Saturday, November 24, 2007

day 4, the laundry list is long

It was the night post stage 3 and we'd been driven to a far off resort 1.5 hours into the Costa Rican rain forest. This resort was ridiculously lavish. A private fenced in community of perfectly landscaped white stucco buildings hidden deep in forest, private restaurant, pool & spa. Hell our bus driver had to stop twice to get directions it was so far off the beat in path.
We arrived at 7pm and needed to be back on the bus at 3:30 am. Simply not enough time to enjoy our surroundings.
Barbra, whom organizes the Cohutta race in Tennessee was there with husband Perry. Perry had just received a dozen stitches in the forearm late in stage 3 on Jeremiah Bishop's hill. I'm sure that Perry would have preferred to remain at the River of Pearls Resort and recuperate for a day or two, I know I wanted too.
One final early wake up call, one final early morning breakfast, one final early morning bus ride to one final early morning race start. Ahhghh CRAP! I forgot my wallet at the fancy resort! I exclaimed, more like I freaked out. Standing in the rain near the start line of day four, I had no idea what to do. All my money and credit card was in that wallet 1.5 hours away at the River of Pearls resort. What a boob! Tim D stood next to me.. He saw me freaking out. I respect Tim for what he said next.."don't worry man, I've got money to loan you, just get through today and things will work out." I also had Roger to help my dumb ass. Post race I realized that it was just a jacket that I forgot and I actually had my wallet buried deep in my yellow race bag. Thanks anyway Tim.
I had taken my congestion pill and a celebrex that Andrew Caputo had so graciously kicked down to me. Enjoying the medication's effects in this photo, still worried about my forgotten wallet. I had plenty of clothes on today and would not be caught out with a chill in the rain again. Rich Dillon stood near me with quite the fashion statement. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt, arm warmers and a black trash bag for a rain coat. I complimented Rich on his kit and wished he was in this picture, it was just the humor I needed to smile on the miserable morning.
The first 5K was a gravel climb to start out. Tim D went with a big gear 32x18 mashing the pedals and turning his 29 inch wheels up the slope. I rolled with a 32x20 and concentrated my way up the hill. I think Rich was using a 32x18 for stage 4.
Before long we were enjoying extended downhill sections on gravel with wide swooping corners that begged for as much speed as we could provide. I was playing leapfrog with a cannondale support truck on some of these slopes. The spare Cannondale on the roof of the Chevy Blazer swayed wildly like a broken keel on an out of control ship as the blazer bounced down the rough gravel road. I thought something was going to snap, the bike, the rack, or the truck.
Speed obtained on the extended downhill was in the ball park of 50 mph and the hill went on for 10 miles . We definitely deserved this after three days of climbing hills. I was in the bomber position, sitting on my top tube with the bat wings out enjoying every second. On paved roads now with police stopping traffic at the intersections.
The episode I am going to describe next may just go down as the funniest 10 seconds in my life. I was on a residential dirt road moving slowly as I approached three young Costa Rican children in the road. They were staggered in line with their arms outreached and seemed to be marshaling me into a left hand corner. I thought, "wow, these three young kids are course marshals?" So I stopped and looked down the path they were sending me and said.."left here?" They looked at me blindly not understanding English tho to say.."yeah stupid down there." I raced down the path scanning the dirt for tire marks in the mud but saw none, and as I sped along, looking down at the ground my front tire came upon a rug, a green braided rug??...and I looked up to find my self IN SOME ONE'S HOUSE! The path had ended and I had ridden directly into some one's house! There was no door to the laundry room and I had fully ridden into someone's freekin house! Clean laundry hanging to my left and a teen aged boy watching television on a couch to my right. I looked at him with dismay and exclaimed, "LA RUTA?? He slowly moved off the couch and with a puzzled look said, "no, no La Ruta" He started to laugh, I started to laugh and he motioned me to the path that I had entered his house on.
His mother looking wildly out the window, she wasn't laughing. I turned my dripping bicycle around within the laundry room and in the process took all of the clean white clothes off the line with my handlebar. I bent over trying to pickup the clothes but my mud soaked gloves were making matters worse. I apologized profusely and the teen aged boy just laughed and motioned me to the street. I looked at the kids that had directed me down the path and they were now in a straight line formation with their hands skyward wanting only a high five...and not directing racers down into the laundry room at all. For the next mile I died laughing.
The guy bent over on the far right across the river is me. The spring on my front brake had broken and needed to be fixed. I had my tools out and spare brake parts were on the ground but I could not for the life of me get the pads re-installed. I didn't want to force the pads on and snap the piston nub so I tried to reason with the cylinder and sweet talk them on...nope no dice. I was there for four or five minutes until Doug and Roger appeared on the river bank. Roger said, "hey let me try" I asked.."do you know how to install the pads?" He quickly said no...but with in five seconds had them back in the piston.
The three of us rolled together along with a few friends that Roger had made through out the trip. Good to see he was really enjoying him self and pushing a fast pace on this dirt road riddled with pot holes. Poor Doug was getting his wrists shattered on this section, riding a rigid fork in the train of riders as we snaked around and smashed into deep pot holes.
The three of us were together for about an hour. Moving quickly on roads and sharing pulls within a large group on paved sections.
The day was flying by for me. At one point a woman we were riding near said that we were at 103 kilometer with about 17k to go. Wow this day was flying! I had just consumed a red bull and was feeling pretty high so I left the group and entered the final section of railroad beds alone.The rail bridges were interesting. This one pictured had a 1x8 piece of lumber nailed down for quicker passage. Some bridges did not have the safety of the 1x8. Most were suspend high above rushing white water and the act of stepping rail to rail had a dizzying effect. I think the bridges claimed the adventure aspect of the entire trip.
The first bridge I came upon I was with a group of four or five other guys. Looking across the 200ft span there was a train on the other side. People warned that it was moving, we waited but it did not show signs of movement. The guys in front went for it. My plan was that if the train was coming they would jump I just looked down at the rails and step one tie at a time until we were across. The train was indeed running and after we made it across the conductor went ahead and put the train in motion.The remainder of the rail bed wasn't as bad as I expected. Thankful I had my 29inch wheels on the bumpy sections and just sped along comfortably high on red bull. The beach appeared on my left and I knew the finish line was near. I felt a little bad that I'd ditched Doug and Roger but wanted to stay ahead of Rich in the off chance that I could beat him in GC.
Later, after it was all done and people were celebrating the brutality of crossing Costa Rica via mountain bike Rich said to me, " I officially hate you, you beat me by 7 minutes in GC"


