Tag Archives: java


Besides the usual things needed to be done during our rest days, the 2 days in Yogyakarta were actually meant to allow to visit and explore the famous temple sites of Borobudur and Prambanan. However I had to skip this program, as my first priority was to get my health situation under control and myself back in shape to be able to ride my bicycle on the next stages. Therefore I canceled the sightseeing program in favor to more rest and to gain new energy.

A short rickshaw ride together with Eric  into the busy center of Yogya was the only escape from my nice ‘Rehab’ Hotel for the past 4 days. Back into the city smog and noise!
Although I lost some kg during my ‘Gastro’ phase, our driver had a hard(er) time to spin the wheels with me and my partner Eric, as Eric obviously overcompensated for my weight loss Laughing out loud – he is a real good eater Bowl.DSC_2692DSC_2695


You would be amazed about the number of good sorted bicycle shops you can find in town. In one I found my dream bike; good for the rough conditions we face here. However I was in shock when I was told by the merchant, that I did no longer qualify to own such a vehicle as the name already suggests it is only for a very exclusive client group  … Just kiddingDSC_2682

Reception at Duta Garden

The Duta Garden Hotel management put a nice Welcome Banner on the street portal to the entrance of the hotel areal to greet the riders on arrival after finishing more than 3000 km from Medan to Yogyakarta. Unfortunately the riders track lead them to arrive via a different route (coming from the right hand side where you see the motorcyclist) and they cannot see it. DSC_2668

DSC_2671Chris was the first to arrive and he was gladly welcomed by Mr. CristianoDSC_2678.
Runners up were Eric, Brett and Paul – who again missed a turn and did some extra sightseeing of Yogya before they accepted our welcomes.

Breakfast in Garden Eden

A healthy start into the 3rd day after my ‘breakdown’ with a healthy breakfast in ‘Garden Eden’  and a first sign of appetite. After 3 days without eating my stomach is as empty as my wallet after paying the hospital, taxi and doctor’s bills and it cries for food.

Last night was an almost perfect night of sleep. Only a few short wakeups, no severe coughing, stomach still rumbling, but no liquid poop, no need for midnight laundry of pants and sheets!

Getting a faint sign of color back into my face and the beloved ‘I am all fine smile’. Soon to meet the troop again who is supposed to arrive later this afternoon. I bet they will envy me for having had 2 extra days here instead of more climbs, dust and gravel.DSC_2646DSC_2649


DSC_2656I already met Gerald again, whom I knew from a TdA rider unification meeting in Cape Town last year. He is joining the tour here for the final 3 months of our adventurous cycling expedition.

All Plugs Pulled

On stage 24, after riding about 2 weeks with a bad cough – due to an allergic lung infection from the polluted air – my body switched off all circuits at the lunch spot of today’s ride. It was a combination of not having slept for over a week because of all night coughing, cramps and fever but also the result of probably food poisoning at the last rest day, as several other riders develop diarrhea, too.  Only 20 m before I reached the lunch spot I had to pull right into the forest to throw up the first time. I eventually made it to the catering tent and dropped everything not able to do anything else, but hand wash. I only wanted to rest. I couldn’t eat and directly laid down in the shade, with stomach cramps and nausea. Time went by and not positive to a change to my condition. I had to vomit again. After 2 hours without improvement there was only one decision: go on the van and straight to hospital. It was an awfully long drive to Banjar. 2.15h for just about 50 km. Cycling definitely the primary choice and  more enjoyable, even if brutal, than riding the same tracks in a car! I arrived at the hotel just to throw up again in the lobby. Without shower I was brought to the local hospital, with an English speaking doctor, just around the corner. However to be in a non-western hospital is quite an experience. A first time for me. 20140915_162821The seem to have their own line and time scale they follow. We wanted lung x-ray, temperature, saliva sample taken. They took blood, EKG and left me in an A/C room, shivering. I finally got into a warmer section, where the local patients where being treated, too, but left alone again. When I had to throw up again I waved a visitor for attention to notify the staff to get a bag. I was still shivering and it took a while and TdA staff support to get a blanket to cover me. I finally got IV (an intravenous drip feed) and some immediate medication. That was at about 6pm. Cristiano and team were working hard to make them understand what we want them to do or find alternatives to this hospital. Now they said they were waiting for a specialist, who is supposed to come at about 7pm. Everyone knows 20140916_053554what that would mean, it could be 8, 9, or never … So we managed to get a VIP room for me to stay over night, as this might take longer – which turned out to be true.

