Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stage 3 - ...

...priego da cordoba loop.

Why do we do this again? We even pay big bucks to do it. Its an addiction  of sort and at the end of it we wanna do it all again; the pain is forgotten. So i keep reminding my self of that while a knife is poking my shoulder and legs are screaming for a break but Craig the machine just wanna go harder. Gives me a push that accelerate the bike and forces me to downshift and push a bit harder just when i think im maxed out. Well that summarizes todays stage.

The neutral ride throuh town was just like all other days. Out of gate 5 today so a bit less riders to get through. The lead team was in our sight through all of it. Then gravel and we lost sight and never saw them again. The pace was high and plenty of rolers my favorite. Then climbing; i seem to remember a lot of that today. Some beautiful road and gravel climbs, very steep. Down to feed to was my favorite of the day. Some awesome decent with a bit of everything. Boulders, coble stone, steps, loose gravel....
My least favorate was about 5 km from finish and we hit a climb that pretty much looked like a wall in front of you!.... It felt like a really long few km to the finish, but it felt good to be done and happy to know we took another stage. Another fancy Oki camera and plack.
Stayed clear of Olga today and glad i did as the muscles are very unhappy with any touch. Heather be warned; clear the calendar for next week! :)
After such good food in Cordoba it was a hard one to match here in Jaen, not bad but we are spoiled now.

Tomorrow is suppose to be the hardest day of the week; yay! 86.6 km and 2741 meter elevation! The area is quiet a bit more mountainous and i expect there will be aomething great views. Only two more days of this journey. Still in gate 5.

Happy riding!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stage 2 ....

...Cordoba - Cordoba, 78 km and about 2000 elevation. Very similar to yesterday but yet very different! First different, we got to start in block 6 (up from 8). The course today was mostly dirt, double and single track and very little road. Equally hard with lots of climbing, but pretty much each climb was rewarded with more great trails and descents. Very well put together. The climbs, though super hard, had some more content to them, rocks, sand, steep, long. We saw some awesome views and canyons, cow fields and forrest, slick rock and rough rock, a little bit of everything. Craig once again did all he could to help me reach the top and it didn't take too long into the race before we caught up with the second women team. We never saw the lead mixed team and I just assumed they were ahead, riding strong. We road with them for a bit and eventually dropped them and soon got the wheel of the lead women team. Very strong on the climbs and Craig pushed me hard to make sure we stuck with them (literally). We dropped them on a decent, after one of them had a little issue with the bike. Legs were yelling and screaming all day, and apparently I do too sometimes, but both legs and me, keep going. It's hard not too when Craig is working so hard, but in my mind I would have loved to stopped at least at one of the many coffee shops I saw crossing roads. Well, no coffee stop today. We made it to the rail road, and finally the many trips to Cochran paid off. Though, I wasn't as lucky this time. Ripped the side of my front tire after getting in a the bumpy groove. Saw a few teams ride by unfortunately but this is racing. Got a tube in and road a bit more careful on the some sections now. Still having some issues with my chain jumping off and getting stuck in the crank arm. Tuned it up slightly again, to worried about someone messing with the crack if I dropped it off to a mechanic. Craig suggest I should remove a link, that will be plan B, plan A, don't mess with it if it's sort of working...hopefully it'll hold up one more day.
The very last 5 km of the race was the same as day 1 and 2. Was very happy to see the end!
The mixed team was not there yet, so we ended up winning the day. They had a flat tire early on during the neutral section and came rolling across the finish line second today, still with the overall lead. Only some big mistake on their end will take that away from them. They seem very strong still.

We fumbled a bit more after the finish today, fixing my wheel, front shifting etc. So missed lunch before massage. Had a quick cheese doodle snack and went for a massage. Today I got "Olga"! she is very strong! it was very painful! I hope I can walk tomorrow :) Craig got the same one as yesterday and is very pleased. Ice bath done, soon dinner, pack room for a 630AM departure tomorrow to a new area tomorrow.

Happy Riding!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Post Stage 1

Wow, that was hard.

We started back in town again just like yesterday and with only a few km of neutral we had to push our way to the front pretty quick. A little bit of sidewalk riding helped and not in too bad of a position as we went out on the trails. We could see the lead team from yesterday, but not the second team. We got to climb up the trail I climbed back up looking for Craig yesterday, so guess someting good came out of the mishap, a little pre-ride of the climb. And so it went for the rest of the day, more climbing, and then some more, the down were so quick I can't remember much of it, but I do recall some climbing. Fairly short punchy once, punch which of course I don't have. But with the lead team from yesterday with us we did what we could to hang on. Craig would push me to give the extra punch up the hills, but in the end (somewhere in the middle)we had to see them go. They are definitly more race fit than I am. Both the girl and the guy. Deservingly taking the stage win again today about 5 min on us. We never saw the second place team (we thought we were looking for Danish riders)and learnd later we were 20 or so minutes ahead. Big recovery from yesterday and now 3rd overall, much improved from dead last! Though we did leave all of it out there hoping to prove we could ride with the leaders all the way in. Not today.
At the finish line Craig is treated as a Pro with his Scott bike, they take very good care of him... hint hint Trek! We had a good massage, some good food, a cold leg dip and now ready for some more food soon. Then hope for the heavy legs to lighten up for tomorrow, which roumers has it that it is harder than today with more climbing. The race will be broadcasted on Spanish TV each night, so will put legs up and hopefully get the Spanish summary of today!

Happy riding!

Stage 1 ...

...Cordoba to Cordoba...

Last night we hopefully dealt with yeaterdays blow and have left it behind for good (or at least until we get home and a few jokes im sure will be made). New day today, 78 km and 1965 elevation. Lots of up and down and hopefully we are able to steal a few positions during the 3k neutral ride to enjoy some fun trails in the area.

