Race Description From RD
Test your physical and mental strength and endurance on a steep route of Mt. Guntur. The race will take you from 700 meter above sea level, located city center, straight up high into 2200 meter above sea level. Mt. Guntur well known also as “the miniature of Rinjani” will challenge all runner to beat them shelf.
Against the cut off time. Last climb to the summit will be most demanding section of the race before finally all participants are rewarded with astonishing view of Garut City and its beautiful create. From the summit you can enjoy a spectacular view of Mt. Cikuray and Mt. Papandayan.
With the Rinjani100 a couple of months away, I was getting antsy from lack of training. Especially hitting the trail with big elevation gain. So my friends and I, specifically picked this race, which was supposed to have a similar terrain characteristic like Mount Rinjani.
The drive from Jakarta was long with a tons of traffic, although I was pretty much slept the whole ride. We left Jakarta before the sun up and arrived at Garut by lunch time. Thanks to Waze and Mando “the Waze wizard”. We had lunch before we picked up our race package. We stayed in a pretty fancy bungalow hotel, tho it was dang cheap since we got a special deal.
After we checked out from our fancy hotel, Kampoeng Sampiruen Resort and Spa, we went straight to the starting line. It was pretty early in the morning and the starting process took a while. We had a traditional dance, opening speech from the local regent, and opening ceremony before the gun time.
I lined up a bit on the mid-front of the pack, as usual. I didn’t like to start next to the fast people and got too excited in the beginning. We started from the local regency office, and we stayed on the road for about 3 miles before we got into the foot of Mount Guntur. The whole way we were teased by the view of the mountain. We ran passed some villages and probably a few padi fields (it seemed like it). The road became less smoother, it was more like a heavy equipment road, like one in the mining, not sure what’s did they dig in this area. Then the road was also getting uphill. I got into my plan, hike often hike early to preserve energy for later on the race. Some runners pushed it hard and kept jogging, I hold it back, since I knew I could make up my time on the flat and downhill.
2 Steps Forward 1 Step Back, Repeat.
We started to run under the trees over a single trail. When I got into an empty small “warung” area (local food vendors), I got a little confused with the marking, luckily the runner behind me knew where to go, and showed me the direction. The course was getting a little steep and technical, which was my kind of race. I started to pick-up more runners on the way up. After a while, I arrived at an aid station where I gulped water once or twice. The plan was, took tailwind from my single bottle vest, and drank water from aid station. And I only wanted to spend only a minute or two in the aid station. I continued the race, passing a campsite where the campers directed me where to go. Now the real climb begun. Not only the climb was steep, but also most of the sections were a soft crumble dirt and volcanic sands. It was even hard to stand without sliding down. So the best plan was to keep moving, rather than stopped and loosing some ground. At one point (or two), I lost the marker, so I had to bush-whacking. About 2/3 of the climb, I passed a few more runners that just stopped on the trail side. One of them was lying down on the ground, cramping out. I didn’t bring my salt tab since I did not plan to be out here too long. So, I gave him my tailwind water from my bottle. Hope that would help him. I continued again and after a quick few minutes I got into the peak. Man the few was so beautiful that beyond my words. Even my photo-snaps could not judge the experience. In a way, it reminded me of Hope Pass in Colorado.
I was so happy that all the grueling climb was washed out into a distance memory. Probably I had my lips smiling from ear to ear when I crossed the check point. Somebody told me that I was number six. I think I was just in trance of happiness and his sentence didn’t really register.
Jim Walmsley Story
In the next climb, after the check point, I hike leisurely while I was enjoying the view. There, it just registered to my brain that I was doing really good, I wasn’t tired much, and all will be downhill from here, well except one small hill. I told myself that I could race it.
I started to get into my pace again on my hike. Just before the peak, I passed one more runner. It seemed he had cramping issue, I told him to keep moving so his muscles wouldn’t jam out. The next downhill was pretty technical, again, my kinda trail. I went all out, now I was in a mission. A little skidding here and jumping there, prayed that I would not break my leg or neck, literally. At the aid station, I just refilled my bottle and kept moving. Now the downhill was really run-able, despite a little slippery and single trail with some trenches, I managed to get into my groove. I passed another runner, he asked me if I was in master category, I said nope, and I wished him well while I kept cruising. I stayed focus on the trail, tried not to fall or wasting energy on unnecessary effort, though I did slip and slide once or twice. Luckily I used my Swiftwick long sock to protect my calf and shin from scratches. Soon I passed another local food “market” where there was a float-able gate of the race. I felt great and still had plenty fuel, so I kept going. I passed a few padi field, jump out and back to avoid the kids on the trail, and soon I got into another single trail that went downhill. I thought I saw a junction earlier, but I did not see any flag on the left, so I kept going straight. I saw a farmer on the side and asked him if he saw any runner passed by, and he said yeah there was one. I got more excited that I could catch #4 maybe. Then I passed a group of campers, I checked with them again if they saw any runners, they said yes. I did not have a good feeling about this since I had not seen any flags. I met another group of hikers, and again, they said they saw a runner earlier. After another few minutes, I was really not feeling good about this. I hiked back, and asked the hikers again, if they were sure about the other runner ahead of me, and they said yes. I asked them, if this trail would go to the cow-shed, again they said it would. they said I needed to turn left at the junction. So I thought this could be on course. I kept going until I got into the junction which was a truck road, and I was pretty sure I was lost. I was so000 upset, I had lost probably a good 20-30 minutes, and lost my place in the race. I called the emergency number on the bib but I had no luck, and I was so upset that I was thinking to kept going down, dropped out, and got a ride to the finish line.
