Today was a blast. It was a completely different experience than the last time I was here.
My favorite part of the day was actually the worst part the first time around. The Carara is extremely difficult with a ton of hiking, but beautiful and isolated. The "trail" there is just a place for the water to go, and the erosion ditches are sometimes head-high. The mud wasn't as bad this year as everyone said it would be. I was happy with my tire choice, and my bike was perfect all day long.
I lost touch with Angela (Parra) and Louise (Kobin) on the very first climb, but I didn't let it discourage me and just rode my own race. I ended the day about 30 minutes off the lead and 10 minutes behind Louise, but it's a long race and anything can still happen.
I felt like I managed the heat well - no cramping, and I felt strong and solid the whole day. I'm happy with my result and feel like I didn't burn too many matches on day 1.
I heard rumors today that some top racers received warnings for getting outside assistance, and I'm encouraged to hear that the race organization is cracking down and taking the rule seriously.
The most terrifying part of today and my least favorite part was the final 10km through the outskirts of San Jose. After seven hours of isolation and beautiful countryside, I was suddenly thrown into the chaos of Central American traffic. There were dogs, cars, people, trucks and I was like a little tiny ant in the middle of it all trying not to get squashed. It was super scary and the difficulty was magnified by the rain that had just started and by trying to look for route markings at the same time, but I made it unscathed.
I got a massage and got my bike all set up so I'm ready for tomorrow.
I loved today, I think because I raced with a different perspective this year.