Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Wetland, Putrajaya, Nov 9, 2008

After just a third outing since my long layoff I was really pushing it a bit too early too far over the weekend. I cycled from home to the Putra Jaya Wetland to join my Sunday Riders buddies to cycle around the Wetland and after that to cycle back home. Getting there I rode about 20 km, 12.5KM around the Wetland and 20KM ride home. More or less it was a 50-60KM ride for me. I did this mostly alone and I nearly paid for it. At the end of the ride home my leg started to tense and I knew instantly cramp was developing on my right leg. I eased up, relaxed and drank a lot of water as I inched closer home. I was more glad than my wife when finally I reached home. She remarked ‘Sampai juga my husband home’. Of course she was skeptical that I did. Glad as I was it was still no consolation for missing Mar’s recital. She was already mopping upstairs when I asked about her. But I was saved as I was not the main reason but because she did not win anything. I straight away went up to be a father and finally the promise of High School Musical 3 consoled her.

I took off from home a bit early than before. However since the days are breaking early these days it was already bright. I was supposed to be at the Wetland around 0800 and it was 0700 when I set off. A good one hour but I was not like I was so speeding top speed to Putra Jaya was out of the question. Further more the route was a long winding and hilly one. No matter which one I pick I could not avoid these two characteristics. I picked a decent speed as I came out onto the main road via Bangi Lama towards BB Bangi. My chosen route was Bangi, Teras Jernang, Jalan Abu Bakar Baginda, Jalan Haji Yusof (Sg Merab), Jalan Aman, Jalan Ayer Hitam (Kg Bakar Baginda) and enter Putra Jaya through Gate 1. Taking Jalan P14, Lebuh Perdana Timur, Bulatan Persiaran Sultan Sallahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah and Persiaran Persekutuan. Getting to Teras Jernang was not a problem as I was used to it already but getting out of the hilly Sg Merab was a worry to me as I was not that fit to make the continuous hill run. When I got there I just gritted my teeth and screamed down first before tackling my first long climb. It was still a bit early and not many cars on the road enabled me to push harder and faster up. I was a bit relieved when I got to the top. The second downhill was really a screamer downhill. I let lose and let the momentum to carry me up the next climb. At the top at the MPI junction was the halfway point for me so I stopped to take some liquid and check on my time. It was 0726 and it was a decent time. I had half an hour to go to get to the Wetland so I continued immediately down Sg Merab road towards Kg Bakar Baginda. The climb there was equally long but the gradient was not as steep as before. I do not know about other riders but I really hate this kind of climb as its get to my nerve sometimes. One way to prevent that is for me to look down and paddle hard. Knowing time was not on my side I concentrated my sight to the line on the tarmac and just pushed hard.

Mostly the tarmac in Putra Jaya is new and proper but Section 14 and the surrounding area were still under going development. Although I could gain some speed I was weary of pot holes as the last thing I wanted was to double up on the road. I maintained a decent speed to cross the Lebuh Perdana Timur. Though I was a bit tired I felt sort of liberated when the wind broke on my faces. The sunlight getting through sort of magnify Alamanda on my left. This feeling stuck with me until I reached the Bulatan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah when I hope a smooth ride to the Wetland Boating centre. Unless you are cycling you would know that the big bulatan clockwise is actually an incline. It was not obvious that is why only cyclist, rather a tired cyclist, would notice it. I immediately felt it and lowered down the gear one notch. Knowing I was in time I relax to enjoy the environment to the maximum. Although my leg demanded a relieve the mind is so powerful to divert my attention to Botany Garden on my left. In general due to the open spaces, hard surfaces as well as limited greeneries Putra Jaya is still a hot place. The lakes and the wetland were supposed to bring equilibrium for the area but I guess the bare open spaces are still far too big.

