Was able to dig up everything i needed to ride today, shoes with the right cleats from a Jason from Truckee. Michael Jacobs from Mill Valley really hooked me up with a ton of stuff, gloves, cammelback, tons of energy, socks. People have been amazingly cool and helpful. Interestingly, the more Â¨hard coreÂ¨ racer theyÂ´ve been, the less helpful. Still wearing the same tights as yesterday (the shorts let my gut swing free and unfettered) and borrowed my roomates complementary La Ruta Jersey. It fits like a corset.
Showed up back at the mall ready to start, pick up my bike from the mechanic service. computers now broken and the chain looks like hell. great, that was money well spent for the mechanic service. My Bag suddenly turns up! Gustav, a really helpful and stressed out guy with La Ruta organization said somebody saw it in the back of a private car at checkpoint three yesterday. ThatÂ´s as much of the story as i know, but iÂ´m just thrilled to have it back. Quickly change back into my own gear, grab a wind jacket, itÂ´s supposed to be freezing up top of the volcano today, and stuff my pockets with my own stomach-and-legs-approved fuel.
On tap: 41.4 miles, 8,707 feet of climbing. We start with the press helicopter overhead, traffic stopped for a few miles through the outskirts of san Jose, iÂ´m still just so jazzed to have my gear back. Today course is pretty much an inverted V, mostly up followed by a long downhill. The usually thing happens, we hit the first climb and it is crazy steep. A Jogger goes by us. One neat section was a dirt road with high dirt walls on either side, running down the middle is two bumpy, wet cement tracks for car, because of the steepness itÂ´s tough to track in a straight line and I keep falling in the middle than having to hop back on. I chat with this Costa Rican Powerade woman, sheÂ´s got a private support vehicle so every time i stop at a checkpoint to refuel she blows by, then i catch her again on the next climb, weÂ´ve been doing this tortoise and hare thing all day every day. After a few hours of climbing itÂ´s getting windy and the rain is coming down a bit heavier. An old woman at the side of the road is holding up surgical gloves. I stop, chat with her for a few, she tells me how cold it is at the top and coming down. She seems to doing this out of purely being a good person. Hit the high point, where the rest stop is, stop to check all my pivot points (iÂ´ve got a blur, thereÂ´s a ton), snap on the latex gloves and jacket than go down what was my favorite part of the entire La Ruta. Its twenty or so miles downhill, rainy, muddy as hell, covered in baby heads and bigger- a Blast! Ordinarily IÂ´m horrible on the downhill, but i donÂ´t know if it was all the riding i did getting ready for this or what but i was feeling so good and loose here. Screw picking a line, just shoot right down the thing, four inch Fox fork taking a beautiful pounding, loving the hydrolic disc brakes. DidnÂ´t have time to switch out my tires before the start, maybe my total time for the stage would have been quicker, but the beefy mud tires really proved their worth here, just flying by people who are riding the brakes hard. Are they all pure roadies or what? It did cross my mind that this is where Jeramiah Bishop crashed out last year, but donÂ´t feel like iÂ´m outside my limits, just having a lot of fun. Cross the finish line with a huge smile on my face. At the bottom everyone was talking about how horrible that descent was, man did they miss out. A lot of people were unable to finish due to cold though, my layer of insulation specially formed by living a block from El Farolito really paid off. OK, the showers were damn cold after that. 6:23, 71st in the open catagory for the day. lots of fun and iÂ´ve got my stuff back.
We rode a shuttle way up to this tiny getaway place on top of the volcano. Beautiful, great place for a romantic getaway, but it was an hour and half up. I sat next to Tinker on the way up and he was bummed because he got on the wrong shuttle and had to go all the way back down to a different hotel. A super nice guy, talked about his new son, very mellow, just wanted to grab a beer and relax. I was surprised he didnÂ´t have private transport or something.