All over the Top

Henry & Erik complete today’s riders mastering the climb …



Leaving my new Balinesian Home

After just ine night I have to leave from my new home in Indonesia. The tour doesn’t want me to stack back, but finish the last day of the ‘Temples & Volcanoes’ section.


One day I will return!


And my little Garmin Smiley is following me again … soon over the top


‘Diving’ Break

For my Scuba Diving friends.

All morning the dive tour busses were passing me from all directions. They always seem to be in a hurry to bring the divers from A to B. No relaxed driving on Bali’s touristic corners, minibuses have their own rules, and cyclists are no longer considered coequal road users …

I had to turn into the bumpy road to ride down to the beach and Werner Lau’s Dive Center in Matahari / Northwest Bali.



Unfortunately time was too short to take a dive or have a longer chat. Thus I quickly cooled my face and headed off again to follow the main track.


Stage 35: Java to Bali

Ketapang to  Lovina (Bali)
Date: 29-09-2014 Time:

03:09 h

Σ Time: 185:40 h
Distance: 84 km Σ km: 3650 km Temp: 20/37 °C
Up: 353 m Σ Up: 43924 m Calories: 1707 kcal
Down: 348 m Σ Down: 43117 m Σ kcal: 86983 kcal
Conditions: This was a fast and easy cycling day. Short ride to ferry port, short ferry ride to Bali. Flat cycling along the northern coast line, with nice tail wind.
Bali is 1 hour ahead of Java so we had to adjust our watches.

Finally an enjoyable cycling day for those, who don’t like excessive climbing. We all made it onto the 7am ferry that set us over to our 3rd island – Bali, home for 3 cycling days plus 1 rest day in Ubud. Compared to all other riders, I was not in a hurry, although we had to be in the next destination at around 1pm, because we all had to go to the immigration office to extend our Indonesian visa for additional 30 days. I took my time to stop here and there, as Bali is totally different to Sumatra and Java and we won’t stay long on this little island. Although we lost 1 hour due to the time switch, there were still more than 4 hours time to cover for the remaining 78 km. Still a pity, that there was a deadline set, so the options to break away from the route had to be chosen wisely, as I already felt Henry’s breath in my neck. He was the TdA sweep today and took care that everyone made it in time or got on the van. So I had to really make speed between my various stops, to keep him in distance. I wanted to go to the beach and a dive  base, as I haven’t been in this part of Bali, yet. I knew there was a ‘Werner Lau’ dive base in this area and luckily I found it. Off the road and down on a bumpy, rocky gravel road to the shore. Now I had a photo session, to document my appearance.  A local dive guide was very interested about my adventure. He was a cycling tour guide on Bali, too and wanted to know more about my trip. I finally took a refreshing ‘shower’ at the dive center before I returned onto the main road. At lunch I was still ahead of Henry, but the lunch site was already ‘closing’, to make it also to camp in time. Nevertheless, I got my share of food and water and left with Henry shortly after 11am, with 2 hours left for the final 45 km. Andreas asked us to make it to the hotel not later than 1:15pm, as the vans to the ‘passport session’ will have to leave at 1:30pm. ‘Time to race’, I thought, and announced to be able to ride an average of 30km/h. I made it to the hotel by 12:45pm, even with a coke stop and a photo/video stop with monkeys. 500m from the hotel I stopped again a t an IndoMart to get daily my ‘Magnum’ ice cream, which I deliciously ate, while riding to the reception. The hotel is a very large complex, my bag was transported on a golf cart, I followed on bicycle. Since my room was not yet ready I continued onward on my bike, straight to the pool and around to the beach and finished my ice cream.  Thereafter I jumped into my swim suite and chilled out in the pool and the ocean. I am finally back to paradise, although only for 1 afternoon.

Tomorrow is the final riding day of the 3rd section ‘Volcanoes & Temple’. The rest day location – Ubud-  is behind a volcano, which means, we are back into climbing mode.



Leaving Java going Bali

Leaving the beautiful island Java for exotic Bali.


From the first glance it looks as if there are hills on Bali, too. :)


Prepare for more climbing!


Passing through the Bali Gate

Stage 34: Java

Bondowoso to  Ketapang
Date: 28-09-2014 Time:

06:02 h

Σ Time: 182:31 h
Distance: 105 km Σ km: 3566 km Temp: 17/37 °C
Up: 2274 m Σ Up: 43571 m Calories: 2708 kcal
Down: 2476 m Σ Down: 42769 m Σ kcal: 85276 kcal
Conditions: Excellent. A broken bridge with a shaky, provisional bamboo replacement. 2 huge climbs, but stunning scenery. Dangerous downhill through rain forest and fields to sea level.

