Thursday, October 15, 2009


200 miles! Do you realize how far that is? I didn't! When we committed to riding our bikes from Durango to Mazatlan I don't think I knew what I was getting myself into. Yes, they said it was a "beautiful ride through the mountains" but I guess I chose to only hear the "beautiful" part. Our group left for this grueling 2 day ride at 730am September 11. There were reporters there interviewing people and Ernesto and I were even featured on the front page of the local newspaper, Contexto de Durango. {Neto, me and the guy who got us into this mess, Jordi! haha}

Funny enough, they interviewed me, and I was misquoted [in Spanish mind you] saying that we have been training for a long time for this ride! ha! This pic was taken at the start: excited....fresh....full of energy....all other words: CLUELESS!
Jordi and Yasmin said we had to dress the part. Being the professionals that they are, they dressed us in all the cool gear: gloves, leg warmers, jackets, padded shorts and shirts with the cool pockets in the back. 30 minutes into the ride I was thinking "Oh my God, Im going to die...but I look good!" (On a side note, I was the only cyclist I saw in two days that was not wearing biking shoes that clip on to the pedals. the. only. one)

The following is a picture I took in the morning on the first day. I was sweating and had my camera in the back pocket of my shirt so it got damp and didn't open all the way. I like how it turned out. This is when we were still traveling in a tight I said, at the beginning.

The ride was unbelievably gorgeous. Landscape like I had never seen in Mexico. I always knew it was there, and I was in awe finally seeing it. I tried to focus on that instead of the fact that the mountains were never ending.

It was a bit discouraging because you didn't get to climb a hill and feel like "Yeah! I did it!" because after that hill there was another and another and another.
bottom line: the first day was totally climbing except for one downhill in the 2nd hour. It did not help when we passed signs like this along the way.
230 MILES? No, it was kilometers, but I couldn't make myself think in kilometers. No importa, it was still a HUGE number. Can you get encouragement by telling yourself, "come on, only
230k to go, you can do it!" That's ridiculous, no?

Everyone kept saying "no es carrera, es paseo" ("this isn't a race, its just for fun" ) But let me ask you something. Would you ever do a strenuous bike ride for 8 hours straight and only take TWO breaks??? Im not kidding! This is an example of one tired biker on a break.

There were about 18 people in our group (and a lot of different groups that go. The biggest being VEGABUNDOS) Each group has a car in front of the group and a car in back of the last cyclist, which happened to be me 99.9% of the time. Memo was driving our truck in back and lets just say we got to know each other.

There were many times that day when I thought I was going to have to stop. Only 2 breaks in 8 hours? I would be so tired, starting to slow and then all of a sudden I would feel a strong hand on my lower back, pushing just enough to give me a short break. I may have also held onto the truck several times for some help up a mountain or two, ha! I am not too proud to take help when it is offered. Never have been. Only when we finished that first day after riding 8 hours and 30 minutes did we feel a sense of accomplishment. We arrived to Mexiquillo, a small town at the top of the mountains at 415pm.

The cabins were very cute and cozy. Since the "professionals" arrived about one hour before us, they already had a fire going in our cabin.
After taking a hot shower and eating a big pasta dinner, we followed the others walking on a trail (not that we weren't tired enough) but they told us there was a cool rock garden and a waterfall not too far from the cabins. It was really a beautiful area.
El Jardin des las Piedras was so cool! Huge boulders stacked on top of each other. I had never seen anything like it. It reminds me of pictures I have seen of Stonehenge in England. (0nly with rounder rocks)
The waterfall was a beauty too.
I wanted to get a good night sleep, but didn't get to bed until 1030p. We woke up at 5am to start the 2nd day and were out on the road by 6a. Surprisingly my legs were not sore, but when we started up the first hill, they felt so TIRED. 2 Hours into the ride we arrived at the Espinazo del Diablo, o "devils backbone". It had the most amazing view. It was also break number one, 2 hours into the ride.

All of the bikers stop here. Its in the middle of nowhere, but someone was smart enough to set up a big taco stand. (this was the only time that I can remember that I was not in the mood for tacos) Someone was handing out fruit & nut bars, so I opted for that instead. We also had Power Bars, bags of dried fruits, and lunch consisted of tuna salad sandwiches. Eating all day, but small amounts as to not weigh us down. (I had my ass for that!)
Like I said earlier, day 1 only had one down hill, the rest was all climbing. Everyone told us that day 2 is EASY (coming from the "professionals" I didn't really believe that) Day 2 had shorter climbs with longer downhills. Many downhills. One mountain at the halfway point of the day took us 45 minutes to go down. Now that was a break! It happened to be the most fun I have ever had on a bike too. We were careful, but I let off my brakes a few times and was speeding around those curves, it was so exhilarating! We were cruising fast the whole way down. That was the only time on the ride that I was glad I had a mountain bike instead of a road bike [with the skinny tires]. It would've been way more dangerous with the bumps and random gravel on the road. My hands were really sore when we got to the bottom from holding the brakes for so long.

As soon as we reached the bottom of this mountain we hit a wall of humidity and the group planned a break just so everyone could peel off layers of clothing. What a change! I was hot before,but after we descended the mountains I was dripping with sweat. I probably lost 10 pounds of water. We were drinking a lot [of Gatorade], and I only peed 2x. TMI?

OK, break time again. We actually had 4 that day. Here we are with only 15k left to reach Mazatlan. We were passed all the mountains and had a relatively flat route to the finish. The group decided that we should all ride into Mazatlan together. That meant we had to keep up with the "professionals" for the last 10 or so miles. They were the hardest yet!
I have never been so exhausted in my entire life and now I have to "push it" to the finish?[located on the beach at some fish statue called El Pescador].
I was so ready for it to be over. I was really excited that Ernesto's family was going to be there waiting for us. I think this is the ONLY reason I was able to make it. Once we reach the city of Mazatlan, we had to ride through it to the GDF fish. I was so emotional. I was getting so frustrated that I started to cry. "Donde esta este pinche pescador???" Which means: Where is this damn fish statue?) When I told my mother-in-law this story, she laughed a lot. I don't really curse to her in Spanish. She thought it was really funny and kept repeating it to everyone all the aunts and uncles. 11 family members were there waiting for us at the pinche pescador- all cheering us on, it made us feel so good!

I have never been so happy to finish something, and I have never felt pain in my crotch like I did that day [or for the 6 days after that]. One word for you: RAW.
Thanks again to Jordi and his wife Yazmin for inviting us to "paseo" with them, taking care of all the arrangements that were needed for this 2 day trip and most of all for encouraging us the whole way. That last part goes for everyone on the team. The amateurs thank you!
Only now, one month later can I say that I would do it again [with much training], and I think its because of my selective memory. I only choose to remember the good stuff. I do this often.

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