Up, up, and more up … oh ya, and some down too

58 km, 4.5 h, Max temp 40

We started the day by continuing the climb. We climbed and climbed and climbed. A few km after we started, there was a resort advertised with restaurant and chalets. We pulled in to discover the place still under construction. It seems that the signs for resorts go up well before the actual resort is open. We did not notice any “coming soon” or “opening date” indication, but that may just be a language barrier issue. Either way we were pretty disappointed.

Just before the Perak border, we stopped at the restaurant where Wayne and Kris stayed back in 2005. When we arrived at 9 am, they had no food, and not much in the way of drinks. We were able to get a coffee with no milk and way too much sugar, which did help fuel us for a while. We filled an empty 1.5L water bottle with some of their “filtered water”, but the filter looked a little dodgy, so we decided to use it only as a last resort.

At least every 2-3 minutes, we are passed by trucks either going up or down the hills. There are logging trucks, fuel trucks, and various other trucks carrying freight. Becky was surprised that they did not have any “run-away” lanes for them – so if their brakes fail on the way down, their only choice is to crash into the jungle. The trucks occasionally stop at roadside streams to get water to pour over the brakes to cool them down. Several times today, you could see Becky by the roadside pouring water over her head to cool her down too!

After 3 hours of climbing and 26 km, we arrived at the summit starving and pretty close to out of water. (Yes Moms, we were carrying emergency food, and did have the dodgy water which we could have filtered – don’t worry) Fortunately, at the summit there is a restaurant and a little convenience store. The restaurant had one of the best varieties of Malaysia steam tray that we have enjoyed – this may be related to us arriving at noon, just in time for the best selection.

Once we refueled ourselves and refilled our water bottles, we hopped back on the bikes. The glorious decent we were hoping for eluded us for a few km. We expected it immediately (or at least Becky did), but found ourselves climbing again; however, the hills did not last long. We say a sign for a 10% grade down and knew we were in for some fun. For almost 20 km and 45 minutes, we screamed down the hill.

Unfortunately, the Resort we were seeking was another 10 km along. After the giant decent we found ourselves climbing again. Fortunately, the climbs were offset by some downs which were usually longer than the ups. So, tired and sweaty we arrived at the Belum Rainforest Resort in Pulau Banding (http://www.belumresort.com/). A bit more upscale than our usual accommodation, but we’ve decided that we deserve it after all the work)

Further research shows that we are in for some more hills before we reach the coast. We have decided to spend a second night here and enjoy the resort whilst allowing our muscles to recover at least a little before we tackle two more days of hills (although none as bad as the 38 km ascent we did over the last two days) to bring us to Penang.

Road notes:

  1. 5 km – R&R Rest stop
  2. 7 km – Restaurant with no food
  3. 26 km – Restaurant at the peak
  4. 55 km – Small floating store and restaurant
  5. 58 km – Belum Rainforest Resort

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