Real men, real legs.

Usually, a man doesn’t openly admire another man’s legs but of late, this part of the male anatomy seemed to be drawing more of my attention than it normally would. Lest I be labeled a leg fetishist, I hasten to add that the ones I couldn’t take my eyes off weren’t exactly anthropoid — rather, these were metal prostheses belonging to 2 men that I have nothing but admiration for.

What are the odds of coming across 2 men each sporting a metal prosthesis in the space of 2 weeks? Better still, what are the odds of meeting 2 such men both of whom are avid cyclists?

The first cyclist I met was during the recent Penang Mountain Bike Jamboree. This is a highly popular annual event and draws close to 1,000 mountain bikers from all over Malaysia, who ride themselves silly in the hills of Penang island. More than half of the participants apparently come from out of Penang, yours truly included. And it was at the registration tent that I caught a glimpse of him, confidently walking towards the starting arch, his Terminator-like leg gleaming in the morning sun.

As he walked past me, I asked if I could take his photo and he immediately obliged, including a close-up. Before I could talk to him further, an old friend from Penang came up to me to say hi and our metal-legged friend was gone. From what I gathered later, he was from Ipoh and, he seemed to relish long rides. He’d even taken part in the recent Ipoh Century ride, a 160km road race.

Thumbs up to those with 2 fully-functioning legs ... stop whining and start riding, while you still have them.

While the left shoe clips in, the right one is held in place by a magnet on the pedal and sole. Talk about extra weight.

The 2nd guy I met was during a ride on the infamous Broga loop with some friends here in the backwater of Ulu Langat, Selangor. It’s a 138km ride with a few massive climbs thrown in — not for the faint-of-heart, especially when the blazing sun beats down mercilessly at midday (I finished 6 bottles of water that day, including 2 cans of 100 Plus). Apparently, there are 2 versions of the ride — the Broga Jantan (as in ‘manly’) and the Broga Pondan (as in pansy wimp). The Pondan version is 138km 🙂

Regrouping at the top of Bukit Peres. Look carefully at the 'Be End' signboard, it's peppered with holes from shotgun pellets on the left side of the scale, courtesy of some rakyat who didn't share the 'berjasa' bit. It does have one very good use though; it marks the border of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, and it also tells you that you have arrived at the top of Peres.

Just after we had crested the first climb of the day — Bukit Peres — and while we waited for the rest of the group, there he was, taking a breather. I could hardly believe my eyes. At first, I thought it was the same guy that I’d met in Penang, but it turned out to be otherwise. Fascinated, I got to talking and discussing with him on the finer points of cycling with a metal prosthesis. We even came to the conclusion that there is some merit to it … yep, the owner of such a limb need never worry about cramps.

Local Ulu Langat boy with his steel leg, heavy steel bike powered by a 9-speed cassette with a 19-speed cog lowest gear. Impressive ...

So there we were, milling around the top of Bukit Peres and suddenly we got to noticing a few other pairs of legs in our midst that were worthy of admiration as well, which brings us to the second part of the story …

The ones that commanded the most attention now were attached to Leonard — massive muscles that made short work of the massive hills that came his way. It was  rather demoralising to see him sprint up and disappear over the hills, leaving us in the dust. Shang ‘da man’ was even more appreciative, with ‘sick bastard’ being one of the compliments he paid his good friend after cresting a particularly challenging incline.

Leonard Lim's very intimidating quads

Shang's very intimidating tan marks

This pair of sleek, sinewy legs belongs to Kenny Kwan-tador

Today was also Shang’s first real taste of the full Broga monster, thanks to Leonard. At one point, he even threatened to turned back … actually, it was at the half-way point at Kuala Kelawang so we all said ok, see you back at Batu 14, but he wasn’t going to give us that satisfaction, so we all continued towards Lenggeng for lunch, where he viciously attacked the 3 extra eggs on his fried rice. I guess the protein overdose must have worked wonders because after climbing the last but excruciating 3-km hill aptly named Bukit Hantu, he flew off downhill like a spooked chicken with extra wings and ended up being the first to touch down at the starting point.

Shang replacing the protein lost on the last 3 hills

Kenny Kwan, Debbie and me ... tucking in to a well-deserved lunch at BP Curry House, Lenggeng.

Adeline, Keong, Alex and me ...taking a breather before the final climb of the ride up Bukit Hantu

Indefatigable Adeline ... don't bet on her drafting behind you. It's more likely the other way around.

Overheard at the rest stop before Bukit Hantu:
: So, Shang, you’re not going back with me right, since we’re not friends anymore?
Shang: No la (grits his teeth and smiles, since he came in Leonard’s car)…you da man, mah… Of course, we’re still friends.
Leonard: Like that ah, let’s take a photo together then… and smile.

What a happy ending ….