GFNY Bali 2018

Mettwurst… Salami… Streichmettwurst…Pfeffersack…Getrocknete Salami…Leberwurst…Leber Pastete…
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These are not your typical Indonesian foods you think about when going to Bali. But Axel, the organizer of the GFNY Bali, is originally German, living in Bali with his wife Tenna. He still misses „the ‘good stuff’ from Germany now and then and we know it makes him happy as a child if we bring his favorite food. The smile on his face was priceless when he checked out the ‘goodies’ in the Aldi bag. The first package of salami didn’t survive the 5km trip to our hotel…

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There is something special about Bali, “the island of the Gods”. We witnessed that already last year when we went to Lombok for the GFNY Indonesia and spend a few days in Bali. We were sorry we didn’t have more time to spend on Bali and we already decided that if we ever had the chance to come back, we would definitely stay longer! Luckily that chance came very soon, as the GFNY transferred from Lombok to Bali in 2018 and was already organized February 4th. Not a punishment at all to leave the cold and frosty weather in Europe behind and spend 2 weeks sweating in Indonesia, wearing only flip flops and shorts.

The GFNY took place at the end of the rainy season. that means it can (and will) rain from time to time but the temperature never drops below a steady 27 degrees… So, who cares about a little shower at that temperature. We had a few days with some rain, but when the sun came out after the rain it was tropical heat at its best. We spend a few days in Seminyak and Sanur before the race, and visited a few magnificent temples, rice fields and waterfalls..  The beauty of nature outside of the touristic areas is absolutely  stunning!  On Saturday before the race we went out on the track with a scooter to check for good photo spots. This is the best way by far to explore the island. It’s far better than an air-conditioned car…  on a scooter you feel the heat, you smell nature, and you hear the sounds… You just have to be extra careful because of the large number of dogs crossing the streets (and about 20 million other scooter drivers). It’s also the cheapest way of transport on the island… Renting a scooter for a day will cost you no more than € 3,-

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The route of the GFNY Bali is absolutely stunning. Once you leave the main road out of Sanur and turn left into the mainland, the little villages and the views are magnificent. Vulcanos to your left, ricefields to your right. We truly felt blessed to be here. On race day the weather gods were on our side…  Sunshine, no clouds and not 1 drop of rain. The route has a 19 km climb alongside the infamous volcano “Agung” which is still very active. The view on this beast on this beautiful day was absolutely amazing. Nature, as violent as it can be sometimes, is also one of the best things in life to experience. Seeing beautiful scenery just never gets boring. At lot of the cyclists however will not have paid too much attention to the beautiful views, we could see them suffering as they were being fried in the tropical sun on their way up to the top at lake Bratur.. Having water points at every 5k was no unnecessary luxury this day… The organization clearly knew what they were doing! “What goes up, most come down” …  after the long climb there was an equal long decent back to Sanur.. For most of the competitors this must have felt heavenly. After the gruesome heat during the climb, now feeling the wind piercing through your helmet and clothes, descending for about 35 K without suffering, cruising through villages, temple complexes and rice fields. For most, this must have been the most rewarding part of the course.


The last 20k section of main road to Sanur were superhot again. temperature at the top was 25 degrees and having descended more 1300 vertical meters, with a temperature increase of 0,6◦/100m. Temperature at sea-level for this last section at mid-day was about 33◦ The heat bouncing back from the asphalt was like an oven. We took a few photos now and then leaning with our uncovered knees on the asphalt but immediately regretted that position as it felt like a hot frying pan cooking your flesh like sateh…

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At the finish the atmosphere was unbelievable relaxed.  For us Europeans it is just unthinkable to park your bike unguarded to get a cold beer in a bar. But here on Bali this is no problem….    Bikes worth up to € 5000 and more were parked everywhere and not a single one got stolen. This feeling of safety is one of the best things about this island.
After the Event we decided to spend a few days on the Gili islands. I mean if you are that close to paradise…. you just HAVE to go.

It’s a paradise for diving, snorkeling and just having a good time. Time flies when you’re having fun, and so it did for us! Our 2 weeks on Bali should/could have lasted at least six weeks longer If only there wasn’t a cool cycle event waiting for us in Belgium. So, we went from +30 degrees at the start in Bali, to -9 at the start in ‘Oudenaarde’. From flip flops & shorts to thermal clothing in just one week.

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Sportograf, it is not a job it’s a way of life!
Text by Marco Kolleppel

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