Returns on 4 – 6 May 2018
100km / 60km / 36km / 27km
Rinjani 100 is an all new Rinjani Ultra. In addition to the classic route and famously brutal trail from Senaru to Segara Anak Lake before summitting majestic Rinjani, you will get to experience all new tracks cresting the many Sembalun hills, traversing ridges and valleys and the vast beautiful grassland, which merge together presenting breathtaking nature view that makes all the breathless steps worth it many times over.
Hummm where should I start to tell this race, probably the most complicated race to tell. Alright, bare with me, I tried to write it as race report as much as I could, but there were a few things that I needed to mention because those personal issues what make this race harder than usual.
I Drank From The Skull
This was my second time in Rinjani100, tried to finish THE 100km race. Most of you might know that last year I had a drama with my shoes, and I had to call the day at 50 km point. So this race was my main goal this year, not only to finish it, but also to steal the biggest point that I could gain in Indonesia for UTMB 2019, although it turned up become the biggest drama of all my races.
I arrived early in the am, the day before the race day. After I checked into my hotel, I went to pick up my race pack and head back to my hotel. Sleep eat and repeat for the whole days, till had the last supper with my friends from Jakarta. The race would start the next day 30 minutes before midnight.
The next day I woke up a bit late, I could use as much sleep as I could, until the next couple of days. And around noon, I met up with my gf (ex now), at the pick up center. Alas, here where the nightmare became, which she came with hell behind her. I won’t get into the detail but it was mess, and we ended up pretty bad. I could not sleep at all till the sun down, I had just lost my zen zone that I usually I could maintain before race. To be honest, a DNS had crossed on my mind, but luckily I was too stubborn, or arrogant, to fail myself. I really do need this UTMB point, despite I was really not sure I could run this race, a tough mountain race. I became like in a zombie mode where everything was kind of blurry. After I ate my dinner I got ready, went to the race central to catch the shuttle bus, rode the bus to the starting line, and just sat there waiting. Suddenly, a familiar face and voice startled me. It was Theo Orange, the runner that I met at Goat Run Guntur. God bless him, if not because of him, maybe I would just sit there till the sun rise and miss the race. After some ceremony, dancing performance, speeches from important people and our national anthem song, we walked to the starting line. Theo asked me if I was okay. I m told him I had trouble in my head and couldn’t be focus. He convinced me that I would be ok, and I could do this. I looked at clear starry sky, and convinced myself I would be ok. I would finish this.
The gun was off, the starting line was like a mile further down compared last year race, before we got into the trail and entrance. I kept my light off, the street light and the moon were bright enough. I was jogging next to Theo, we chat here and there, took my mind of from dark places. After a mile in from the Senaru entrance, we started to get into the trail under thick trees. I turned on my light and started to do my power hike as the terrain was getting steeper, and I would run whenever I could. I kept chatting with Theo for a while, it was really good to bring my race mode back. Although he mentioned that we went on too hard.
Then we got into the first peak over the Senaru Rim, I filled up one of my bottle, put off my z-poles, and turned on my second headlamp on my stomach. From last year experience, the downhill course after the first peak was a bit technical, and hard to see through overcast shadows from the rocks and cliffs. The headlamp on my stomach was perfect to create ambiance light when I moved my head around and closer to the ground too. I survived this downhill much better from last year. I skimmed around the Segara Anak Lake, crossed the creek, and hike up towards the Sembalun Rim. On this section last year, my shoes out-sole were falling off. I could not help myself, but to check my shoes. What a relief that shoes were good.
Some part of this section were run-able, so I could do hike and jog as much as I could, before I was too sleepy. Right on the stairs section, the sleepiness was hit me and I was on one of those sleep walking moment, where I dreamed that I was hiking while dozing off my eyes. I was on and off between reality and dreaming.