What else could one do on a sunny Sunday morning, having the choice to go to church or ride a bicycle up into a volcano? The final riding day in Java was a long one, but more than worth it. After about 12km we had a choice to cross a rive via a provisional bamboo bridge, or take a short detour on a bad road. No question, I wouldn’t take the bridge option – GoPro & DLR ready to record the passage. Shortly after the bridge I provided first aid to J. who was stung in her finger by a big, unidentified bug. She was quite shocked and in pain and couldn’t continue, thus I called the van for her. Thereafter the first ascend begun.  This first 1400m climb brought me into a fertile crater region built from 4 volcanoes (1 still active). Coffee plantations, green alleys and lovely flowers made the immediate 400m  ‘dive’ into the valley a treat for the eyes. No need to rush for the lunch. It was hot in the valley, but the locals were playing at a volleyball tournament in the coffee plantation. Time, for another 10 minute break, in addition to the many other stops to enjoy the views and take photos. Lunch was nicely setup and lots of treats waiting for us to stock up  energy for the 2nd major climb to the final summit at 1880m. Fairly easy going, as it was not as steep as the ones we had the days before. It was just me and Chelsea who were building the tail of the riding group, which had left long time before. I enjoyed every inch and minute of the day. A view more photo stops during the climb did not slow me down too much, and I was never caught by the sweep. On top of the fDSC_4040inal summit in Java, I wrote a nice message for Chelsea on the tar. She was ‘TdA sweep’ all day and did a fantastic job to ride this stage with the long climbs. The downhill was kind of difficult to ride. The climate changed on the eastern side of the volcano. The dry vegetation changed into green rain forest, with giant ferns and palm trees. The low clouds or fog made the steep and curvy roads quite slippery. One corner was to fast for me and I slipped off the edge into the green ditch. No worries, only minor scratches on elbow and thigh, recovered my bike from the ditch, cleaned my wounds and continued slower, since my break pads started to give up, after riding for 30 days in the mountains. Road conditions got better the closer I came to sea level. After almost 10 hours since the start I reached the hotel where I immediately cooled down my body in the pool. In the meantime Andreas had already replaced my break pads, to make the breaks fit again for the future descents.



Safe Passage

A little, slim & sun bathing fellow on the road side watches me passing by:

and the Javanese keeping a safer distance.


Farewell Java – Twin Peeks

We can’t leave Java without a farewell from one of the highest peeks in the east. Therefore we are up for another 2000m climb before we eventually decent to sea level again to meet the ferry to Bali the next morning.


In the distance you can see the faint silhouettes of the 2 peeks to take soon.


Erik passing by on his way up to ‘Twin Peeks’


Still quite some climb ahead says my Garmin Smiley ;)

Doomsday Style River Crossing

The provisional Bamboo bridge closed at Noon for 1 hour or someone told them to reject the German rider from crossing over it. So I had to recall 05-IMG_8719my Doomsday Ride / Central America skills and find an alternative. Piece of cake, it is just water. Shoes off and into it, shouldn’t be a problem. Half way through the water was running fast and deeper., pushing the bike into my legs and almost causing me to totally lose my stand. But I did not really stumble and fall, and made it halfway dry onto the other side.


Thanks to Bob for shooting the photos.

I’ll add a video here, taken with my GoPro, some time later.

Stage 33: Java

Bromo to  Bondowoso
Date: 27-09-2014 Time:

06:40 h

Σ Time: 176:28 h
Distance: 158 km Σ km: 3461 km Temp: 7/39 °C
Up: 1055 m Σ Up: 41297 m Calories: 2875 kcal
Down: 2875 m Σ Down: 40293 m Σ kcal: 82568 kcal
Conditions: Roads mostly good. Some traffic on main roads. Chilling in the morning in the high altitude, hot in the lower regions.

A fast 2000m drop brought us to almost sea level on the first 25km. The ride was very scenic and partially steep and dangerous to ride. Photo stops slowed it down a bit and helped to cool down the breaks. It was a ride through several climate and vegetation zones. The green belt started right around the first corner out of the crater, with all sorts of agriculture; fruits, veggies, wood. Further down the slope of the mountain and in the valley we were still riding through patches of the volcanic ashes that rained down earlier in March this year, when one of the volcanoes erupted in this part of Java. The valley was irrigated by a water system that is fed artificial channels that carried water for the fields, but also for all kind of cleaning: body and motorcycles. Lunch was setup at 78 km at a bridge – or the leftovers of a bridge that existed in March, when the track was scouted. Now there was only a bamboo bridge, wide and strong enough for pedestrians and motorcycles. It was a logistical challenge for the vans to get there from both sides on alternate routes, to provide the catering and continue flagging the continuation of the route. For me it was excellent chance for a ‘Doomsday style extravaganza’ to get to the other side of the river (more later in a different post). After lunch there was a further 200m drop to sea level, with not always favorable wind. Still 70km and 1000m of climbing to go. For the last 40km we turned into a nice tailwind. A new road was built with nice switchbacks in a shady forest to carry us in a comfortable 4-5% grade up the 550m to the first little ‘summit’. Another fast 100m drop and a 180m re-climb before the final drop to Bondowoso. It was still a long day, almost 10 hours elapsed, due to the many photo stops and the extended lunch break at the bamboo bridge. Tomorrow is the last cycling day on Java; and guess what, another huge climbing day, riding into and out of a volcano. We will end only 5km away from the ferry, that will carry us over to Bali, our 3rd island, the next morning.