9pm the ‘specialist’ doctor arrived. He was nice, spoke English and did some examinations, listen to lung, etc. but couldn’t find anything wrong. He was waiting for a technician to come and operate the X-ray machine. Finally I was rolled to the x-ray room in a wheel chair. 1st trial was no good, 2nd shot taken. Back to my VIP room.

10pm specialist came back with the photo. Nothing conspicuous, could be TB! And he left. No medication, no antibiotics, no precaution for the staff. Nothing changed. What??!!

11pm I was woken up again. They do not trust their x-ray system. They want to bring me to another hospital in town with the better equipment. So I was shuttled in an Ambulance with flashing lights thru town, me sitting next to the driver, whom I had to politely ask to stop smoking!  The drive was just about 5 mins – why didn’t they tell Cristiano that there is another hospital around the corner when he asked? I guess they just needed they money from me. 2 more X-Ray shots and I was carried back to the first hospital. This time the driver knew he mustn’t smoke with a patient in the car.

12am finally in bed again. The IV and drugs 20140916_053605made it a good night, just some bathroom interrupts once in a while, which is not a pleasure in such environments and under my health condition. This was VIP treatment, I wonder how standard must look like! I managed it through the night. Although it was said that it is 24h surveillance and I used the bell 3 times, because my infusion was not working correctly, nobody showed up. I walked to the nurse room, but it was deserted. So I gave up and opted for more sleep.

5:15am my usual tour get ready wakeup call and I prepared myself to leave this hospital soon.

6am the nurse came to change IV and take temperature.

7am TdA called they want to shuttle me to Yogyakarta for better treatment. Car is arranged. Several other riders with health issues are joining the trip ahead to the next rest place site, which would give me 5 days of rehabilitation. Now I needed to get the paperwork from the hospital. However, the only thing they had prepared was the bill, to pay in cash. No diagnosis, no doctor’s statement! So I first settled for the bill. The ATM at the hospital did only accept local cards, thus we asked the cashier for the next bank – he did not exactly know but meant in town, so I had to send Danu (one of our drivers) back to hotel to get my bag, with my money. While he was gone I recognized, that next to the hospital cashier box a  branch of the bank had an office. Why didn’t he tell us? Unfortunately they also weren’t able to change $US or withdraw from my credit card. So we needed my bag and finally settled for the bill. Now I wanted the hospital reports.

8am I got some medication from the hospital pharmacy, waiting for the reports. Unfortunately no doctor is in the house. Maybe in the afternoon. Specialist is sick! We couldn’t wait! So we asked to get a nurse report. Now I have a report in Bahasa Indonesia, which I can’t decipher. I know from a fellow rider, who had a fall earlier on this trip and was brought to hospital. He had a bruised arm and rips, but the insurance report read fracture. What will mine read?? Nevertheless we were finally out-a-here, hoping for a better situation in Yogya. The pity is I had to leave my nice nurse team behind.

8:30am We left with a rented minibus to Yogya, a 250 km trip, which took us almost 9 hours to get there. The main roads are horrible. I totally understand why we are taking all this alternate routes in the mountains and on bad and hilly roads (much worse than the main road). I didn’t want to ride all day on these busy, polluted main roads, even with the benefit of all day cycling on a plain.

5pm Arrived in Yogya in the best place you can imagine. A Green Garden Hotel with waterfalls and pools, fish ponds and spacy rooms. You cannot imagine such a setup inside a grey, dusty and dirty, busy neighborhood. Again, well selected Cristiano and Henry! Maybe we should define a Trans-Oceania-Helicopter-Rest-Day-Tour with just the selection of the top Hotels and fly from one place to the other Winking smile

5:45pm finally after 36 hours in my dirty, sweaty and stinky cycling clothes I hopped into a hot tub and treated my beaten body with a long relaxing bath before I went to bed at 7pm.

