Friday, December 19, 2008

My First Riding Session (20/03/2008)

It was a lovely morning. There were only a few of us. Seven riders to be precise. We had our breakfast at the mamak restaurant at about 8.00 am. The usual menu (roti kosong and 2 telur separuh masak). After that got to have a puff first before cycling. I said to myself, how hard could it be. Sure I can do it. We were paddling around to warm up. Abang Man was the photographer for the day. Before that, let me introduce the riders. It was myself, Saiful, Din aka Sodeq, Abang Man aka Man Virus, Yusri, Denial and Angah.

We started rolling at about 8.30 am. The first stage was a simple tarmac with a distance of about 1.5 km to the trail entrance. It was a breeze as we were going down hill all the way. In no time we had reached the starting point where the off road cycling will begin. Din (the most experienced mountain biker among us) suggested to me that I may need to engage the lowest gear as it was my first off road session. O.k. no problemo. Start paddling everyone!!!!!!! From the starting point, it was a slow ascend un til we reached the first switch back. I can safely said that it was a 30 degree ascending switch back. Being my first time cycling off road, I just can only do the next best technique to deal with the situation. The push the bike up the hill technique.

After the pushing session, the terrain started to level with a few ups and downs and also small terraces which I can tackled. It was a piece of cake until we reached the hill top. There was no more trail other than down through a narrow steep single track. A 40 to 45 degree straight descent towards a pond down there near the foothill. But did I chickened out? Of cause I did. A slow and gentle push down the hill should do the trick. Then the trail continued going up the hill again through a narrow single track until we reached a wide gravelled road used by lorries entering the quarry site.

With all of this pushing up and down the hill, I was beginning to wonder. What the hack am I doing here? I could be lying in bed, curling snugly on this beautiful morning. Is mountain biking the right sport for me? I'm tired, out of breath and my back was screaming for forgiveness. Luckily we stopped a while at the end of the first trail to regroup.

Then we continued on down the wide gravelled road until we reached the quarry entrance. From there we had to push or carry our bike to a near by single track which leed to the next trail. Man... This is hard work. The second trail started with a paddle up the hill clearing the bushes. Then I saw it. It was a clear sight of straight up the hill paddle. The distance was about 200 meters but that was already to much for me. I've just started mountain biking what... I decided to stop at the nearest exit as the rest of the group continued on. Told them need to take a long call. Stomach hurt....?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Beginning

Salam. How to start aa... The first MTB I bought was a 16" Green T-Bolt which cost me RM890-00. For me the bike is already good enough for a beginner like me. The bike came with a Deore LX RD, FD, SR Suntour crank, Deore shifter, KIND A-TWO shock, RST T8 fork etc. I bought the bike in December 2007 from someone well known to the MMS (malaysian MTB societies). My first ride was on the 20th March 2008, 3 months after the purchase. Took me quite sometime to get the nerve. I'll go into details in another post. Now it has been nearly a year since my involvement in MTBs. Tell you the truth, I enjoyed the cycling, the jumping and the upgrading of parts (DIY). I might open a bicycle shop when I retire.

As time goes by, my first upgrade was the shifter and break lever. Found it in BBS for RM200 . It was a Deore LX limited edition (Gold Colour). Bought it on 1st April 2008 and self installed.

Then about one week after, I found an advert in the BBS of a Deore LX Hollotech II crank for sale. I bought it at RM250 and self installed. Date of purchase was 8th April 2008. This hobby is getting expensive for my standard.

Later I was dreaming of getting a carbon handlebar for my bike. It was very hard to look for a second hand carbon handlebar. I just couldn't wait. Then finally a trip to KSH Taman Tun took care of that. Ha ha ha. Cost me about RM180 for a Bontrager carbon handlebar and RM50 for a Racing Speed oversize stem. Date of purchase was 14th April 2008.

After a few rides in the BMC trail, I was feeling that the Kenda 1.95 inch tires that I'm using now cannot handle the BMC terrain. It was slippery during rainy season and dusty in dry season. It was the time to change to better tires. I went to Simon's shop in Taman Rakan. He recommended the Panaracer FireXCPro 2.1 inch tires. It was red tapped. Bought it on 26th April 2008 and cost me RM70 each. Now my bike looks like a mistakenly assembled MTB and the owner is just itching to do something about it.

Later came the project 'Paint them all black'. Took me 2 weeks working overtime (from 12am until 3-4 am). After all the hardship and back pain, I've finally finished the job. Ta-da... Behold the new pearl black T-Bolt.

Noticed in the picture that I'm using a different rear shock, wheelset and brake set.

The shock is KIND shock KS-582 with preload adjust and lock-out. Got it from a fellow mountain biker working in Cyberjaya for RM350.

The wheelset is a WTB Dual Duty FR. Got it also from a fellow mountain biker in Puchong for RM300.

The brake set is a brand new Avid BB7 with an 8" Avid disk rotor. Got it from Sami's shop in Batu Caves. Cost me RM350.
The next up grade was the FD. I got a great deal for an XT FD from a guy in Damansara. Bought it on 8th July 2008.

Next comes the front fork. The RST CAPA T8 can no longer serve my riding style. Been searching for a longer travel fork at least 120mm. Found it in BBS, a Spinner Eagle LC with travel adjust, a true AM fork. Cost me RM500. Bought it from a guy in Melaka.

Well that's about it. Been using the bike for XC riding and sometimes a few small jumps until I went to Putrajaya Challenge Park. After the ride there and also after a few crashes, "I feel the need. The need for speed". There will be a whole new topic on that (if I have the time). In short the black T-Bolt has a new master now and it is called T-Bolt 661. Follow the story later..