Racers at the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) have been battling some epic conditions this week in Malaysia during a six-day mountain bike stage race. Specialized Racing's Lea Davison and Todd Wells have been impressed by the conditions.
Women's race leader Davison attacked early in stage 2 and found herself alone, racing in the jungle, for the duration. There were some interesting moments.
"I was all alone in the jungle and just tried to focus on keeping moving forward. Then there was the loudest clap of thunder I've ever heard, and I seriously thought it was a bomb," said Davison.
"This made me up the pace determined to find some company in the jungle. After half an hour, I realized it was thunder. I saw a snake. There was a leech on my neck. The entire trail was muddy, technical singletrack. It was a very challenging day for everyone."
On stage 1, Davison watched on of her rivals for the overall victory take a swim in a giant mud puddle. "Eva (Lechner) was leading and went swimming accidentally into a puddle up to her handlebars. (She) literally endoed and disappeared. Crazy!"
Wells, who won La Ruta de los Conquistadores in 2011, thinks Langkawi conditions are even more challenging than the notorious mud of the Costa Rican stage race.
"I have been going through the equipment here - flatting two tires, destroying one wheel, going through brake pads and chains as well," said Wells after stage 1. "This race is very hard on the bike, and I think one day here is harder on the bike then the entire race in La Ruta. This is some serious mud here!"
After stage 2, he said, "The mud here is something else. All this mud has been taking a toll on the equipment and requires almost a complete overhaul every night. The hoses and wash buckets here are working overtime. Today, I had brand new metal brake pads for the start, and they were completely gone after just two hours and something of racing. The mixture of sand and mud wreak havoc on the equipment."
There are two more days to go in Langkawi. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage.