Thursday, 9 June 2016

Bali biking Day 5

This was always going to be the biggest and best day of the tour and any serious tour of Bali on a bicycle must include a summit ride of Kintimani.
Google maps told me I had 1700m to climb - and Strava confirmed the peak was an impressive 1670m. The ascent of 35km starts from the turn off about 30km past Sinngaraja. The road is excellent quality and traffic was non existent. This was a just a perfectly peaceful day of man verse mountain.
I knew I needed to complete the climb to the summit and start the descent to Ubud by 4pm.. Made it by 3:30 and arrived in Ubud about 5pm. The descent was down one of the roads commonly used by the bike tour companies who will drive day trippers to the lookout at Kintimani and coast back down to Ubud. (I previously did one of those day tours with GoBali bike tours last year. The $45 package was ok value which included a coffee stop on the way up, a very average rental bike and a good lunch).
I arrived in the beautiful foothills town of Ubud and enjoyed 2 separate dinners to replenish.

somewhere along the long climb to the top of Kintimani

Hotel staff morning prayer in the front court yard in Ubud




Sunday, 29 May 2016

Bali by Bike - Day 4

At the end of Day 3 I was fortunate enough to be offered a place to stay near Lovina beach at "Villa Marty'. It was a real treat to relax in a private home with a pool and a beautiful guest room. So after a great nights sleep I decided to spend day 4 exploring the local area. I undertook a loop ride from the villa at Banjar as follows;
1- Climb the torturous Jl Mayong-Gunung-Sari road to the rim of the Mt Bratan volcano
2 - Descend the Gitgit road to Singaraja
3 - Reurn via Lovina beach and Banjar Hot baths
4 - Back to Villa Marty

I cant express enough the difficulty of the climb to Mt Bratan crater. Elevation a little over 1300m however some of the gradients exceeded 10%. The road is quite beautiful and very low traffic. I found food and drinks no problem, and 3 hours after setting off I finally hit the summit.
After an hour respite cruising around the crater edge and stopping for photos I took on the Gitgit road descent. 40 minutes of 60km/hr ++ thrills.
To cap off this memorable day I took the back roads of Singaraja to the 'Air Panas' (hot springs). What a great way to sooth the body and enjoy the afternoon after a hard days riding. Not to mention a superb dinner at sunset at 'La Costsa' restaurant on Lovina beach.


Resting at the summit

Air Panas Banjar
BIG thanks to Marty & Lesley and family for accommodating me

La Costa Sunset (try the mixed Satay)



Friday, 27 May 2016

Bali by bike - Day 3

End of Day 1, I stayed in a cheap but tidy little place in Candi Dasar called 'Ari Guest house'. After meeting the owner and a couple of his regular guests at the bar they asked about my trip. I mentioned Day 2 involved riding to Lovina Beach. One regular tourist to Bali commented - "I don't care who you are - you wont make it to Lovina in a day. No way!".  I must admit, there was some doubt in my mind also, but as usual, I had planned well and studied the maps and I believed it was within reach. The ride involved the first 3 hours climbing over the side Mt Agung, then a long decent to the coast at Tulumben followed by a long, straight, flat run into Lovina. After setting off from Candi Dasar at 7am, I arrived at Lovina by 2pm. Job done. Highlight of the day - proving the bar fly wrong...and the incredible descent to the coast off Mt Agung to the coast.



Mt Agung. A perfect looking volcano.  The climb was steady on excellent quality roads


Forget the beaches - Do Bali by bike!

Why do you cycle Bali? The attractions are obvious to some, but not necessarily common knowledge. Mountains, Scenery, Great roads, Food and culture... And good value (My daily ridig budget was as low as $40ASD/day). For myself, I decided to get a 'mini' tour under my belt on the famous Indo holiday island to keep my km's up in preparation for the BIG tour of Japan,To get some mountain miles in my legs.The planned route was as follows:

Day 1 - Kuta to Candi Dasar (65km)
Day 2 - Candi Dasar to Lovina (125km)
Day 3 - Lovina region (80km)
Day 4 - Lovina (via Singaraja & Kintimani) to Ubud (110km)
Day 5 - Ubud to Kuta (40km)

As it turned out, this was a perfectly planned ride. I.e, a great mix of coastal flats, killer climbs, extreme descents and beautiful scenery the whole way. The highlight of the ride no doubt being the 35km / 4 hour climb up the north side of Kintimani. Day 4 for has the profile.

