We woke to rain. Again.
There has been a distinct theme of wet during this race. I didn’t want to ride. It was the only time during the six days that I really wasn’t into it, and it was pretty justified.
The course was a mostly flat 100km of dirt farming roads, intermixed with about 4km of single track. We rode 3 loops in a clover loop pattern.
It was pouring rain and we rode in a mix of mud, sand, water sometimes higher than our bottom brackets. Our bikes had been holding on by a thread after 5 days of wet and rain and the final day destroyed them. We all rode with brakes rubbing. I lost my rear pads at about km 10. At an aid station I looked at them and saw the pads worn through to the point the clips where twisted around and caught.
We had mud soaked glasses and mud soaked eye balls. Attitude is everything and mine needed a good kick in the pants!
We were caught at 20km to go by Sonia and Jeff and I am so grateful. Her good energy pulled my bottom lip off my snot ridden chin and our world got better again.
Renata and Damian had a great day and took the stage win. I was psyched for them. Brian and I took the overall mixed team win.
Our pulleys, bearings, chains, pads, cables, bushings and most moving parts of our bikes need replacing and some serious love.
Some great things happened out on course though.
Brian and I both rode Bontrager XR 0 tires and we were so impressed with them. They outperformed all our expectations in all conditions. They were amazing. Grippy in mud, ideal on the road, excellent traction climbing, we didn’t have any flat tires. They get our 600km ALL condition seal of approval.
This event was a true test of equipment. Both of our bikes Brian’s Giant Anthem XTC and my Trek Top fuel held out very well. It is only our head set bearings and bottom bracket bearings that noticeably need replacing. Our fox shocks were problem free. Brian’s Mavic SLR wheels held up perfectly.
We both use Sram drivetrains. Our shifting was good even when the pulleys and pads had gone.
I would do the race again in a flash. I would double cross my fingers for less rain. I would bring a less nice bike. It hurt me to destroy my expensive race bike.
The organization was exceptional. The food was excellent. The riding was fantastic. Aid stations adequate and amenities appropriate. Mario Roma and his team did a very good job.
I think the only glitch was racing us full course on the last day. There could be more medical aid on course too.
I liked racing mixed team with Brian. He is solid and even keeled. He stayed strong and motivated. Knows me well and doesn’t put up with my rubbish. It was good. I hope I get to do it again.
Now how to get our dirty dirty wet clothes dry in time to fly home? Good thing Brasil allows 70 lb baggage.
Thanks to all our friends and fellow competitiors racing, it was ‘ More than a race a stage in our lives!’ Good times.
STAGE 5 Blog:
Back on the road again.
Stage Five of the Claro Brasil ride took us 132 km from Rio Da Contas back to Mucege again.
I think we were all keen to pack up our sodden camps and clothes and get back to Mucuge. I know I was hoping for dry weather there.
My neck was pretty stiff to be honest but thanks to a muscle relaxant, Paul Romero’s magic arnica spray, Hawaiian algae anti-inflammatory pills and a massage I was much better than the day before and good to go.
We started the race with a 27 km downhill jeep road. I felt quite sketched by the big group of riders descending. Rode conservatively and drifted back through the field as we went down. I could see Brian ahead and he’d keep checking and slowing for me.
At the bottom we formed a pack of about a dozen or so riders which we slowly whittled down to five through 50km. Renata Bucher, Damian and a solo rider Mattias.
I have known Renata for a long time. I love her relaxed happy personality and have a great deal of respect for her athleticism. We have raced each other at least thirty times in MTB, Xterra and endurance racing. However I’ve never even been for a social ride with Renata. On stage five we laughed about this. Next year we go for a ride together!
We broke away from Damian and Renata about 80km in. In my head I was climbing with a friend Susan D. I was thinking about her and trying to pull effort out of myself.
It is an interesting dynamic with Brian as I am the one saying slow down, come back, I can’t keep up. It feels like whining. ( It sounds like whining) Do I really need to slow down? Can I keep up?
I heard the guys teasing Brian in the shower the day before ‘Brian Brian…. Laughter… Portuguese. It’s true. That is what I sound like.
The action came at 110 km. We’d just climbed up to the final aid station in extreme heat. So we doused ourselves with water and got going.
Within 5 minutes the sky became thick black and we rode straight into a torrential downpour and thunder and lightning. It was terrifying! Counting 2 seconds between lightning and thunder we put heads down, bottoms up, rode flooded water and sand roads home. Again!
In Mucuge the power was out and it was pouring rain. Cold shower, wet tent. Good times people good times.
We had an amazing lunch at a local house, served right from their kitchen. This was a good time. The food was been so good here, at the race and in the towns.
Sonia and Jeff of Topeak /Ergon were second in the stage, putting in another very strong ride. They invited me to stay in their room that night as my sleeping bag got soaked in transit. I love my friends!
Thanks for reading