Flores, the hidden gem of Indonesia

From the highland to the coastline in 100 hours

Lintang Flores is an ultra-endurance cycling race traversing Flores, Indonesia. A challenging 1000km route with a staggering elevation gain of 19,000m and a cutoff time of 100 hours. Natasha Capirossi took part in the inaugural edition of the event and brought along a friend and a couple of disposable cameras.

Day 1: 5000m elevation gain

We started off with a major challenge on the first day: a 230km journey with a whooping 5000m elevation gain. Climbing during the daylight under the scorching sun reaching temperatures of around 49 degrees at noon was absolutely brutal - change of plan instead; we decided to get our naps in during the day to hit the road again after sunset.

Day 2: 6000m elevation gain

The second day started with 25km of climbing and ended with a 32km climb. Gradients were manageable. Riding in the dark was a completely different story, pitch black with the absence of any streetlights - or people in general.

It turns out that we struggled to ride at night too. As soon as midnight struck, our eyes and brains just wanted to completely shut down - resulting in short naps at random places such as convenience stores and huts by the side of the road where we took turns to safeguard our belongings.

Day 3: "Recovery day"

The third day was supposed to be our recovery day, as it was supposed to be a long flat stretch. Instead, the route contained flat gravel patches and countless short steep climbs. Forget recovery. That day we pushed as hard as the first 2 days - the vast stretches between towns necessitate meticulous planning of fueling strategies to sustain us throughout the journey.

Day 4: 5300m elevation gain

On the fourth day, we faced our longest stretch yet. Starting at noon, we pushed through 288km with 5300m elevation gain without much rest. The final 100km was a sprint, we were unsure if we'd make it before the cutoff time. Miraculously, we crossed the finish line just 7 minutes before the deadline. Unbelievable!

Despite all the challenges, we were rewarded with truly breathtaking views along the way. The warmth and generosity of the locals along the way served as a beacon of support, making the journey feel more like a team effort and keeping everyone in good spirits.