Stage 31: Java

Tulungagung to  Batu
Date: 24-09-2014 Time:

05:39 h

Σ Time: 163:36 h
Distance: 117 km Σ km: 3226 km Temp: 20/40 °C
Up: 1358 m Σ Up: 37963 m Calories: 2234 kcal
Down: 517 m Σ Down: 36362 m Σ kcal: 76493 kcal
Conditions: Perfect Cycling! Thx to the scouts for such a fabulous track. Fast 70 km out of town to lunch with nice supportive wind and almost flat terrain. The climb thereafter with a perfect grade. Easy to cycle and extremely beautiful along a river in a narrow valley.

Today was a cycling day you didn’t want to end. The ascend (I don’t call it a climb) was just perfect, both from scenery and from grade. Easy 3-5% constant, something one could ride all day long and in a beautiful, narrow valley along a sometimes white river, fed by roaring waterfalls. However before you get into this picture we had to cycle 70 km out of town. First thru dense morning commute, thereafter in a flat and monotone rural area.  Average speed was at 25 km/h getting to lunch – opposite of a school (you know what that means) – in les than 3 hours.There was the promised tuna. However it cost some persuasion and charm to get the promised mangoes. I couldn’t resist again to go over to the school and entertain the waiting students. At the end I had them perform a ‘La Ola’ and did not leave without some extra ordinary posing photos. Now it was time to approach the 40 km and 1100m ascend. Stock up with Coke and water in an AlfaMaret and get into gears. Soon the road meandered along a river through a narrow valley, with bamboo and other trees. The higher I got the greener and more scenic it got. Picture time! One of the best riding days, so far. No fear to not get to camp, even with infinite stops. At the ‘Purple Gate’ suspension bridge I made a right turn, over the bridge into the rice fields towards a waterfall, I saw from the other side of the valley. What a refreshment to end in the spray of the fast falling waters, nicely located at a Hindu ‘temple’. On return to the main road I met a local family, pretty woman with lovely girls. Before I could ask if I could take a photo, she had already pulled her phone, gave it to the older daughter and asked me, if I allow her to take a photo with me. Minutes later, photos were taken, and facebook friends made. Andreas, the sweep rider, had long passed me. However I texted him, about my whereabouts and not to worry – Joe is in his element, taking his time on such a day. Too much to see, no need to rush through. Andreas was in the meantime waiting for me at the fruit market 2 km further up. We met there again, I bought some apples, he a bonsai tree, that he ‘mounted’ to his bike. 5 more km up and today’s summit was reached. Thereafter a fast 7 km downhill to another exquisite hotel. It was the first time in 6 week in Indonesia, that I felt good and healthy enough to jump into the pool and enjoy a refreshing bath.

Btw. I spent so much time on the bike today, that I got sunburnt on my thumbs, that are mostly unprotected and all day exposed to the sun.

One more cycling day left in this week’s series. Who thought, that we had already done enough climbing is wrong. Tomorrow will be ‘only’ another 2400m up to reach the rest day camp in the Bromo volcanic national park … Stay tuned for photos and other stories I’ll prepare during the rest day.