• Mariske Strauss

XCE World Cup – Indonesia

I don’t know about you but the weeks seem to be blending into one another! Almost time to get ready for the next XCE World Cup and I’ve hardly processed the last one. The past weekend we raced in Palangka Raya, on one of the many Islands that make up the beautiful country known as Indonesia. It was a long travel to get there but we were welcomed like royalty! The organizers really outdid themselves in every aspect, so needless to say the racing was jam-packed excitement from start to finish with upward of 25000 spectators cheering us on.



We arrived on Thursday which left us with some time to get over the jetlag, acclimatize to the boiling tropical climate and get some good training sessions in before the big day. We were spoilt with a gala dinner with the Governor and each of the athletes had two chaperones to help with the language barrier and help us get the lay of the land. There were no expenses spared or stones left unturned with the aim to make sure we had the best possible experience.


Fast forward to race day, everything proceeded as planned but en route to the warm-up zone, weaving through the thousands of spectators, someone accidentally opened a car door on me and I almost lost my good pinky, hehe … luckily my mad, cat-like reflexes kicked in and I managed to stay upright and received a nice shot of adrenaline as an added bonus ahead of the qualifying heats. Racing started as usual with the woman's qualifying runs followed by the men. I placed 6th in the super strong field of racers, I am still getting used to the sheer intensity and speed of these TimeTrails but super impressed with my performance so far, not to mention the diversity my LIV Pique is offering me ... it is really an all-round dreamy ride I mean from cape Epic podiums to now racing at the sharp end of XCE World Cups!


Anyway, I digressed...I made it through the heats and into the finals, unfortunately, the universe seemed to have had a different plan. During the first lap ( of two ) I slipped out and gracefully skidded across the track. Unfortunately with this short fast style of racing, there is no margin for error, alas I finished fourth. Not exactly what I had in mind but really proud of my performance and how I felt. Thankfully my bike and I are okay, just some extra battle scars for the both of us but nothing too serious.



For now, we are all trying to get used to the VERY thin air at a whopping 3500m! Not to mention the 32hr of travel to get here, the human body is really an amazing and resilient thing!


I would like to send out a special thanks to my amazing chaperones ( Ale & Ai ) you guys helped so much and to the Indonesian organizers /committee that hosted us this past week, you went above and beyond and I cannot thank you enough, I look forward to visiting your beautiful country again.


The next race is in Leh, India. So I am currently breathing through a straw in preparation for the next race ;)


See you soon and thanks for all the support


Best wishes

Mariske




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