La Ruta de Suffer

Arriving in san jose costa rica monday afternoon i managed to catch a ride 2 hrs to the small town of Jaco, the start of the 4 day, 360 km, 13 000 m of climbing, La Ruta de Conquistator mtb race. On tuesday I met up with some other riders from alberta and pre rode the first 10 kn of the course….. wow did i ever feel magnificent in the 30 degree, 100 percent humidity. a bit of a change from work last week hiking around in a foot and a half of snow chasing around pine beetles in northern bc. Nonethless the start of the real suffering was less then 24 hrs away so we did the best we could to get some sleep before the 3am arrising and 5 am start today.

4:50 am, the organizers put on a huge firework show before firing the gun and sending the 600 racers from 30 countries into the dawn of another costa rican day. The first 5 km was great, flat, fast gravel and then the suffering began with the first 1000 m climb of the day. This was just a warmup for the 3 900 m of climbing of the day, some on hike a bike donkey paths and not to mention the dozen or so large creek crossings. After crashing hard early on in the race I managed to get in a a decent rythym and passed a few riders before riding solo for the last 3:30 hrs of the day without ever seeing another rider. Between the 4 feed zones I drank 11 bottles of water on the day and probably consumed around 7000 calories. This I found out was not enough as with 10 km to go the legs went to autopilot and my head went to foodland. the legs went there speed and only there speed, which probably wasnt all that fast as a young boy on his grandmas bike pulled up beside me and started smiling. He then got a goofy smirk on his face and took off on his bike ahead of me leaving me in the dust. The fact the boy was 12 yrs old and on a 3 speed bike with a basket made me feel good. On the last decent of the day i started cruising to make up lost time for my legs, all was going well till I lost my back brake and started gaining speed much faster then I would ever want too. With a large switch back coming up i had no choice but to make my own run away lane into the jungle. probably the scariest moment of my life as I tore into the thick vegetation expecting to run into a log and supermaning across into the costa rican jungle, instead though i hit a marsh and gradually came to a hault…. crawling out of the bush and back on the decent i tired to keep speed down with the front breaks and then used what was left of my legs to climb the final 2 km to the finish line where i found out I ended up 17th overall. Today was the hardest day I have ever had on a bike but I guesse that is what marathon biking is all about. Well off to get some eats and small sleep before cracking into stage 2 tommorow…..

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