|The start area featured hard barriers and colorful ads|
|Another day in the office|
The entire start / finish area infrastructure was worthy of an event with a higher UCI ranking—rigid barriers, an expo area with 20+ vendors, Red Bull's Soundmobile, staging areas, a regulation sized arch, etc. Wow! The police showed up to help with the neutral start, and we had dirt bikes and even a four-wheeler to allow my assistant Francisco to stay with the Pro men the entire way.
|Rafa and El Jefe use arm movements to communicate Tico style|
My idea to use a controlled, neutral start for the first 3K through urbanized neighborhoods with steady car traffic may have saved us from some accidents as even the "neutral" meant that suddenly even the police were behind the racers and only Francisco's outstretched arms from the four-wheeler kept the group somewhat together.
|Good thing those cyclists are not thugs ...|
The feed zones are always entertaining once one goes south of the border. General mayhem reigns since spectators and actual team support personnel get so unbelievably excited that there is no way to control them. Additionally, it's always fun to check out what's being offered by the neutral aid station: While in the US one can pick up a bottle of water and a PowerBar, here the fresh stuff is in high demand: papaya (lovingly deseeded and peeled), bananas, grapes (oh no, not in clusters but again lovingly destemmed and thus in bulk and extra-hard to pick up), and weird fruit juices in tiny cups, plus bulk trail mix. Unfortunately, the still photos don't reflect the craziness in zone #2 which happened to be right on the busy highway to Panama, with buses, trucks, and lots of cars patiently waiting while everyone spilled into the road.
|Fruit stand or feed zone?|
|Feeding frenzy on the PanAmericana|
|Francisco is all business|
The fastest man took right at 2 hours 47 minutes to cover the 60 kilometers—pretty dang impressive. I'm sure he had only one thing on his mind: a perro caliente from FuFosDog, with fine condiments such as corn and spray-on butter. No, I kid you not!
|FuFosDog—el mejor perro caliente del mundo, no?|
|Jorge earned his sandia|