Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Rica Part 1,
Im sitting here in the back of our beat down but beloved Toyota Yaris rental car on the way to stage 9, a 98km circuit race around the costal city Jaco. Taking the driving challenge today is the Cycling News reporter/ Team Tour de Quebec all round helper Charles Brassard. The Shotgun winner of the day Cory Wallace aka Hippie Hempseed is keepin things chill on the ipod with a Boston song “more than a feeling”. Its Christmas day and my first one spent abroad. This post is part one of however I end up splitting my thoughts into blog form.
Stage 1 was a team time trial held on the edge of San Jose and a 15 min ride from our home base hotel. It looked like a decently flat course on the races technical guide which we soon discover is a chronic lier and makes every stage look much more flat than the true route. Our pasty white team rolls the 10.6 km course decently well for a 8th place finish. At the finish were met by some local fans who are looking for autographs, pictures and souvenirs which is a completely new and kind of cool experience.
Stage 2 was the first road stage and started off with a 5km climb followed by a 25 km long twisty decent through a rainforest. I quickly learn its much safer at the front of the pack than anywhere else due to the many obstacles and the fact that no one points anything out. At one point I accidentally rolled off the front with a Pizza Hut dude for a few minutes haha. Most of the rest of the stage was vertical walls for climbs and for some reason the Tico’s would hit there brakes at the bottom and then do a 30 second max effort over the top for the remainder of the stage. This is a very bad style of racing for someone who hasn’t ridden above 160 Hr in 2 months. O and the temperature is 30 degrees with a million % humidity. After 30 min of this the legs started pedaling squares and I was off the back with about 15 other guys and 40km remaining. Eventually Im even dropped by the groupetto as the heat and lack of training is affecting me big time. Rolling in solo after 155km and completely spent im starting to think racing 10lbs too fat over mountains was a bad choice.
The Stage 3 course profile resembles a saw blade and it cut me deep. 130km of 500m vertical walls finishing with a 12km climb again in 30 something degree heat. I somehow manage to keep my aching carcass in contact with the main pack until the 35km to go mark where I popped huge on the races first KOM climb. From there it was damage control to the max to try and make time cut. Somehow I start to roll some somewhat decent gears and finish only 12 min back passing 10-15 guys before the finish. The bad news of the day was one of my team mates Arnaud Butterfly got hit by a motorcycle going back to the team car for water and broke his collarbone...not good at all!!!
Along with some of my teammates and my new friends the Columbians im learning and implementing all legal stage race recovery methods available. One of the most important being the daily massage by Columbian massage guru Raphael who works with some of the top riders in South America and the best team in the race. Being probably the least trained rider here I need all the help I can get. Im told this is the fastest edition of the Vuelta to date and that its one of the fastest races of the season in South and Central America. The level of competition here is by far the highest i’ve ever done as every hill turns into a max effort just to stay in partial contact with the tail end of the peloton.
CC aka Casper Mc White