Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Perak-Kedah-Penang: Cycling Kuala Kangsar To Gerik To Penang Day 4 - The Gerik Temengor Dam Fun Ride

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Perak-Kedah-Penang / K.Kangsar>Gerik>Penang / Day 4 - The Gerik Temengor Dam Fun Ride     |     Go to D1/D2/D3/D5/D6/D7/D8/D9-10
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Cycling Kuala Kangsar>Gerik>Penang Day 4 - The Gerik Temengor Dam Fun Ride
Central West Coast Peninsular Malaysia Day 4: Sunday 10th March 2019
This is part of a small group cycling tour from Kuala Kangsar to Penang Island on a north-western central route of West Malaysia. Today's ride is from Gerik to & around the Temengor Dam:
Distance: 61km.               |               Level: Medium 
Time : 7:45am to 12:50pm (this is for the event ride)
Time Taken : 5 hrs. 5 mins. (including stops for rest, at various viewpoints, and lots of photo opps).

This is page 4 of a 9-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
  Go to D3 Gerik            |             Go to Other Days        |        Go to D5 P. Banding >

Route Recommendations:
1. Traffic Directions!
    Malaysia's traffic is right-hand drive, so cycle on the left. Same thing applies when crossing the road, be careful and take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    This is a route from Gerik Town to the Temengor Dam for the Gerik Temengor Dam Fun Ride event. The roads within the dam are normally closed to the public and were opened only for this event. Generally the route had gradual slopes with steep slopes heading up to the Trojan Jetty. It is quite shady.

3. Places of Interest
    Along the route were several places of interests, some of which we visited and others we did not for lack of time:
- The Temengor Dam (GPS: 5.40598, 101.30115) locality which is normally closed to the public. There were several excellent viewpoints of the dam-lake along the way, one midway (GPS: 5.42463, 101.21507) and at the other at the  turnback point (GPS: 5.40368, 101.28831).
- The Trojan Jetty (Temengor Dam Trojan Jeti) (GPS: 5.41161, 101.29457) within the dam.

4. Food
a. Breakfast: Take-away buns and coffee at hotel.
b. Lunch: Char Kway TeowPegaga Juice and ice-kacang at Medan Takong 1 Food Court (GPS: 5.42979, 101.13025).
d. White rice with dishes (including steamed Sebarau) at 家庭式小餐馆 (Family Style Restaurant) (GPS: 5.44757, 101.13411).

5. Accomodations
    Our accommodations in Gerik for two nights were two twin-bedder rooms at Sri Inai Inn (GPS: 5.43005, 101.1218) at RM90 per room per night.
Address: Jalan Haji Meor Yahya, Taman Desa Kemboja, 33300 Gerik, Perak, Malaysia.
Phone: +605-7911551.

6. Weather
    March is within the tropical dry season, which is a hot period. At Gerik, morning temperatures ranged from 24°C to 26°C. & afternoon temperatures peaked at 35°C with the perceived temperature was 40°C.
    A useful weather forecast site is AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

7. Communicating with Locals
    For the uninitiated cycling in foreign lands can be a daunting experience, especially when one can only speak a smattering of the local language or if there is no common language to speak to each other (like English). Most Malaysians can speak fairly good English; but in the rural areas the locals speak only some rudimentary English, so learning some basic phrases in Bahasa Malaysia will be helpful.
    This could be partly overcome by using translation apps like Google Translate. Do install this app into your phone and before you leave on your tour do some basic translation as it will be saved onto a list of recent translations.
    And do install memory-resident translation apps into your mobile phone.

8. Staying in Touch
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost or just to share photos and moments. Pre-paid phone sim-cards are easily available from most phone shops in the main towns.

9. Navigation
    Where data signal is available and strong, one can use Google Maps to navigate around. If the cycling options may not be available, just use the walking options.
In cases where data signal is weak or unavailable (like in remote rural areas), install MAP.ME into your phone. It's an off-line map app.   
    Alternatively, use a dedicated GPS unit like those from Garmin. However ensure that one install the Malaysia maps into the unit.
    We plotted routes both on Google Maps and Garmin: Google maps are more up to date and some roads are not shown on the Garmin maps; on the other hand the Garmin GPS units becomes handy when data signal is weak or not available especially in the rural and plantation areas.

10. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads with the relevant tools.

