Stage 2: Mucuge to Rio de Costa: Roosters, flattened toads, and grinning from ear To ear
By: Brian Smith
Each year I invite about 20 keen riders to join me on my birthday ride, one day on the White Rim. On Monday, I spent the day on my bike in Brazil with 300 international riders. The route consisted of almost 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing. Not a bad substitute in my eyes.
Jenny and I had a good prologue the day before and we wore the mixed team’s green leader’s jersey. Green is my favorite color. So before the day even started I was grinning ear to ear despite the grey clouds and full night of rain prior to the 6am start. We started with about 40K of paved and dirt roads where the pace was close to 25mph at the front. Jenny was at her limit keeping up with the top men’s teams.
For some reason we decided to bypass aid station one to keep pace with the top teams to try and drop the other mixed competitors. This decision left us quite dehydrated with only two bottles each for about 60K. To make matters worse I broke my chain at a creek crossing. I managed to make a quick fix thanks to a Connex link I got from Rock N’ Roll Sports and was under way in about 2 minutes. We then had to chase the leading team for about an hour before we saw the front again. After about 60K we got single track/jungle with rain. We had to hike-a-bike knee deep mud, rock ledges and rushing creeks while getting rained on. A true Brazilian adventure ride!
The last water station was about 25K from the finish but we still had an 1800 foot climb ahead of us and we had already ridden/hiked 6 hours. I had a rooster that attempted to outrun me at 15mph then tried to fly at the same speed before wrecking in the bushes. There was a flattened toad in the road about the size of my head. About a mile later we saw a run-a-way horse with a mouth full of grass and its rope still tied to it running down the road. After this I started to bonk. False flats on wet muddy roads for 10K leading to the last climb and Jenny was leaving me for dead. I chugged about 5 gels in a flask and returned to life.
By the time we topped the climb I almost threw up, bad idea. I heard Jenny dry heaving behind me and I knew we had to finish this stage asap. We rolled into Rio de Contas after 7 hours and 42 minutes. That was by far the most suffering I have ever done on my birthday. I was so smashed I had 1 beer, was in bed by nine and had to write this blog on Tuesday.
Jeff Kerkove and Sonya Looney of Topeak/Ergon, also from Colorado, had the race of the day chasing us down and finishing less than 3 minutes back. That’s all for now but the suffering must continue. Keep posted for more updates.-Brian Smith