Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cycling Sabah 2015 - Day 3: Reaching The Tip Of Borneo

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Cycling Sabah 2015 - Day 3: Reaching The Tip Of Borneo
Langkon to The Tip of Borneo : 13th November 2015
Cycling Distance : 80.19km
Time : 7:20 am - 4:30 pm
Time Taken :  8 hrs. 50 mins. (Including stops for lunch, refreshments, rests, photography and lots of time at the Tip).
Level: Hard

Route Recommendations :
1. This route is hard with a few climbs. The last slope just before reaching the Tip of Borneo was very steep.
2. Interesting places along the route:
    - Matunggong, a small town with a cottage industry of making gongs.
    - Sikuati where there is a arch welcoming visitors to the ToB.
    - Kalumpunian Beach, a stretch of white sandy beach with clear water for swimming, lazing in the sun.
    - Tip of Borneo, where the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea.
3. Along the rural stretches, watch out for dogs, they can be ferocious as a friend learnt.

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PRELUDE


The previous day we had a long, tough ride from Kota Kinabalu to Langkon. It was a 125 km. cycling route filled with adventures and misadventures. Today we were eager to start off again, eager to see the Tip of Borneo after hearing much about it.


Today we ride to see the Tip of Borneo, that's what we came to Sabah to do. It was a shorter and easier route than the previous day but there were still some climbs. Anslem had planned well, we had done a longer ride the previous day and a shorter one today so that we could reach the Tip of Borneo (ToB) earlier and spend more time there before it got dark. We passed by several interesting small towns along the way.

There were less major climbs along today's route, just two but the final one just before reaching ToB was very steep and looked very daunting. We had to steel our hearts to be psychologically prepared to surmount it.

We were getting used to the early cycling start in Sabah, by 6:30am we were having our breakfast at the in-house restaurant (actually it's at a open-walled shed at the back). Even at a small town, eating in Sabah is not cheap (or perhaps we were charged hotel pricing). For the three plates, half-boiled eggs with drinks for the ten of us, we were charge RM160! Luckily we had a good treasurer/negotiator in Sooi Ying who knock down the price to RM130.
By 7:15am we rolled off, leaving Langkon and headed for the Tip of Borneo; eager to reach it as soon as possible.


ALONG THE ROUTE - NO PAIN NO GAIN!

It was a beautiful start - with blue skies full of puffy clouds, cycling along a fairly flat road.

We passed by a places with interesting (and easy to remember) names like Molong KolongMatunggongKg. Toporoi, Sikuati, Kg. Pinawantai, Kg. Bavanggazon, etc. There was even a Kampung Vanilla where vanilla beans were planted, a Kg. Gombizau which has a honey bee farm, and a "Barangoi Gong" which reminded be of the Barangkays which we passed when cycling at the Batanes in Philippines.

As usual, the Dynamic Trio of Baki, Jason and Brian had sprinted forward, scouting ahead for us. As the rest of us approached Kg. Toporoi, suddenly we heard a cacophony sounding similar to circus barkers - it was them acting out a role of promoting a stall there that sold cold drinks and had nice pineapple buns too. Click on above photo to see the video by Jason; they were hilarious, weren't they?

At Matunggong; the town is renown for it's gongs hence the name. The locals have a cottage industry making these gongs. There is also a gong-making factory at Kg. Sumangkap.

At the 88 Wholesale highway R&R, Kimmi applying charcoal oil to Baki's wounds (from the previous day).
The charcoal oil was brought along by Jason; it's from the charcoal factories of Kuala Sepetang and helps dry up wounds so that they heal fast. The only thing is they contain vinegar too, that's why Baki is bracing himself for the stinging pain that comes when the oil is applied.
Yup, NO PAIN NO GAIN!

More PAIN as some pushing is required. Adnan with his support car was at hand to render assistance.

Aiks! Reindeer in tropical Sabah?
They came to celebrate Xmas with the locals. Haha!

Young boys repairing their bicycle at a shed. Sin & me stopped here to take forty winks, the boys were quite adept in using just a pliers to get their bike fixed.

AND FINALLY MORE PAIN!
At the daunting last hill, a steep one kilometre climb to reach the ToB.
It's surmountable, we tried pedalling down the slope fast to gain momentum but a gravel patch at the bottom slowed us down. At the steeper sections we just rode zig-zagged up.


THE FUN MOMENTS

Anslem and Amy joined us later. They came whooshing along on their racers and most of us smelt dust as they overtook us.

So did their daughter Ash. She followed us on the support pick-up taking photos of us along the way.

Taking a refreshment break at Kedai Kopi Yi Fung at the R&R after Matunggong; tired but still happy.

A sad & pitiful looking Jui Li. Things were more expensive in KK, running out of budget she is considering applying for the dish-washer position to earn some extra bucks (see the sign behind).
(Naw... she was just play acting!)

Hooray! At the "Welcome to The Tip of Borneo" sign at Sikuati, about 20km. from the Tip.
I like the name Sikuati, in Bahasa Malaysia it could mean "The Strong Ones", very apt in describing us.

Ice-cream time!
(at the Popo & Co mini-market/cafe about 10km from the Tip)

Another play acting.
After taking on the very steep last slope, Sin reaching out for help from the support car. The others in the car just shook their head - Sorry, the car is full!


AT THE TIP OF BORNEO

Almost there!
At the Jalan Kota Belud-Kudat/Jln Tamalang Junction.

Happiness at Kalumpunian Beach; there's a long stretch of white sandy beach here. Sooi Ying is pointing at the Tip of Borneo.

Stopping for refreshments at the Tip Top RestaurantKalumpunian Beach we were surprised to find Kingdom Gold Beer that comes from Cambodia!

Here we are!
A view of the Tip of Borneo form the cliff before climbing down.

Brian taking an opportune moment to kiss the Tip of Borneo before the next wave comes in.

"YES! We made it!"

A panoramic view of the Tip.

Later we checked into the Tampat Do Aman and then came out to Tip Top Restaurant for dinner. They serve pretty good fusion food including Swordfish fillet steak.
While there we were lucky to catch a beautiful red sunset. Here's Jui Li giving you all a bow to end the day...
GOOD NIGHT!

Pssst.... tomorrow we will be doing a different type of cycling.... Cycling in the sea; so watch out for the next instalment!

(For more photos of the day Click Here)


This is page 3 of a 5-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.

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