Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bali Marathon Race Report And Then Some - Day 1

The last organized road race in Indonesia was in the late 1980's. There was no race organised for the past 22 years and the organisers felt that it will be super to do so after such long hiatus. Myself and wifey signed up for this as we wanted to see if we can run 3 marathons back to back within 64days. While some accomplished runners would most probably wrap 3 marathons in two weekends (either two races in one weekend, it has been done before), we were more in favour for it to be more conservative.
This series of blog entries, in particular, aims to provide a low-down over the 3days 2nights that we were in Bali. It could be broken down to two or three entries, with the climax to be the actual Bii-Maybank Bali Marathon 2012 race report itself. So bear with me while i manages the time i need at work and family and time needed to produce the blog for sharing.
I will try not to disappoint and do expect food photography, scenic scenery, great camaraderies and a lot of other sharing that will make your future trip to Bali good, if not better. 
T-2 days
We flew in to Bali via AirAsia and noticed no other runners except ourselves were in the flight.
Just pray that your flight are not delayed, brought forward, or cancelled. 
Flight reached right on time to Bali airport.
Myself, wifey, Chit, Phui Tin, Divya, Pat and Lynn has organised to travel and stay together while in Bali. This is to keep the cost down apart from having more friends to hang around with before and after the run. Yes, i am the only guy in the party of 7. Not complaining one bit.
With Phui Tin and Divya
With Chit and Wifey
In car with Pat and Lynn
We had our lodging and logistic pre-arranged about 6-weeks before hand. Having no clue or idea where we will actually be based as we have the luxury of transportation to move around if needed. We were lucky to find a fantastic place that are willing to accommodate up to 8-person (the 8th, was Pat's friend that works in AirAsia). All the while, I thought we will be staying in Ubud. Turns out, we will be around Denpasar or more specifically in Sanur - where the sea is 500m away!
The street, Jl. Kesari, that we lived on for two days. Unassuming place with many Villas.
There will be a separate write up or review for the Villa that we stayed in. But here is a teaser pic of how ONE part of the house looked like at night
The place where you will spend most of your time while at the Villa
OK, maybe one more photo, in daylight
Home away from home. Where your home will likely NOT even have these!
We were delighted with the Villa, that I feel, despite paying for it at USD150/night, i will blog about it to share this wonderful villa in my blog. So, watch out for the review soon.
Sanur will reminds you of Kuta, Bali but with the slow-ness of Ubud. It is tourist-sy enough but provide adequate privacy along the 4km stretch of road with many options for food and entertainment. We were recommended to try Cafe Batu Jimbar, about 5minutes away from where we stayed.
Sanur will reminds you of Pantai Cenang in Langkawi minus the rowdiness. In fact, any Asians will feel they are the tourists there instead of the mat salleh. Suffice to say, the villa that we stayed in, the owner are Expats and they are based in Hong Kong. The caretaker is a US citizen that has been in Bali for the past 14 years and coming 20 years in Indonesia. They speaks Bahasa Bali and Indonesia too. How is that for making any other Asians feel inadequate?
Jalan Danau Tamblingan. Hardy's Gourmet is like Malaysia's Jaya Grocers where they carries a lot of "expats" brand items. Next to it is the Oasis Lagoon. Further down the road is Hyatt.
Dotted along the roads are gems of shops that sell everything and anything Bali. It goes from carvings to paintings. Local food to western fusion. Cafe Batujimbar is apparently the all time favourite - perhaps due to the proximity to both Oasis and Hardy's. 