I stopped and ate. This dark place could be just lack of calories. While I was eating, I remembered the story of Jim Walmsley in Western State 100, he was leading on the mile 93 with ridiculous pace, he would have broke the course record. But he made a wrong turn, got lost pretty far, but he went back, continued the race and finished what he started. (http://www.irunfar.com/2016/06/jim-walmsley-post-2016-western-states-100-interview.html) What he was saying that get into my head that day, he showed not about the place or finish time of the race, but to finish the race, was the goal when I put my feet on the starting line. I started to move again, hiked back, and soon I was back into my power hike pace. I pushed a way my grumpiness and negative thoughts, I kept focused on my hike one step after another. When I got into the junction, the course marshal was there, he said sorry that he missed me, and I was too far that he was not able to catch me. It was nice of him to apologize. I smiled ( I think I did), and said it s okay. I kept moving on the course, and tried to pick up my loss. From the cursed junction to the cow-shed was a little zig-zag-ing, which I almost missed a couple turns. We ran a half around of the cow-shed’s fence before we started the short climb for Mount Putri section. I started to catch more runner again, not that I ran as excited as I did before, but I just try to reduce the dent that I got from getting lost. The downhill was pretty interesting. It was a bit steep in a few section, with a ton of leaves covering the trail, so it was pretty slippery. I was just jumped and slide down like a kid on a slider. I saw there was a long webbing on the side, but I had no clue what was it for. I thought it was a barrier that fell off. When I caught up with another 2 runners, I found out the webbing could be used for a hand-hold to assist our decent. I asked the 2 guys if I could pass them, since they were a bit too careful, and it would be dangerous if I slide down on the top of them, at this steep down hill.
After a few minutes on the downhill trail, the course went through a small village where I ran on a rough pavement. I ended up ran pass a wedding, some motorcycle that could not ride any faster, people hang out on the street. It was a little busy road until I got back onto the road along the padi field. I felt a little low on my energy level, so before I got into the last aid station, I took my honey stringer gel. And it was bad, the gel went bad and kinda burn my throat. I threw it right away on the aid station, and I just kept moving with out stop for water or else. From the aid station I made a left turn to the main road towards the regency office, I knew I was just a few km away. I took a few gulps from my bottle to wash out that stupid gel, but the burn still there. It was pretty annoying, I had to slow down since it was hurt to ramp up my pace, it was kind of burning every-time I took a breath. I was getting weaker as the further I ran, this was annoying I thought. Closer to the big junction, where plenty of course marshals and polices stopped the traffic for me, I coughed violently on every breath. They directed me to slight right at the junction, I said (barely) my gratitude to them. And I could see a concerned face on their face. I guessed I looked pretty bad with this crazy coughing and tears on my eyes. When I was trying to bring back my pace, suddenly there was a bike that ride along with me. He was one of the volunteer who “guarded” me toward the finish line. Probably he was there to make sure I would not collapse and die on the road side, but I was kinda excited that I felt like a marathon leader who run behind a biker. I used him as a pacer to ramp up my pace, for a moment I forgot my throat burn sensation. After I made a left turn, I saw the finish line gate, oh thanks God. I was in a mix off angry because I lost my time, I was happy it was done, and I was in pain cause I still could not breathe normally. I was probably a bit bitchy and complain to the RD, but a few minutes later when I calmed down, I realized it that it was not his fault, everything could happen in trail running race. I did apologize to him before I left. I would definitely recommend this race for everyone. This was the most organized trail race that I had in Indonesia by far. The marker was clear, the marshals were very friendly, the crews and volunteers were really awesome (probably some of them were local trail runners too), and the most important the local people, the villagers, were very welcoming and supportive. The view… oh the view, it was definitely on the same par as the view in US or Europe.
I Fought A Good Fight, I Finished The Race, I Kept My Faith