23 March 2012
For a day with such a hefty descent, today's a lot of work.
After a caffeine-assisted English breakfast, I retrace my way through the Highlands region back to the road in the north that I'd left two days ago. This gets me over a couple of climbs and 25 kilometres or so. Then there's a few kilometres of gentle ups and downs, and the descent begins. It's steep and fast. Too fast - I'm losing altitude at a rate that's going to have me near sealevel well before the day is done. I clear 60km/h a few times.
The road has other ideas though, and before long some sizeable ups and downs appear. I spend the rest of the day alternating between breezy fast descents and excruciatingly slow ascents - one minute around 60km/h, the next around 6km/h. Add some serious heat, and subtract all shade (apart from the useless bit that I'm casting on the road), continue for over 100km and it becomes a somewhat trying day.
Gua Musang is smaller than I'd expected. It's a proper jungle town; it used to be accessible only by train. I ride through town to have a quick look at the rail station. The building is a simple single storey hut, but it's backed up against a huge chunk of karst. Quite impressive.
After a bit of searching I track down my planned hotel and it does the job nicely. I trot along the roadside strip of shops to find something to eat. The first place I go into is clearly out of their depth: the owners are avoiding my eyes and aren't prepared to try to communicate. They try to get some students at another table to help out, but they're having none of it. I decide to spare them their obvious pain, and head back to a place I'd seen next to my hotel. Here the beheadscarfed girl motions that she can't speak English, but it's not a problem - she hands me a menu and waits while I decipher a rough plan. It's the exact same scenario as at the previous place, with the opposite outcome. It just takes a little effort. The added bonus at this place was that I could still pick up the hotel's wifi.
130km, 20.2km/h, 6hr25min, 7671km, c.e.g. 2012m