A. Jelajah Malaysia
4. The second batch which trailed behind paddling hard to catchup with the leaders
MAY DAY 2010
Today being Saturday 1st May it is workers day and a public holiday for the country. Since it falls on Saturday which is already a weekend off day there is no extra day as replacement. Still it is a beautiful day weather wise and at home I am pleasantly visited by activities that come out of the blues. Ordinarily more often than not you would have to step out of your station or area to enjoy such pleasantries or entertainments. Be that as it may the 'Jelajah Malaysia' cycling tour happened to pass right in front of the house about noon. I would have missed the race had it not been for sighting several policemen stationed along the route. Stopping to acquire why they were there late morning, I found that they were on duty to control safety and traffic because a cycling race would come our way. Not wanting to miss the event I hurried home to get the camera and then sat on the grass verge waiting for the leaders to come by. Yesterday we learned that Suhardi Hassan a 28 year old cyclist from Kangar Perlis won the stage IV race from Juru to Sungai Petani , a distance of 93.1km in 2hr. 6 min and 36 second. Today's race began at Sungai Petani finishing at Kuala Perlis. It should be a grueling race, over a distance of 195 km with one zone for climbing a hill and two zones for spurting at Menara Alor Setar and Arau respectively. Incidentally I am surprised to learn that 'Jelajah Malaysia' as a competition race had started as early as 1963 and has become one of the popular cycling circuit not only for Malaysian but also for cyclist outside Malaysia. That we hardly know about its route and timing does not help towards promoting and popularizing the sports and circuit. It would be encouraging if more spectators along the route had the opportunity to see the sports if they only know that it would be passing their doorways.
Sitting on the ground waiting patiently by the side of the road for the cyclists to come I could not help noticing and realizing the planning and arrangement taken to organize such competition. Firstly it would involve traffic control and safety. It meant that the roads ahead of the race are cleared and other traffic must be diverted or stopped. Policemen and volunteers have to assist. Police traffic on their motorcycles has a yeoman duty to perform. Ambulances and their crews plus several other transports have to follow. A small mishap among the racers would mean injuries to many as they would be travelling at high speed. The blaring of siren and the sighting of headlights from on- coming vehicles assured that the leading cyclists were fast approaching. 'Click'. 'Click'.' Click' was the immediate reaction, hoping that I would have recorded some good photos. They passed you in a jiffy and only six leading riders were in the front batch. A lapse of ten over minutes later saw the second batch of riders approaching all in a long line followed by supporting vehicles such as ambulances, buses and support crews. From Titi Gajah where I am it would mean another 90 plus kilometers before they reach their finishing post. That was one excitement.
What's next?We do get the visitors almost every year. They come knocking on the glass window announcing their arrival. We do welcome them and certainly wonder how they found their way each year to come back to the same place. We guess they must be migratory birds stopping on their way to their other destinations. The excitement of catching them on film or card when they come knocking is much awaited. This time on one single day we managed to receive three visitors. See them as in the photos attached. If you should know their species or name please let us know. Much appreciated. The trees and bushes around the house seem to attract flying creatures not forgetting squirrels and monkeys.
Last but not least, 1 May 2010 also colors the day as the flowering orchids in the garden show their true colors.These were exciting and pleasing moments for the day even without stepping out from the compound of the home! Syukur to Allah for His bounty and benevolence.