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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