I've had a great visit with family while in Spain and yesterday i had great support from dad and Eli. Today they head out. Thanks for a great week!

Better get ready, happy riding!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 0 ...

...of the race is a short warmup for the rest of the week.

Not sure i should update blog with a report just yet as im still recovering from a tiny bit of a disappointing end of the day. But we live and learn and move on...
We stared down in the older part of Cordoba with a neutral 8km or so through the town. I didnt really get to see too much of the town as all my attention was on the more than 400 riders already racing for a good spot in the end. It was pretty crazy with walking old people on the sidewalks not too happy with all the riders taking over the sidewalk, us as well, trying to advance a bit more up the pelaton. We started off dead last but think we got up to around 100 maybe at the end. Hard to say.
Then the race started. Some dirt double and single track; lots of jams and hiking and not too many places to go but the pace was pretty good for me. Think Craig had more in him so he took both bikes and i ran up in front hoping to pass a few people (he mumbled something about this is how Erik moves up). After a while of climbing we had some fast double track desending and some gradual climbing that lead in to some great single track down and then some awesome doble track fast and technical down. So far great day; legs a bit heavy but ok. Then my chain jumped off and got jamed and while putting it on i wasn't sure if Craig went by, I thought he did. With that in mind I moved like crazy on the last bit of down and pretty much to the finish line but didnt see him. We have to be within two minutes so rather than going throuh i went back to a good view and waited. Afte ra few minutes I figured he had a minor break down and would show up soon. No Craig and no English speaking help to get. After a while i started riding back up, little by little. Hmm now worried a bad crash had happened. Pretty much every rider in the race went by. And im still riding up. Got a few spanish coments and pointing fingers. Eventually i turn and see our Madrid friend coming up to get me. He says Craig ia at the finish line. Also he not so great witb English. But I do get that he is ok. We ride back to the finish and I'm pointed to cross the line, and there is Craig.
I guess Craig thouht I was ahead and didnt see i was stopped to fix bike. He crossed the finish and then learn i was not there. But now he couldn't go back. He goes throuh the same search exercise that i did but on the other some of finishline. So here we are. Day 0 and dead last and still waiting for officials to say yes we are still in the race. They think we are but with my time as official time with a time penalty as well for the gap..hmm be a hard one to pick up. But hopefully we can still race for stages, at least we are both ok; no physical injuries...and something learned.

New day tomorrow and more Happy riding!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Andaluciabikerace ...

...tomorrow it will begin. Follow live at

kate and Craig

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spain 2012 - starting the vacation

wow, Spain bootcamp so far; but the fun kind.
Since i left Calgary Thursday it's been pretty much non stop. We arrived Spain and Madrid yesterday around lunch and the bike survived the long haul without a box just fine. We managed to get a large enough vehicle to fit both bikes, three people and our luggage after a few inspections. And from there we figures we would tour in to Madrid for some technology upgrades and lunch! We opted out of a GPS rental and without the pad or phone maps we stuck to the old kind on paper if your remember those. It sort of worked since we didnt really care where we ended up. And i think we did end up in Madrid. Found a cell phone provider after a bit of trial and error and we quickly have learned that we really should put the effort in and learn the language before venturing here. The lunch was food, but not sure what it a was besides chicken.
Now that the iPad has a sim card the navigation is great! Well we still get to go throuh the same trafic circle about four times before we get it right and see many cool new blocks that wasn't really highlighted blue, but after all that we always end up somewhere.
Craig suggested we stay close to Ignachi (sorry bud, probably not spelled right), but since he had moved that work out, thouh we did get to see a part of the suburbs we would not probably have gone to. So this morning we had a little drive in to the city to pick up our ride guide and friend from Transportugal in downtown Madrid. Interesting as directions were to meet was communicated between two languages both not too clear. We eventually end up running down the street yelling his name while also talking to him on a cell phone after jay-running across the street. Now all finally packed in our great bike van and off to our first group ride in Spain, fashionable late!
We met up witb two of his friends and had an amazing ride. More fun trails than i expected, about 65 km of dirt road, rock, sand both fast flowy and some nice technical stuff. We road part of the 600km route of the pilgims (Dont really know the story so will not pretend, but it probably should have something about bikes in it, as it was trails made for riding! :) So much fun. Probably need to shop for some leg warmers and warm gloves as its a bit cooler here than i planned. Thouh today i was ok, even as the only one showing skin, I've been told there was snow last years andalucia race!
After ride we drove back to Madrid, had another interesting lunch, downloaded a translation tool, helped a little to say "awesome lunch!" thouh the guy didnt buy in as i left much of something that looked
like a sausage ...
Found a great bike shop; but unfortunately closed but Craig got to do some more technical riding, car riding that is. Ventured to our town for the night, Las Rozas, but of course not without seeing all of Madrid and every option of roads including more trafic circles (yes, more than once). After a quick drop at the hotel it was time for some snack so Craig and I went in to town to look for a local snack, see potential but no parking, but thouh we are not learning the language quick we are picking up on the culture; nice empty spot at the bus stop! The local pub seems great, while struggling with the ordering a local guy kindly offers us something on a toothpick ...cant say no, now its just like an episode of fear factor, but with me in it! Not good, thouh at least my piece was shaved properly.
Get a few more things at a local corner store, also of course need a few trials, but we eventually get back to hotel and now its 1030 and im laying down for the first time! Planning ride tomorrow on my sms in Spanish! (cheating of course). Big group apparently, should be fun.

Happy riding and welcome to 2012...will try to keep it going!