People listen to the sound of rain on sound machines to fall asleep at night. It brings them relaxation. For the 200 racers stirring at 5 AM on Friday morning, the sound of rain was just the opposite. It had rained every day, but starting in the rain always makes things just a little bit harder. Each and every one of us was thinking, “oh man… do I have to go?”
At 7 AM, we started the final stage of the Claro Brasil Ride that had been doubled in length from 50km to 100km. It was supposed to be a “fast” 100km, but the conditions due to all the rain made it a little less desirable to downright cruel in some sections. I got pinched off at the start which forced us out of the lead group. Instead, Jeff and I were once again leading the second group, playing catch up. Karen and Paul were in our group. We had a 25 minute lead on 4th in the GC, but as Jeff and I saw on Stage 3,4, and 5, you can lose more than that in one day. The rain wasn’t torrential like it had been the day before, but steady and we were instantly soaked and dirty.
The dirt roads were really soft and muddy making it difficult. I was tired from my effort on the big climb the day before, and the preceding 5 days of racing. I just wanted it to be over. The only positive thing that day was that our bikes and bodies (for the most part) held up although my brakes were failing from thrashed brake pads (so I tried not to brake), and everyone’s drive train sounded like a cement mixer. My full suspension bike’s drive train is completely worn out after that week. I have to hand it to Magura – it wasn’t until the last day that I felt I had to change my brake pads where most people were having to change theirs daily.
There was a section of road that had overflowed and was over hub deep. We rode it, but it was exhausting and over a city block long! I was doing a lot of complaining in my head. I was over it and my body hurt (just like everyone else). People were grumbling about the rain. There was so much sand, mud, and water flinging up on my body and face. I wiped off my glasses with my thumb and forefinger until I couldn’t use my glasses anymore. Even though we were on the road, it’s still scary when you can’t see.
The stage was pretty flat. There were some short rises in the road. We ended up catching up with Brian and Jenny. The stage was so frustrating that we all road together and kept each other company along with a couple other people. The end was paved road.
We saw the finish line. For three of those days, I didn’t think I’d be seeing the final finish line. It meant a lot to me to cross the line after all the adversity. I would be leaving the Claro Brasil Ride a much stronger person in body and mind, and made some great friends in the process.
I was stoked to be done and wash all the sand and mud off of me! Jeff had the guy with the bike pressure washer clean him off that way, but I was so cold I didn’t want to be hosed down with cold water! I had to wash off my clothes and then myself in the shower!
I felt a great sense of accomplishment for just finishing the race after everything that had happened. The cherry on top is that we finished third overall, overcame difficulty and persevered!
Congratulations to everyone who rode at the Claro Brasil Ride!!! I hope to be back next year!
After the race came Stage 7 and Stage 8 – Stage 7 = beach time (yeesssss) and Stage 8 = a little bit of travel snags getting home.
I was in Boulder for one evening this week (Tuesday) and left the next day to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family in Albuquerque. I’m looking forward to getting home to Boulder and getting back in the swing of things. I have to finish up my semester (and will DONE with pre-reqs for PA School in just 2 weeks!), get caught up with work, and catch up with my friends after being gone for almost 3 weeks! It’s been a great ride!
I’m not done with Brasil yet – the hot sun in Salvador never felt so good!