La Ruta Day 2 report

Breakfast at hotel 4:15, already starting to get a bit tired of gallo pinto, the ubiquitous rice and bean dish down here. Don´t know if i´ll be racing or not today but eat a huge breakfast anyway in case i am. This stage is new for this year, up to four stages from three with each starting where the prior finished making it a true coast to coast, point to point event. Get to the start at El Rodeo west of San Jose, hop off the bus and immediately start looking for my stuff. No dice, still missing. I´m pretty pissed. I gave it to one of the staff yesterday who said ¨give me your bag and get on the shuttle.¨ last time i saw it. The race director acted like it was my fault, ¨why did you give him your bag?¨ so i´m feeling pretty glum, been working and looking forward to this for a long time to have it end so ignobly. My roommate didn´t make the time cut yesterday and caught the shuttle from checkpoint three with a few other folks. One of them recognized me and asked why i didn´t have my gear on or anything. I told him the story and he said, ¨dude, you prepared and actually have a chance to finish this thing.¨ He then insisted i take his tights, shoes, cammelback, and helmet so i could continue on my bike. Coolest guy ever. I felt a bit guilty, but he insisted he was scared to start day two and this was a good excuse not to. Great! I´m back in. we drop and exchange shorts right there, lace up his spd compatible hiking boots and sleeveless baggy jersey. Stoked just to be riding. The camelback has several snickers, a utility knife, and a towel. It´s damn heavy but i´m just so happy i can keep going.
The start sends us back out through the narrow mud bog that we had to finish through yesterday. Because of the massive bottleneck it´s seven minutes after the gun before i cross the start line. This day looks the easiest on paper: 46 miles, 11,887 ft of climbing, with most of the climbing paved. We get a few miles of rollers, it´s tough to remember that this is a long day and not to big ring the rollers. We hit the first dirt climb, bang straight up. nose on the stem again, granny gear, working real hard to keep the front wheel down, bar ends make it a hell of a lot easier than the usualy riser bars i ride. Again, all the pushers oblivious to those coming up behind them on the bike. out of the way dammit, stop here and theres no getting rolling again without doing a wheelie. Hit the first checkpoint still feeling stoked i´m able to ride today.
From there it´s 20 miles of up and down steep hills, dirt, gravel, pavement. We hit the first of two 3 mile crazy steep paved climbs before the days big daddy six mile climb. Seriously regretting the mud tires now (rrrr-rrrrrr--rrrr--rrr--rrrrrrrr), saw people lining up at the start with Larsen TT´s. All i´d heard was crazy stories about how muddy it is down here so i didn´t even consider bringing those but they would be great for today. It´s supposed to be one of the muddiest editions in a long time, but i think a mud tire isn´t worth the rolling resistance. I´ve got a set of 1.9 nevgals in my bag if that ever turns up. Feels funny being in the small chain ring on a pavement climb, but it´s necessary. Make the third checkpoint, stuff a sandwich in my mouth, uuuggh, tuna! Guess it´s good for you. Six more miles of pavement, don´t know how many time i´ve heard, ¨four more kilometers, four more kilometers¨ from the side of the road. Stop a few times to sign books for school kids. they give me ¨otter pop¨ like things. Finally hit the high point of the race, a fun muddy dirt road descent, zip past people again. Go through a few miles of gravel roads in town, than hit this crazy-insano mudd bog hike a bike, straight up. A few people around are bitching, but c´mon, it´s La Ruta, it´s supposed to be ridiculously crazy hard, that´s what we payed for, right. i find it kinda fun. Bike quickly weighs as much as a baby hippo. Crest the top and it´s the same thing straight down, more general bitching. Unrideable. I try anyway and go ass over end four or five times before i give it up and walk while dragging my bike. Finally hit a bit of pavement for half a mile (mud flying all over the place) before rolling into the finish in some mall on the east side of San Jose. 6:42, 189th out of 489 finishers for the day.
OK, equipment, a fast rider is a fast rider. An old Greg LeMond or Johnny T will always spank me even on a costco bike, but i was missing my nice shoes and bib shorts. That stuff does matter, and the longer the race the more you notice it.
Hop in the showers to wash off the borrowed gear as well as possible, switch clothes back with that guy, look for my stuff. Dammit, still not showing up.
At the hotel, i admit that it may be gone, call my mom (embarrassing being 30 and having to ask mom to bail you out of a jam) to wire me some money and cancel all my cards, decide that i´ll finish the race if i can keep finding people to borrow stuff from and deal with the passport issues afterward. Even getting the wired money was a hassle since you need and ID and all that is missing, had to wait for my roommate to finish and get the money wired in his name. I am so happy my Spanish is still in ok enough shape to help me figure all this stuff out. Stay up way too late again dealing with non race related stress.

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