Vuelta de Costa Rica Stages 5-7

Stage 5 of the Vuelta de Costa Rica was a 20 km uphill time trial from the village of Naranjo to Zaccero. 12374942_10153141807286193_1328381301618199499_o copy It was as fun as such a thing could be although trying to chase down Ticos who were getting pushed by the fans up every steep section made an already challenging race that much tougher.  We finished below a church in the fresh air of a cool little Costa Rican village.   My teammate David and I had a bright idea to ride our bikes back to San Jose with our team director JML and our teammate Emile who missed the time cut in stage 4 after battling stomach eruption issues for a couple days.

The 70 km ride back was sweet under sunny skies although it turned into a bit of a mission after JML’s GPS lead us off track and down a 300 meter vertical descent in the wrong direction.  Once back on track David called it a day as the rolling terrain was turning the 2 hour ride into a 3.5-4 hr mission.  David spent the next 2 hours waiting at a corner store for our team staff to pick him up and was mobbed by the locals who wanted pictures and autographs from our tired teammate.  Later on the ride back we lost JML in a maze of intersections and soon Emile and I were a bit lost, hopping onto the median of the pan american highway trying to snake our way across it and back to the hotel for some recovery.  5 hours of riding after the time trial started we were finally back at the hotel for a night of rest.IMG_1634

The rest day was a rest day with lots of rice and beans, a small ride to my buddy Ronald and Angelas house for a mid morning snack and then some normal life things.

Stage 6 we waved Emile goodbye as he was hopping a jet plane back to Canada and we were headed 175 km down the highway to the port town of Limon on the Carribean coast.  It was a weird
stage as we raced flat out for 40 km through big crowds in downtown San Jose before hitting a gentle climb into a headwind up to 1600 M and into the rainforests of Braulio Carillo National Park.  Here we stopped racing for an hour as they decided to neutralize the 40 km descent as a thick fog, slippery road surface and poles in the middle of the road would’ve surely lead to chaos.

Once down the sketchy descent through the rainforest, the race resumed with 100 km of flat roads to Limon. IMG_1636 The pack was hammering this section and at times the rain came in the form of waterfalls as we trudged towards the finish line in the sketchiest town of Costa Rica.  Our teammate Stephen was in the top 5 with 200 meters to go before jamming his chain and losing his chance at glory on the day.  Right after the finish we took a look around at our surroundings and headed straight to our beach hotel 5 km out of town for the night.  It was a cool little hotel perched in the rainforest above the crashing carribean sea below.  At this hotel things got interesting as the leading Yellow jersey team and the team of the two time defending champion Juan Carlos Rojas got into a brawl after dinner.  You’d expect this at a hockey game not with a bunch of pencil necks  after a bike race.  These guys were serious though and guys ended up in the hospital, cops were called in and it was outright mayhem.

After the altercation the evening before, Stage 7 started with the Yellow Jersey team protesting the race and pulling themselves from the competition.  I don’t know the whole story behind it so won’t make any assumptions or uneducated comments on this.  It was a blow to the race nonetheless to lose the competition from this team.  IMG_1695The race itself was a flat day as we raced 135 km back up the Caribbean coast to the town of Guappiles.  The day started with a flurry of attacks and eventually a lead group of 10 was off the front, another chase group of 8 including my teammate David was in no mans land and then myself and two other riders opted to get into the action.  The 3 of us would chase for 1.5 hours and finally catch Davids group to make a chase group of 11.  This is where road racing gets lame as only 4 out of the 11 of us were doing any work in the group as the other guys just sat on.  After all the effort attacking to get up the road I don’t understand why these guys would just want to cruise all of a sudden.  Nonetheless we eventually got caught by the main peloton about 15 km from the finish and then the guys that just sat in the peloton all day out of the action had the freshest legs for the sprint and we got schooled.

Road racing is a weird game when your use to the pureness of mountain biking in which results are generally reflective of who has the best fitness and can grit there teeth the hardest.     After the finish we road around trying to find our team car and then drove and road around trying to find the hotel for the night.  We did circles around town for a while before coming to our home for the night.  Eventually we settled in for the normal afternoon routine of rice and beans, massages, naps, more rice and bIMG_1628eans, and then finding a way to clean our laundry.  On top of eating rice and beans the Ticos serve us a different coloured sugary drink with every meal.  Today was the green one, we think its kiwi juice but no one really ever knows.

Tomorrow its back to the mountains.12370839_10153152309801193_6936082451595375439_o

2 Comments on “Vuelta de Costa Rica Stages 5-7”

  • Diana C. Lavallee December 22nd, 2015 6:56 pm

    Great Report! Love to read stuff that keeps me interested until the end. I am Emile’s friend from old times in Grad School. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Congratulations on your efforts and your triumphs.
    Keep up the good work and enjoy your rides.

    Diana and Gérald

  • CrazyLarry December 25th, 2015 10:46 am

    Thanks for the play – by – play action for this race Cory!
    AS I sit here in the parking lot at Lake Louise on Christmas morning after a comatose sleep at the bridge overlooking the TransCanada; long day of towing recoveries started at 4:30 am on a FULL day of BAD ASS accidents; re: slick roads. subzero temps. It is 3.44 am Christmas morning.

    GREAT reading all alone in this parking lot borrowing internet from the upstairs bar.

    Talk later.

    BEST wishes for GREAT pushes!

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