Saturday, November 15, 2008

la ruta '08 - day four (final)

Congrats Harlan! 10th place overall and top American! 5th place finish for the last and final stage.

Happy to be done. Harlan with Thomas Turner (2nd place American and 11th overall).

Great Job Janel for a 7th place overall in the Women's field. Great Job Lisa for an 11th place overall in the Women's field. Good showing for your first stage race(s).

news from Travis:

Today was one of the first last day starts in the sun. Turrialba volcanoe was visible and smoking which took the pain away which consumed my whole body. Everything hurts from the relentless climbs and teeth ratteling descents the past 3 days. It seemed the whole coffee plantation stopped working to see the start which was a 5km loose climb if about 2000 feet that we descending for the finish.

It was really emotional to be starting this day and my body was in enough shock to become numb and make the legs work. This stage looks easy on the profile but nothing us easy. We cruised a ridge line and what would be big climbs have become rolling hills in costa rica terms. We it a descent that must of been 25+ degree grade down paved. It dawned on me that they pave steep places then flats have gravel. We have to climb out to the second check point and I realize that I am on full autopilot as I replace the buckets of sweat with a solid hot day fluid and energy replacement scheme. More hoses with wild kids to cool me off.

Flying down towards the coast we see the relentless flats to the coast and the dreaded train tracks. We get a glimpse right after the descent and the first train bridge. Trestles over a huge river and we are walking. This would be easy but here the trestles are not equal distance and I am sweating double in fear but make it. By the time we finish the day I was a pro. What was interesting is locals took bikes and made carts that the rear wheel would be on one rail and the cart would span the tracks.

Tracks, rough dirt roads, smooth fast paceline road sections, long straight plantation roads under pounding 95-100 degree heat for 40 miles was what made today hard very hard.

Tracks mean riding down the middle on the concrete ties which 29ers excelled alternating with the along the side. Then the train bridges with locals watching the fear of the racers.

Plantation roads are dangerous as carnage occurred. Lisa was on my wheel as I pulled us closer to the coast and we as we passed a group of guys one stepped on on lisa hit him at full speed going into the ditch and over the bars. She is bruised up but only thing one can do 25 miles from the finish is to charge on. The guy seemed fined and only stares were exchanged. Then we came across a fresh crash with face carnage.

After mind numbing miles we hit the coast with 10 miles left and that took what seemed forever but only about 40minutes. Last bit on pavement and chills hit my spine as I turn left down the step ramps to the finish. Wow!

This is a tough event. There is talk of 5 days next year and althoug I am sore I have some gas left in the tank. So hard telling if I will be back but experience helps in this event.

So many memories so much mind numbing pain.

My thougts are with the two guys I heard about second hand. One had a heartattack on day 1 and the other went into a near coma with low sodium (too much water not enough salts) both are going to be ok I guess. Then to Tim d. and his hip.

Lisa kept 11th and killed it for being new to endurance racing this year.

4 tubes, 1 tire, 5 pairs of brake pads,pair of shoes and a seat bag that dumped my multi tool was my la ruta god gifts. I think I drank around 40 water bottles of various fluids on top of more calories than I can count.

Time for a week on the beach.

Thanks to for posting these updates. One great mag!


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