Wednesday, November 28, 2007

La Ruta Day 4

Last day. Cold and rainy again today. I have my rain jacket today. I know it will get warm as we get to the coast but I'm so cold that I'll deal with the hassle of carrying it.

The day starts off as usual with a climb. Only 5000 feet today but it's all at the start . As usual I stuck in traffic and I get pushed into a ditch. I'm a little grumpy and tell the guy to watch where the hell he is going. He flips me off and I start walking up the hill.

We finally get to the top and start a massive paved downhill, 6 miles or so. This goes on for awhile and we reach the 2nd and last major climb. My legs are dead so I have to walk most of this one but I'm doing good on time and I know it's flat all the way to the coast. My eyes are a little better this morning but I still can't wear my glasses due to the rain and they are starting to act up again. My right eye is only working about 50%. I every time I blink it clouds up. I'm a little worried about it.

We finally get to the top and start another long downhill. It's starting to get humid and hot as we drop down to the coast. The scenery is changing too. Lots of banana trees and cattle farms.

We finally reach the flat stuff and I'm spinning my ass off as these long pace lines go by me. I'll get my revenge however. The flat stuff seems to go on forever but finally we make a turn one of the many sections of railroad track. We ride down the center for the most part. The ties are covered in gravel but they are still exposed. The 29er wheels help but sometimes it feels like I'm riding a jack hammer. The trestles are really scary too. We have to step from tie to tie over they flooded rivers. One mis step and you go down. Really scary stuff.

More of this and it is really starting to take it's toll on my. Finally I start to smell the ocean and we make a turn and I can hear the waves crashing on the shore. I got a tip that there is 10k of salt water swamp coming up. I'm not really sure what a salt water swamp is but I find out quick. It's basically a flood plain where fresh and salt water meet and form these deep pools. Waist deep in spots. For some reason I get a burst of energy and I pin it. I'm actually riding through these deep pools. I can't believe it. I'm parting the water like Moses passing guys left and right. I don't know where all this power is coming from. I'm cranking along and we have one more train tracks section but I have to wait because there is a train coming the other way. Holy shit

The train passes and I'm hammering again on the tracks. I'm hoping the rails to pass guys. Fully rigid going by guys on full boingers. Feels good. I eventually catch and pass all the guys that blew by me in the pace line. We hit a section of paved and I actually have to climb a hill. I'm dying, my legs are on fire and I can't see anything out of my right eye. I hear the cheers from the finish line and all of a sudden two guys I passed a while back are catching up to me. No way I'm going to let them pass so I do a sprint to the finish. I round the corner and I see the finish line. I'm cranking at 200 rpm it feels like and cross the finish line and collapse. Done, 75 miles in 7.5 hours. Another brutal stage. I jump in the ocean and wash all the crap off me. I rinse my eyes out and my vision comes back so I'm good there but my eyes will be hurting for a few days.

I drink a few beers, eat everything in site and take the bus back to San Jose which is another story I'll tell later.

Today I'm just laying around the hotel packing my gear. Everything I have is wet and all my riding gear is covered in mud. My shoes were destroyed, I just left them on the beach.

Overall one of the best times I've ever had. I never knew I could push myself that hard. To get up every morning at 3 am in the cold and dark and put on my riding gear took such will. It actually got to be routine on the 3 and 4th day. The fatigue became so common that it felt normal. I don't know if this is the hardest race in the world like they say but it has to be up there. 4 days 220 miles and I don't know how many feet of climbing. Brutal weather conditions and dealing with logistical nightmares of finding bikes and bags every morning.

Huge thanks to Vassago Cycles for the great bike. Big thanks to The Bicycle Escape. Also thanks to all my friends and family for whishing me well.

Riding Railroad Tracks

More Tracks

Riding In Luxury

At the Finish

1 comment:

sean said...

you and doug have convinced me that tubeless is the way forward by not flatting on those tracks.