Suddenly I was able to see the line of people over the Sembalun Rim. I knew I was close to the second aid station, Sembalun Rim, the one before the last pitch to peak of Mount Rinjani. The wind was getting stronger toward the expose area of Sembalun Rim, and really cold. When I arrived at the aid station, I put on my base layer and my Gore Tex jacket. I drank a couple of coke to wake me up, filled up my Tailwind in one bottle and coke on the other one. Oh I think I met Mella and Didit there, friends from Jakarta, at this aid station. It was so cold that we just did a quick chat, and I had to keep moving. I grabbed some biscuits and banana to go. I continued the hike while eating my early breakfast. The wind was really cold and strong, it was a little challenge just to keep moving up against the wind, and sometimes I had to maneuver to pass the slow hiker. I was kinda trapped in the middle of 30K runner horde. A little frustrated that I was definitely wasting too much energy on this inefficient hike, and off course time. I planned to hit the 50K in under 12 hours so I could have lots of extra time on the second 50K. Despite it was a slow moving and frustrated, I felt great for the first hour. I met Anto along the way, and showed him where was the peak and told him to be patient because it would be a long hours before we get there. Halfway to the peak, the altitude start to hit me, like in Mount Guntur. Again lack of training and losing my endurance and strength capability must be the culprit, since I did not have this issue last year. By the sunrise, I got into the rim with big stones, I heard someone called, and there was Jojo were sitting at the same spot like last year, tho he looked much better than last year. I said hi but I also had to keep moving, I already behind my schedule. I got to the peak sometime before 8 in the morning. It was so crowded there, so I grabbed my check point bracelet, and walked down a couple steps to sit and eat a little while put off my jacket. It would be hot as soon as I got down to the rim. Theo caught up with me and sat down, I split my breakfast waffle with him.
Aid Station Prisoner.
The downhill was something that I had been waiting. It was one of the most fun downhill course I ever had. Since it was on a soft sand, so I could just run and slide, it was kinda like skiing. I would jump around, sliding left and right using my poles. Even when I fell, I could just butt slide down, well as long as I did not slide over the rim and dove into the crater.
Halfway down, I had to stop to take out the sand from , it started bother my toes like extra insole. Alas, I spend too much time on this silly Salomon shoes lace system, it got stuck from the sands. A few minutes later, I continued my race, speeding up my pace as much as I could to make up my lost time. I saw Theo and told him to meet up at the aid station. A few minutes later, I ended up running with Adam Cranny, it was a fun zoom zoom with him.
At the Sembalun Plawangan aid station, I put back my poles, refilled my water and my Tailwind. I met Ulil here, unfortunately he dropped because he got sick, and he was so nice helping me with my errands. Right before I left, I saw Theo coming in. Adam and I continued to descend the mountain. This time I could run much better than last year, having a full function shoes helped.
It was semi technical downhill half way down. I had so much fun. The last section was sandy sloppy downhill before I made a short stop at the small aid station where I just grab a coke and banana before continued. The next section was crossing multiple savannas. I remembered last year, I met so many touristy hikers at this section, that I had to stop so many times, the single track trail was pretty narrow. This year I was lucky that I could keep running all the way till I got out to the main road, the 40 km mark. I saw the aid station Bawak Nao, on the left side of the road, in front of a closed shop. Alas, I just realized that I barely drank my water, both of my flasks were still full. This was no good. I drank right away a few glasses, eat banana slices, and continued my race to the next section. The next section was about 10 km passing through Pergasingan Hill, with about 700 meters elevation gain. The trail entrance was across the street from the aid station, crossing river and running around the padi field on the right side that took me straight to the first uphill. This section was a little bit open with not much shades from the trees. On the second uphill, I had to change my buff into hat. My head was roasted from the Sun, and caused me a little headache. The rolling hills kept continued until 3 or 4 times with some small forest in between. Then the trail went downhill, it was a bit steep switch back, a little dusty and rocky. It was not that bad unless when I cross path with hikers, I had to be careful not to run too fast and slammed on them. When I got down, my brain played trick on me. Somehow I thought the aid station was not that far from the foot of the hill, but it ended up 2-3 miles more. I think they moved it a bit further, last year was closer to a junction, but this year it seemed on an opening area.
