Distance: 156kms (98 miles)
Weather: hot and very humid
Our final full day started slowly. With the sun rising at 7am in Malaysia we are always out of the door as soon as the big golden disc appears. This morning though, with breakfast coming with the price of the room, we used it as an excuse to hang back a little.
To others, It must have been an unnerving sight. Two heavily dirtied men dressed in Lycra circling the breakfast buffet like tramps at a wedding. We piled two plates high of anything that we could see and, once again, ate like it was our last meal.
I am becoming the king of terrible analogies, but if we are steam engines then the man who piles the coal in the furnace to power the steam – he is working massive overtime hours.
Thing is though, if we keep that analogy going a little longer, if you pile sawdust or gravel into that same furnace, it won’t perform properly. Which is why food has dominated our daily thinking in such a big way. You just can’t cycle close to record distances on MnM’s.
Eventually though we were on our way and noticed, almost immediately, that the humidity was the highest it had been. It was the kind of wet heat that penetrates every part of your body. It is uncomfortable in the most extreme way imaginable.
For the first forty miles of the day the roads grew increasingly erratic.
Gone were the flat and barren roadways of the past 400 miles and in its place stood a series of steep climbs and rapid descents. It would last all day.
It’s almost as if our route lulled us into a false sense of security only to remind us, on our last final day, how monumentally unforgiving this entire event has been.
It has exorcised, for a while at least, the very worst spells of anxiety and overthinking that, for me anyway, is a part of life. By presenting us with life-changing challenges on a daily basis it has helped realise how and why we think in the way we do. Personally, I now know that the only way I can ever truly beat the worst ravages of my own particular set of issues is to pack as much into my life as I possibly can. My mind, when given time to think, can explode with infinite questions. It’s internal monologue chattering away like some dull lecturer.
This challenge has taken every aspect of our minds and squeezed them for everything they are worth. In a sense, despite the agonising but inevitable march towards the end point, not having this in our lives will be hard. We have a routine, an extreme one of course, but one that we’ve come to have gotten used to.
We are then, facing up to the fact that in about 18 hours time this will all be over. It is a mind-boggling thought.
Today though, our last full day of riding, pushed us like no other. I think only the climb into Laos beat the accumulative ascent with the final scores at the end of the day reading over 5000 feet.
When we spoke to the guys in the bike shop a couple of days ago they warned us about today. They said it would be 100 miles of dragon backing – a phrase they used to describe going up and down.
It was an unbelievably tough afternoon but towards the end and our eventual roll into the town of Kuala Tinggi, it became apparent that we’d gone and absolutely smashed it I cannot tell you how proud it makes me feel to go out and do 100 miles on those conditions and sit back and smile at the end of it all.
However, we did look horrendous. The kind of dirt, grime and sweat that goes skin deep and leaves you looking like a genuine tramp – one that revels in the their independence.
Tomorrow though we have our shortest day by far at a measly 47 miles, but we still have to cross two major cities in Johor Bharu and finally Singapore.
No more 100 mile days though. That, my friends, is a truly beautiful feeling.
Until tomorrow! Tommo and Morgan xx