Days 7 & 8: A Bali Triathlon

Welcome back to the final installment of the Bali portion of the trip. Over the past 5 or so days in Bali we’ve been able to patch together a bit of a Balinese Triathlon of sorts, combining two traditional triathlon sports, with one lesser utilized sport.

First, we start as all triathlons start – in the water. We have two competitors in the open division – first up – The Girl:

At the other end of the swimming course (a whole 18 feet away) – The Rainmaker:

(Yes, by pure luck we actually took the same swim caps…no idea how that occurred).

The challenge: Swim as many laps as reasonable until we either bonk into each other, flip out of the pool accidentally and down into the valley below, or just simply get tired.

Here’s the swim venue – our Villa’s Pool:

We both take some time to warm-up on the swim course. It’s a bit different given that I get approximately 1.75 strokes in between each flip turn – though The Girl manages 3 strokes.

Surprisingly, this is more difficult than normal swimming. Given I only get one breath per length and it’s very short – you get tired pretty quickly. That said, with both of us warmed up – it’s time to start and get this game on. The following is a short video of the swim start:

After just a few minutes into the event, we decide that doing Cannonballs is more entertaining…thus concluding this leg of the race:

T1 (Transition 1) is now in order, in our case that would involve breakfast at the start of the cycling venue.

The cycling course is a relatively downhill affair – starting near the top of a volcano and finishing some 17 kilometers downhill. Approximately 12 seconds of active pedaling is rumored to be required:

We arrive at T1 to find a large lot of bikes, which we actively scour for the lightest bike made of only the most modern 1980’s materials:

The team mechanics get to work fixing any last minute issues:

Meanwhile, I find my trusty bike – complete with aerobars:

Participants line up near the start and prepare to go. The field seems to have grown some with what might be surprise relay or duathlon participants.

And with a simple chicken crossing the road to mark the start…we’re off:

You must be mindful of incurring any drafting rules:

As well as avoiding any dogs, chickens, potholes or children:

(Virtually every kid along the route waved and said ‘Hello!!!!’)

Along the way we hit up aide stations – Rice Paddies – to understand how nutrition is made:

The aero-position is required occasionally…you know, to maintain speeds of 13MPH. Though, a penalty was handed out below to the participant for forgetting to buckle the helmet post-aide-station.

It should be pointed out that as a high class event, we even had our own team car:

After over 2 hours, we finally found the finish line. Which, means our average speed for the bike leg was a blistering 5.5MPH (including stoppage time). Which means…I could have run the thing and still had an hour to spare. :)

The team car quickly loaded up all the bikes in the most delicate manner possible, and off to T2 we went.

T2 included a pretty robust aide station – as we had worked pretty hard on the bike course:

Because we’re on ‘Island time’, the third leg was actually moved to the next day. This is completely normal in cases where the organizers of the event are the same two people doing the event. Also, this aligns more closely to the Ultra-triathlon concept where a separate events occur on consecutive days. Given the very clear ‘Ultra’ nature of our triathlon, this seemed fitting.

The next afternoon (to allow for a relaxing morning of course), we drove to the final athletic venue – an Elephant Camp:

We found our elephants ready to get on with the races:

Though, we’d end up being paired together on the same elephant – which meant the first two legs of the race would carry significant weight in the final standings. Now, you may be wondering how riding elephants could be a athletic event. I assure you, if you’ve ever descended a hill on an elephant – you’d know that your butt muscles get a significant workout. So with that…off we go:

Along the way our elephant gets distracted…repeatedly…with eating. His name is ‘Mo-Mo’. And Mo-Mo likes to eat. But, he also has an inner-triathlete in him, and likes to go for a bit of a swim:

And he likes to check out his form every once in a while in the mirror:

As we made the final turn towards home, he became rather vocal – cheering for himself by singing a tune on a harmonica. Strange…yes. Out of place for triathletes? Probably not.

Finally, at the end, a winner was declared:

Oh…ok – perhaps I wasn’t the winner. But I still got a picture with the elephant – and that’s what matters. And here’s our elephant handler:

Post-race we hit up the food tent for some complimentary local food – which was much better than most event offerings of stale bagels and chunks of oranges:

So with that we conclude our Balinese Triathlon…as well as our our stop on the island of Bali. We did spend the last morning on a rented scooter checking out the southern-most coast and the dramatic cliffs.

After that we boarded a plane or two and are off to our next stop, some 3,000 or so miles away…

(Quick side note – I’ve had reports of slowness or pages not loading the last few days…I’m not entirely sure why – despite all my pictures, that’s pretty much normal for me – so nothing new there. I’ve temporarily reduced the number of posts displayed on the main page to just the latest post.  Also, because I’m posting from a very bandwidth limited locations, the pictures are a bit smaller this post).


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  1. Your life is fantastic … YOU ARE GREAT!!!!!! I hope to meet you one day :)

  2. Anonymous

    Cool adventure!

    (Side note: I follow blog with Google reader. It loads much faster than blog site.)

  3. Kim

    omg this is HILARIOUS – i love the lap swimming.

  4. An ultra relaxed triathlon?

  5. As usual – your ongoing trip reports are an absolute pleasure to read – keep ’em coming buddy!

  6. Looks like you had an amazing time in Bali! And the bikes look to be from about the same era of when I did the mountain bike ride down the volcano there. Hopefully they have at least replaced the brakes since then…

  7. Hands down, the best triathlon. ever.

  8. Amazing trip. Thanks for sharing your adventures in such a humorous way :)

  9. I look forward to every new trip update. You have great sense of humor and a real eye for photography. Keep up the great work!

  10. Great post, very fun to read. Yeah, I too am having your page (and only yours) load slowly. Been happening for a few days. Weird.

  11. You win first place for going to Bali while the rest of us sit a home in the cold! What a great trip. Not sure how you were able to break from beautiful Bali and move on to another country but hope you are having a great time!

  12. I have not had a ride on an elephant since I was a kid. They are pretty hairy and bristly. Sounds like you have been having a great time. From the photo and the little picture of the airplane it looks like you are going to Austrailia next. COOL!

  13. ha ha love it! enjoy the next stop… (yeah, the page has been slower to upload – I had been thinking it was our computer or connection!) takes about 45s to upload which is fine.

  14. How incredibly fabulous does that look! Happy New Year.

  15. Brilliant. I’m SO jealous now. Okay, I think I need to go book my next trip.

  16. Hello from Barcelona.Spain!!

    i follow you few months ago…very very nice blog, congrats ! i like your reports, pics and product reviews.
    I wish you the best for 2010 !!
    Never forget call me if you plan to trip to Spain…
    Adios !