Mountain Biking is all about testing the limits of oneself on different terrains. It’s all about what you can do, and how far your limits can be pushed; specifically, how fast you can push it downhill and how much stamina do you have to climb those hills.
That’s exactly what happened during Kranky Kiara 2017. It was an internationally recognized event, organized by Go Enduro, held on the 3rd December 2017. Graced by two of the world’s best UCI riders, Mick and Tracey Hannah; they raced alongside local and regional riders of all ages, testing out the punishing trails at Bukit Kiara.
This didn’t faze the riders from Heroes of Enduro, as their focus was to make a good showing of the racing team and promote their sponsors some great action pictures and moments. The terrain was nothing new to them as Bukit Kiara is their weekly playground, or when they have some free time, to ride together, climbing the steep hills (I would know, I went up on foot) and riding downhill as fast as they can.
The team definitely put in extra effort by preparing and understanding the limits that they set. Not pushing too hard uphill, pacing themselves, as the climbs are not timed and giving it all they could go downhill. For some, you may think that it would be an easy task, but it’s not. Learning how to pace, the endurance it takes, the calories burnt and the mental and physical drive to do an endure-format race; these need time, practice and understanding. All of which took many of the riders years to learn and experience. Acquiring what it takes to go uphill with the additional weight of the bike and ride pack, the physical exhaustion from the previous downhills, the sun and the winding roads all play a major role in Enduro racing. More than half gave up halfway but not for the Heroes.
For those who are unfamiliar, Bukit Kiara terrains change every now and then, due to the weather. When it rains, the terrain becomes muddy, slippery but of course, rideable, just with extra precautions in mind. When it’s sunny, it’s dry and dusty. Then you have the humidity. By this time, you catch the drift. Every ride could feel and seem like a new ride for many riders. One day, it could be nice and dry, another, wet and slippery.
After the ride, everyone started to relax and enjoyed each other’s presence. As much as it was about the race, it was about the community too. The racers left it all on the field and understood that nothing is to be taken too seriously. After all, a race is a race and your biggest competitor is yourself. Many of them understand this. For the Heroes, it’s all about the support, the togetherness and the ability to push through tasks together. Every sport has a team and the only people who can understand what you go through and what you need, are your teammates.
The team didn’t win any podium places but it was more about the fun and experience to them. Amazingly, one of our members, Sufian Idris, got awarded KOM (King of the Mountain) in his category, for having the best time on the toughest climb-sections of the race. An amazing and much-deserved award as he had trained hard to build his amazing skills, endurance, and stamina, at 51 years old.
All in all, Kranky Kiara was definitely a challenge for all the riders, where some excelled and some just couldn’t go on. It was all about the fun and experience. The sense of togetherness you get when you ride with people you have never met before. A common interest and topic that all riders can talk about, a safe haven and getaway for many.