Saturday, September 19, 2015

Iron Biker Brazil Days 1 and 2

In the last two days I've had the true South American race experience, complete with a night time short track with confetti, strobe lights and crazy excited crowds, and a 100k death march through the jungle punctuated by ridiculous steep climbs, about 25 water crossings (many of which were waist deep) and an epic wasp attack. Oh yeah, and on top of all the I've been racing a borrowed bike because mine had a little trouble making it to Brazil. 

Day 1: Short Track
This was more like a fat tire crit through the cobble stone streets of Mariana at night. I had a great start, and led the race from the beginning, until a Brazilian and Angelita flew past me on the super steep climb. After that I patiently sat in 3rd for a while, which worked out as the Brazilian girl faded. The announcer kept calling me the Americana, and the streets were packed with stoked, cheering fans. I finished 2nd and got to stand on the most enthusiastic podium complete with confetti and LOTS of photos!

Day 2: 102 k Cross Country Epic
A bunch more fanfare at the start and we were off! I may have attacked the first climb a little hard, but then decided to sit on Angelita's wheel to pace myself (this chick always wins this race). She rode away on a very rocky steep climb (I was having trouble with both the position on the bike and the fact that the fork was very very stiff) but I caught back up on the descent. This pattern continued until about halfway through the race when I got attacked by a swarm of super pissed off wasps. The bites were agonizing and I was forced into the river for relief. I wasn't able to get the jerks out of my helmet, so I continued figuring what's a little more pain on top of the race induced pain. Then I missed my feed because I was too preoccupied with wasps in my hair, and everything kinda went downhill from there (not literally... If only). I suffered two flats, had to learn the Portuguese word for pump to borrow one, twice. Started cramping, and basically just fell apart. My body ached, especially my arms, because of the lack of bike fit and lack of suspension, and I shifted to a mindset of survival. Post all the stopping the Brazilian national champion passed me and as a result I finished 3rd, and basically wanting to die. 
Along the way we saw incredible views of the rainforest, passed through super rural towns where the children lined the streets STOKED about racers coming through their village, had to jump off our bikes to wade through countless rivers, and saw the BraIlian equivalent to wild animals, cows and horses and stay dogs for days. There were a couple moments during the race where, despite my agony, I wanted to pinch myself because I was racing bikes in Brazil!!! 

Day 3: 58k cross country race (tomorrow)
Who knows what will happen!!! Hopefully it's less painful than yesterday!! 

Sorry for the lack of pictures, maybe if a few surface I will throw them in!

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