We had our lunch at Cafe Batujimbar and the pricing is expected of a tourist place. It is a bit on the higher side but no harm spoiling ourselves a bit. The portions are on the large side, so sharing if you are not a big eater is ideal. Food quality is on the better side and perhaps, the main reason was the cleanliness of the place - there is no point to risk saving that few thousands rupiah in exchange for a runny tummy before the race day.
Wifey with Nasi Campur
Chicken, beef rendang, egg in cabai, ikan lemak, lalapan, rice and keropok
 I had Ayam Bertutu. No, it is not chicken in Tutu like a ballet dancer.
Basically it is half a chicken marinated with Balinese spices, lalapan and rice
Lynn has a healthier dish - it's fish cooked in local spices that looked/taste like curry. Can't recall what it's called. But as long as they looked good, who really cares ;-)
...and served in a fish-like bowl. How to say not nice?
Wifey and myself allowed ourselves to eat a bit more for the final phase of the carbo-loading. So, a mixture of food, as whole as they can get (and the wonderful thing about Indonesia is that the cooking is still simple). We top if off by sharing a cup of cappuccino - Italian brew (as we were given a choice of Balinese coffee or Italian coffee).
they used fresh milk. the foams don't lie.
Done with lunch at a late 4pm, we decided to walk to the official race hotel - the Sanur Beach Resort at Sanur Beach. If you look for it in GoogleMap, you will get directed to the wrong hotel. Sanur Beach is on the South of Sanur, not North. It is a good 2km away from Cafe Batujimbar and provided a good exercise to keep the legs warm and moving.
The route allowed us to explore Sanur Art Market and also for some sightseeing along the way. The 20minutes of walking certainly did not feel it was too long. With light breeze along the way, no one seems to be really bothered by the heat.
Pretty Maids all in a row. Prettiest one right infront lah
Common sight along the road
A Toyota Bicycle? :D
Can I?
Common sight. Offering twice a day. Bali is majority Hindu.
Tree shaded path near Hyatt Sanur
No wonder he is so fat. A 125cc bike to walk a dog?
Monkey-ing around
"I will use this to whip those doctors", Nurse Divya said
Talk about being horny and wearing a misspell t-shirt
Soon after these row of shops that sells everything Made In China to really Made In Indonesia, we reached Sanur Beach Resort. As per how most hotels in Bali are setup, there will be statues and decorative items that is unmistakeably Bali.
The race kit collection was held at the hotel and on the day we arrived, there was not many people there yet. Many photos opportunities too with two backdrop for you to take photos. We, as usual, could not resist those opportunities - and we have not even collected the race kits yet.
OK. Lets see if these happy face is still applicable after race day
And we went in to get the race kits - the (real) reason why we were there.
Ready for the suffering?
How also must  smile for camera! Chit says "My second 21km race!"
And after picking up the race kit, take photos again. This time, with the designated race numbers.
Pick your number...
We decided to take the boardwalk back to the Villa. It runs along the beach and that will provide perfect opportunity for a nice sunset viewing. Apart from checking out what is in store along the beach. We bumped into Singapore Blade Runner (or his name Shariff) giving interview by the Sanur Beach.
Today's lesson is "how to scratch your hand"
I was just joking about the scratching part.  Abang Shariff always accommodating and always inspiring.
 The choice to walk along the beach was a good one. Fantastic breeze and nature show of sunset happens right in front of us as we walk back to the Villa. Enjoy.