Day 1 and 2 included a surprisingly interesting ride through the streets of Denpasar, then out to the east side of the island to the popular tourist town of Candi Dasar. It was a only a 4 hour day designed to ease my body back into things, and truth be known I wasn't in the best shape to go much further after spending my arrival evening in the bars of Seminyak.

Highlight!!! Famous Fish Paste BBQ, 25 km before CD.


Street Art Denpasar
Ride > Rest > Eat > Repeat
Famous Fish Paste BBQ - And fish ball soup...

Candi Dasar


Early Morning CAndi Dasar - Every day there are vista's like this




Thursday, 26 November 2015

Staying fit OffShore

In case you don't do enough stair walking on the platform each day - Hit the helideck at sunset for a wander and some open air time.



Me? ..  I usually:
1) Walk outside a lot each day
2) Don't eat too much (the food is very good here!!)
3) Hit the gym and treadmill most nights 

Many of the guys here use 'fit-bit' to count their steps and sets of stairs each day. I haven't joined the fit-bit gang yet, but I think the highest recorded steps (whilst working) in a day is well over 20,000 including 200 flights of stairs!





Monday, 26 October 2015

AFL Asia Champs 2015

Unwilling to hang up my boots just yet, I was lucky enough to play in another Asian Championships with the Philippine Eagles. 
This years event took place at the Harrow International School in Bangkok, Thailand and was superbly organised and run by the Thailand Tigers .
One of the biggest features of this years event was the introduction of divisions. The 2 completely separated groups allowed the smaller or emerging footy playing countries to play off for a title leaving the more established clubs to fight it out for the division 1 title. The Laos Elephants were victorious in the second division, while the Hong Kong Dragons prevailed in the premier division.

The Philippine Eagles finished with a 1 & 3 record for the day with 2 of those loses by under a goal. The narrow loss against eventual finalists Malaysia Warriors included an after the siren goal by the eagles which was disallowed.  But football is a game of heart breaking decisions and although we didn't make the semi finals, we were exceptionally competitive in all games.






Next years championships are in Vietnam and I already know it will be difficult not to be tempted to play again with the Swans hosting. Gotta love footy in in Asia.

(Pics courtesy Philippine Eagles, Derek Ackary & Michael Edge)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Miri Bakam Challenge 2015

Hosted by the Miri Mountain Bike Club, the 2015 Bakam challenge took place at the Borneo-tropical-rainforest-resort just outside Miri in the mountains at Lambir National Park.
As much as I appreciate all the hard work the club put into organizing this event, the run was a bit of a disaster with many competitors getting lost. In fact a majority of the competitors in my category (vets) failed to complete the run and the placings were awarded based on the bike leg only. (I snatched 3rd :) ).
In anycse - the bike leg was great. A tough 20km course through forest and palm oil plantations.
I managed to complete the run leg (by following a well orientated member of MMBC) and really enjoyed the run leg too. 6km of jungle running in Borneo is probably equivalent to a 1/2 M. Seriously tough.!

Sorry about the strange caeram angle - trying out a new helmet mount which didn't sit too well ..
Things done well: - Mountain Bike Course. Marshaling. Location. Lunch!
Not so well: Run leg markers. Pre race briefing - didnt explain the course well enough



Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Reebok Spartan Race Singapore/Malaysia

I've tried a few things in my life. In fact pretty much everything involving sport in Asia. But I'm officially excited about this! 

Being a first timer - and looking at the incredible challenges on offer my training starts now to get me over the line in Singapore in November! 

And if you're getting inspired looking at the official media page, just follow my blog Asia Sporting Life, leave a comment and you could win a 
Free race entry code for the Reebok Spartan Race Singapore
  November 15th 2015



Saturday in Saigon

Working between Miri, Manila and KL this week allowed me to sneak in a short stop over in Saigon to catch up with some old mates at the Vietnam Swans.
Training is on Saturdays at the RMIT campus sports grounds - as it has been for many years now.  Turn out was good and after a surprisingly intensive training run we played a 12 a side scratch match to tune the boys up for their tilt at the indo china cup in Laos next week.
Like all clubs in Asia, the swans go through their ups and downs but the last few years has seen a strong core group help carry the team to the top of the 2015 AFL Asia Ladder which included taking out the 2015 Manila Cup. Good luck in Luang Prabang and at the Asia Champs in Thailand in October gents.

