I was also surprised by the terrain. The Andes range extends 4,300 miles through seven South American countries. I only saw a very small part: Our race was in the lower portions of the Andes, with a max elevation of just over 5,000 feet. The flora and fauna had the whimsical vibe of the rainforest, but after you got out of the trees, there would be a single massive peak, an active volcano. These really commanded my attention, because the volcanoes just didn't seem to belong next to the green forests.
toll on my sustained power. For the first time, I had to race myself into shape. With every stage, I became a little stronger. Later in the race I scored a stage win and some very tight race results, just over a minute from Rebecca. It was fun to race with such high class competition and to appreciate our polar opposite strengths and weaknesses on the bike. I am happy with my ability on steep climbs and technical terrain, but my gravel road riding needs some serious work. After six days, the second spot on the podium was mine!
As I mentioned in my last post, I was a little apprehensive about my fitness. I was surprised at how good I felt for the first two hours of each day, even though I'm not usually a fast starter. I found that my short Puma Classic White
Mud and Volcanoes at the Trans Andes Challenge
Torrents of rain drenched our tent city. Photo: M. Tucana/ Trans Andes Challenge
interval workouts had paid off and I was able to lead the race for those two initial hours. But at the two hour mark, like clockwork, Rebecca Rusch would come to collect me. A few days she passed me, then proceeded to post a huge time gap while I was limping to the finish line for a 4.5 to 5 hour finish time. I was surprised that my endurance fitness wasn't stellar because that's been one of my strengths in the past. My 1.5 hour trainer rides all winter definitely fine tuned my speed, but have taken a Puma Orange And Blue
of fun you enjoy a lot more after it's over. Stage 3 was canceled due to extreme conditions, and frankly, it was hard to imagine conditions more extreme than the 6 inch deep, peanut butter like mud we'd been slogging through. It took five hours to ride 35 miles, difficult to say the least. And it was hard off the bike, too: Our tents leaked, everything got saturated with water, and we were stuck in camp with nothing for shelter except dripping canvas. There were 35 hour periods of rain that did not stop for even 30 seconds. But the attitude of my fellow racers was inspiring. They made the best of the situation, even having a dance party one morning. The cheerful staff worked hard and the warm Chilean hospitality never ceased to astonish me. But our quest for summer was over: After four days of wet, the sun finally appeared. We enjoyed two days of sunshine, tacky trail, and a massive Chilean barbeque at the awards ceremony.
My next adventure will be in March, which gives me a few weeks to recapture my endurance. I am registered for the NUE series opener, True Grit. It's a rowdy, 100 mile mountain bike race in St. George, Utah. The website has a disclaimer warning participants that the event requires real mountain bike skills, upper body strength, Puma Shoes 2017 Women and serious endurance. It's going to be a welcome challenge for me because I am back to the trainer, although for non interval days, I've recently discovered fat biking. But that's another story!
The first four days of the race were wet, cold, and muddy. I usually find hanging out and sleeping in a remote tent city fun, but this time it was the kind Sneakers Puma Women
To those enduring a bitter cold winter, South America might sound like a tropical oasis, an escape from the snow. At least it did to me. And a week riding through Patagonia during the Trans Andes Challenge seemed like an ideal pre season training camp. But this year, that temperate weather turned sour, and most days we rode through relentless rainstorms over seven days in Chile, the regions received more precipitation than notoriously wet Seattle and the Netherlands during that time. Mother Nature was clearly laughing her ass off.
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