Monday, January 20, 2014

Kuala Lumpur : OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 - The Escort Riders

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Kuala Lumpur : OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 - The Escort Riders
Kuala Lumpur : 19th January 2014
Distance Covered: 24.20 km.
Time : 8:55 am to 10:15 am    Duration : 1 hours 20 mins. (including two re-hydrating stops).
Average Speed : 18 km/hr.

Route Recommendations :
1. If you are not riding for speed, do keep left for the faster riders to pass.
2. The only serious climb is at the Bukit Tunku. Over here, do be careful as there are some sharp bends, especially on the down-slope.
3. At the U-turns, do take care as there would be some congestion.
4. Do re-hydrate yourselves at the various drink stops provided.
5. Photo opportunities are mainly at Dataran Merdeka and the Petronas Twin Towers areas.



PRELUDE

Some of the escorts.
THIS IS GREAT!
I have taken part as a rider in OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013 & OCBC Cycle Singapore 2013 previously. This time round at the OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 I will be taking part as one of the few escort riders. Escort riders are companions to the VIP taking part in the event, welcoming them, and riding along with them in a way like a marshal - in short ensuring that all goes smoothly for the VIP from the moment we greet them till the end of their ride.


Being escorts is no easy matter. Felix, the leader and coordinator of the escorts, took his responsibility seriously. Several meetings were held to ensure that we all knew our roles thoroughly. We were paired with our respective VIPs according their riding speed; i.e. the faster escorts will accompany the faster VIPs.


On the Friday before the event day, we met at Dataran Merdeka and took a trial ride along part of the event route and then rode up to Publika to have a quick breakfast at Mee Jawa and then rode back. This was a warm up ride to perk ourselves up for the actual event. 

Back at the Dataran, we met up with staff of Spectrum Worldwide (the organisers of the event) who took us on a tour of the area to physically acquaint us with our responsibilities - i.e. where to meet the VIP, how and when to guide them to the start point, marshalling them along the ride, and leading them back to the VIP area after the ride.
After this we went for a very good lunch at Hong Ngek Restaurant in Jalan Bandar - well, cyclists love to ride AND also love to eat!


The escorts on event day.
At 4:30 am on the event day we met up for a final round of briefing - we are now all prepped and pepped up to go.
LET'S RIDE!



THE RIDE

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 Official Ride Route Map.
The ride start from the historic Dataran Merdeka, take us up for a bit of climb at Bukit Tunku and then pass two newer iconic buildings and then back again to Dataran Merdeka. The Challenge Category will go four laps of this route for a total of 48 km. I will escorting a Mr. Ng and we will be taking part in the Community ride that loops this route twice for a total of 24 km.

Ng at the start, raring to go.

8:55 am - AND WE ARE OFF!
Surprisingly for a person who seldom cycle, Ng was going at a brisk pace. I had to pedal fast to keep up with him. Pretty soon we were taking on the slopes of Bukit Tunku.

9:18 am - Going through the slopes rather well and then looping pass the Putra World Trade Centre, within 25 minutes we are at Jalan Sultan Ismail. Yes! We are doing a good pace.

Jalan Dang Wangi is a place where one has to be careful, here the sun shines ride into our faces obscuring our vision a bit. Fortunately this is only a short stretch.

At Jalan Ampang now, with the Petronas Twin Towers ahead.

A first stop at the Drinks Station at KLCC. While we were taking in the 100+ Isotonic drink, we saw a father carrying his daughter on a baby-seat attached to the rear carrier of his bike.

A volunteer marshal waving cyclists to slow down at Jalan Raja Chulan in front of the Shell petrol station. There is a dangerous pot hole here; it is this same pot-hole that had caused some nasty accidents the previous year. The pot-hole has been temporarily covered up with a pot-hole and a warning cone placed on top.

9:35 am - Riding pass the Dataran Merdeka, we have finished the first lap - NOW for the second.
We did the first 12 km. loop in forty minutes with our speed averaging about 18 km/h.
Not bad for a newbie, Mr. Ng.

Taking the sharp bend at Jalan Parlimen. It is at sharp bends like this one and the one at Jalan Sultan Sallahudin that one has to watch out for the fast riders of the Challenge Category zooming pass. Fortunately for us we were riding the in the slower Community Ride and most of the fast riders had already finished their ride.

Taking on Bukit Tunku at the later laps was taxing on most riders...

... but this fellow seems to be having fun here. Dressed with a headgear made from asparagus for hair and small bitter gourds as horns, he and his unique bike seems to be draw interested stares. To top it all, he had attached a music player that was playing Indian songs as he rode along. Veil! Veil! and many of us felt like dancing to his lively tunes.

Ng, standing tall at the Petronas Twin Towers during the 2nd short drinks break.
"Let's go!" Ng quipped; he was eager to continue. Frankly, he was pushing himself as best as he could.

10:15 am - At the finishing line. Even with a slower pace at Bukit Tunku during the second lap, we completed the event within one hour and twenty minutes. Ng made up for this by riding faster at the flats. Good show!
As for me, I am glad that I have successfully taken on my first escort duty well and that my VIP had had a good ride without any unfortunate incidents.
Perhaps he will take on the Challenge Category next year!


POST RIDE

The good thing about attending public events is that other than making new friends, we get to meet and catch up with old ones. Below are some whom I managed to take photos of:
Nash, Sean & Wong.

Jason,

Jasmin & Victor.

Jerping & friend.

And while at lunch in Petaling Street / Madras Lane where we had very good Kuala Lumpur Style Curry Noodles:
Kium Michael (in blue), Tai Lim (centre, in black) and John Kang's son and two daughters.

Isaac (back facing camera), Billy, Yvonne and Helen.

Hui Min & Pang Wey with their bikes.

Till next year then. Adieus!

My sincere thanks to Felix for giving me the opportunity to be a escort rider and thus experience cycling in a different manner.

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