Andalucia MTB Stage Race – Stage 5

Downtown Jaen, Spain

STAGE  5:  Eastern Jaén
After the race yesterday we all got settled in our new abodes in the middle of downtown Jaen.  It was culture shock at its finest coming from a hotel that was more removed to a BIG beautiful city where there is NO parking anywhere and concrete everywhere.  The dinners and breakfasts on china plates continued as we ate like kings and queens never getting exactly full for an entire week.  Strange concept as you completely stuff your face. 

Today the race started with another longer 1hr climb this time through olive trees and Jenny and I were able to hang with the leaders again.  The Spanish Ladies team was also there and they were now officially starting to put time into our time gap for the Overall after coming in ahead of us the last couple days.  Our goal was to stay 2nd or better Overall and to try to win a stage.  The terrain was either up or down but the beauty of the scenery and the ripping singletrack that meandered along the cliff was downright breathtaking. 

On one of the fast loose descents I witnessed (right where I jumped off) 2 out of 3 men lose control and eat it hard.  One flipped over his bike in front of me and luckily ONLY broke his saddle.  Our team motto this whole time has been “Bike and Bodies” for good reason….one crash like that and you are out.  Not worth it.  But it’s hard because you are racing but you need to know when to hold back too.  That is part of it.  That said, our “Bikes and Bodies” have been great up to this point.  My Stans Crest Rims are bomb proof and my body is letting me hammer it into the ground over and over again, all for which I am grateful!

The Spanish team was clearly finding their form and was gone pretty quickly towards the top of the climb.  Jenny and I did the best we could, enjoyed the experience and the singletrack, even took a wrong turn (only a few minutes lost) and made sure to keep looking up to check out the views.  Then we were stopped at a time checkpoint….STAGE OVER.  Say what?  The race ended 10k early because of problems with the police.  I can certainly see how that might have been an issue in such a hugely populated city.  Jenny and I were 3rd again holding on to 2nd overall by the skin of our teeth now.

Note:  I cannot believe HOW LITTLE I am looking at my watch, and am just simply enjoying EVERYTHING about being on the bike for more hours than I have ever spent on a bike at one time.  I didn’t know what to expect from my body because I have never expected this much from it, even in training but I am pleasantly surprised at my attitude toward hopping on the bike every morning for another 4hours + of racing.  It’s so fun! 

View from hotel room window (note the castle on the hill)!

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