Monday, 18 January 2016

A day climbing Fraser's Hill

Well, it's been a long while. About four months or so? In between that time period, there was a million and one things that happened and the best part out of all of it is, I am now a Swinburne Graduate. Yup, you heard me right. I have recently just graduated from my degree program. It was a tough final semester plunging into the unknown working on some projects that was at times smooth sailing, then downhills and crashes and then smooth sailing again. It was a great experience to be in Swinburne though.

Now, back to the title. Yes, Fraser's Hill. A holiday resort well known to most Malaysians as well as tourists from other countries. This hill received it's name from a man who after discovering tin ore deposits on the hill, turned the spot into a mining spot and just as the tin ore deposits were about to disappear, he too vanished.

That was only a small part of Fraser's history, and how the hill got it's name, locally known as Bukit Fraser's (which means Fraser's Hill). Over the years, Fraser's Hill has turned into a holiday retreat, well known for it's cooling climate and rich nature surrounding the hill.

Back to me, from my last post, after receiving my Allez, which I came to nickname Speccy (pronounced Spes-sy), I have within this four months clocked in a total 1800km on the bike before my return to Kajang after graduation. A friend of mine who lives just a few cities away recently got his own bike. A Scott Speedster with Shimano Ultegra groupset.

We both discussed about the chances of cycling up to Genting Highlands just for the challenge but after asking around, it seemed it wouldn't be possible due to law enforcement. We changed our plans to tackle Fraser's Hill instead. I took a train from my town station that went straight to his town, Batu Caves. I guess it wasn't a normal sight for the people to see a cyclist carrying his bike on to a train, where as it seems normal overseas.

I was lucky I was on the last coach, therefore, plenty of space. Though, this didn't stop the stares from others as the coach began to fill up. The shot above was just during the time the coach was empty, after the shot was taken I moved the bike aside and leaned it against the coach walls. Upon arrival at Batu Caves, my friend rode his shiny new bike out to meet me.

Then we headed back to his place to unpack and rest. The next day, we tackled Fraser's Hill. We drove to a town at the foothills of Fraser's, Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB) and from there made our way up to Fraser's. We did some researched on the track leading up to Fraser's on the internet, and it was a relaxing 34km climb up to Fraser's and another 8km which is the steepest, and toughest climb for the whole route. There was a few beautiful views along the road but upon reaching the starting point of the incline, we were surrounded by trees and nature's splendor appeared before our eyes.

The KKB Water Dam
Blue skies and good weather

The heat was bearable as it was breezy
After a long climb, we finally arrived at the entrance. The entrance to the 8km of steep curving climb.

If you look to the bottom left, you'll spot a tiny little bike.
This arch welcomes you to the 8km of sufferfest. The estimated gradient on Strava, a cycling and running GPS app on my phone that I regularly use, recorded a 10% steepness. For those who are unprepared, be prepared to walk up with the bike.

The view at the top was calming and it was quiet due to it being a weekday.
I took a short rest and waited for my cycling partner to arrive, then we both had lunch at the top and made our way back down. The road down was very steep, with a lot of corners and loose stones and sand. It is best to take extreme care while going downhill and to have your hands at the ready on your brakes as me and my cycling partner learnt.

I was halfway down Fraser's when I received a call from him telling me that he crashed on the way downhill, into a drain. I was thankful he did not went off a cliff instead. He was also very very lucky to have a thick bush cushioning him beside the road. The best part of all was that, despite the crash, all he suffered was scratches to his face, right arm and legs, and the most serious injury was a cut on his inner lower lip that required stitching.

It was a long day for the both of us and we made it home safely.This goes out to everyone who tries this challenge, be extra careful when going downhill. Always check your brakes and corner in a safe manner. We are not racing, there is no need to risk your life for the extra few minutes.

Till next time
Vincent 

Way before we started the ride. Little did we know, what would happen.

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