The following morning I had a doctor visit me in the hotel. He was from SOS Global International, sounded very competent. Checked me again. Looked at the X-Ray and immediately detected an inflamed part of the lung as part of the allergic reaction of the polluted air and the harsh environment were are exposed every day. I started to take my antibiotics and medication to fight the cause of the diarrhea. He wants me to flush everything out of my body. If situation does not improve, he wants to see me in 3 days again.

Today is ups and downs. Still coughing, stomach cramps  and waves of fever. Slight improvement, staying close to a bathroom. Got some sleep during the day. Had some lunch. Drink lots of water. Enjoying a bit of luxury in the hotel gardens before the hotel is flooded by the rest of the troop riding in tomorrow afternoon.DSC_2640DSC_2641

All the best to my fellow riders, still struggling through the tough days and Thanks to Chelsea, Cristiano and Andreas for taking good care of me during my ‘downtime’. You already have a busy day and lots of clients to look after. I hoped to get through it without such an interrupt and causing extra work and worries.

Stage 24: Java

Cipanas to  Kota Banjar
Date: 15-09-2014 Time:

04:26 h

Σ Time: 140:42 h
Distance: 77 km
(125 km)
Σ km: 2809 km Temp: 20/36 °C
Up: 1064 m Σ Up: 31784 m Calories: 2451 kcal
Down: 1401 m Σ Down: 31096 m Σ kcal: 64907 kcal
Conditions: Cool in the morning, afternoon hot. A ‘dirty’ climb out of town in the awful morning traffic. After 20 km a fast and very scenic 40 km downhill to conserve energy for the afternoon section which is totally on bad roads with short but steep climbs.

By no means do the shorter weeks become easier. To avoid the flat but busy and polluted roads the tour stays in the mountainous regions of central Java. I had a lazy start after the rest day and took it easy as the stage seemed to be easy and fast from the data we got the night before. The little climb after km 7 was just right to warm-up in the cool morning air. The 40 km downhill on perfect pavement a real treat and good for many photo stops. The deviation from the main road changed things. Not only cycling got tougher but only my physical condition all of a sudden degraded in the hotter temps and rougher roads. I got air in my stomach and soon felt that I had to throw up sometimes soon. My lower body seemed to play wrong with me … I managed the final steep 200m climb on a divided plastered forest track to the lunch spot, where I had to throw up the first time. Even after 2 hours of rest it did not improve and I finally had to give up the second part of the day and use the van. My body was on strike (See ‘All Plugs Pulled’).



After Lunch Profile

Although it seemed an easy, mostly downhill ride that could be done even exhausted the ride in the van proved different. 2:15h for 50 km in the van on bumpy, almost not existing roads would have made cycling for me under my condition very risky. So it was the right decision to quit here, as the following ‘recovery’ days will show.


A tough & Rough Cycling day

Stage 23 was one of the toughest and demanding cycling days so far. Steep, long climbs on loose gravel, big boulders and the need to walk the bike in the ‘almost vertical wall’ Cristiano found for us to conquer, made it another long day on the road. It required full concentration on what was once named a ‘road’ but now looked like a dry river bed to not end in a crash. Therefore the stunning scenery could only be viewed when the bike was not rolling.

Cycling ‘The River Bed’ and ‘The Wall’

The second climb into ‘The Wall’ was another challenge. With full bellies right after the lunch stop it wasn’t easy to ride. Some sections where impossible to ride up at all, due to the steepness of up to 22% and the loose underground. Who never walked a bike in the past was now in the first practice lesson. Well done to all who conquered this beast at last.

Unfortunately the video and photos cannot really depict the steepness of the terrain.


