Stage 43: Flores

Ruteng to  Bajara
Date: 10-11-2014 Time: 07:21 h Σ Time: 250:17 h
Distance: 135 km Σ km: 5010 km Temp: 19/43 °C
Up: 2265 m Σ Up: 62021 m Down: 2178 m
Calories: 2911 kcal Σ kcal: 116723 kcal  
Conditions: Hot and very scenic. Roads perfect, except a 2km section, where Cristiano’s ants did not finish the polishing.

Another long, hot and tough cycling day. After yesterday’s 3200m up, we had ‘only’ 2200m elevation gain, today! However the ‘Big W’ wasn’t less of a challenge. It’s 25 km and 1200m final climb to Bajawa at the end of the 135 km stage, required the last energy reserves. The morning started with a quick 500m climb over a 1350m shoulder, followed by an endless (35km) downhill to sea level. What a relief for the legs, still recovering from yesterday’s workout. Several stops to enjoy the scenery and to take some photos slowed down my descend. Temperature climbed into the 40th Celsius, by the time I arrived at lunch, which was setup on the peek in the center of the W, to allow for an easy continuation before the final climb. Getting around the corner opened the view of the Indian Ocean and a giant volcano on the east side of the island. Camelbak and bottles were refilled in the last village before the ascend to Bajawa. Sulis waited with extra water at some point of the climb. My legs felt still strong and progress on the hill was faster than anticipated. At the 110km mark at already 500m I was passed by the van, which stopped around the corner to set out the ‘sweep’. Chelsea was the ‘lucky’ winner to attack the climb from this point, as the slower riders did not continue after lunch or finally got on the van at the foot of the climb. I continued my pace and reached the top at about 4pm. Bucket shower and a good dinner completed the day.

Tomorrow is an easier day to Ende, from where we fly over to Kupang on Timor. Only 1100m of climbs and more than 2000m of downhill. 3 rest days will give the body enough time to recover for the final 3 days in Timor and Timor-Leste before we head off for Australia and leave the Indonesian mountains behind …