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PRELUDE

The previous day we had rode from Lenggong to Gerik, it was quite a straight forward route without much chance for interesting detours into rural roads. Except we got a bit lost towards the end.
Today is we are joining the Gerik Temengor Dam Fun Ride event; this is the main reason why we are having this cycling tour from Kuala Kangsar to Penang Island. The event is suppose to be a fun ride, but it's a 60km loop with some steep stretches. It's definitely not for newbies or amateurs; I guess it's a "fun ride" for the seasoned riders and hard-core cyclists.
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THE RIDE


Cycle Route: Gerik>Kuala Rui>Temengor Dam>Trojan Jetty>Kg. Tanjung Jerai>Gerik.
This is a route from Gerik town to the Temengor Dam for the Gerik Temengor Dam Fun Ride event. From Gerik it heads to and runs partly on the East-West Highway and at Kuala Rui takes a right towards the dam. The roads within the dam are closed to the public and were opened only for this event. The return route takes a detour through kampung rural roads at Kg. Tanjung Jerai. Generally the route had gradual slopes with steep slopes heading up to the Trojan Jetty. It is quiet a shady route.
Distance: 61km.         |               Level: Hard 

6:45am - We woke up early, although the ? food court was already opened, we had breakfast in our rooms to save time. Eagerly we rode down to the event start point near the Maybank of Gerik.
The roads around the place was crowded with participants, I guess many realise that to ride within the Temenggor Dam is a once-in-a-lifetime event. The dam is normally closed to the public and this is a rare occasion that the public (meaning us bikers) will get a chance to cycle within the grounds of the dam.
Completed in 1978, the dam now forty years old. It is the third largest dam in Malaysia, covering 152 square kilometres (59 sq mi) and holding total storage is 6,050 million cubic meters of water; and stands 245 metres (804 ft) Above Sea Level. The dam was built by Shawnigan Engineering from Canada and the contractor was Hazama Gumi from Japan. Hazama also built one of the towers of the Petronas Twin Towers.

As we rode off, I was surprised to see pom-pom girls cheering us on. Didn't expect to see them in a small town like Gerik. This little touch by the organizers did lighten up the event; 60km for a "Fun Ride" is the longest fun ride that I had rode in, the previous longest was the 2014 PJ Fun Ride at 38km.

We started off in front of the Maybank and rode a short distance along Jalan Tun Saban, one of the main commercial streets in town. It was wide but now was jammed with traffic; not a car jam but a bicycle jam. This must be the first time that the locals are seeing so many cyclists in town. All in at least 1,500 riders registered for the event, and probably there must be a couple of hundreds who came as ghost riders. As usual, not wanting to block the fast cyclists, we took up the rear.

With a couple of turns we were onto the Baling-Kulim Highway (Federal Route 76), it's wide four-lane carriageway allowed us to spread out and the fast lead riders sprinted off ahead.

Soon we got into the momentum of the ride, each respectively riding at their own pace and some taking selfies of themselves while riding 😎😎😎.

Many locals came out to cheer us on, a few taking photos of us for keepsakes, hoping in future to show to friends that Gerik is not such an out-of-the-way place and can host a respectable event attended by thousands!

Some got caught up in the enthusiasm of the event, squatted right at the centre of the road to snap photos.... eh.... did he get one of me? 😂😍😂

Gerik had not escaped the scorching effects of the hot season, along the way we saw burnt up trees, leaves turned a dry brown, evidence of a bush fire a day earlier.

After about 4km. we hit the East-West Highway that leads to Jeli in Kelantan. We rode only a short 2.5km on this highway. Well, at least many can say they have rode on the East-West Highway before, it's a route that is notoriously difficult with chances of meeting wild jumbos!
The following day a few of us will take on this tough highway enroute to Pulau Banding.

At Kuala Rui we turned away from the highway and went onto State Route #A171 that would lead right into the edge of the Temenggor Lake formed by the dam. About 5km of this road were lined with small kampungs, until we reached Kampung Basia Lama. Beyond were the private roads of the dam, which were opened only for today for us to ride on.
The road was one that was shady, one that was very green surrounded by tall trees of a secondary jungle. Cycling here was a pleasure.....

..... until we met a series of mini dragon-backs. Many of the newbies had to come down and push, probably thinking to themselves "Hey! This Fun Ride is no FUN at all!"

A consolation laid ahead, a viewpoint peeping into the scenic panorama of the Temenggor Lake. Many stopped here for photos, my buddy Richard doing a nice "Dap" pose here.

Here a view of the lake on that misty morning, beautiful isn't it?
This great view probably change the newbies minds, "Hey! Perhaps it's fun after all!"

But it was not uphill all the way, there were long stretches of down hill slope too; riders zoomed down this stretches gaining momentum to ride up the next slope.

Soon all got into the momentum of the ride, and as the weather got hotter, out came the face masks! The strong ones, even the ladies, taking on the route with gung-ho!

Others, tired out by the climbs needed a push from a helping hand.....

Some just took a short "picnic-break" rest at the road-side, waving to friends as they passed by...
... Hmmmm... it's fun isn't it, the companionship, sharing the pain and the gain.

Others just went up the support trucks.....
now then..... don't have to be shy..... it's all part of the game, perhaps in future you will make it!

Just pass the half-way mark, the lead riders, having reached the top, have looped back.

They seem to be having fun on their return leg, zooming down the slopes and taking on the sharp corners.

