On Christmas Day 2016, over 40 riders left Rodalink Denpasar for the inaugural Gietman Challenge in Bali. The Gietman Cycling Event would see riders take on 110 kilometres, with a Strava battle to be held on Catur Daud Road in Bantang.

In cool conditions, riders assembled at the Rodalink bike shop in the heart of Denpasar where they signed on for the challenge, and pinned on a number. No matter where you are in the world, when a number gets pinned to a jersey, it’s on!

As the sun came up at 6.30 riders set out on Jalan Teuku Umar, one of the main roads in Denpasar, with the support of a marshall who stopped traffic as well as two support cars and three motorbikes in attendance to keep all riders safe.

The huge peloton rode north out of Denpasar in a jovial mood on this social ride, punctuated with several stops along the way for riders caught in traffic. A key feature of the 2016 Gietman Cycling Event was the participation aspect, and at each stop on the road, riders had their ‘passport’ stamped to show how far they had progressed.

After meandering along quiet roads through stunning rice fields, the peloton paused for breath and fuel at Pura Puseh before taking their shot at the feature part of the day, the three-kilometre 5% Strava segment to Malet Seri Batu.

2016 Gietman Cycling Event Strava Segment

As the temperature climbed, so too did the peloton, with a steady climb delivering to the bottom of the Strava segment, with riders stringing out to make their assault on the decisive moment of the 2016 Gietman Cycling Event.

In a stunning ride Wendy Yap, the only female rider in the challenge, flew up the climb in a time of 8:22 putting out 190 watts and averaging 21.7km/h to set the fastest time as well as taking the #1 position on the Overall Leaderboard.

To win the Gietman Cycling Event trophy, a rider is required to complete every leg of the challenge, and have their passport stamped at every stop. Unfortunately, a mid-afternoon flight home to Singapore for Wendy meant she would have to leave the ride early and without a trophy, but she holds the fastest time crown that is going to take some beating.

Once at the top, riders regrouped and refreshed before making the rapid descent along the smooth and winding roads of the Tampaksiring region, then back into Denpasar for cold watermelon, colder drinks, a well-earned lunch, and an opportunity to share stories of the day.

This meant local rider Wayan Gunarta, with a time of 9:23, would take home the Gietman trophy for the year. The perpetual trophy will be up for grabs again in December 2017. If you want a Christmas with a difference, make sure you sign up for the 2017 Gietman Cycling Challenge!