The Smiths prepare for first stage race together in Brasil

The 565km Claro Brasil Ride mountain bike stage race will kick off on Sunday, November 14 and run through November 19. It starts and ends in Mucugê - Bahia and includes over 11,000m of climbing in six days. Many racers are making the trip from abroad, including the husband and wife team of Brian and Jenny Smith. The pair will be blogging about their race experience on Cyclingnews.

"We've both been to Brasil," said Jenny Smith, "Brian three times for Xterra Brasil events and me for Xterra Amazon. However, this is our first time together and it will be our first time racing a stage race together as a mixed team too." The couple, who lives in Gunnison, Colorado, has 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. Smith has previously blogged her stage race adventures for Cyclingnews at events such as the Cape Epic.

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. But the Brasil race has provided motivation for him to work back into form.

Some of the other international riders attending the race include Martin Gujan and Christof Bischof, Ivonne Kraft, Jeff Kerkove and Sonya Looney.

In late breaking news, organizers announced earlier this week that they had changed the final stage by extending it from 50km to 107km. "The cost benefit got better for the racers. They will have 50km more of riding and fun!" joked Mário Roma, organizer of the race.

In addition to the blog from the Smiths, Cyclingnews will be bringing you daily reports, photos and results from each stage.

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