On Sunday 23rd April 2017, the State of Perak hosted the first ever GFNY (Gran Fondo New York) in Ipoh which attracted 400 riders from 31 countries as part of their Global Cycling Marathon Series.
The 160km and 80km cycling routes showcased many of the natural beauty, charm and diversity of Perak countryside.
GFNY was established in New York in 2011 in order to bring world class amateur cycling event to New York. Since then, GFNY has successfully partnered with 12 other countries, namely Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Germany, Israel, Malaysia and Uruguay in order to bring their universal brand of cycling to the global stage. I was fortunate enough to witness first-hand the debut of GFNY in Malaysia as I had signed-up for the 160km category. In particular, I was curious to find-out how their standard race format could transcend so many countries and across several Continents even, covering many more diversified cultures and customs.
PRE-RACE DINNER AND ENTERTAINMENT
The highly anticipated ride exceeded my expectations in terms of the event’s overall management and there were lots of feel good moments for the joyful participants before and during the ride too.
The Welcome Dinner for all the Participants at Lost World of Tambun was a blast. Hosted by the Perak State Government, the Riders were treated to a wonderful and relaxing evening at the poolside where we were treated to a wonderful pre-race dinner, and we were entertained by cultural dancers, as well as a sensational fire-juggling and singing troupe.
A PICTURESQUE ROUTE
The 160km and 80km cycling routes showcased many of the natural beauty, charm and diversity of Perak countryside such as its abundant limestone hills, the historical Kelly’s Castle, picturesque Kampung villages, and of course, Ipoh Town. Having such a diversified and scenic route gives the riders an added boost to endure the long distances, and it really made me appreciate the gorgeous landscape of Perak close-up like never before.
Malaysian riders would have been used to our typical heat and humidity, and for foreign riders, the tropical weather would have certainly given them an added challenge. Nevertheless, there were sufficient drinks and fruits at the well-spaced Aid Stations along the routes which helped to hydrate and refuel the riders.
STAYING ON COURSE
The Race Marshals with the help of the local traffic police did an outstanding job managing traffic and ensuring the safety of all the riders were upheld from start to finish, and there were adequate direction markers at every road junction and at every 500m distance to make sure no rider steered off the course.
Every cyclist who crossed the Finish Line was jubilantly greeted by the gleeful volunteers who gave us the impression that we were all Champions as they hung finisher medal over our necks and gave us drinks and snacks to mark the end of a truly unforgettable journey.
As my wife and cycling partner, Maryati, and I left Ipoh and headed back to KL, we were both feeling elated about our personal cycling accomplishments, and we felt privileged to be part of a phenomenal event. Why? Because GFNY Malaysia brought out the best of our cycling abilities by producing the best cycling experience which any rider in any Continent can truly understand and appreciate.
Last, but not least, as a Malaysian, I was proud to see how well the Perak State Government and the passionate Perak Cycling Community have banded together to showcase Malaysia as the ideal world destination for enthusiastic cyclists and tourists abroad.
HIIT Fitness Coach
Gus Ghani is a HIIT Fitness Coach and Ambassador for Elliptigo Malaysia, N8 Sports Nutrition and AfterShokz Malaysia. firstname.lastname@example.org