Stage 32: Java

Batu to  Bromo
Date: 25-09-2014 Time:

06:11 h

Σ Time: 169:48 h
Distance: 77 km Σ km: 3303 km Temp: 13/39 °C
Up: 2279 m Σ Up: 40242 m Calories: 3200 kcal
Down: 1025 m Σ Down: 37387 m Σ kcal: 79693 kcal
Conditions: Easy before lunch, thereafter steep and sandy, but worth every inch. Quick 40 km out of Batu. Good roads, mostly down. Some traffic in town, but thereafter quiet. 2400m of climbs, 1700 from km 43 to 67.

A must! Indonesia without cycling up to Bromo and through the caldera would be like Africa without animals. After the past 4 hard days this was the Kings stage, that lead us to our rest day in the crater. I had a companion, who travelled all day with me until his fatal end in the crater. The morning ride was easy going. Fast enough to advance to the start of the climb, but all about saving energy for the challenging final. A few stops to have the locals enjoy my companion ‘Bob’ and have cold drinks, as it was getting real hot. Lunch was reached at noon, after 58 km.  It was setup  at the entrance to the National Park. With 1200m already climbed to here, it was still only half way up, but with only 8 km leftG2778798 to the summit. This means: 15% consistent grade (25% at peek) for the next 90 minutes, if not more. The road was partially bad but I made it all the way up without walking the bike. Andreas waited for me 200 vertical meters from the summit. He drove up by van to inform everyone who already left from lunch, but now wasn’t sure to make it through the day, to return here and get on the van, as the cars were not able to make through the final 10 km of sand and volcanic ashes. At the summit Andreas and I climbed a tower to get a better view of the crater. Thereafter a steep descend started on sand, gravel and concrete.  G2768781We quickly reached the bottom and made it through the first 100m meters of deep sand, before it was mostly impossible to continue to cycle, even after releasing air from the tires. 6 km of walking in ankle deep sand, filling up the shoes, made progress very slow. The sun was already disappearing between clouds and the volcanoes, quickly turning the air cold. We could see the destination from the distance, but it seems to not close up. G2808827And it was another 200m steep climb from the bottom of the crater to the hotel. Cristiano was all of a sudden in the middle of the ‘desert’ waiting for us to give us final instructions, about which non-existing ‘path’ to follow to not get lost. Finally back on pavement I first had to release 1 kg of fine grained black ash and sand from my shoes. Overall it took me about 4 hours from lunch to the hotel to cover for the remaining 20 km. Luckily there was hot water to warm up the beaten body and muscles. FoodG2908890 is great in the hotel, so I could reload lots of calories. An arrangement was made with some fellow riders to get up early in the morning (3am) for the sunrise in the crater. 2 Jeeps were paid and at 8pm the lights went of in my room.

The report about the sunrise tour will follow separately, in addition to the live ‘Sunrise @ Bromo’ post.