In this Likun Aid Station, I grabbed my drop bag and ran through my what to do checklist in my head. But again my head got a little distracted that I could not get anything done. So I spent like over an hour in that aid station before I could pick up myself again. Effed with anything else, I just got to finish this race. I asked for a noodle soup, and I changed my clothes refill Tailwind and supply. while waiting the boiling water, I took off my socks, and it was magical that I did not get any single blisters after all the sands on my feet, God bless Trailtoes. I cleaned up my feet, re-apply the Trailtoes, and put back my socks and shoes. Actually I gave some of my Trailtoes to two other runner, Mahdi and Adam. Adam got a pretty bad blisters from his broken shoes. I ate some fruits and drink some more. An hour later, I was on my feet again and ready to bounce. I saw Theo coming in just before we left, this where the 100 and 60 were separated. I wished him best luck, he only have one section more before finish.
Adam, Mahdi and I were starting to hike and traverse the first hill, Anak Dara. Halfway on this first hill, I felt off with my bladder.
A little back story, a few kilometers before the 50k aid station, I tried to pee and I only dropped a few. Now, I tried to pee again but I had no luck. Shit, I was in big problem, I told myself. Adam and Mahdi were waiting for me, I told them to keep moving. I knew there was something off about my bladder and I needed to sort it out. Despite the hot sun beating on my head and unsettled bladder, but the view from these peaks were really stunning. If I was an airplane, I would see all my meters whacked. Words could not explain the sensation like I had control of my body but not really. I forced myself to keep moving one foot after another, and I think my body turned into auto-pilot as I could not remember much of this section after Anak Dara peak. I just remembered it was long pain journey. Although, the view from Anak Dara was beyond my words, and it s a privilege for only us the 100 km participate in this event.
After a long cruise control mode, the next thing I remembered was I took a wrong turn on the downhill. I just realized it when I asked a bunch of local teenagers, who were hanging out by the cliff, they had not seen any runners through this path, but they saw at the village down there. I must had taken a wrong turn. I traced back my footsteps, and I took the right turn.. There, I saw some monkeys were playing with the flag markers. Off course!! My monkey love and hate curse would never give a day without fun. I ran down the paved stairs towards the village as the sun hid down under the horizon. Once I got to the end of the stairs, I turned left on the a wide dirt road as some local gave me direction. On the right turn at the village edge, I met the race medical doctor, Dr Yotin, and told her that I had a problem, where I was not able to pee since the previous aid station. I know her before, I met her last year on the same race where she was taking care of my shoes, yes my shoes got medical attention last year.
When I got into Sembalun Bumbung aid station, the sun was set already. I met Mahdi and Adam again, they just about to do their evening prayer. I told the medic at the aid station about my issue, and they gave me warm water to drink, and they forbid me to drink coke for now. I ate while I prepped my lights and put back my buff. Not so long, Dr. Yotin came to the aid station and checked on me. She gave me a task to finish a liter water as a requirement to continue the race, so I drank and ate.
Blood Sweat and Glory
Mahdi and Adam finished their prayer and continued the race. For me, I did not know how many minutes later, but finally I was released from the aid station. All I remember it was pitch dark. I followed the road toward a small river, and off course, I missed the turn. It was not so bad though, probably only a few hundreds meters. There I met two runners from Malaysia (I think), that showed me the right direction. We started to hike the first hill together but we did not talk much. I think we was just self preserved for our long journey ahead, and just happy to have companions.