The ‘Schwalbe’ Forest

Large plantations of rubber trees form the landscape of wider parts of western Java. You can recognize the harvesting finding the attached little cups to each tree and the ‘pipeline’ cut into the bark that runs the white rubber mass.  Drop by drop slowly filling the cup for a new Schwalbe MTB tire ready for the Trans-Oceania 2016.


Steep–> Steeper–> The Wall

Another Cyclists’ Delight

Cristiano must have gotten up very early this morning. He must be on a new mission ‘if the cyclists think that cycling into a rest day camp is a walk in the park, he can show them different! DSC_2177No way to allow us to run early into the luxury of the rest day hotel. So he secretly changed the track.  After the already 5 tough and long cycling days he thought he needed to top the difficulty of the last stage, again. He must have spies around, to watch and listen us, gaining knowledge about what we think about the grade of the difficulties so far. Through them he found out that we are still the happiest cyclists, even after all the burdens that he put on us so far. In the photo on the right you can see one of his NSA-trained agents, whom I got on the spot, when he tapped the phone line outside of our hotel. Knowing this, we must be very careful, what we say and post in our blogs, to not give him a wrong impression about his scouted trails. Party smile

Back to the last cycling day (stage 23), The instructions on the board read ‘bad gravel’. However it wasn’t said, that the first obstacle, a ‘road with bad gravel’ shouldn’t actually be named a ‘road’, but rather ‘dry and rough riverbed’. DSC_2498I think Cristiano and his helpers got up really early in the morning to stop and redirect the waters of the white river running down the hill, such that we can cycle up the now dried and rocky riverbed. Huge boulders and loose gravel for about 10 km plastered our climb into the surrounding tea & cinchona fields. The landscape was again stunning DSC_2517and the ride ‘pure joy’ for me on my ‘Cadillac’. I was glad to share my hard earned happiness with the hard working tea picker ladies in the fields. For other riders this early passage was already a torture, with more to come later that day. It already took me more than 4 hours to get to the lunch stop, at about 60 km, which meant again a long riding day, as there wasDSC_2520 to come a 2nd huge climb thereafter. The lunch was again a treat. This time we got grapes, a rare and expensive fruit in this area, and fresh mangoes. To our surprise we were told by Andreas and Chelsea, that the track was changed from the original route. We will bypass the busy roads and cut short a part of the afternoon climb. Was it for good or bad? Nobody knew, but DSC_2565Cristiano, who had silently scouted out an alternate route in the early morning. He actually hired a local guy on a motorcycle who rocketed him up the hill, to flag the ‘forbidden’ trail for us. Forbidden in a sense, that it was not an official road, but a privately owned trail by Chevron, who operated a power plant on the other side of the hill, for which he had to ask for permission to trespass their premises. This trail could only be walked or mastered by a strong  motorcycle. No way for a car or 4×4 to drive it. This is where he sent us. A note on the white board said: ‘at 64 km Crazy Downhill, WALK! ’ – For our own safety, because there was no way to rescue us, other than by helicopter, if we had a bad fall in this remote area. However, no word about the ‘Enjoy a long afternoon hike and WALK the Wall! I tend to call the upper section of the 3 km climb ‘The Wall’, G1457727at some parts so steep, that you could only walk or shoulder your bicycle to advance forward, step by step, taking care not to tumble and roll over. Although I managed good parts cycling and reducing the walks to the necessary, it took me almost 1 hour to get to the top.

btw: When I was reaching the top, I saw the last of Cristiano’s ‘Sherpa helpers’, removing the hooks and safety ropes, that secured him on his passage Open-mouthed smile

The downhill on the other side of the mountain was again pure joy and a well deserved reward, for those who made it to the top. Half way down the downhill I run into Cristiano and one of our vans, who were on his way back up to the top. He was really worried about us and our whereabouts, as nobody has been coming so far. Seeing me an avalanche of rocks must have fallen from him, recognizing that it was doable and I did not directly jump on him yelling loud and with threats of group punishments when we all are in camp. Hot smile.  I continued the downhill knowing, that I would win this stage, as I was the first to master this very demanding and challenging passage and there was no way to pass me on the final downhill of this very exciting cycling day.

