Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July 31 -- Tito post from Guatemala

There was a 48 kilometer very hilly bike race on Sunday, July 31 in Antigua, Guatemala. The race was on Highway 14 that goes from Chimaltenango to the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Donations from Dave and John D. made the awards ceremony something never to be forgotten.

I won my category of Masters C, meaning men with more than 47 years. There were six of us in my category and about 100 altogether, and we followed a course from Bosareyes to "the orange trees" and back. The first 16 kilometers were hilly but not overwhelming, but I was huffing and puffing in the 4,000 feet of altitude.

There were 3 of us at the front of Masters C, and we were trading places until the huge, 10km descent. I picked up speed and left the other guys behind me. There are advantages to being so heavy.

However, as the speed increased to some ridiculous amount, I just could not believe that we would ever go back up that road. It was long and steep. Finally, I saw a few bright cones for the turnaround and some hands extended with water bottles. Someone extended a "pacha" to me, and then I had an awful premonition. I realized the water was from the dreaded, parasite-filled tap of the typical Guatemalan faucet.

This is a big mistake, according to all of the tourist literature, and I almost
tossed the bottle in the nearby coffee trees. Thinking a bit more of survival,
guitily I drank deeply and poured some down my steamy neck. Though in first
place by our arrival at the oranges, I felt heavy. After all, I had my 30 year
old Trek touring bike and fear of the ascent. Slowly, the others pulled away,
but I felt determined to not give up. A

After a few miles of pain (see the latest photos on the same web site I sent you), I felt better. I had slowed a bit and a second breath arrived. Much to my amazement, I saw the two leaders not too far ahead and I sped up. There was one last steep hill and I stood on my pedals the whole way. I could not believe that the other two dropped back. With a final sprint, I managed to win. Since the organizers had given the donated (by Irregulars) helmets, wheels, pumps and seats to all of the winners in all categories, they gave the one trophy to me. At the award presentation, there was a big speech by the organizer (Jorge Lopez) thanking the Irregulars for their support of young Guatemalan cyclists. Now there are 16 more Guatemalans riding with helmets. Ck the photo of the youngest new biker with his sort of new helmet.

For a few more photos, go here.

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