Near the turn-back point, we were directed to take a detour up with a shout "there's a nice view up there!"
It was a real tough climb up as the slope leading upwards were really steep. Halfway up a looked down and saw the earlier riders riding down; they looked so small like cycling ants!

Up at the top was a point called the Trojan Jetty, beyond it is a restricted area to which we clamored to as close as possible to take photos of the upper portion of the dam. I am not sure why this place is called the Trojan Jetty, or what connection it has to Troy? Perhaps somebody can enlighten me.

Riding back down and making a left, slightly ahead was the official turn-back point; the Trojan Jetty climb was an extra detour for those strong riders to build up more sweat!
Down here, many took turns for victorious photos with the official banner.

Here's my Victory shot at a nearby sandstone cliff, my green contrastingly standing out against the light brown.

And here's the view near the turn-back point, showing a stream formed by over-flow water from the dam. This is no ordinary stream though, it's the humble beginning of the great Perak River, the second longest river in Peninsular Malaysia and it will flow another 400km to drain into the Straits of Malacca at Bagan Datuk. The Temengor Dam is the tall wall right at the centre and the Trojan Jetty is on the top of the left hill, the one with the transmission towers. Yup, it was a sharp climb to get there.

As I rode off to head back, suddenly I hear a shout from a support truck. It was Anne who had decided to take a short ride up-slope before coming down to coast down the slopes back to town.
She was pointing to a packet and giving a thumbs up, shouting "Nasi Lemak! Good Nasi Lemak!". Lucky girl, a family on the truck had shared their Nasi Lemak meal with her!

The return leg was mostly downhill with a few climbs. At a more relax pace now, we could look around and enjoy the place; it's quite a beautiful place. Around us were some green bald slopes with giant electrical towers silhouetted against the bright blue sky.

Most of the hills on which the towers stood on were bald of trees, making them quite a picturesque sight!

Others had giant brush reeds waving out to us.

The cascading water fall (GPS: 5.42819, 101.21306) where some riders stopped to have a cool bath. Goofy decided to join in the cooling down!

Back on flatter roads, at Kuala Rui, we were directed to take a left detour for the rest of the return route. This detour avoided having to use the highways and took us along shadier roads passing by several villages such as Kampung Tanjung Jerai located along the Perak RiverKampung Padang along the Sungai Kenderong, and approached Gerik town from the southern "back" door, passing by the SMK Gerik Secondary School.

Yippeeeeee! We did it!
We adjourned to the Medan Takong 1 Food Court for some cooling beer, a quick lunch and to mingle with other friends to bask (in our sweaty 😂) in glory.

Later in the evening, we squeezed into Robert's car for a drive to the 家庭式小餐馆 (Family Style Restaurant) located on the outskirts of town at Kampung Baharu Batu Dua. Of course we had wild river fish for which this region is renown for but we started off with one of the signature dish - Deep Fried Tofu which although looked like an over-burnt toast was actually very soft and tasty on the inside.

The mains was steamed Ikan Sebarau, which had very sweet, soft meat but lots of bones. The Chinese name for this fish was a play on the Malay name, it's called Sweoh Malau meaning "Water Monkey". Does it look like a water monkey? OR perhaps in the river it's playfully agile like a monkey.

THE PEOPLE
Although most of the participants were Malaysians, they were indeed a colourful lot, coming from various corners of the country. And many were teams from different towns, coming proudly wearing their team jerseys like this one from the LiMing Team. I am not sure wear they are from but they sure are a cheerful lot.
Participants came using different bikes - road bikes, racers, mountain bikes, foldies, etc.

A more serious looking team using the Doppelganger FX13 Folding bikes and wearing red team jerseys

No prizes for guessing where this "Royal Town" team are from. Yes, they are from the Royal town of Kuala Kangsar!

And buddies from the Klang Valley, a mixed bunch using different types of bikes.

And often the ladies teams were the centre of attraction, this one had members wearing matching jerseys and riding racing bikes - must be serious cyclists, so don't fool around with them.

A more casual ladies team, pretty all the same and using an assortment of bikes.

Chris & Simon with their Birdy bike kakis.

Wong & Lilian using their self restored older Birdy model.

A young couple came riding Fat Bikes!

And this couple riding in unison on an orange tandem.

It doesn't mater where one came from and what type of bike one rode; coming here was a chance to make new friends!

It was not an easy route, but it was a beautiful and fun route. One could just shout out in joy of having done it.

And MANY THANKS to the organizers, helpers, marshals, etc. who had made this event a roaring success.

AND HERE'S GOOFY MY BIKE SAYING:

"GOODBYE & TILL WE MEET AGAIN!"

(For more photos of the Day 4Click Here)
This is page 4 of a 9-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
  Go to D3 Gerik            |             Go to Other Days        |        Go to D5 P. Banding >
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