I’ve never been less prepared for anything in my life—maybe including having twin boys at 35. For example, SRAM helped me build this bike up with top of the line equipment. They sent me several emails asking me what gearing I wanted. At the time I was like, whatever, ya know, standard stuff. Thinking how bad could it be!? So that’s what they did, that’s what they sent. Then when my mechanic and friend Verg was building the bike up—FOR THIS EVENT—he was like dude, are you sure this is the right gearing, he was like, aren’t you taking this to a hill climb? I was like yeah dude, I’ll be fine, it can’t be that steep. I was wrong. It was that steep. Here’s the the thing guys: I never looked at the course or read a description of the ride. Which, in retrospect, is insane. IN-SANE. So my point is this:
I DIDN’T KNOW THAT THE HARD PART WAS THE LAST 10k.
Even though any basic cursory search of the internet reveals that this hill climb is all about the last 10k which hits 22% and during which the flat parts are 10%. I thought the whole ride was the hard part. I was wrong. I mean, I wasn’t wrong about it being hard, but I was wrong about that being the “hard part.” So imagine how I felt, blissfully ignorant, when I saw that 10k sign. Have you ever seen a 10k sign at the end of 100k race? That 10k sign is PURE JOY. It’s relief! It’s hope! It’s the end! NOPE. I think I need a second chance at this race. Next time I will prepare a little bit. Also, I didn’t have any water. I had some water bottles in my jersey pockets but my pockets were so overstuffed that I was scared to reach back and pull a bottle out, thinking if I did my shit (bats, headphones, vest, hotel key cards, etc—the usual) would go all over the place behind me. Which did eventually happen. It’s cool, I needed to stop anyway.
But seriously, in skateboarding we called it a “rebate.” Which is basically a redo. When you drop-in and kook it so hard on your first trick you grab your board and shout REBATE as loud as you can and drop right back in.
The ride is so pretty, the roads are so good, the gorge is so deep, the humidity is so humid, the elevation is so high, the day is so long, the monkeys on the side of the road are so dead, the other riders around you are so in-this-together, the road surface was so grimy and wet and full of spring water and overflowing creeks, the corners were so steep, the 5k descent at 70k or whatever is such a mind fuck, the top is so unreachable, the event is soo good, the sense of accomplishment is so good. Do this. This or Letras in Colombia. Do one of them. But do this one because it’s a better social-type experience