IF Chicks said...

congrats + welcome home !!
we missed you here on the north shore. Sounds like quite a muddy epic adventure :)

great writeup..
beer soon for more tales in person.

dicky said...

I don't hate you after all.
Let's hug, OK?

wraith said...

I recall a similar forgotten ski jacket episode. Apon packing after a COLD day it was found. Sounds like a trip of a lifetime,can't wait to hear about it in person.

rick is! said...

sounds like it was a brutal but fun time. wish I was there for the house incident!

doug said...

I can't believe you rode into a house. Haha. That's hilarious. Funniest thing I've read all week.

dicky said...

Sorry all I did was stand there with my mouth agape when you announced your wallet/stuff situation. I was so absorbed in my own cold/rain/clothes/start/me/my problems/etc thing to think of someone else. I know you're the kinda guy that would say "Don't worry about it", but I feel bad just the same.
I owe you a beer when our paths cross in the future.

Andy said...

Our paths will undoubtably cross again, and I hope that there will be beer involved, along with a long ride, more stories and less forgetfulness on my part. Man that morning sucked!
Thanks for your comments, untill next year (cause that's about the next time I'm going to ride again)

jeff said...

dude, incredible ride! you've said before, you like the endurance races as there are "more moments." you surely got your share of moments....

riding into the laundry room! hahaha! like i said before, sorry you got so sick... glad you toughed it out and finished-up... wish i was there. next time.

Andy said...

Next time??? - sorry

you mean when we ride trans rockies or BC bike race right??

sean said...

those east coast tico kids are mischievous little brats... nice work, good riding. good to meet you