Last night in the Claro Brasil ride village, I had one of the best miscommunications. In the center of the village is an open air tent, bar and music area with bean bags, couches and flax mats. I was using a grid roller and stretching when one of the race doctors came over introduced himself, asked my name, where I was from.
He asked if he could give me a message. I was befuddled but thought okay?... ( racking my brains for what the message might be) We walked over for the message, and he said we can use the couch. I was still foggy - it must be a serious message if I have to sit on the couch. I did have medical forms in my bag required by the race that I hadn't faxed in.
Meanwhile Brian was laughing behind his book at me. Message. MASSAGE! Oh well, yes, of course I want a massage! It was great.
The Claro Brasil racing kicked off at noon today with a short and t.e.c.h.n.i.c.a.l 13km prologue around the town of Mucuge.
The course had three doubletrack and singletrack sections joined by pavement, road and the cobbled streets of the village. It was an excellent course of sand, round boulder rocks and slick rock. The riding was a bit like Fruita, Colorado, and Moab's Sovereign trail.
Everyone was super excited for the race to get underway and all morning the place had been buzzing with teams getting their bikes ready and warming up. A 40-minute race is a pretty intense way to start such a long event, and it created an exciting atmosphere in the town of Mucuge with local support and spectators.
Brian and I had pre-ridden the track yesterday and knew to expect a fast and furious race. We started in third off the line behind Sonya Looney and Jeff Kerkove of Topeak, Ergon, and they gave us a great carrot to chase. It took us a bit to get our pace dialed. I think to race short and furiously was hard for both of us, as I was trying to go as fast as possible, and it took Brian a bit to get used to what that pace was. But we got better as the race went, and I felt I was riding better technically, too.
We don't have the results yet, but were pretty happy with how it went.
Tomorrow, by contrast, is 139km. It'll be a completely different style of riding. The race is starting very early at 6:00 am. It is Sunday night here tonight, and we are hoping that means a quieter night in Mucuge.
Brasil is known for its music and the weekend proved that to be true. Friday night and Saturday rocked with music from a town party that got louder and louder until 3:00 am. It sounded great but was a bit on the brutal side for us racers sleeping in the tents.
Tomorrow is Brian's birthday, so wish us luck as we celebrate Claro Brasil in riding style!
Thanks for reading.
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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.
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