These long hike had short switch back that turn probably every 20 to 50 meters. Some of the hike was on “flat” incline, but mostly stair-like step made of roots and dirt. There were plenty hikers in the beginning, most of them were youngsters. So it was a little frustrating that I had to navigate around them, or wait for them to give us a way. I was wondering why did they hike at night, it was too early to hike for sunrise. And strangely, at one point, one of the girl kinda got possessed or something, and yelling around with weird voice and language, maybe native language. Four of her friends hold her down, barely, and one of them saying prayer line from Quran. I was not sure if it was real or not, I did not think I had hit my hallucination moment yet, but it was pretty vivid, and I remembered I walked around them to continue my hike.
A few moment pass after we passed those hikers, we had the trail for our own and finally I was able to take a piss. It was bloody leaking, literally. It was uncomfortable, but it was a relieve. I felt a little bit better, but somehow I kinda felt a little weak at the same time. When I got back to the trail and continued my hike, I found that I lost my companions. Soon, I could feel tiny drops of water fell on my skin here and there. It was a little refreshing after a long hot day on the previous peaks. But when I got to the end of the hill, it was pouring with a strong chill wind. Even after I put on my GoreTex jacket, I was still feel freezing, I guess the wet shirt was not helping. It was really hard to keep my head up, since the water just gonna hit my face and eyes. Luckily the grass was pretty high that made a distinctive trail path, even when I was looking down, I could see the trail direction pretty good. I was trolling pretty slow as my body still weak, and now I started to feel sleepy and bone freezing. It was a weird uncomfortable combination. Finally, I got into a campsite where there was a marshal, who directed me to the next section. I asked him if I could use his tent to change clothes, but too bad there were some runners using the tent for sleep. He said there should be another marshal’s tent on the next hill campsite.
I knew I had to keep moving to keep my body temperature not drop, and also I really needed to change my clothes soon before I got hypothermia. There would be no going back from that. I was super sleepy that I closed my eyes here and there, but I forced myself to keep moving. I probably sleep walking again. It was a little blur until I got to the next peak, where I found the campsite. It was still pouring, but luckily I found the marshal and his tent was empty so I could change my wet clothes. It was a little tricky to change clothes in the small tent with stiff body and freezing fingers. It felt so nice to have a dry long sleeves t-shirt.
After that peak, it was a steep downhill trail, but the good thing the grass were not as high as before, so it was easier to see where my feet landed. By this time. the rain had stopped pouring, the trail was still a bit slippery tho. Here goes slip and slide. As much as multiple fell was sucks, but downhill were always fun and passed by in a blink. I remember there was a little uphill, then the next was dirt and rock kinda single trail downhill with short switchback, where leads to the Pusuk Aid Station.
Mind Tricks And Stubborn Mind
The aid station was based inside a small security post, pretty small but neat and had everything. There I met the doctor again, who was checking out my condition immediately. She was pretty happy that I was more chipper than a few hours ago, and was able to take a leak. I ate noodle soup while I refilled my Tailwind flask on one side and dilated coke on the other, I felt so sleepy that I needed the kick from the coke.
You know, in every long distance race like 100K or 100 miles, there was always a regret feeling of leaving the comfy aid station and goes into a void total darkness and cold. But it was something that I needed to get done, the sooner I walked or ran, the sooner everything would be over.
The course went to a main road that I immediately recognize it. I felt ecstatic, since I knew the road was heading to Sembalun Village. I started to run again, especially on the downhill. I had the notion that this would be my run all the way to finish line. Suddenly I saw a marshal. He stood by the closed street vendor shops on the right side, and directed me to turn right there, to a forest area. I was still thinking this would be a small detour that would lead back to the main road. I was still running on the trail, into the deeper of the forest. it was quite nice, not so dense that I could see surround me, and pretty flat that I was able to keep my stride with this tired legs. Then the hike begun and it was follow with steep climb over hanging roots. And it was keep going on like that for a while. My spirit was still high tho, I was still eager to climb with kinda a happy feeling, thinking the Sembalun would not be far away, thinking these would be the last pitch.
