Plan C Bikepacking – A lesson learnt

25th Dec 2020, the day we decided to do Rapha500 differently. I usually only ridden 500KM in two days, just to fulfil the 500KM requirement

My Rapha500 roundels collection

But this year, we planned differently. Plan A is for a 4-days 750 KM bikepacking ride from Kuantan to Cameron Highland and back. But due to Covid-19 situation in Bentong and Koyan (which are the few small towns we had to go through), we changed to Plan B which was just 500KM to Penarik in Terengganu and back. However, two days seems not enough for all the preparations done, so we settled with Plan C, which is back to 750KM but skipped Cameron Highlands. We planned to go to Lipis, Gua Musang and Kuala Berang via Aring and Kenyir, before going home along the Terengganu coastal road.

Plan C

Day 1. Kuatan-Jerantut-Kuala Lipis. 240KM

Day 1 was uneventful. We started early that Friday’s morning. By 6:00 AM we were at a musolla around Lepar for our Fajr’s prayer. The weather was nice. Had breakfast at Maran, before continuing the ride to Damak. We struggled a bit to find a proper place for our lunch especially after a rather fast pace along horrible road condition and traffics. I was still feeling good.  I mooted the idea to proceed to Gua Musang by adding just another 100KM,  but when we arrived at Simpang Benta, few already exhausted, and it was 3:00 PM. So we decided to stick to the original plan, which was to stop at Kuala Lipis after 240KM ride. We stayed at a new Star Well Hotel in Kuala Lipis. We also had a nice Azmi’s Steam Patin Tempoyak for dinner. Due to the long and tough profile on Day 2, we should have taken early sleep. But no thanks to the long waiting time though, we wasted some good rest and recovery time.

Soon after that, my nightmare started. I had episodes of diarrhoea. Went to the toilet more than 4 times. My rest was interrupted.

Day 2. Kuala Lipis – Gua Musang – Kuala Berang. 280KM

Woke up at 3:00 AM feeling tired. True enough, the moment I hit the road, my legs felt heavy, feeling so weak and tired. The ride was tough. I can’t climb and can’t maintain high speed as usual. The toughest 100KM ride for me. On top of that, we had several punctures. We even had to perform our Fajr’s prayer by the roadside. We were off-scheduled by 2 hours. Most of the time because of me.

We arrived at Gua Musang at about 9:30 AM. I tried to eat but I couldn’t. We continued for another 20KM and stopped at the R&R there. We had a very long break. Continued again for 20KM and stopped at a petrol station near Chiku. Had our Zuhr’s prayer there. And yet another long break. Again because of me. Once we entered Aring, I knew I can’t continue. I had no more energy left. I urged them to go ahead without me, but they refused. So I decided to hitch-hike a 4WD to Kuala Berang. Only then, they resumed at their normal speed.

I did only 150 KM on Day 2. I would like to thank Mr Jefri who was very kind to help me and willing to send me to Kuala Berang.

Kudos to all my friends. They made it to Kuala Berang despite the tough rollings in Aring and Kenyir, horrible road conditions and rain. I booked Serai Cottage at Kuala Berang. Not sure when they actually arrived as I was too exhausted and just sleep upon entering my room.

Day 3. Kuala Berang-Kuantan. 215KM

This should be our recovery ride.

Woke up feeling better. Hungry but still did not able to eat well. We started the day late. Began the ride at around 8:30 AM. It was raining when we made the move. But soon after, the weather was hot.

The ride was not as bad as Day 2. I managed to be with the group most of the time…. well until some of them started to pull 40-45 km/h obviously. Had a break in Rantau Abang. Took our time easy this time. Good chat and laugh.

We had a long break at Paka. Had our lunch at our usual gerai ikan kerisi goreng panas stall. Prayed Zuhr at the nearby mosque there.

Had a puncture again just after 5 KM away from Paka. But after that, the speed was pretty high. Managed to follow but dropped a few times. Around 4:30 PM we arrived at The Bolock Coffee. Nice milked coffee and ambience. A friend knew we were there and he sponsored our drinks. Thanks, Meka. Fadli and Pokleh were kind enough to ride from Kuantan and follow us back. That was 60 KM one-way at least.

Alhamdulillah by Marghrib we were already at Shell near Simpang Balok. We considered as achieved what we planned for. I just continue to ride another 16 KM to reach home.

What is the lesson learnt?

No matter how strong you are, it is all a loan from Almighty Allah. If He takes it back, you will have nothing. I felt great on Day 1, but in split second, I lost all the energy and strength. I thought I could perform well the whole 3 days and even planned to extend Day 3 to make it 400 KM, but as Allah mentioned…

وَ مَکَرُوۡا وَ مَکَرَ اللّٰہُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ خَیۡرُ الۡمٰکِرِیۡنَ

“And they devised, and God devised, and God is the best of devisers.” – Ali Imran:5

Even though the verse is relaying the plot made for Jesus Alaisalam, it also tells us that Allah is the Great Planner!


Thanks to Andy, Azizi, Muzammil, Mizi, Abang Rahim and Syafarim for the great camaraderie. We started together and ended the 3 days bikepacking together. Thanks Allah for giving me such friends.


Finally, an entry after a very long hiatus

I have been having this blog setup for years. I had few entries from the previous domain but was not able to transfer them to the new WordPress. I simply can’t spend time for it anymore.

This is about my ‘dunnia’ (world things). Things that I will leave behind. Not sure if this will benefit anyone.

My world is about being an academician, parent, husband, long-distance cyclist, hiker or photographer wannabe (in no particular order).

My new blog’s site

Hi, I am Jamal.

Why tembeling? It’s a long story. I am a doctor and I served as medical and health officer in Ulu Tembeling, Pahang from 1996-1998. The place was very popular among doctors then, because of its remoteness. Every new doctor was scared of the place. A 120KM away from the nearest town, Jerantut and the only transport then was by boat along Tembeling River crossing at least 9 rapids. There was no public communication service exist at that area. But, I like the place but I do not want to explain why….because it would be a very long entry. So because I like it, I use its name as my ‘internet’s handle’.

I decided to use a managed site for my new blog’s page…..and I failed to move all the previous but out dated blogs, which mostly are ramblings on my hiking & photography stuff to this site. No worry, you won’t miss anything.

I may still try to upload again the old blogs here, but should be later.

For the meantime, enjoy the new site!