Most of the Sunday riders were already at the Boating Centre with their bikes ready when I got there. 70% of the riders were new faces to me and I introduced myself. Abedib introduced me to Shahrin whom by the look of it a regular and experience cyclist. Nik was the last to arrive and as soon as he was settled at about 0825 we rolled off with Ahmad Taufik Jamil as lead rider. I stayed at the back, not because I was the sweeper, but I wanted to have a relax ride and to take photos at the same time. One of the main reasons why I cycled from home was that so I could enjoy the Wetland a bit more without worrying about pushing myself for a good workout. So I stayed back through most of the ride. We started on a gravel road at a slow pace, I guess, so that everyone is conditioned to the ride. We passed under our first bridge soon enough and immediately after I saw a flock of stocks in the water closed to the bank. I immediately stopped to take few shots. It turned out not too bad. I quickly joined the others after that. The group eventually broke into three groups. The leaders, second group comprises of the majority not too far behind and then followed by Alif and I at the back. The group in the middle comprises mostly by newcomers and they were pacing themselves to make sure they could catch up and maintain a decent distance with the leaders. I was riding with my eyes darting everywhere trying to find something to photograph. Because of that I lost my sense of place and found it difficult to place us within the big scheme of thing within the wetland.

I saw the rest were waiting ahead of us with a lose rock crossing on our left. Since I could see the path straight ahead I thought they were resting and stopping for a photography session. But we were ready to move on Taufik said we were crossing and we had to carry our bike across. I heard somebody said, ‘Are you serious?’ I was still busy snapping at the surrounding as I was fascinated by the manmade wetland. My friend Atak is responsible for that. When everyone crossed we were off again and at this point I heard somebody for the first time asked, ‘Jauh ke lagi?’ Obviously and indication that some of them were tired already. Consciously now I stayed at the back waiting on the last person to catch up. At that point the path was really inviting for speed. Conscious that I would be cycling another 20 KM home through a hilly terrain I resisted the temptation. I slowed down further thinking someone was still at the back and I didn’t realize that Doc Azmi was already in front. So I was left too far behind and that prompted me to kick the pedal hard. So I was speeding anyway and joined Abedib, Alif and Nik. By then we were on a smooth path already and looking across the lake I could see the Boating Centre indicating we were almost home. So I decided to go ahead and sped until we reached a barricade when the portion of the wetland being ‘renovated’. We had top get down and walk our bike across the barricade. I took tome to take a photo of the ‘kapal korek’ and a lone crane in the middle of the wetland. The barricade also meant the end of our ride around the wetland. The rest of the group was already waiting on the main road to take the shortcut back to the boating centre.

I knew I was already late for Mar’s commencement but I thought I could still at least make it to her performance so when on the road I decided to speed on the motorcycle track instead of the walkway. However at the end of the track I had to rejoin the others on the path and that instance I decided to jump over. The decision to do that was right but I made mistake in the execution because I misjudged my condition. I was a bit tired already and I pulled the handle a bit low when I jumped and the front tyre stuck on the pavement. With that the momentum threw me over the bike and I somersaulted on the ground. In one movement the momentum also carried me to stand straight away. I knew I was not hurt and my camera was ok. So I checked the bike first. Laughing at myself I picked the bike up and rode down to where we started off.

After a bit of rest and saying goodbye everyone I took the road home. While riding around the wetland I was already thinking about the easiest and fastest route home. I was actually kidding myself as there was no easy route home. But I thought, although I had to do a few climbing, the Sekolah Teknik, Jenderam route was the fastest. The first challenge was to tackle the long incline. I put the gear on low and paddled patiently up. The bonus at the top was a long downhill until almost the turn towards. Sg Merab MKT. But I felt the long downhill came to soon when I had to tackle the three continuous steep climb. I managed the first one find but the second climb was draining me until almost at the top I knew my limit that day. I got down a rest for awhile next to the futsal court near by before I walked the bike to the top. I was lucky as I was pushed up by the momentum to the top of the third climb and the rest was almost all downhill to the Sekolah Teknik Sepang. After that it was almost a flat ride for home but I was still far away from home.

The first time I felt my right muscle tightened when I was already halfway on the Jenderam Bangi road. Since it was my first experience I thought nothing of it especially when the pain was gone when I just continued to paddle. Losing a lot body fluid I decided to stop at Sg Buah’s rest area to rest for awhile. After a bottle of 100 plus and few minutes I was ready to ride all the way home. The decision to stop was correct as I was a bit fresh after that but I was still tired. I pushed home slowly admitting at that point in time I was not going to make it for Mar’s commencement. Although she was ok when I said to her that I may not be able to see her perform I still would like to be there for her.

I finally forced my way up the last climb home. Halfway I felt my tight muscle tightening and cramp materialized. I was not sure when the last time I had a cramp was but that day I just got down from the bike and walked the bike up the climb and when I was ok at the top cycle slowly home.

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