Saturday, November 24, 2007

la ruta - day two

Thursday: Day Two

75.2km (46miles)
3,624m (11,887ft) of climbing

Agh. we get to sleep in! If that is what you call a 3:50am wake-up for a 6:30am race start. Its still later than the previous day. You quickly try to grab as much sleep as possible in a situation like this. Sleep/rest is your friend. It helps repair the damage from the previous day.

It was very difficult to get out of bed. In fact, I think this is the hardest part of the whole race: getting out of bed in the morning. My back was all sore and every muscle in my body was tight and sore. I managed to find my way downstairs to the buffet breakfast. TimmyD stuck to his own routine of eating his own personal breakfast from home (that's all I'll say, its his little secret). Wolfed some more rice & beans, eggs, pineapple and watermelon down and then back to the room to change and get everything in my bag. We opted to take the shuttle to the race start and made it onto one of the first shuttles. Traffic is almost non-existent at 5am in the morning. A far cry from 5pm the previous day.

(photo: Sean)

We arrive and get to walk through what happened to be a muddy field to the bike tent. Then a long wait in line to retrieve our bikes.

Once our bikes were retrieved we eventually went to the staging area and hung out a bit prior to the day's start. Most of the usual suspects: (left to right) Dicky, Kevin, myself, Andy and Sean.

(photo: Sean)

And we're off. Not even 30ft from the start there is a huge bottleneck because the promoters decided to funnel us through a narrow mud pit (the mud pit we rode in to finish the day prior). I saw Dicky on the outside so followed his line. Once through the mud we're on an undulating gravel road for a few km. Stuck with Dicky and Andy here.

Here's the leader group on the gravel road:

A sharp right turn and the road went up. Now this is the painful climb I remembered seeing on the profile. Off the bike and walking some while slowly watching both Andy and Dicky pull away from me. My heart rate is through the roof and its super hot out, yet again. Body hasn't caught up to the exertion. Turns out everyone was walking. Eventually got near the top and through the first check point. On the bike again! Rode a nice ridgeline that eventually descended out onto a paved road crossing. Quick cross of the road and into the first downhill of the day. This was awesome! The views were amazing too.

Look. Its Jorge rocking it!

By now I'm feeling pretty good and back to slowly picking people off. Alonso and Adrianna swung by and said I'm doing well. Some undulating terrain between km17 and km25. Then a steeep road climb up to check point three. This road was steep and I knew it was the beginning of what amounted to a very long climb.

Was I seeing things? Was that really Dicky not too far up? No way. It was him. He was riding this steep section while I was walking/riding quite a bit of it. I could not believe he was turning that 20t cog when I had trouble with my 22t. His cadence was almost a complete standstill yet he kept on trucking. Slowly I kept on creeping up on him and eventually caught him just moments before check point two. Ding Ding. rang my bell. "You must really be liking that gear now, huh?" was Dicky's response. "Yup". We rolled into the check point together. Dicky quickly refilled his bottles and was off. I hung around a bit to eat some food (mmm. fresh, hot boiled potatoes coated with salt!!). It was encouraging that I caught up to him but I had no intentions to 'race' him. After all, I'm still in the mindset of wanting to just finish another day and continue my big 'ride'. After all, if I really was strong I'd see him again.

Out of check point two and up more road. Up, Up. and Up was the theme of the day.
I tried to get a few photos:

Near the top (on the steepest stuff) Pineapple Bob caught me yet again! No way. I did my best to hang but he kept on pulling. The top was steep and I gave it all I could to keep turning the pedals. Some steep stuff I walked the rest I trudged on. Reached the summit and into check point four. I grabbed some more food and was off on a nice long double-track descent. A gentleman from Colorado (forgot his name) joined me on the descent. It was a bit jarring with the steel fork but still able to keep off the brakes and bomb it.

Got to the bottom and we had some flat through a town. I did my best to stay on the wheel of my buddy from Colorado and let him pull me through town. Just as we're exiting town things start to go back up (a nice paved road). We crested the first little roller and who do I see? Pineapple Bob. Awesome! Knowing 1)it was the last climb of the day 2)I'm feeling really good and 3)we had a little tailwind; I turned up the cadence. Passed everyone like they were standing still and kept on going. Eventually got to our next turn... A wide right turn into a very rocky climb. Spectators were suggesting we walk so I hopped off and did my best to walk up this climb as fast as I could (still thinking the top was right up there).

As soon as I got to the top of that rocky climb I saw this:

A muddy descent with a huge, near vertical, mud climb. You've got to be kidding me? La Ruta lesson #1: Don't get your hopes up because they will be shattered just around the bend.

My thoughts of finishing in front of Pineapple Bob were immediately shattered. Recall how fast he hikes with his bike on his shoulder? Yes. I'm done for. Turns out we actually got up that climb together but I got caught in some 'traffic' on the descent. The top consisted of more mud with a tight, doubletrack, muddy descent. I pretty much ran down the mountain the mud was so thick. It was safer to run than attempt to ride.

The day's results:

Felt good at the finish. A little clean-up action and one of the earliest shuttles back to the Best Western in San Jose for.... Happy Hour: Free Imperials.

Here are some more pictures from

This is how I never got lost:

Here's a nice vista Sean snapped:


Blogger sean said...

you rode up that hill?? i was walking past granny gear pushers up that thing. friggen horse.

11/25/2007 9:45 AM  

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