La Ruta Day 1 report

Day 1: 59 miles, 14,500 feet of climbing from Jaco to El Rodeo.
Breakfast at 4am, start at 5:15. At breakfast ran into Michiko who was leading the Pilarcito´s women´s Bs before uping to the A´s recently, she recognized my Squadra kit, small world. First four miles or so flat dirt road, Michiko (somebody sign this woman, she is bad ass) and I started at the back of the pack, surprising how many people just took off, going for it. It´s a long race guys. Sure enough, we hit the first climb and immediately nearly every one is off the bike and pushing. It is really god damned steep, granny gear, nose down steep. Don´t think i´d used the granny on this bike before. Of course those that are walking are walking in the middle of the best line. It´s a fun event, i´m just here to finish, but c´mon, move out of the way for those of us who can hack it people! At the top we get a few miles of rolling dirt roads before heading into fifteen miles of up and down mud chutes. lots of fun, glad i´m riding the Michelin XCR Mud tires now. much of the uphill isn´t ridable, just too steep and slick with clay like mud, talked to Tinker after the race he said even the pros were running all that stuff. Surpised how bad everyones down hill skills were though, usualy i just try and limit my loses on down hill sections, but here i´m gaining ground. Feels good to be one of the cool kids for once. dunk the bike in streams we cross, pour on more Rock´n Role lube. It´s held up great through hub deep mud. Come to first rest stop out of the jungle, see a woman with a broken collar bone. don´t know whether it´s better to crash out on day one or the last day. Long gravel road section, hot hot hot, occasional thigh deep water to ride through. hit the bottom of the long blacktop climb, steep as hell, hot and 13 miles long. Five k in they just poured on fresh tar for the rest of the climb. Sweet. each pedal stroke: suck, suck, suck, picking up tons of crap on the tires. Not so into the huge knobbies now. Getting really tired of bars, gels, and bloks and we have three more days of this? One last steep rough road descent, followed by the longest ten miles in my life on a bike. Not much of a grade, maybe 8%, but seemingly endless. At one point i had nothing and had to get off and walk for a few minutes just to get it together again. Finally see the finish, thirty meters before it is a final mud bog, thanks guys.
Did manage to zip the jersey up for the finish line so i could feel all pro though. 8:32 final time. Long day on a mountain bike. So freaking tired. All i kept thinking was thank god i´m not a pro and don´t have to race this. That would be brutal having to keep pace on these hills. Quick massage, drop the bike off with the mechanics, catch a shuttle back to the hotel where my bag never shows up. Money, credit cards, passport, all my food and bike equipment missing. Got sandals, tee shirt, shorts, and hopfully my bike will be there in the morning. Stay up till midnight being told that it will show up änytime¨now. bummed money for dinner. Hope it´s at the start tommorow, kinda freaking out now.

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