Jonathan Bolton – guest riding for the dome coffees cycling team
Waiting at the at the airport for our flight this was some of the team members first international race so everyone was exited to get on the plane over to Indonesia.
After all the bikes and bags had been checked in and a few photos in front of the Perth International airport Dome Café, and a final Long Mac, we were off.
Once we arrived at Denpasar airport Bali we had a short wait before our connecting flight to Surabaya we had arrived.
After checking into the hotel and un-packing our bikes we decided to venture out for a short ride to stretch out the legs, venturing through traffic and back streets of Sidoarjo we eventually came to a dead end road near a fishing village and decided to head back to the hotel and get back into the hotel.
The day before the race we decided to go for another ride to make sure everything was fine before we raced, but after getting stuck in traffic we were only able to get about 20kms in an hour. So we found some back street which turned into a dirt track and eventually got us back to the hotel.
Day 1 of the 3 day Tour de East Java began with a 20km neutral zone before the 180km first stage. Our team manager Travis had everything sorted including trying to explain to our driver how to drive and get up close enough to feed the team.
The first 50-60kms were absolutely flat out averaging around 50km/h with a move of 3 riders finally got away which relaxed the pace so we were finally able to feed. The race was pretty settled till just before the climb and then picked up again slightly after the decent. The break was away with about 5mins on the main group so a few of the teams including ours decided to get on the front and start to bring the brake back. With us swapping off at around 45-50km/h we had got the break with in a 1.30 then it got down to 1.10 and the chase began to ease up as the counter attacks were expected. Sure enough they came and they were fast with 50kms to go the pace was on again as with Luke, Toby, Stu and myself trying to get in a counter attack we were roasted with the temperature sitting around the 40 degree mark we were wrecked. Another move of around 10 got away, we were within 3kms of the finish and there was some miss communication with the “traffic management” and we were stuck behind scooters trucks and cars who had no idea there was a bike race on so the commissaries neutralised the main group and we all rolled over the line 2.30 behind the winner. Afterwards myself, Luke, Stu and Toby were just happy to have finished a race of that intensity and distance and heat. We soon found out that Uppers had to pull the pin after nearly passing out from heat stress and not wanting to end up in an Indonesian hospital.
Day 2 was Mt Bromo, with a relatively short stage of only 84.5kms with a 13km neutral zone.
With our compact chain rings fitted and we were ready on the start line ready to go another hot day. Once again the neutral zone finished and there were a few attacks before a move got away the race was pretty uneventfully for the first 50kms with Toby helping one of other teams to bring back the breakaway. At the bottom of the climb a few of the Bahrain riders decided to ride into each other with most of our team managing to avoid the crash we started the climb. With in the first 5km the group had splintered with a couple of riders in sight I continued to tap out a rhythm passing a couple of riders half way up the climb our team car was able to push through and feed me, after some encouraging words from our team manager and Toby who after having a rough night not being able to hold down any food decided to take the car up to the top of Bromo. Pushing the pedals I finally managed to get to the 10km to go and what felt like ages to get to the 5km to go banner I was finally close to the top. I could see a rider up ahead so I kept my rhythm going eventually with 200 meters to go I was able to catch him and with 100m to go I could see the finishing banner and with a sneaky wheelie over the line I had conquered Mt Bromo in 15th position. After a Huge effort from Stu being able to finish the climb and a big effort from Luke who is still getting over bronchitis and having to pull the pin on his first Asian race we were all at the top of Mt Bromo.
Day 3 The Final Stage,
Day 3 was another relatively short stage of 78.6 kms. After two awesome days of being fed by my team mates and only having to go back to the car myself once in the whole first two days I was now on my own. The race started later than the previous two with a 1.30 start opposed to the previous 10am starts – it was HOT! I stuffed my jersey with ice, but after only 2.8km in the neutral zone the race had started and my ice was already gone. The roads had been rough and full of pot holes the entire tour but the roads today were insane, with one section the field was bunny hopping more than they were actually riding! There were bottles flying everywhere and lots of punctures. I managed to avoid losing any bottles or getting any flats which was a huge relief it came to the 30km mark and we were able to feed. With a long flat tail wind section I decided now was as good as any time to go back to the car and feed after getting full bottles and some encouraging words from Toby I was back with the group. The climb began starting off relatively gradually but being the last stage the pace was on! I stayed with the front group until around the 5km to go when the pace went through the roof. Around 10 guys got up the road, and I was in another group of around 10 and as it started getting steep a few more got up the road. Myself and a couple of others started hitting it when we finally saw the 500m to go banner then I hit it again. Just before the finish we had a small downhill section before it ramped it up again onto the bumpy finishing straight with a steep gradient around 18 precent. I crossed the line again in 15th and finished the tour in 16 on GC.
What a great tour with a great bunch of guys!
A big shout out to Toby for letting me ride in the Dome Coffees Cycling team and for Satalyst Giant Racing Team for allowing me go to this race, and also Travis for being a great team manager and getting absolutely everything sorted.
Finally thanks to the rest of the team for doing an awesome job of getting me to the finish of each of the stages feeding and sheltering me!