I got a few laughs wearing my 2011 kit.. !

At the Spotted Cow Post game watch the Eagles v Hawks

And squeezed in my favorite 'bridges' Run  - Thu Thiem, Saigon Bridge, Q2


Pre Game Fuel at Nhu Lan. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Cycling Tour of Vietnam # 3

Tour # 3
Mid 2016

Cycling buddies being sought for this epic trip of  life time which includes passing by the Hai Van pass and the worlds biggest caves! 
Checklist:
1) Bike 
2) Smart phone GPS & Charger
3) Spares
That's it!... Food and drinks are available on the road. 

The point of these rides is that they are unsupported but not unplanned. 
They retain a large element of unknown with out being unsafe. 
They remove some of the 'easy out' options in life to force you to test yourself.


Don't worry - I am always extremely well prepared and hardly ever get lost.!  :) 

If you have any doubt of the excitement to be realized by joining this ride with me then watch this Gopro footage descending the Hai Van Pass from last years tour.



I expect this trip to be the icing on the cake after 2 previous multi day tours and many single day tours which were all incredible in different ways. Actually I am quite unfamiliar with this region of Vietnam which adds to the excitement for me.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Miri,Taman Awam, Seria, Brunei and other places...


Things I have seen and done exploring Miri and surrounds over the past week...

1 - RUN  to Taman Awam
2 - BIKE to Seria, Brunei.
3 - EAT Steam boat at 883 BBQ Buffett
4 - SING Karaoke at "The Island"

Taman Awan in a public space in Miri close to town - on the way to the airport. Although I live close I had not visited before... and I was quite impressed. It has a SkatePark, kids playgrounds, pool, walking paths and a cool elevated walkway.


The park features a series of elevated walk ways.. pretty cool actually.!
This week's ride went a little further into Brunei to Seria. However I was not quite aware of the strict fasting laws during Ramadan. No food to be eaten at cafe's or anywhere outdoors during day time. I bought a take out coffee and some eggs and hid in a bush to eat them. The laws are enforced by special police who will fine locals and foreigners if you break them. In hindsight, the extremely large snake I encountered on the ride over may have been a good meal option if I knew the difficulties getting a bite in Brunei.
 
The road to / from Brunei is flat but usually low traffic and relatively safe. I have avoided riding at night so far in Borneo, 1) because there is reportedly a high incidences of drink driving here..but 2) because of these guys. My understanding (may be wrong) from my time working in the desert in NW Australia was that snakes often come to the roads at night to soak up some of the heat still in the road surface after the sun goes down. When the roads are poorly lit the chances of running over one of these speed bumps is possibly a bit higher after sunset. And ALL the road kill I see is first thing in the morning- which sort of supports that theory right.
Anyway - Truth be known,  I more afraid of the drunk drivers that I am of snakes.
Road Kill Borneo Style - This guy was about 2m long 





..And for my whacky story of the week..drawing a very long bow to anything to do with sport.. This has been one of my high participation activities of late.
The talent pool is quite shallow in these parts - Karaoke at 'the Island' 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Fremantle Esplanade Skate Park

Skate parks are now dominated not by skate boards - but by scooters.
Over the past few months the boys have talked me into purchasing the best trick scooters for them - Shay rides the ENVY Prodigy , bought at the scooter hut and Levi's weapon of choice is the Grit Elite 2015.  We hit the new Esplanade Skate park  in Freo.. A brilliant venue right in middle of Fremantle.



Saturday, 20 June 2015

Saturday morning (everywhere) in Australia...

'Working in Asia I miss a lot of the kids weekend sports. Its the worst thing about working abroad'.
But Today I woke up on Saturday morning back in my home town. I got the kids ready, took my daughter to netball and the boys to footy. While sport in Asia is all about  travelling, trekking and social football and cricket matches with transient friends, sport in Australia is about families, communities and  basically passing on what we know to our kids.
GPS confirms 6km covered in referring under 11's soccer match


Just so happens I timed this visit with the annual 'Dads match'... A great excuse to pack the boots and have a run after the Auskick games are over and the kids asking for money for the sausage sizzle. What a great day.  A great Saturday.

Levi is a spark in the forward line.
Favorite Position: Full Forward
Favorite Player - Fyfe.
Score today: 3 goals


The boots (and Vietnam swans shorts) get another run in the Annual Wembley Downs Dads match


WDFC Dads en masse
Sunday was more of the same with an early start in for a soccer match I was looking forward to more than any cup final or world cup fixture.  Wemley Downs 11s vs Joonadulp.

