Friday, January 01, 2010
Rica Part 3,
My fello Chumps and Chumpettes!
This section of the update is being created at 32,000 feet while being distracted by crying babies and the hope of one day making it home. Flights have again been canceled, delayed and missed due to American pussies scared of slush. My Costa Rican adventure has sadly come to an end but on the bright side this is only the first of many planned bike trips of the 2010 season. The fitness is again back to a respectable level and the last two weeks have been a great success. If your bored or daring enough please read on...
Stage 9 was the only flat stage of the race. A 98km circuit race around the surfing resort town of Jaco and officially the most fun day of the trip. Our team decided this was our last real chance to shake n‘ bake and we would lay it on the line today. With Vincent aka Twenty Hundred, Charles Tibo, C-Hippy and myself left in the race we were BY FAR the fattest team in Costa Rica and flat terrain was our only chance at success. The gun went off and Twenty Hundred and Tibo pretty much followed or initiated every move for the first half of the race. With 4 laps to go I took a dig to try and bridge a 2 min gap to a 3 man group that we missed getting a guy into. I got about 300m off and then hit an imaginary lack of fitness wall and eventually got sucked back into the pack. No more than 30 seconds later C-Hippy launched off the front and successfully bridged the gap to the leaders. Unfortunately mountain biker tactics left The Hippy aka the strongest rider in the break with nothing left for the sprint as he tried multiple times to get away in the last 3 km. Myself and Tibo abandoned our tail gunning duties temporarily to be at the front for the sprint in case the break was brought back at the finish. Afterward we ate dinner at some beach resort and went swimming in the surf. Super times were had. On the drive back to the hotel we stopped beside a river to play with some Crocodileo. C-Wally and a Guatemalan got pretty adventurous poking the little crocs with a stick.
Stage 10 was a real doozie with a 65km long climb gaining 9000 feet over a 130km stage. Essentially we started on the hill and then descended to the finish line. Being completely sick of the provided diet i’ve ventured yonder in search of varied nutrition the past few days. Not really thinking much about it i’d been eating pretty much exclusively fruit and vegetables. The whistle blew for a 10km neutral ride out of the city and on 3 occasions I was already off the back. O dear! The legs are officially the worst ever. Survival mode (aka Operation Gortex) seemed like the best option and I started loading up on food, water and just went my own easy pace in an attempt to make the time cut. I was the second last rider over the climb as I soft pedaled at maximum effort the whole way. Then I did a nice tuck for the 45km switchback decent where I caught and passed 5 other riders to finish and make the 18% time cut for the day.
Stage 11 was a 30km flatish individual time trial. Pedaled a steady pace and tried not to use too much energy. Took a 2 hour nap and ate nearly 10,000 calories. The calories included 2 Mcdonalds cheeseburgers, ice cream, 2 beer, 5 sandwiches, 4 bowls of cereal, 2 heaping salads, a bunch of fruit, Dorito chips, a bowl of mashed potato’s, roast beef, peanut butter and banana toast and probably more but I forget.
Stage 12 was the final stage and for our team it was the Stanley Cup Finals. Every man for themselves and first across the line takes home the ultimate prize...bragging rights. This stage was exactly the same as stage 10 but run the opposite direction. With the traditional lack of warmup I was off the back from the gun. About 2 minutes into the 45km, 9000 foot elevation gain climb something funny happened. My legs started to suck less than they have in a very long time. Downshifting 3 gears and standing on the pedals I still felt easy and relaxed. Within 10 minutes I caught the second group on the road consisting of about 8 riders. At first I just rolled on past them but they started to yell at me and call me “mucho loco” so I figured I would just chill for a bit and wheel suck the Pizza Hut train for a while. Eventually the group swelled to about 15 riders with some of us joking and having a good time and others suffering just to hang on. It was a really nice feeling to be near the front of the race while still feeling very comfortable. In the end C-Hippy and myself rolled in 19 minutes after the leaders in a group placing 15-30. During the last 10km of the race the road was lined solid with people cheering us on and at the finish there were literally thousands of people to welcome and congratulate us. It felt almost like a stage of the tour with all the people, helicopters, camera’s, media and the whole deal.
In the end the Vuelta a Costa Rica was a really cool experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve met a ton of really cool people, learned a bit of spanish and experienced the biggest cycling event to date. The organization did a surprisingly good job providing us with everything we needed to get the job done. A big thank you goes out to Marc Dufor (team manager) and Jean Michelle aka J-Mike (manager/rider) for all the work put into making the trip happen.
So until next time gang, keep fit and have fun!!