Andalucia MTB Stage Race – Stage 2

STAGE 2:  Western Cordoba
What a crazy way to start a race…..take 170 riders up a 10 second sprint on a dirt road and pinch them all through a 2 person wide hole in the fence which sends everyone STRAIGHT down a steep loose rocky hill.  It was tempting to ride that steep part but with all the mayhem, carnage and people slipping everywhere (on foot and on bike) I chose to think about the bike and the rest of the long 4.5 hour day we had ahead and run the sucker. 


Staging just outside our hotel Ayre

It was a good move because whatever Jenny and I did allowed us to jump on Mads and Henricks wheels (current Masters Leaders) across the flats.  They were drilling it to get a gap on their competition while Jenny and I held on strong behind them before going our own pace up the long climb.  We were doing well at this point.  So well that we were in the lead! 

The leaders caught us towards the top and we continued to put the pressure on when Jenny said “We are doing GREAT Kathy”.  And (not even kidding) a second later she says “OH NO!!”  Jenny had chain suck BAD.  So bad that she had to take the chain apart to repair.  I was calm as I didn’t want to rush the repair job.  I was confident in our ability to get back in there if we could do a solid fix.  The real thing I was worried about was what seemed to be an angry bull headed our way.  He got close but didn’t bother us (amen!).  15 minutes later we were back on the bike and riding our own tempo in 5th place now.  Such is bike racing!

It took us about an hour to catch up to the next competitors.  As we made our way through the field, fellow racers were cheering, giving us time gaps and letting us draft off them.  Pretty neat to see the excitement and enthusiasm everyone had to race a bike and help us get back up front!

Spain is hardly flat!
I think we ran into almost every kind of scenario on this day.  From the mechanical to horses merging onto the path that we needed to take, some random hike a bikes on the river (it was NICE change to get off the bike), some missed turns (discovered quickly – no time loss) and a few dropped water bottles (which must be collected in a race like this) but we found our way to back up to 2nd place and 2nd overall in the race!!

Note:  I think I am already getting as good as those competitive eaters are at powering down bananas and figs in the feed zone. What a sight!!  It’s something you’d not want to be caught doing at the dinner table!

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