Lion Hill of Sungai Siput
I received a Whatsapp message asking me if I am interested in riding up Lion Hill in Sungai Siput. Shaped like a lion comprising of two hills, one being the head with two ears and the rear as another hill. At that instant , it was a " YES !" Many a times, even more so when I was a child, I passed by Sungai Siput while on the way to Penang, I saw this hill and my parents describing it as Lion Hill, making it sounds so mystical.
|Almost near the top|
At the day of the ride, I woke up at 5.30am , drove to Sungai Siput via the old trunk road which requires you to drive straight into Kuala Kangsar town before heading out towards Sungai Siput. It was only a 40 minutes drive. Once there, I see many vehicles with mountain bikes strapped on their car roofs and I instinctly went into the lane where most riders are having their breakfast.
This was the coffee stall recommended by Fookson, a local rider based in Ipoh and Sungai Siput as well. I sat at one of the tables and immediately joined by Fookson himself. He ordered the toast and 'kaya with butter' together with a cup of milked tea. I must say, the 'kaya' was really good. Seriously 'good!' Never tasted this old kind of 'kaya' anymore, anywhere else. I found one GOOD 'kaya' not listed on Google. Stall location is GPS 4.820381, 101.070292
After breakfast, all riders assembled near the local church and not long after that all 80 or so mtb riders starts off. We rode on some main tarmac towards Sungai Nyamuk and not long after that into oil palm plantation. The climb was almost instant! After much 'huff and puff' , we were the last two riders .......... hihihi, and need to be swept by others. Later after this offroading session, we came to a village called Temin. All were regrouping here. Finally came the last two riders, yours faithfully and wife.
I also found out that the last session was a warm up and we have not even at the foothills of Lion Hill yet! When we all moved out , then into another plantation, this time we have to carry our bikes over a barrier. Usually plantation owners don't really mind cyclist trespassing into the plantation. Not that we can carry bunches of palm kernels anyway, right?
The terrain went steeper and steeper and the gap between me and wife were
getting really far. It was never a flat or level part until 40 minutes later. Only then some respite but we still need to carry on riding. After some tough ride, we came to a lone 'quinine' tree, a kind of mango species, on top of the hill. Then I found out this is the rear of the 'Lion' Sigh................still some climbs to ride! Regrouped here again and I am thankful, although it is a big group, they insists on full regroup!
I was suprised with the condition of the trails here. They were well maintained and they even have road signs. I guess there are vehicles coming up here to enjoy the peak. As we trundled on, gasping for air like a gold fish, the sun is rising and burning our backs. The neck is on fire! We crossed onto another hill, the head as they called it, where the two ears are! Still more climbs...........more climbs...........and more climbs. Then we reach a small hut just before the last section.
|Scenic peak with 'quinine' tree.|
I rested here and was watching the rest climbing the last section and it was like 45 degrees slope. Then I see the strong riders start to push their bikes too. I decided to stop here, after all, they will be coming down this way to get down. The last part was actually a telecommunication tower and the actual ears of the 'Lion' are limestone formations and you need to abseil to reach the peak.
The downhill section took me and Lilian just 10 minutes and at a glimpse of an eye , we were already on the main road. We need to regroup here as well as some are good at going downhills and some are good at going uphills. Off course there are some that are good at both. But we were waiting the those bad at downhill......hahahaa.
|Off to finish the last section!|
We were supposed to get onto another offroad section , they called "Black Hill" but I saw Fookson going tarmac. So, after some discussion, half the pack wants to take the easy ride on tarmac back to town. After the 'hardcorers' went off, we stroll slowly back into town stopping by to buy some 'Shat Keh Ma', a local specialty. Just beside the Petron Station on the main road.
After a 'teh peng' breakkie, I decided not to join their lunch session at the other end of town. I said my 'thank you' and 'good byes' to the rest and headed back to the car, pack up and drove the other way back to Taiping.
|'da man' Fookson in green floral jersey and Steven GT taking the selfie.|
I like to thank 'da man' Fookson Liew for including me on this fun ride.