bout de dix bornes je me dis que si la route est dans cet etat jusqu’a Mersing, ca va nous gacher le voyage, mais heureusement ca s’arrange, et on peut mettre du braquet. Au premier arret les avis sont partages. Certains roulent facile et sont contents d’avoir deja avale 50 kilometre. D’autres se demandent s’ils vont tenir a ce rythme jusqu’a Mersing.

On leve un peu la pedale au debut de la deuxieme section pour garder tout le monde en un seul groupe. Surtout que ca commence a onduler et que notre peloton s’etire un peu plus a chaque bosse. Le soleil de midi tape bien, meme a travers un voile nuageux. Deuxieme puis troisieme arret, les visages se marquent. Je realise que j’ai oublie de mettre de la creme solaire au depart (j’etais occupe a prendre des photos). Je me tartine mais trop tard, mes bras sont crames.

 

Refueling
Niels Refueling

Sur la derniere section Raoul, Macca et Russell chatouillent les pedales et ne montrent pas encore de signe de fatigue. D’autres commencent a piocher derriere. Finalement sur une montee un peu longue, le groupe explose. Je suis tente de rejoindre les autres devant et de rouler, mais je doute de pouvoir tenir longtemps. Et puis cela risque de disseminer le grupetto et d’isoler les plus fatigues. Alors je joue au Saint Bernard, et avec Barry nous nous relayons pour mouliner devant les attardes. Ces longs relais nous obligent a garder un rythme de pedalage tres regulier. C’est dur mais c’est bon. Les 20 derniers kilometres me paraissent en montee continue alors que nous sommes sur du plat. Finalement c’est Niels qui gagne le sprint, il ne connait pas la regle 67, mais Andrew la lui explique rapidement. Tout le monde est content d’etre arrive, sans incident ni meme une crevaison.

Seriously Nico! You didn’t arrange a taxi home?

Seriously Nico! You didn’t arrange a taxi home?

Mersing est moche donc le seul objectif c’est de prendre une douche rapide pour aller vite au restaurant. Tout le monde a faim. A part le gateau au chocolat de Barry et des bananes nous n’avons mange que des gels et des pastilles de sel toute la journee. Du riz! Du poulet! Et a boire!

Une trentaine de bieres plus tard, au lit. Pas de giro pour nous. Ca ne passe pas a la tele et tout le monde dort bien avant.

Le lendemain apres un petit dejeuner fadasse sauf pour ceux qui sont alles chercher des pancakes au KFC (FFS!), nous attaquons la route avec le sentiment que ce sera plus facile puisque plus court. Au debut la route est belle et les camions sont nos amis. Nous prenons un rythme plus tranquille que la veille, qui convient a tous. Les kilometres se suivent. Deja 250 depuis hier. Et la en deux virages nous sommes sous la pluie. Bien sur tout le monde sourit et baisse la tete. Une vingtaine de moto-cross nous depassent en wheelie et nous felicitent parce que nous sommes des durs. Barry avait raison.

Wet
Wetter than when we started

Finalement c’est l’orage qui a raison de nous et nous nous abritons dans une station service, jusqu’a prendre froid… La derniere section du weekend a l’approche de Johor est la plus dure. Nous sommes au milieu des bagnoles sur l’autoroute. Nous avancons bien mais les changements de voie sont risques. Heureusement que nous roulons toute l’annee en formation. Le mieux serait quand meme d’approcher Johor par une plus petite route.

Nous quittons notre chauffeur un peu avant les checkpoints. Il a ete parfait. Je suis content d’entrer a Singapour par le Causeway, en velo. Les deux checkpoints sont des pieges a velo avec des grilles dans le sens de la route, du beton et des plaques metalliques glissants, des motos de tous les cotes, et nos sacs sur le dos. Personne ne tombe.

Nous nous separons en plusieurs groupe et je me retrouve sur Mandai et Thomson avec Russell qui ecrase les derniers kilometres sans sourciller.

A bientot pour une sortie facile ; )

Nico

* Need help? Ask Google:

Departing eastward along the coast , with a nice view on a fleet of ships at anchor , like Singapore. But no time to go sightseeing , Huskies needed the train, and the road is full of holes. Is reported and deviation is maintained . Not a good day for sucking wheel. After ten pin I think that if the road is in this state until Mersing , we gonna spoil the trip, but fortunately ca arranges , and you can put the gear ratio . At the first stop notices are shared . Some roll easy and are happy to have already swallows 50 km . Others wonder if they keep up this pace has Mersing .

 

Craig on his new steed
Craig on his new steed

Regulator is a little pedal at the beginning of the second section to keep everyone in one group. Especially as it starts to undulate and our platoon etire a little more each bump. The midday sun tape well , even through a cloudy veil. Second and third stop , faces mark . I realized that I forgot to put the sunscreen departing ( I was busy taking pictures .) I slice too late, my arms are Crames .

Barry and Nico - Super Domestiques
Barry and Nico – Super Domestiques
Big, Bigger, Biggest?
Big, Bigger, Biggest?

On the last section Raoul , Macca and Russell tickle the pedals and still show no signs of fatigue. Others begin to draw behind . Finally a buildup a bit long , the group explodes. I’m trying to join the other and roll , but I doubt that you can take time. And it may disseminate grupetto and isolate the most fatigue. So I play Saint Bernard , and we take turns to Barry before cranking linger . These long runs require us to keep pace CADENCE very regular . It’s hard but it’s good . The last 20 km I consider continuous buildup while we’re on the dish. Niels is finally wins the sprint, he does not know the rule 67, but Andrew said to him quickly. Everyone is happy to be coming without incident or even a puncture.

Mersing is ugly so the only goal is to take a quick shower to go fast at the restaurant. Everyone is hungry. Apart from the chocolate cake and bananas Barry we did eat as gels and salt tablets all day . Rice ! Chicken ! And drink!

Thirty beers later, in bed. No giro for us. It does not go to the TV and everyone is asleep before .

Why have the 2 who have been here before gone to KFC for breakfast?
Why have the 2 who have been here before gone to KFC for breakfast?

The next day after breakfast but a little dull for those who are looking alles pancakes KFC ( FFS! ) , we attack the road with the feeling that it will be easier since shorter. At the beginning the road is beautiful and trucks are our friends. We take a more tranquil than the day before, that suits all rhythm. The follow kilometers . Deja 250 since yesterday. And two turns we in the rain. Of course everyone smiled and lowered his head. Twenty motocross wheelie past us and we very pleased about because we are hard . Barry was right.

Ultimately it is the storm is right on us and we take shelter in a gas station, take up cold … The last section of the weekend was approaching Johor is the hardest . We are in the middle of Disney Princess on the highway. We are doing well but lane changes are risks. Fortunately we ride all year in training. It would be best to approach anyway Johor by a smaller road.

We leave our driver just before the checkpoints. It was perfect. I’m glad to enter Singapore by Causeway by bicycle . The two checkpoints are trapped by bicycle with grids in the direction of the road, slippery concrete and metal plates , motorcycles of all odds , and our bags on the back. Nobody falls .

We split into several groups and I find myself on Mandai and Thomson with Russell crushes the last kilometer stride.

See you soon for an easy way out ; )

[See the gallery for the pictures, I’ll try to tidy up and add captions when I have a few minutes. Ed.]

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