After a long World Cup race season, there is no better way to wind things down than one final race in a tropical paradise. Mountain Bike racing is surprisingly popular in Indonesia, and the APDHC allows the island nation to showcase not only it's own very best talent, but also to allow riders here to get up close and personal and share a race track with some of the world's best. Sam Hill, Troy Brosnan, Remi Thirion, Brook MacDonald and Mick Hannah are just a few of the World Cup riders who have been lucky enough to come end their race seasons here in Bali.
Put on by Patrol Bikes with the help of Trek Bikes, Shimano, and Maxxis, the APDHC takes place right on the South Eastern shore of the island and affords epic views from all over the track. Dusty, steep, and loose, the track may not be of a World Cup standard, but what it lacks in technical difficulty it more than makes up for with the brutal heat and humidity and insanely slippery surface.
Alongside Thirion, this year's race included Brook MacDonald, Wyn Masters, Thibault Ruffin and a large Japanese contingent led by Kazuki Shimizu.
| The largest race category here in Indonesia is Masters by far, with 4 different levels. Add to that an open category, expert and elite and you have a long day of people on the race course.|
| The second jump on the track caught most racers off guard, and only a few were making the backside without casing it in a big way.|
| Spectators came out in force once again here in Bali, but it's the local children who have the most fun sitting in their own yards as the track weaves down the mountain.|
| This is the view from the second corner... you can see why it's easy to get distracted here!|
| It wasn't the rocks or even the brutal sunshine that took their toll on racers here this week, it was the moon dust. Most of the track was slick as ice from the loose over hardpack and it was a struggle to find the grip you needed to push it.|
| Thibault Ruffin had no problem figuring out this corner, sliding the rear end through and powering his way out into a long off camber.|
| Brook Macdonald was having a great time on track, pulling hard off of almost everything. Here he decided to send it directly through some low hanging branches while trying to stay on the high line.|
| Remi Thirion won here last year and was charging all week trying to repeat.|
| Wyn Masters is basically a Bali local by now, spending weeks upon weeks here. He has been riding a ton and knows exactly how far he can push it before the dirt gives way. Unfortunately, he overlooked that information and went down hard enough to need 7 stitches in his elbow Saturday morning during practice.|
| Alex Springenschmidt is the owner of the Chillhouse bike and surf retreat and is one of our gracious hosts this week. He's always stoked on life and bikes. He went down hard in practice and managed to dislocate a vertebrae and some ribs. He's in one piece, but won't be surfing for a couple of weeks. Heal up, Alex.|
| The views on this track just don't stop. Even the pit is scenic, jammed in an opening in the jungle.|
| Brook Macdonald heads towards the finish and some legendary Bali surf breaks. His race wouldn't go to plan, as he caught a pedal in a straightaway and went over the bars. Then he decided to go all out and yanked at the finish line landing to flat and rolling his bars. Animal.|
| Local hero Popo Airio makes his way down the track in practice.|
| Remi Thiron.|
| Most of the elite field almost missed their races, as well as practice due to a 5km+ long traffic jam. We all had to get out and walk about 5km from the venue in order to get there. Traffic was a parking lot (literally) for over 4 hours.|
| Remi isn't afraid to get loose, but this section claimed many riders in finals and almost claimed the Frenchman when he slid out and put his rear wheel over the edge.|
| It's hard to capture how steep this last section is. Blown out, deep dust and you just have to let off the brake and hold your line. Braking is not possible.|
| Kazuki Shimizu of Japan didn't manage to hold his line and had an incredibly scary crash in the last section in his race run. After being taken to hospital with fears of a shoulder dislocation or broken collarbone, he was released with just some major bruising. Ninja.|
Kabuki Shimizu's Crash - Video by Jake Royle.
| Another rider falls victim to the dust.|
| Even when you made it to the bottom of the final section, the G out at the bottom was hard enough to send riders flying off track into the marbles.|
| Remi Thirion managed to repeat as APDHC champion this year, keeping it low over the double towards the finish.|
| ... and then going big over the final table.|
| Bulldog went absolutely massive over the last small table, hucking all the way to the finish line and to a huge flat landing.|
| Fans love the bulldog.|
| From left: Hajime Imoto, Thibault Ruffin, Remi Theirion, Wyn Masters, Jackson Davis.|
| Elite Men Results|
What a great race and wind down for many of us. I am looking forward to next season already!