Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Columbia

Sipping some fresh Columbian coffee getting the energy to lay down the trip in letters and words. I've only been gone 5 or so days but it feels longer.

Trip down was good, got in I think just after 9 into Bogota and into the hotel at 11 ish. Found out we weren't training on the course until 4 so no rush getting the bikes built which was nice. Just crashed out for the night on the kids cot made from chain link fence. It was more like a hammock.

Awoken to the sounds of south americans running around and yelling in the morning which was apparently payback for us coming in late the night before, eh fair enough.

Breakfast then a bike building party, where I quickly got a sunburn. Oh and it turns out 15 and rain everyday in Columbia means 20 and sunny everyday with a few clouds. Basically the weather network South America isn't anymore accurate than here.

We got two days of riding in on the course, which was challenging for sure,  Basically climbed for 3/4 of the time,  then descend the other 1/4 right at the end. With almost no flat terrain. And some nice multiline rocky sections. It felt good to open it up on a nice bike without fear of falling off a cliff or crashing into a snowbank. The course featured a start near this nice castle private getaway which used to belong to a Columbian drug lord, that the government seized when it began cleaning up the country.


We had lots of security around us even a police escort on a ride back to the hotel one day. I never really felt unsafe, we rode back from the course all three days, people seemed pretty friendly and drivers were pretty good even cheering us as we rode along the roads.

The race was double with the elevation,  I got a solid start from the second row, took a while for all the Americans to get there wagons wheels off the front line. Went with the non snpd, start in the top ten and hope to hold it. Went okay for the first 5 or 6 minutes pretty similar to last year, then after 4 or 5 steep pitches I could feel my body start to go into survival mode. Fell back a few spots then got dizzy and rode off the course. A few more spots and I got back on. The rest of the first lap was just getting my head back on my shoulders. After the descent I started to get going again and started to move up out of the 30's. The next few laps I started to pick up the speed a bit, rode up to Broderick but then pulled a Zandstra and crashed into some bushes upside down, there was a guy with a video camera so it might end up on youtube.

Bike was fine, I was fine but my arms and legs felt shot after that and lost some focus and a few spots. Survival mode for the last two laps. Not the finish I was hoping for. Being positive about the experience and hopefully the altitude training part of is.

Some cool videos here, you can catch a glimpse of me in the first 30 seconds,

The team did great, All the girls had super solid races as did DZ in 8th. McNeely was riding solid top ten until flatting in the U23.

Rode home in TTT mode behind DZ outrunning the rain that finally arrived after our race.

Trip home was good, the Bogata airport was crazy busy at 5 am, and the security was intense, I think we wentt through about 5 or 6 checkpoints before getting to the gate where I got a friendly pat down from a military guard. I'm pretty sure she copped a feel. Tight connection in Newark but got to ride on a new Bomber turbo prop which the flight attendant was bragging about how fast it was. I didn't believe him till we cut 40 minutes off the normal 2 hour flight time after a late departure. Can't beat Canadian Aeronautical engineering.

Huge thanks to Dan, Scott, Tara and Kev for the awesome support, Columbia is a truly beautiful place, I'd love to venture back there some day.

A day or two easy then some more training before the 17th, when we depart for the next adventure to South Africa, I'm thinking of taking my good camera.

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