After awhile, finally I arrived at the peak of the hill, and I looked around, it was nowhere near any civilization. Just mountain range around me and I did not see any city lights. Although it was amazingly beautiful view, but it was kinda break my heart. I gave myself a fake hope. There was a marshal who sit next to a little campfire, he directed me to turn left on the back of the hill. And he also said that after the next aid station, I would still need to climb one more mountain range before I reached Sembalun area. I did a big shrug but forward onward was my only option.
I ran down the hill till I was arrived at the aid station in the middle of savanna. I asked for a soup noodle, which I had to wait for them to make the hot water. Probably this was the most scenic aid station I ever had from all my race in Indonesia. While I was waiting, I looked at the map, there was one more big climb to 2000 meter-ish and I would be on my way to bring it home. I looked at my watch and I was less than an hour from the Sun rise. You know, the best thing with running long distance races, any food that serves in front of me, they are always delicious. So I savored my noodle soup, and closed my eyes a little bit. As soon as I closed my eyes, I could feel there was a bit light changes on the first ray of the Sun. I collected my gears and my soul, prepare to continue. Me and the other runners started to continue our journey. The quick rest did me good. I was running with a group of people through the valley between mountains, it was really beautiful morning. The path was swirling through a carpet of grass and a patch of trees here an there, the ground were still soft and the air was pretty crisp, with a bunch of cow drops here and there as the decorations.
Again, good things wouldn’t last forever. After a few miles, we started our ascent to the last mountain range, or so I thought. The climb was not to steep but nor easy by any means. And it was never end. At first, I could still maintain pretty decent pace for a fast hike, but after a few peaks, I just broke down and backed to my snail pace again. I swore I thought that the peaks were never ended that would take me to heaven. After a couple hours finally I went by, and frustrated by endless hills, I finally went down, and the temperature was getting hot.
When I got to the valley, the Dandaun Valley aid station was located at a big field that seems for camping ground. It was out of no where, and it was more like a check point than an aid station. I just refilled my water and Tailwind, and continued my race right away, they didn’t have have anything anyway. The next 5 km section of the course went on to the trail on the right side, cut through some walk-path. Not sure this was a zoo, or public park, it just seemed like recreation area, didn’t feel like I was in a wild environment area. Again, soon enough I had to face with climbing a heel, they were never out of the hill in this race. After multiple peaks and a very slow snail pace, I got into the peak with an amazing view of Sembalun city. Finally, I was descending, but I didn’t put my head at ease, I was really expecting to meet another hill. Actually it was really going down through some farm, no man lands, some villages, and what not in between. When I hit a road section, I thought I would be led straight to the finish line, but on the other hand the course made me turn right into a small backyard garden. There was a photographer at the corner of that garden farm, he told me that I only had about an hour to get my a$$ to the finish line. So I did run, at least all I could do after all the walking the past 24 hours. Finally I got into the road section, while I distracted my brain from thinking of stop running and walking, I crossed my finger this was the last section to the finish line. And I could not be happier when I saw the junction where would led me to the finish line. Turned left, runners finishers volunteers cheered, the gate slowly but sure came closer, passed the gate, the finish tape got in focus. I believed I was the happiest person on earth when I crossed the tape.
In the “could have” world, I probably could finish this race shortly after the sun up. If I did not have personal drama before the race and had a good rest, if I did not stop for a couple hours contemplating my life at 50k AS, if I hydrated better so I wouldn’t have bladder problem and spent an hour in the 60K AS, if I trained well so I won’t have to walk a lot, if I did not sleep to wait the Sun up. But the truth was, perfect or plan words were not exist in ultra marathon distance race dictionary. Things were always going sideways, and the only thing I could do, was suck it up and keep moving forward, stay focused on my task one at a time and reached my main goal.
Oh Very Important Side Note
This Rinjani100 was the best race in Indonesia ever. Tough mountain race with heavenly view in every peaks, amazing event. Hey I did not get lost too bad, that meant something. Nice people and volunteer that went to extra miles to make sure we reach finish line.