The Team lost 3 -2 , but it was a great game against a top side and I got to see Shay score!
Awesome!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Biking Bali... (A good excuse to get off the beach)

A great way to see some of the island of Bali, see and sample the local coffee [on site], turn the legs over and in our case stumble across a once in 5 year burial ceremony, is to get on one of the many bike tours which all drive you up to the Kintimani crater edge and guide you on bikes back down to Ubud. A distance of about 30km. 
Its a great day out and the ride is suitable for anyone between 8 to 80 years old.
Bali Go Bike are one of many operators who will accommodate you. So I say.."get off the beach and give it a go!" 




7 types of coffee including the Luwak ' (digested) bean
A burial ceremony at one of the many temples we passed

Back to Bali

For the first time in around 10 years re-visited Bali. I only had a few days but long enough to get in a bike ride, a surf and a couple of morning runs along Kuta beach.
And the good news was the condition of Kuta beach. 'Clean Up' programs have definitely worked and the beach looked great. Local vendors were very adamant about removing all their rubbish and helping the tourists dispose of theirs. The early morning expat clean up crews seem to be a thing of the past. No longer required.


This was the previous time I was in Bali competing in the Bali International Triathlon 2008


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Age no issue...

I have started to think a lot lately about the inevitable decline of my physical abilities...not to mention all the other things that will decline with age... However today I was blown away by the performance of an over 55 gent who ran an incredible time for a 10km competition run.
The Miri City Run 2015 was a great day out and reported to have over 10,000 participants. The Men's Veterans (over 45) category was taken out in 37 minutes by said gentlemen pictured below. Having run a personal best of 43:54 I was overjoyed with my own performance & more than happy to be in the top 10. But it was the winning time that really impressed me. Good on ya mate - If I'm going anywhere near your speed at your age I'll be very satisfied.

smiling assassin who ran a 37 minute 10km

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Alins work out program... with options

Warm up - Tread mill for up to 20 minutes (Option of skipping)

1 - Walking Lunges: Option with 5kg wieght over head)   21 - 15 - 9

2 - Sit Ups: Using inverted bench  30- 30- 30

3 - Squats/Push Press; Using bar, Squat + Push press with arms extended up. 21 - 15 - 9

4 - Plank: Hold for 60 seconds - x 3

5 - Dip Bar: Legs out horizontal, Hold until fail (time yourself) - x 3

6 - Push ups: Cheat by using knees (not toes)  21-15 - 9


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Trip Home including the ride of the rich and famous

Back to Perth for a School Holiday visit - Hooked up with my mate Al and did the very enjoyable Westcoast > Fremantle > City Loop. Also known as the ride of the rich and famous.





Another great part of visit was trawling thru my old boxes of travel photos and scanning some keepers.  This shot gave me a warm fuzzy feeling....

(BMX WA State Champs - 1984)


Saturday, 14 March 2015

ANZAC Day in Vietnam

If you're in or around Vietnam on ANZAC Day, get down to Vung Tau to watch the Vietnam Swans take on the Singapore Wombats in this years Asian AFL match up.
I've played, attended and even umpired in these matches and I can confirm its a fantastic day all round. This year, as ANZAC Day falls on a Saturday, the games will follow the morning service at Long Tan.
Ill be flying over from Malaysia to play in the 'Legends Match' and drink lots of beer watching my team mates during the Main Event.

Don't take my word for all this - Please visit the Swannies web site for all the details.



Friday, 13 March 2015

Biked to Brunei for brunch

Miri to Kuala Belait, just across the Brunei border, is around 65km. The border crossing takes a few minutes (for Australians anyway) as you need to get a visa - for $20. They only take Brunei currency so its good to prepare and grab some B$ before leaving Miri. The other reason for doing that is there is very limited drink stops between leaving Miri and KB. When you cross the border you may need to re-fuel at the one gas station you will pass. I ran dry and bonked too - by the time I got to KB I was spent and had to scoff 2 danishes and a sweet ice coffee to recover. The ride back was a breeze -admittedly I had a tail wind and with no visa to process coming back in, I was door to door in around 2;20 hrs.


The only high lights of this ride were the big bridge just before the border on the Malaysian side and KB itself was interesting, other wise its fairly flat and uninspiring scenery.