Later the evening Henry admitted that he wouldn’t have attempted the bypass, if I hadn’t called and described the conditions from the top. But now he was challenged to prove to himself that I couldn’t scare  him enough from doing the spectacular ‘Bike Walk’.

Luckily this riding week is over and the starting level of the moonfirst stage after the rest day is hopefully reset again to ‘novice’, otherwise it could mean that Cristiano must send us to the Moon on Monday, to set a new raised difficulty level.

Astonishing, how skillful the locals run their old motorcycles on such G1457728a trail, sometimes 3 people on a bike plus extra load, like a sack of rice or a bird cage. But even they had to walk their bike on certain sections, because it was not safe to stay on the seat. Imagine this to ride in the rainy season?!

A big THANK YOU! Cristiano and Team, for making these rides so extremely extraordinary, never boring and still enjoyable for some, but at least memorable for all of us. 

Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up  +  Star Star Star Star Star

Stage 22: Java

Cidaun to  Ciwidey
Date: 12-09-2014 Time: 05:38 h Σ Time: 130:22 h
Distance: 72 km Σ km: 2639 km Temp: 21/36 °C
Up: 2437 m Σ Up: 28768 m Calories: 2558 kcal
Down: 1375 m Σ Down: 27592 m Σ kcal: 59922 kcal
Conditions: This was the supposed to be toughest climbing day of all my tours so far; with an average grade of 6% for the whole day. The section from 32 km to 44 km averaged at about 10%, with maximum grade of 20%. It was warmer than assumed, and no wind at all for the most parts. Lunch at 46 km was in the clouds. Very scenic – mind and body blowing.

We had only 300 m flat after the campsite, thereafter a 46 km climb into the central Java mountains started. It was a nice change of the landscape after being at the coast for the last couple of days. First going through rice fields and ending in the tea plantations at about 1800m. The views were stunning, rice terraces, rivers, steep valleys, nice settlements and potentially beautiful waterfalls (during rainy seasons) showed up around every corner.  However, with TdA you have to ‘pay a penalty’ for these changes. This time it came with a brutal climb. The first 500 vertical meters were quite smooth. Thereafter the steep climbs with grades up to 20% started. The average grade from km 32 to 44 was at about 10%. It took me about 4 hours to climb to the first summit and lunch. In the beginning I had the energy to stop once in a while to get my DLR and shoot a photo, whereas later it was always a silent negotiation with myself, if it is worth to stop and use extra energy for a photo. After lunch there were 3 ‘rollers’ thru the tea fields, thereafter a long descend to our hotel. The city is quite busy, loud and polluted. The dinner was exceptional. Nice ambience, table cloth, and a 3 course menu with a selection of good food to regain strength for another day of huge climbs before we complete this week’s 6 stages and have a well deserved rest day.



Glad to Ride a Cadillac

Today was the day to fully exploit the full suspension of my MTB. An over 60 km stretch of mostly broken road made me ride like in an American luxury car – with a waterbed like feeling, riding over the rough rocks and deep potholes. When my fellow riders, on their lightweight road or trekking bikes, were going slow to avoid getting every beat of the rocks they rolled over, I was simply speeding passed them. It is a pure joy to race through the harsh terrain without having to fear that the bike will collapse or to loose control over the bike.


However, after 50 km I was also a bit tired of it and gave the youngsters at a ‘toll station’ 2000 IRP, because they promised me better roads thereafter. It wasn’t after another 10 km, before the pavement finally became better, however with another penalty – the wind seems to blow much faster over smooth pavement, than over rough. And today’s wind didn’t want to make friends with us, thus blowing constantly into our faces, reducing the cruising speed and extending the riding day for longer …


The last 30 km along the coast line were a torture, being already 8 hours on the road and seeing that the final kilometers are being so slow in the wind. With tailwind it could have been easily done in 60 minutes, however the headwind made it 100.

In camp all ‘finisher’ we awaited with a big hand of applause from, those who were already there (cycling or by van). Later we were rewarded with an excellent dinner, and more food that one can eat.