The route: 124 upsettingly hilly km, 7832km total http://connect.garmin.com/activity/199898848
Reassured by the net descent from 1500m to sea level, and local advice that the ride from the Cameron Highlands was ‘downhill all the way’, we thought today’s 120km would be a breeze. Bike maintenance issues (setting up Avid BB5 disc brakes is an art I have yet to master) meant that we didn’t leave Tanah Rata’s strawberry souvenir stalls and not very quaint cafes until almost midday.
We started the day retracing our steps to K Rata, before turning east onto the eerily quiet dual carriageway descent from the Cameron Highlands. Having read a sobering blog of a bike tourist who had broken her arm when she stacked on this road, we took things steady, maxing out at a pedestrian 76kmh. Seriously, fellow cyclists – the road has a few ruts and near invisible imperfections waiting to throw you off the bike at speed – nota bene!
The scenery got better and better as we descended, and climbed, and descended, and climbed, the road twisting through misty, uninhabited jungle. (Note there is NOWHERE to get food or water after K Rata for the next 80km, so stock up in advance.) After 120km, almost 3000m of descending, 1500m of climbing and 2 tropical downpours, we rolled into Gua Musang, a quiet but pleasant town set amongst limestone karsts and thick jungle. Hotels here are surprisingly pricey, and we duly checked into the cheapest one we could find. The name escapes me, as ever (Imran? Immra?) but despite the friendly staff it was a cockroach filled sh*thole. Avoid.