The 2008 PCC InterState: KL to Kuantan
story by Andrea Tan / photos by James Bak

Day 2: Bahau to Rompin - "The longest day" As I walked down the two flights of stairs, I was glad that my legs weren't going to stage a mutiny. The day begun with debate of trying to latch on to the front peloton so that I can arrive without getting nicely baked or keep to a slower, saner pace to save my legs for Day 3.

It was an amazing, almost surreal feeling riding into the rising sun as we headed East towards Kuala Rompin. I made a mental note to myself to get a decent pair of cycling eyewear, as the glare was just horrible on my normal pair of glasses.

Chief marshal's truck preparing for the lead out. Ivan Basso in red jersey, Soh's in the US Postal kit near the rear of the truck. Don Chan at the bottom left corner

The pace shot up the minute the chief marshal's truck pulled off after the lead out. Not only was the tempo high, there were repetitive surges that pushed well past 40km/h. After which we would recover to a saner pace of ~35km/h. We were in a neat double paceline, giving riders opportunity for some chatter, that is if you can still talk. I started seeing some riders going backwards, falling off the paceline and had to do some work to close up the gaps. Daniel told me not to get dropped. Easier said than done buddy. One rider managed to squeak out "Andrea, help me!!!" as I saw him struggling to hang on. Sorry pal, but I was already at the risk of overheating.

After an hour or so, the front group finally settled down to a nice moving speed of ~35km/h. Phew… luckily we weren't going to do interval training for 180km :-)

The interval training had begun to sink its teeth into some riders, but the pack was still rather large at this point...

Proof that I already begun suffering early in the morning. From left: Bernard (Rock Racing kit), me (red Castelli jersey) and far right is Daniel Lim (CSC kit)

Words spoken too soon as the KOTRT train led by our "traitor" came zooming by in an attempt to catch the breakaways and we started our Round #2 of interval training. He insisted that he heard the word "CHASE!!". We soon caught the rabbits and swallowed them into the peloton.

The rabbits from Australia. Damien in front of Chris. More stories about them to come in Day 3.

At some point, somehow I got squeezed to the front of the pack, concentrated on hanging on and was oblivious to a crash at the back. Sorry Lisar. It was only 10 clicks later I then found out that the 50 strong peloton has shrunk down to around a dozen of us. Lisar had lost control of her bike while swerving to avoid a pothole as she tried to put her bottle back into the cage. She ended up sliding across the opposite lane of the road (thank goodness there weren't any on coming cars) and landed on the grass. She was unconscious for five minutes before waking up to a temporary memory loss which she couldn't recall where she was and what was she doing. Fortunately she was okay when I saw her later in the hotel and her XRay and MRI confirmed so.

The rest of the ride was so fast that it passed by in a blur and I could scarcely recall what happened. All I could think of during the last 15km was to arrive safely, chuck my bike aside and drop dead on the ground. Thankfully, there were some photos to help me recollect that day. So enjoy…

Don Chan and Bernard the work at the front of the pack. Vong (blue jersey and shorts) is leftmost and in front of him is Adzim (United Toyota jersey)

Miles and miles of nothingness. Don't get dropped in the middle of nowhere.

After more than 160km, this was a welcoming sign. Unfortunately for me, the last 15km took forever. The next signboard which marked the hotel was 11km, then 8, and finally 3km. I was literally counting down each 100m at this point in time...

Finally the reward. Arrived at the coast where sun, sea and beach beckons.

Overall, the profile for Day 2 was relatively flat except for some small rollers here and there. Most of the journey was sandwiched in either plantations or emptiness. And as expected, it was a horrendous fight against the headwind as we neared the coast heading into Kuala Rompin.

We were given a looong lecture on safe riding by long time IS veteran Don Chan after dinner as we recorded the highest number of falls and crashes this year. Three on the first day and two on the second day. The second casualty for the day was Elaine, an RPM instructor who had clipped wheels on a slight climb and promptly fell on her face requiring three stitches just above the eyebrows. Some blamed it on the "Ghost Month" as they traded stories on some "friendly visits" in their hotel room. Others think it's just plain human error and carelessness. We were advised to stay in small groups, single paceline and be attentive on the ride into Kuantan the next day.


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