Wednesday, November 12, 2008

la ruta '08 - day one

Today marks day one of the 16th annual La Ruta De Los Conquistadores. I am not taking part this year and have mixed emotions about it. Part of me wishes I was there but the other part of me is happy to be home and just riding whenever I feel like it with no set structure.

Received an email from my friend Travis @ The Alpineer today. He and Lisa traveled down to Costa Rica from Crested Butte Colorado to compete. Harlan Price is also there and I just got word today that TimmyD is there too.

I will live vicariously through Travis' emails this week..

Here is Travis' recap:
3:00 am came very fast and I slumbered to breakfast trying to eat. 4:20 and was through rider check in sitting in the corral waiting for my slaughter. 1min to go and i guess since 100 less americans means no fireworks but i got my madonna. 5:00 am and we started ok time which is unique for costa rica. 18kph roll out for 4ks was more like 30kph. Big crash on the first turn which I got to witness and a quick look back and lisa is riding like a true roadie on my wheel. This year there was about 10 miles of fast road before turning in to climb about 5 miles to rejoin the orginal course. Right into the gnarly mud descent and I almost clean it but a motorcycle tried to ride it and stacked it. I can not describe the gnarliness of this descent but last year I walked most of it and this year I opted to ride as it is "safer".

Aid station 1 at 8:15 and a little behind my desired 10hr pace but there was about 5mi added

Lots of rain and the next section is the worst mud ever. Just keep moving and the superfly was working a lot better than the steel if last year.

Clear the mud and haul major ass on some gravel with the drivetrain screaming for mercy as the 5 or so river crossing help to clean. Did you know superflys float? Yes sometimes the whole bike gets submerged to help remove the 20 extra pounds of clay mud. Who said never pressure wash your bike? Well like a mirage there were the mechanicos with pressure washer errr superblaster to clean the bike then onto the motor oil chain lube and the drivetrain is perfect.

Aid station 2 and potatoes with salt down the hatch and onto the gravel up down then up up up. 85 and 200% humidity and I felt like puking just like last year on this section but I knew there would be a lovely seƱora that loves to cool off boys in lycra so I kept going. She gave me my cool shower and I was off to aid station 3 and as I left there the lead guys were 40min from finishing. I had 4 more hours, roberto heras had 1.5 hrs left for his 5th or 6th place. I just looked but the subway is digesting on top of the killer post race meal. They really stepped it up this year including lengthening the stage to have a killer location vs the ranch last year

Up up up and more up on pavement gets you to aid station 4. Who cares about stats but it never ends. Aid station 4 and you always think sweet I am almost done but yet I had 2.5 hrs to go. Screaming down the steepest gravel then concrete then gravel road to the last climb and I get a flat. I have had 3 flats since being here but only 1 in the race

Climb climb and past last years finish to more climbing. Get into town and 3kms to go can only mean big chain ring descent dodging busses in traffic. Chills come about me as I turn into the finish. 11:07 on the clock 70+ miles and 16000 feet of climbing approx. My computer choose to not work but last year I was just shy of 12hrs and 59 miles and 14500 of climbing. Didn't hit my 10hr mark but the course was harder. Still I am pack filler in the master a class. I would of placed higher in the open ironically.

Lisa did awesome and is in 11th! Not bad for her first international stage race with some buff women.

My friend Tim Dougherty who got top 25 last year on a ss was out by the first aid station. He was sitting there when I went through and he said he heard a pop from his hip. Thoughts are with him

Tomorrow has the steepest paved roads I have ever seen so time for sleep.

Harlan is currently the top American in 11th place. Congrats Harlan!

Wish you the best Tim. I hope things get better!

My friend Keith, from work, gave me this today. May 2004 Issue of Bike Magazine. Its a recap of the 2003 La Ruta De Los Conquistadores. How fitting. He and his wife found this old issue in his collection while cleaning his house this past weekend. (Click on the issues for bigger size to read the article.)


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