This will be anything but a race report. Instead, it will be about nightmare travel and some fun times in Brazil with great people. It was no secret that Sonya and I put in the time and training to compete at the 2011 Brasil Ride Stage Race. After our 3rd place finish in 2010, we decided to work hard and head back to try to better our 3rd place in the Mixed category. We were both 100% mental and physically fit to ride hard for 7 days in Brazil.
Both Sonya and I left for Brazil on October 21 on an American Airlines flight that would have us going from Denver to Chicago to Miami to Salvador, Brazil. Once in Salvador, Brazil it would be a 6-8 hr bus ride to the start city of Mucuge, Brazil.
The air travel was a bit sketchy at times. Flights were delayed for one reason or another. I barely made my flight to Brazil from Miami. Sonya missed it completely and would arrive later that evening while I arrived in the AM.
When I didn't think things could get worse, they did. When I arrived in Salvador, my bike did not. The AA Baggage Agent said that the bike was coming later on the same flight as Sonya and would be delivered to me later that evening in Mucuge. OK, no problem there. So, I rode in the bus to Mucuge with the plans of Sonya, her equipment, and my equipment arriving late that evening.
Around 10 PM, Sonya arrived. Problem was, only Sonya arrived. All of Sonya's riding clothing, her bike, and my bike still missing by AA. If we didn't get our bikes by Noon the next day, we would not be able to compete in the race. Sonya and I went to bed with the hopes of bikes being delivered early tomorrow morning.
That next morning we woke up to no bikes. We instantly went into back-up mode to find bikes for the week. None were available. So we had to wait. And waiting we would do.
The race started on Sunday at Noon. Sonya and I would watch from the sidelines. Our race over before it ever began. So, for the remainder of the week we would be allowed to ride the stages.....but not be counted in any results. Later that evening, Sonya's bike and gear was delivered, but mine was not. I began to think I would never see the bike again. Sunday night was hell for me....and about 10 others! The icing on the cake, food or water poisoning. Last year I drank the same water and ate the same foods. This year, that back fired. I spent the night barfing outside my tent...chills....fever. Absolutely miserable!
The next AM still no bike, but I wouldn't be riding anyway. No sleep and lose of food/water over the night had me just blown. I just got in the van to ride to Rio De Contas.....the next host city. On the way to Rio De Contas we stopped at one of the aid stations. We would pick up fellow Colorado racers Brian and Jenny Smith. Brian had my same symptoms and could not race or ride any further. They would drop out on Stage 2....all while wearing the Mixed category leader jerseys.
That next day in Rio De Contas, Sonya would ride the stage. Brian Smith and I would be sick in bed. My bike, still did not arrive, even though it was verbally promised to arrive that night before 10 pm.
The next stage, I was still watching from sidelines. Sonya would get out and ride. Brian would stay off his bike in favor of rest. My bike, still did not arrive.....now 4 days after originally being lost by American Airlines.
That next morning my bike arrived at 6:30 AM! The stage began at 8 AM. I quickly built the bike and ate breakfast.....happy to be able to ride the stage. The early miles I ride with Sonya. She wanted to go a more relaxed pace. I was full of energy, so I rode a faster tempo on this 60 mile day. It would all come crashing to an end though. Lack of food/water intake over the last few days had me bonked out of my mind. Sonya caught up to me and was worried for me. 8 miles from the end of the stage she waved down a race vehicle and made me get in for the ride to the finish line.
Next day, I felt OK, but took the day off the bike to eat and drink. I finally had an appetite, so I fed my face with lots of quality food and drink. With 2 stages remaining I wanted to not make this trip a complete waste.
Stage 6 was a 80 mile day from Rio De Contas to Mucuge. The day for the most part was uneventful. Some good miles....some bad. Big climbs and big heat. Dodging dogs and cows. Mountain biking in Brazil done proper! Was good to get a solid day in! All Stage 6 photos here.
Stage 7 was shortened from 100k to about 30k. Why? Fire danger in the area we would be racing. The shortened stage was fast....very fast. My body went into shock....especially after being sick. Aside from that, it was a good ride! Oh, and my fork blew out. Yeah, it was one of those trips.
While there was no Stage 8, we made one. It was called beach day in Salvador prior to flying back to the USA! All pics here.
Thinking about racing the Brasil Ride? Read this!
Finally, a huge THANK YOU to Mario and the crew at the Brasil Ride for doing everything in their power to get our bikes to the race as soon as possible! Thanks for the hospitality and another great time in an amazing country!
Let the off-season begin! 2 weeks of no bike.