Three flights and almost 50 hours after leaving Barcelona airport, we landed at Palangkaraya airport on the island of Borneo for the third round of the UCI Eliminator World Cup.


I had been to Indonesia before, in 2018, when I was studying in Taipei. One of my best friends came to visit, and we spent 10 days around Indonesia. You can watch our trip here. However, everything felt really strange this time. It was the same as when I was competing in trials, but I barely knew anyone, and I had to convince myself to switch my mindset to competition.

From the moment we landed, we realized two things: first, we were going to suffer from the heat and humidity not only during the race but throughout our stay. Second, we knew the organization was going to take care of us for the whole week. Every rider had a liaison officer who managed and arranged everything we needed. Even the police escorted us to the competition venue with sirens and lights, as if we were important politicians. It was really surreal, but it was normal for everyone. Lots of people were smiling, saying hi, and taking pictures of us while riding.

On the first day, we built the bikes and went to the track. We did half an hour of training, and it was really hard—not because of the track, which was fun, but because of the heat. After training, I saw on my Wahoo that the average temperature was 34 degrees and the max was 39. As soon as you pushed a little bit, it felt like you had been pushing for a couple of laps, so we had to keep that in mind for the competition. The track was really fun; it had a couple of jumps, a rock garden, some logs, and a couple of fast wood berms.

We adjusted the schedule for the second day to train earlier and avoid the heat a little bit. We studied a couple of lines to go through the rock garden and tried different gears and setups to choose the fastest way to pass the obstacles on the track. Back at the hotel, we stretched, prepared everything for the next day, and rested for the rest of the afternoon.



We rode from the hotel to the venue to warm up and did some laps when we arrived at the circuit. To our surprise, it was already full of people at all parts of the circuit, and you could feel the warmth of the public. It was awesome. The organization prepared pits for every rider, each with its own fridge full of drinks, a roller, and a huge fan to refresh ourselves. It was amazing.


I started riding and did a couple of laps, pushing a little bit to see how my legs were feeling. After the rock garden, I realized I had a rear flat tire, and the tubeless sealant wasn’t closing the hole. It was close to the rim, so I couldn’t put a plug in. I went to the pits and put in a tube. I’m not a big fan of tubes for mountain biking, but I knew it would do the job, and I didn’t have any other option.




I started pushing, rode the first wood berm fast, went straight to the jumps, kept pushing, and before the rock garden, I didn’t want to have a flat again, so I went slower than before—maybe too slow—but I didn’t want to risk it. I kept pushing towards the next jump and pedaling towards the logs. I went down the logs, and while doing the chicane before the finish straight, I got too close to the barrier and touched it with my hand. To be honest, I don’t know what happened, but I kept pushing towards the end. I didn’t feel fast, and I wasn’t. I ended up P20—not a good position, but I passed the cut and moved to the 1/8 finals.




I was in the third heat and was paired with the current World Champ (Titouan Perrin-Ganier), the current World Cup leader (Lorenzo Serres), and another Indonesian rider. So before starting, I knew the ticket to the 1/4 finals was going to be really, really hard to get.


My strategy was to go all out from the start, try to surprise them, and keep it up until the finish line. And that is what I did—well, half of it. At the start signal, I started pushing with everything I had. After a few pedal strokes, I found myself in P1, ready to face the first wood berm. I kept pushing in the straight before the second berm, rode the second berm, still in P1, faced the two jumps, still in first position, and headed to the rock garden. I saw Lorenzo’s wheel, but he couldn’t overtake me because we were entering the rock garden, and there was only one line.

However, after the rock garden, he pushed, caught me, and passed me after the next jump. I tried to keep pushing to maintain the second position, but after the first lap, Titouan came faster and passed me too. After that, I tried to follow them, but every second I was losing meters to them. I kept pushing, but they were too far ahead. I ended up 3 seconds behind them and in 3rd position in the heat, so this was the end for me.

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I finished P20, and even though I can’t be angry or disappointed because I didn’t do any specific training for this, I was a little bit frustrated. I realized that during qualifying, I was out mentally, and that led to little mistakes that ended up with a 20th position and a very difficult 1/8 finals heat.


There’s a lot to learn for the next one because there is going to be a next one. These competitions are so much fun and exciting that I want more. Moreover, you get to travel and meet new people, which in the end are experiences that we keep in our memories and will remember when we are old. These things give me more life energy than anything else. 😀