Race reflections

It's amazing what you can put your body through when you are participating in true passion. Racing with your wife for the first time over six days and 36,000 vertical feet is bound to push a button or two.

Riding and sleeping in rain for nearly five days straight can really mess with one's psyche as well as his bike. By day 6, my body was numb to the pain and fatigue and was running on auto pilot. I was really wishing the bike was capable of the same.

By Friday afternoon following stage 6, my bike and body were hammered and ready for some good down time. Enter Salvador beaches, 27 degrees Celsius and blue bird. Other than the hotel room still lingering with the wet tent funk, life was looking up.

That night, Jenny and I both woke with colds. We walked the coastline our last day and took in the local scene including heaps of hand-line fishermen trying to catch dinner after work.

Our return trip was uneventful, with the exception of our lingering colds. Speaking of cold, it was negative five degrees Fahrenheit in Gunnison this morning, with a high of 20. We were happy to be inside with Thanksgiving dinner on the menu.

Jenny and I were glad to have the competition that required our "A" game every day. Fellow Xterra athlete Renata Bucher with Zaboo bikes from Switzerland pushed Jenny to ride near her max at the start of every day. Sonya and Jeff of Topeak-Ergon were always strong finishing within three minutes on the hardest day and battling major mechanicals for a top three overall.

A huge thanks to all the support that was provided to make the event happen and succeed despite the extremely adverse conditions. As a first-year event, Jenny and I were very impressed with the organization and execution of each stage. Shimano provided amazing neutral support and worked around the clock for a week straight.

We hope to make a return trip and take on a new Brazilian adventure soon.

Thanks for reading.

Brian Smith

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