Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Training in Penang

I rolled into Penang, and siddled up to The Old Penang Inn guesthouse which had been recommended by Caroline! As I wheeled my bike into the front doorway, a guy approached and was fascinated by my two wheels. Joen, a Belgian, was travelling overland from Australia back home and was keen to do some riding. This worked well for me as I had two days to kill before Chris arrived, and wanted to explore the island by bicycle. So off we went, tents and sleeping mats strapped to our racks, or in Joen’s case in his lovely basket.

The first couple of hours were fairly subdued – flat stretches of riding, with intermittent temple stops and food breaks. After a while we came to some hills – which were not as hilly as they were mountainous. We went up and up for about 12km, each time the terrain getting steeper. After a while I had to get off and push and was doing so when the rain started to pour.

It was coming from all directions down the mountain at me, which was making it difficult to push, not to mention pedal. I can’t tell you enough how ridiculous I felt at this moment – a complete beginner cyclist, attempting to climb mountains in the pouring rain on day one. Eventually we reached the top, and coming down made it all seem worthwhile! We found a quiet and dry place to camp at a lovely Chinese Buddhist Temple. The caretakers let us pitch our tents in the shrine, fed us soft boiled eggs and crackers, and we slept like babies after the excitement of day one.

The following day included a much more gradual climb, up to a Tropical Fruit Farm, where you could eat abundant amounts of dragonfruit, yellow watermelon, rambutan, pink guava and many other delights for less than $2 AUD. Overall, I was happy to have had these two days of training and was ready to begin my next adventure to Pai...Straight Up.

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