Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sedili Kecil Coastal Ride

Do not trust the weather forecast. It drizzled heavily at 4:45 AM at Rail Mall.

A map of my route. Official map here.

On the Bahtera Express, enroute to Sebana Cove. The old geezer in the white tee and blue shorts is an idiot; oblivious to everyone around him, he persisted in showing off his kung fu moves on the crowded deck. Despite being warned, he knocked into Ivy, my Specialized Stumpjumper, several times. If he stepped on my bike, I would have falun gong-ed his ass overboard.

  Indo Falcon Shipping
  Tel: 6275-7393
  Fax: 6276-1753
  Malaysia: 607-826 6688

The Hammar automatic hydrostatic release is pretty cool. If the ship sinks, fat asses do not need lifejackets to float water pressure will activate a sharp knife that cuts the rope, allowing the life raft capsules to float free.

Hon Shin looks at the hills in the distance and contemplates his fate.

The weather rapidly warmed up to a scorching 101° F (38.3° C) once we left Sebana Cove. After filling up my Camelbak H.A.W.G. with 1.5 liters of water, bringing its total weight to 14.26 lbs (6.48 kg), at the Petronas gas station outside Desaru, we pursued our respective routes: I made a sharp right, heading eastwards towards Tanjung Balau, while Hon Shin took the inland route. Hon Shin's ride report, along with GPS tracks, and many more pictures, can be found here.

Barely a kilometer eastwards, the heat is but an unpleasant memory; its stuffiness dissipated by the sea breeze. This road has recently been repaved. Smooth asphalt, rolling hills, and low traffic, all make it a joy to fresh legs.

The last hill before the roundabout at Tanjung Balau. If you pedal on this gravity climb, you can get some air when you crest the hill. Landing at 46+ mph (73+ km/h) on slicks can be tricky though... Ensure that your medical insurance covers Malaysia.

Roundabout at Tanjung Balau.

There is a food center and accomodation under a mile (1.5 km) straight ahead (east). Right (south) brings you to Desaru. Here, I headed left, northward.

Balau Bay Resort
Tanjung Balau, 81900
Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: 607-822 8020

Weekday rates
RM$160 Standard Room (no hot water)
RM$235 Deluxe Room (with hot water)

Weekend rates

Heading north along the coast towards Sedili Kecil. This quiet road is my favorite part of the ride.

Approaching storm clouds.

View from a shelter.

Storm clouds over Hon Shin's inland route.

Gazing in the distance, I had an intimation of what it must be like to be Jupiter, hurling rain and thunderbolts with impunity  :-P

Riders of the storm.

After the rain.

A public beach a couple kilometers before Sedili Kecil. Some areas are filthy with litter — which is a crying shame. I spent some time picking litter from the grass (to get a better shot) before giving up.

Bridge to Sedili Kecil. The authorities took a long time to complete constructing this bridge. Before this, you had to pay a boatman to ferry you across Sungai Kecil.

Where I had breakfast on my previous trip. Tip: look for the public phone.

Road temporarily closed for the passage of self-propelled Ramly Burgers... um... Moo Moo Cows.

At the northern end of Sedili Kecil is Mutiara Motor Resort. Look for the big bird.

Mutiara Motor Resort
Tel: 607-891 8605
    607-331 9099


3 PM: I was contemplating riding 7.5 miles (12 km) north to meet Hon Shin at Sedili Besar, but then it started to rain again; so I decided to get all comfy in a shelter waiting for Hon Shin while the monsoon rages outside.

Perhaps this might be a better vehicle for future rides in the monsoon?

Just as I was fantasizing about a nice, hot cup of tea, Hon Shin shows up. I had to shout several times before he heard me through the rain. As it was still relatively early in the afternoon (3:40 PM) we decided to ride 22 miles (35.5 km) southwards and bunk over at Desaru.

A trail leading to an isolated beach.

A rather deep pothole by the road.

Despite stopping to take pictures, we reached the Tanjung Balau roundabout at 5:36 PM. During the latter part of the ride, I kept remarking to Hon Shin that the vegetation (lallang) was starting to look edible to me. That probably explains why he acquiesced to a 1.5 km detour to Tanung Balau food center for a bite. (Well, that, and I haven't renounced cannibalism yet  :-P  )

We each had a plate of nasi lemak.

Note: this is an idealized version of what it should look like. The reality is far from it. There was only one piece of chicken and it was roughly half the size of a McDonalds Chicken McNugget. Then again, what do you expect for RM$3 (SGD$1.29 or USD$0.89)?

Scaring the locals, I ordered another teh tarik and a bowl of mee bandung while Hon Shin caught forty winks on the table.

Then it was a slow 3.75 miles (6 km) to Desaru.

The walk-in rates for Pulai Desaru Beach were a trifle high for 2 chaps on an overnight bike ride.

Pulai Desaru Beach
Bandar Penawar 81900,
Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: 607-822 2222
Fax: 607-822 2223

Weekday rates
Standard RM$450
Deluxe   RM$650

Weekend rates

The Desaru Damai Beach Resort proved financially more prudent.

Desaru Damai Beach Resort
Bandar Penawar 81900
Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: 607-822 4600
       607-822 5600
Fax: 607-822 3600

Weekday rates
Standard RM$130
Deluxe     RM$150

Weekend rates

Day 2: Batu Layar Beach: 9.6 miles (15.36 km) south of Desaru.

Evolution in reverse.

Batu = rock.
Layar = sail.

They thrust out of the ground in thin slabs.

The rocks have interesting striations on them.

We cover the remaining 20.3 miles (32.48 km) quickly, even managing to stop for ice-cream along the way. About a third of a mile (0.5 km) in, this is the only hill on the 2.9 mile (4.6 km) road between Sebana Cove Marina and Highway 92.

Pitcher plants (Nepenthes rafflesiana) cling to the bushes on the hilltop.

Unfortunately for the masochist in me, the hill in the distance is not part of the route.

Back to Sebana Cove Marina.

Sebana Golf & Marina Resort
LB 505, Kota Tinggi Post Office
81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor Darul Takzim
Tel:  607-826 6688 Ext 774
Fax: 607-826 6677
        607-826 6054

Palm trees guard this marine vista.

The marina.

For those who dive.

Ais kaceng, the deluxe version. It's a pity that they were stingy with the syrup though.

The Bahtera Express, waiting to take us back. Met another cyclist onboard (Hello, Henry!).

Total distance:  cyclo-computer 136.5 miles (218.4 km)
Total elevation climbed:  Altimeter 3620 ft (1103 m)
Temperature range:  73° F to 101° F (22.7° C to 38.3° C)