There had been months of planning going into the trip. Pierre and I had been back and forth, also coordinating with The Chillhouse and their availability. It was like herding cats to be honest. Both of our schedules were congesting quickly, even in the winter season. Finally, a window in January had opened up and with ten days notice we had our dates locked in and scrambled to book flights.
I was in the midst of a twenty five hour journey from Vancouver to Indonesia and I couldn’t sleep. Not having the communication with PEF once, I caught my first flight, I wondered, had Pierre caught his, was weather going to be alright and is this the trip I catch Malaria? These thoughts and many more whizzed through my mind and I couldn’t find it in me to close my eyes.
After a quick stop in Korea and two more movies, we had finally arrived in Denpasar Bali. Of course my bike was the only thing not to arrive… Typical…
Mason Mashon went quickly to haggling with taxi drivers to make our way from the airport to The Chillhouse. Prices here were only a suggestion, especially when you smell like tourist. Our cabs went from $50 for one to $40 for two in the bat of an eyelash.
Arriving at The Chillhouse around 2:00AM, the security kindly greeted us and called the front desk clerks to check us in. There was a lot of confused faces and phone calls going on. I finally asked what the delay was and they told us that Alex (The owner of The Chillhouse) had made no notes of our arrival and just so happened to be in Australia on vacation at the time.
Great! Thankfully, this was not the first time this had happened. Pierre had already dealt with this an hour earlier. At least he had arrived and we knew we could work this out. The staff quickly found us some accommodation for the night said we could deal with it in the morning.
Bali. The trip had officially begun.
We had both made it to Bali and Alex had cleared up the room mess before we had come to check up on it, in the morning. We sat down to breakfast to have our first meal and “Hey how are ay’s” and high fives together. Overwhelmed with excitement, we looked for a place to get started, however, my bike had not arrived yet.
What does someone do on a Mountain Bike trip with no bike? Rent scooters, obviously!
Pierre, Mason, Liam and I were provided scooters from the resort and got our day bags set. We came out front to see Mason was set with a face mask for the exhaust fumes; the rest of us were inexperienced and impressionable. We ran back to our rooms to cut a sleeve of a Tshirt each and created some makeshift masks.
The “Squid Squad” was born and we were off.
We had all slept on the cab ride over and had forgotten that the traffic drove on the opposite side of the road. That was a quick wakeup call!
In addition to the quick traffic flip, we learnt that scooters outnumbered cars 50:1. This instantly went from driving to a game, a game with no second chances.
Every red light was a thirty scooter gate start. A Very low powered Supercross.
Unfortunately, there was one scenario where Liam was physically shouldered off the road and went for a tumble down a gravel shoulder. He had been lucky enough to just open his knee. We found a pharmacy to clean him up and continue on our journey to the Monkey Temple. We decided to slow our pace and considered safety over our game for the first day.
Spending the rest of the first day at a beautiful Monkey Temple, followed by an outstanding village that overlooked a surf break in Uluwatu; made for a warm welcoming. Upon arrival back to The Chillhouse, we were greeted with the overwhelming smell of dinner. The meals at The Chillhouse had to be a standout part of our adventure.
With my bike still taking the scenic route around the world, PEF and I wanted to get better at surfing. We rented some boards and decided to take a lesson to get the basics down. The waves in Bali were beautiful. Clean and long breaks made it ideal to get comfortable.
After a few days, our confidence was higher and our boards became shorter.
Beginning to understand the breaks and catching waves became an addiction and when we weren’t biking, we had our sights set on the break reports.
My Rocky Mountain finally had arrived on the third day. We made our way to the Bali Bike Park. All of this hand built trail in this lush green forest was too much to believe. Riding this forest day in and day out, until the afternoon showers hit, became our M.O. The jumps were perfectly shaped and the corners were manicured to every rider’s likings. We rode that park inside and out. With the changing light conditions throughout the days, the new vario lenses (self-adjusting tint) of our sunglasses were a big plus on this trip.
We wanted more, we wanted to get lost in Bali and find some raw trails that hadn’t been explored before.
We ventured to the Batur Volcano a few hours away. With only a couple hours of sleep, we got up at 3AM to prepare for the two hour hike to the summit, for sunrise.
Bikes on backs for two hours is needless to say, a mission. We had heard amazing things about this summit and knew we had to ride it.
Arriving at the summit, we were able to watch a sunrise the made us speechless and able to really enjoy this particular moment in time. Once we returned back from this moment of “awe”, we geared up and looked on to the knife edge of this volcano crater. It was unlike any terrain I had been on before. It was a Birthday treat that became so much more than just a bike trip. Monkeys crept up from the inner ring of the volcano. With the temperature rising, they came up to see what we were doing. The looked onward to watch us ride the crater ring. Pierre and I rode every inch of the crater as if it were made just for us. It was hands down, my favourite part of Bali.
We ventured on further to an ocean view trail along another cliff band as well as a sunrise trail that began at at prayer hut, hidden away in the hills. Riding single-track that would put a smile on anyone.
Riding that could accommodate any level.
The places we went and people we met made Bali and unforgettable destination. I can be sure when I say that Pierre and I will remember this Boys trip as one to look back on many years from now.
As we said our goodbyes and had our final laughs, we made our separate ways onward to continue these adventures we call life. There are a lot of hurdles to get over when you travel to an unknown area and many decisions you have to make to create an experience worthwhile in the unknown.
I let out a long sigh, these two weeks in paradise had flow by too fast.
Hopefully the landscapes we had ventured through and the indescribable experiences could hopefully inspire people to travel and make memories of there own.
I sincerely hope they do.
Photos: Mason Mashon