In stage 3 of La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain bike race, there was a new face among the top three women. Jane Rynbrandt (Carmichael Training Systems) spent much of the stage at times with eventual second place finisher Louise Kobin (Global Biorythm Events) and also eventual third place finisher Rebecca Rusch (Specialized).
"I liked riding on today's terrain. It was three hours of climbing and an hour or so of descending. It was like Colorado with all the climbing. I felt at home, minus the mud."
Rynbrandt is from Colorado Springs and is racing her second La Ruta. She didn't feel great at the start, but her legs came around half-way up the day's climb up the volcanoes. That's where she was with Kobin, who eventually got away from her.
"This year is going better," she said. "Last year I was fifth, but there was more space between the others ahead and me. I feel stronger this year and know what to expect. I have a better handle on the steep climbs."
After riding in third for a while, Rusch passed her and bumped her back to fourth place. "Rebecca caught me halfway down the descent. She's a phenomenal descender and I was running low on energy and couldn't hang on."
"Tomorrow's stage was the hardest day for me last year. I have a fear of heights. I want to make it over the railroad bridges tomorrow and find some groups to ride with on the flats." The last stage, number four, take riders over La Ruta's famous railroad trestle bridges, which are high up over raging rivers and are missing some of the ties.
According to Rynbrandt, knowing what is coming is both good and bad. "I don't know if it's better because you know what's coming and you know how hard it is, but the experience does give you valuable information and you know how to pace yourself better."