La Ruta La Finito

The fourth and final day of la ruta had a net elevation loss of 1500 m and a 70 km flat section to end the stage. pretty easy right. haha hahha ahh, nope. pretty hard. to start the day we road up a 6 km climb in which i was sitting around 20th near the top. after the first decent i made it into a paceline with 3 other riders (andreas hestler, jason sager, a tico). riding with other riders was key for the day as most the day was on flat gravel roads in which drafting helps alot. after an hour or two of riding in the paceline we hit a railroad track which we had to bike on for 12 km, hiking across trestles with rivers and crocodiles 50 ft below us. pretty sketchy. coming onto the first trestle, the rider ahead of me had a tie break loose from below him, luckily his ass hit the tie behind him, while is feet dangled in the air. we all got scared and quit the race. haha. nope. we actually kept going but i didnt go as fast and got left behind. for the next 25 km i chased hard as the 3 riders ahead of me kept catching up to other riders and soon they had a paceline of 6 riders. the highlight of the day was watching the wheel vehicle that was following the 6 riders ahead of me gettting swept downstream at one of the many river crossings of the day. i got to watch as the water came up to his doors and slowly drifted the crazy tico downstream. lucky for him he got wedged up on a sandbar and was able to back up and reroute to a bridge like the rest of the vehicles. seeing this entertainment put a smile on my face and a bit of extra juice in my legs and soon after this i was able to latch onto the paceline which had 7th-12th place in it and cruise with them for a good hr before coming to the second railroad section of the day. this time on one of the trestle bridges we came across the lead motorbike which had driven straight into a 3 ft gap were one of the ties was missing. 4 ticos were trying to pull his wedged bike out of the hole while the rider looked pretty stunned sitting beside the tracks. unfortunately none of us saw the crash but rumuor has it that it could challange for TSN highlight of the night. right after this i lost contact with the paceline as my bodywent offline an had to put pretty much all my power in making the bike go straight as i was getting dazed, my muscles were scraping whatever fuel was left for them and my mind was on the caribean beach beside us. After riding another 15 km on the tracks we got rerouted into the bush were were biked through countless washouts in the road, some which were 3 ft deep and our bikes were up the the top of the tires in water. with 15 km to go my body came back online and i was able to catch one tico before the finish as I rode in for an 11th place for the day which gave me a 13th overall gc for the 4 days. the finishline was on playa bonita beach, 50 ft from the ocean where i did the only thing i could think of and hopped off my bike and dove straight into the first wave a saw. the greatest finish to a race ever. period.

For the next 5 hours a bunch of us sat around, mowing down the food and watching other riders crawl across the line. I must say that as hard as this race is, it must be 5 times harder for the slower riders that take 10 hrs to finish the stages as they donèt get a chance to relax or eat food all afternoon like some of us. instead they finish at dark, get clean, get one meal in them and then bed before waking up at 4am for the next stage. From what i saw this isènt only the toughest mtn bike race in the world but it is also probably the one with the greatest diversity as we road across every kind of terrain which costa rica could possibly offer us. For anyone interested in an adventure they should check this race out!

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