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Arrived after 30 hours of travel

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Brian Smith, Renata Bucher and Ivonne Kraft at lunch waiting for the afternoon bus.

Brian Smith, Renata Bucher and Ivonne Kraft at lunch waiting for the afternoon bus. (Image credit: Jenny & Brian Smith)
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Bloggers Brian and Jenny Smith with the ladies of Bahia

Bloggers Brian and Jenny Smith with the ladies of Bahia (Image credit: Jenny & Brian Smith)
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Cyclingnews reporter Jason Sumner at breakfast.

Cyclingnews reporter Jason Sumner at breakfast. (Image credit: Jenny & Brian Smith)
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Old Town Salvador is the birthplace of Brasil

Old Town Salvador is the birthplace of Brasil (Image credit: Jenny & Brian Smith)
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We passed the bus which was crawling uphill at 10km/hour full loaded. Painted road signage doesn't mean that much in Brasil.

We passed the bus which was crawling uphill at 10km/hour full loaded. Painted road signage doesn't mean that much in Brasil. (Image credit: Jenny & Brian Smith)
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Pre-race day breakfast with tent city in the background.

Pre-race day breakfast with tent city in the background. (Image credit: Jenny & Brian Smith)
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The national park where the racing will occur.

The national park where the racing will occur. (Image credit: Jenny & Brian Smith)

What a trip it's been so far. We've spent about 25 hours traveling from Gunnison, Colorado to Mucuge, Brazil. Strangely enough we haven't experienced any conflicts along the way, and we managed to receive our entire luggage undamaged.

Salvador, Brazil was a refreshing welcome from the Gunnison cold. We stayed at the Ibis hotel about 100 yards from the ocean with temperatures in the 80s. After catching a light nap, we met the race organizers and other athletes at a beachside restaurant. We caught a tour of downtown Salvador that included many old churches built in the mid 1500s, cobbled streets and traditional art and food of Brazil. We learned that Salvador was the first established city of Brazil when the Portuguese explorers landed there in early 15th century.

Jenny and I managed to make it until 9:00 pm before hitting the wall. The next day was another travel day that was supposed to start at 8:00 am from our hotel. That became 8:30 and the departure from the airport at 9:00 became noon. The rest of the day was spent traveling seven hours from the coastal city of Salvador to Mucuge, the hot and dry region of Bahia.

Jenny and I traveled in a Sprinter van while the rest of the competitors rode in a tour bus. It sounded like we got the short end of the stick until we passed the bus about halfway to Murcuge. Apparently the tour bus was traveling 10km per hour on most climbs with its full load, nearly stalling on the longer ascents. Oh yeah, our bikes were on the bus arriving about an hour behind. So, after over 30 hours of travel we are here, in Murcuge Brazil.

Agriculture is the primary business in Murcuge and provides jobs for nearly all the locals. The city is clean with very few homeless people and a very friendly attitude. The food is incredible and the venue is well organized. Everyone has their own tent with twin mattresses.

Mario (Roma), the race director, informed us that the tents and mattresses would be donated to a children's hospital following the event. This seemed like a nice way to give back to the community. We've had a short spell of rain, but that has cleared already.

We plan to pre-ride the prologue soon and do some exploring. Jenny and I are looking forward to racing. We have never raced together as a team.

The Brazil Ride will be a true test of mind, body and marriage! We plan to keep you updated as the race progresses so stay tuned for later updates.

- Brian Smith

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Husband and wife Brian and Jenny Smith are racing their first mountain bike stage race together as a team at the Claro Brasil ride on November 14-19. The 600km, six-day stage race is held in the northeast Bahia region of Brasil and is six hours inland from the city Salvador. The event is between and around two towns, Mucuge and Rio de Contas in the Chapada Diamantina, National Park.

The two, who live in Gunnison, Colorado, have been married for 10 years. Jenny is a New Zealander, who competes in Xterra off-road triathlon and elite mountain biking events. In 2010, she finished fourth at the USA Xterra championships and was a member of the New Zealand team for the UCI mountain bike world championships. She also won the Xterra Amazon and finished first, with Rebecca Rusch in the TransAndes mountain bike stage race.

Brian is a two-time USA Triathlon winter triathlon champion, two-time winter Xterra world champion and one of America's top off-road cyclists and triathletes. He tore his pectoralis tendon in may, requiring surgery and a summer of rehab.

Both have been to Brasil before: Brian three times for Xterra Brasil events and Jenny for Xterra Amazon. However, this is their first time going together as well as the first time each will race as part of a mixed team in a stage race.

Jenny races for Trek Racing Co-op and Trek's women's brand. She is also sponsored by Bontrgaer, SRAM, Rudy project, Pearl Izumi, Squirt lube and ESI grips. Brian is backed by Rock and Roll Sports Gunnison, Giant, SRAM, Mavic and Rudy Project.

Follow Brian and Jenny's blog describing their experience throughout the race.