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The Chef Who Got Cooked in the Desert

Bali's Heinz von Holzen Does Bali Proud in the 2004 Running of the Simpson Desert Cycle Challenge.

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Not content to reap honor after honor for his pioneering efforts to make Balinese food known to the world, Bumbu Bali's Chef and owner Heinz von Holzen recently left the kitchen and represented Bali in a grueling 580 kilometer bicycle race across some of the planet's most inhospitable terrain.

Participating in the Simpson Desert Cycle Challenge (SDCC) Heinz joined 32 others at the starting line of the tortuous 5-day physical endurance test at Purnie Bore, South Australia on September 28, 2004. After finishing 9 stages enduring extremes of temperatures, and terrain ranging from desert sands, to mining tracks to mud-filled tracks where the only option was to carry your bike - Heinz was one of the only 18 participants who managed to actually finish the race in Birdsville, Queensland. What's more, he finished 10th overall and top in his age group (45-50 years).

Clearly not a race for the faint-hearted, the Simpson Desert Cycle Challenge has Doctors monitoring the physical and mental stamina of racers along the entire track. Run with the best of intentions, the SDCC netted over $30,000 for the Queensland Spinal Injuries Assistance Foundation.

Heinz described the course of the race as starting in a location three-days drive from any major capital of Australia and then heading off into the desert to conquer 700 sand dunes, the world's most miserable corrugated road, and two days of torrential rains which turned the track to mud-lakes.

Exhilarated by the experience, Heinz is hoping to break free from his busy kitchen and join the next annual running of the SDCC in 2005.

More information: SDCC Final Results

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