So 3 intrepid Singapore riders set out for Penang on Aug 20th, armed with 2 DH bikes (Glorious Giant + Chumbawumba F5) and 1 AM (El Cheapo with his 36 Talas). It was the smoothest drive up to Penang - EVER. No rain, no traffic, beautiful weather.... totally lulling us into complacency about the 'technical' horrors that await us on Penang Hill. The following is a short and sharp recap of the subsequent riding experiences.
(1) The first technical section, dropping in from Viaduct Road, is now a rooty slidefest. Kent Ridge has nothing on this, so it was an excellent wake-up call, albeit a bit of a jaw dropper one.
(2) The main runs from the top of Penang Hill to the base are anywhere from 10 to 14km, so there is a tremendous variety of terrain to cover. Erosion by mother nature has created numerous sections with their own special technical features, each requiring a different set of riding skills and ways of looking at possible lines. Gullys, rooty high speed, drops drops and more drops, rocky outposts both sizeable and ridiculous. Only a small sample is shown here.
(3) Any subsequent trips with new riders to Penang Hill will have at least 1 day of 'recce' riding, as there is just too much information/terrain to absorb. Ride leader will have to be extremely patient, so remember to tip him well.
(4) The level of technical difficulty cannot be understated, as this is not exactly a man-made DH course with proper entries and exits to technical features. One just has to up the standard of riding - or else portage quite a bit. Portaging downhill is such a waste of elevation.