The transfer was entertaining as well driving up the mountain road provided some spectacular views and edge of the seat excitement wondering if we were going to meet other cars head on. A few circles were driven around Tapalpa before narrowly squeezing between a building and guard rail and after believing everything was in the clear, a quick slip of a tire and half of the running board on the truck was ripped off and a fresh dent was added. The arrival to Valle De Lago where T1 and the accommodations were was a welcome and surreal sight at El Solario a picturesque little Villa.
After getting settled, building the bikes and a fantastic lunch a pre-ride of the course was in order with Will and Karsten. It began dry and clean and ended wet and muddy but was very enjoyable after riding the suspension bridge, climbing over and through gates, sliding through corners, dodging smaller puddles, plowing through the unavoidable ones, enjoying a drizzle and fording small streams and creeks.
The days at Valle De Lago were sublime, prepared home cooked meals, shared with great friends and the most incredible hosts, Santiago and Erika and some of the Xterra Mexico crew. A quick swim in the lake and a trip to Tapalpa to check out the run course and grab some fresh homemade ice cream filled the last day before the customary gear prep for the race.
The race was at around 7000ft so there was no hard charge off the line just settling into a good pace unfortunately it was not good enough to get on to Seth’s feet. Leaving transition about 30 seconds down from Seth and over a minute from the leader Perez the game was on to catch up. About 4 miles in Seth made a slight error on the course and the lead trading began. A couple miles later going through a small stream crossing there was a clink of a rock on metal followed by a rhythmic clinking signaling that a spoke had broken just the ascent of the steepest climb had started. At the crest a quick stop to wrap the spoke around its neighbor and Seth led by a small margin.
After ascending a bit more the metallic clink was back and another stop was called for to adjust the spoke so that the bike and other components would not be marred and cause further difficulty. Now even further back from Seth, the chase was in earnest as the gap would need to be in the other favor if a win were possible. After reaching the climax and with no idea of how much time Seth had gained, the downhill was the best shot of a comeback. A Conrad style imitation of the downhill was the best approach and it paid its dividends as Seth was back in view once the road straightened out. After the catch and working together for a few miles, there was a decision to either try to hit a bridge that had yet to be ridden or to drop down and ford the last creek.
|Out for lap 2 (Photo Courtesy of XTERRA/Kahuna)|
|Men's Podium (Photo Courtesy of XTERRA/Kahuna)|
|Pre Awards Fun (Photo Courtesy of XTERRA/Kahuna)|
|There are two cyclist on fire a the top riding backwards, ridiculously fun (Photo Courtesy of XTERRA/Kahuna)|
Huge thanks the Xterra Mexico Staff, Santiago and Erica for making the trip we couldn't have done it without you, can't wait to come back.