This was a race that I had my eyes on for a while, first time I rode at Cikole was 2007 and its taken me 5 years to finally attend a race there.
Its not the purest form of DH racing per say, there is a nice long uphill pedal near the bottom of the track.
Its a great fun track to ride one but you are gonna bust a lung when it comes time to race. If you want to test your fitness, go to Indonesia, if you do well there, you will do well on any pedaly track in the world. Partially the reason why I keep going back to Indonesia, (besides the amazing food, people, friend, racing, tracks etc etc. ).
Some changes have been done to the track, fairly freshly cut, we were lucky with the weather and it decided to stay predominantly dry. Would have been a nightmare if it was wet, turning an already pedaly track into an all out fitness track.
Was great having Jackson Davis all the way from Australia joining the race too, if you don't know who he is then search his name on Pinkbike. Great fun following him down on runs, turns effortlessly.
Due to the nature of the track, most people were going close to race speed on the first day already. The Polygon boys could be seen all day doing their train of 3 riders, pedaling at any chance they could. Pretty insane to watch, basically they only stopped pedaling for the corners.
For mere mortal riders like me, I had to plan where I was going to push and where I was going to rest on the track and took a few days of planning to decide how much I could push. Slowly building up and wanting to put in a fast run for seeding as it was on Saturday allowing a whole day to rest before finals.
On my seeding run however, my chain links decided to blow up really high up on the track, leaving me at mercy to gravity and pumping whatever I could. Was a bit gutted but at least it happened during seeding and not the finals. I was still able to clear the uphill section without unclipping which was cool. Ended up with a 2.47 which I was quite stoked with for a chainless run, top times for the master expert riders (with chains) were 2.40 on those conditions so I didn't put my self to shame. As the finish line came into sight I thought might as well have some fun and pulled a decent table. It was a nice experience for sure, chainless, silent bike while being in race mode with that focus. smiled a lot.
Race day, track was getting blown out in some bit, some berms blew out half way though and you had to be careful. Nothing really to catch you out by surprise, pretty standard stuff really. Thanks to my stroll in the park the day before I was first to go down for the elites, I managed to hit all my lines, got a bit wild in a couple of corners, pedaled my heart out on the pedaling section but once I got to the top I was done, last 150 of track my legs were turning the pedals but not putting much power down. Managed to stay in the hot seat for quite a few riders, ended up with a 2.31.98, a whole 16 seconds faster than my seeding run, happy!
My target for the race was a top 10 and I ended up 11th.
Sure is a huge contrast racing in Malaysia and being upset coming second but happy to come 11th in Indonesia. They say the clock never lies and that's why its so great, 6 seconds off the win and 3 seconds off the podium. Baby steps in the right direction, this time last year I was double digits off the podium let alone the win. Progress!
Big shout out to the guys at FJC for helping me and Yamm out for transport to and from the airport and lodging. Your hospitality is much appreciated. Looking forward to getting back to Indonesia in November for Asia Pacific Downhill Challenge, its gonna be sick!