Monday, September 12, 2011

Endürance Latino Americano Patarra—Tres Rios, CR

Yes, that umlaut in the "Endürance" part of the title is intended, and no, it's not that some Tico was trying to pay homage to the UCI commissaire. It's just there, OK?

The start area featured hard barriers and colorful ads
It's Sunday night, and I have finished a long day at the races by completing my race report that the UCI expects to arrive in Switzerland in the next 10 days. It all came off better than expected, and I have to give it to Rafael, the race organizer, that he has improved the level of his race productions by a magnitude of one or two since I worked his 124K marathon in the Arenal area two years ago.
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 took copious notes from his four-wheeler, and I tried to ignore as much as possible all those rule infractions in the feed zone. Let's hope the UCI doesn't check my blog....
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?
Eventually, all riders rolled across the finish line, and it seemed that everyone was extremely happy. Ecuador had sent four riders and a TV crew, and they ended up with three podium spots and an interview with the UCI commissaire. The local ESPN boys were around, too, and they also made off with an interview. My crew was even luckier: They got to take home the leftovers from the feed zones—bags of tiny boiled potatoes and, in Jorge's case, a baby watermelon. Just don't say that officiating doesn't pay off!
Jorge earned his sandia
And then it was time for the obligatory group photo before we headed to a pizzeria for libations and pie.
The crew
They were all a great group, and I'm already looking forward to my next trip to Costa Rica. Pura Vida!



  1. Note on pic 5...dude is not wearing gloves for food prep. ;-) Yes, I WOULD notice that! ~m

  2. That's too funny that you would notice that, because--honestly!!!--I noticed some other guys actually wearing finger rubbers. No kidding.