20 March 2012
Tanah Rata is the administrative centre of the Cameron Highlands. There's a clue in the name that hints at what today's ride was like.
Mountains, how I love you. Mountains, how I hate you. I had some great views today, but I did have to work for them. The average speed of 15km/h says it all.
Road 1 going south out of Ipoh is busy, but when I turn off to cross east, it gets quieter, especially after I get past a bunch of quarries. Limestone karst peaks are being raided for their goodies.
I'm expecting the climb to start at around 20km down. It kicks off a little earlier than that, and starts with a steep section that has me doubting myself. My granny ring hasn't been used for so long I have trouble cleanly downshifting to it.
The climb goes on for over 40km, albeit with the occasional flat or downhill section. I don't get a proper downhill until I make the turn south into the Cameron Highlands region. This is bittersweet descent as I'll have to climb back over it in a couple of days time.
There's still another monstrously steep climb before I'm done, with sections bringing my speed as low as 6.5km/h. My highest point for the day is just over 1600m.
The Cameron Highlands area was established as a British hill station back in the 30s. These days, it's a slightly manufactured resort for wealthy Malaysians who drive out from the cities. Colonial mock Tudor sits among new build concrete. Other than tourism, the area makes its money from apiculture and agriculture - tea, fruit, flowers.
In June, I'm signed up to take part in a six day 734km ride across the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Today's ride was the last remaining opportunity for preparation over some serious climbing terrain. In Colorado, I'll not be loaded, and I'll be on my far more efficient road bike. Regardless, I feel I have some training to do.
Nine on-the-bike days remain before Singapore. Single digits. Nearly done.
92km, 15.0km/h, 6hr6min, 7541km, c.e.g. 2615m