And of course, i could not resist NOT to HDR it.
The signboard for Tsunami were at every possible evacuation points along the beach. Shows that the recent calamity has made everyone more aware of things that could happen. More so, this side of Bali is not protected.
grim reminder
Under repair yo!
Well paved with interlocking bricks. You can cycle or run here.
A family enjoying the sunset in the water
While we enjoyed each other's company
not sure why they were shy though
Could be because of this...
Hell yeah! Move over Hooters!
Being in Bali does bring the "Yogic" in you. Never mind if you never Yoga before, but the intention was there.
Thanks Chit for the capture. :D
As it was starting to get dark and we only moved like halfway through, we decided to take the detour back to the main road and follow it - not that Bali is not safe, but we were already hungry by then and dinner came-a-calling.
Door Guardian
Getting dark!
And time to practice night photography! Taken on the 20mm F2.8 1/10s outside Hyatt  Sanur
 We could not decide what to eat, but Beer was certainly not in the equation, no matter how tempting it was.

We end up in an unassuming waroeng or stalls. It says "No Tax". Found out that most, if not all eateries charges up to a total of 16% taxes on top of what was stated in the Menu. So, no tax sounds good. More over, the place looked clean, which is what really matters.
Bakmi Goreng or fried noodle
The rest of the gang had pork chop, fried rice, fried meehoon which were all prepared from scratch. The food were technically fresh with a lot of vegetables. As we were all hungry, i only managed to take a photo of what i ate (above). The other food were gobbled up (except the fried rice, which was a tad too oily).
We then walked to Hardy's again, to stock up on some simple groceries. We bought gourmet bread (sourdough, whole wheat with seeds, fancy mancy bread we can't pronounce name), Pocari Sweat (popular isotonic drinks with no gas), eggs (for half boil/breakfast) and bananas! This place has it all. It is really better stocked up than Jaya Grocers in Malaysia.
Hardy's has a plce to leave your husband too. Not bad. Observed only MEN inside this place.
We then crossed the road back to Cafe Batujimbar, there is a place called The Pantry, which belongs to the cafe as well. It boost a bit more upscale gourmet food such as cheese and properly chilled wine.
price also a bit more upscale
We walked back, took our shower in the fantastic villa and proceed to enjoy some DVDs. It was a full day since 7am and by 10.30pm, everyone was pretty obviously tired.
In the Goodies Bag from Bii-Maybank Bali Marathon are a cap, a running vest, a box of Nestle Fitnesse cereal, race bib with timing chip, Bali Safari discount tickets, some vouchers for sports store and a very nice bag that holds them all.
Everyone gathered around the projector TV and enjoyed some silly laughter.
Good To Know and Share Info
The villa owner was kind enough to leave a SIM card for us to use, if we wanted to. I topped it up with IDR20,000 (about RM8 or USD3) and the internet were practically free. SMS were cheap and international call did not cost me more than IDR5,000 for 5minutes. It was almost perfect if the internet  works. The 3G services is so slow that i believe that nothing do comes for free, even if it was given free. One page of Facebook or Twitter takes almost 10minutes to load, and by then, it is another 10minutes before you see the update that you updated. Pretty much, if you are in Indonesia, stick with two service provider aka Telkomsel and XL Axiata. It gives the best coverage (but not necessary great internet). If your need is just to be able to communicate, then, they are great. If you want working internet, be prepared to pay for it via roaming (like fixed rate data roaming) or paying premium for it at some spot in Bali. Essentially with IDR20,000, you will be able to use it for almost a week on calls and SMS.
Budget for Food and Drinks
As we were in a tourist area, we did paid premium for some of the places we ate at. However, they are often made value for money due to the portion. Per person, set aside RM50 (or USD15) or IDR150,000 per day to get food and drinks. This IDR150,000 will be more than sufficient for 3 square meals with coffee and juices. As a comparison, the menu in Cafe Batujimbar average about IDR50,000 or RM18 (or USD6), and the place we had dinner cost us about half of what we paid in Cafe Batujimbar. Of course, the food quality differs too, including the presentation, as you can see from the photos above. As we were travelling in group, all expenses were divided equally.
We had our transportation sorted out before we reach Bali thanks to the Villa owner. Airport transfer per Mobil (the local calls them Mobil, as in mobile in automobile) is IDR120,000 or RM40 (USD12) per trip. Not expensive if you are travelling in group as some local airport in Malaysia will charge you RM30 for just a 10km journey. The villa is about 20km away from the airport. As we were told that Bali Safari would not have adequate Taksi (as they are locally known), we decided to hire the same transporter for race morning from 3am till 3pm or a day's worth for IDR500,000 or RM160 (USD55). Again, not expensive as you are assured of a no-drama-race morning and a certain-guarantee-of-transport after the race. Again, travelling in a group allows flexibility and sharing of cost, which was fantastic.

Next : How We Spent Day 2 Which Was Phui Tin's 18th Birthday. Wait up for Click here for Bali Marathon Race Report And Then Some - Day 2!


  1. It was an awesome performances, great job well done. Congratulations to all the participants, looking forward for more updates. Nice pics too. Thanks for sharing !

  2. Crossfit - thanks. Come back for Part 2 and 3!