La Ruta de los Conquistadores 2006 -- Highlights
*Toughest section: the new section between checkpoint 3 and 4 on day one. Searing heat, clear skies, a lot of bike pushing, had to fill up the bottles at a waterfall. I wasn't cursing Roman like I was in '04 when stage one seemed like it was never going to end.
*Best surprise: No cramps! I cramped on day one really badly during my last two La Rutas ('03 &' 04). Thanks to La Ruta Lou's advice on electrolytes I've been using Thermotabs since last year and I haven't had cramps since. Thermotabs rock and a bottle of them is only $6!
*Most fun: the jungle between cp 1 & 2 on day one.
*Least fun: the railroad tracks. I use to really like them but I hated those sections this year. They aren't like they used to be, they've been filled in with rocks so it's pretty boring and not as jarring as it once was.
*Biggest mistake: I took a full suspension instead of a hardtail. The latter would have been much better. I should have read Erik's '05 review on Marg's site beforehand.
*Worst luck: Tinker's roomate -- he happened to have his helmet off while pushing his bike on the new section on day one when he came upon the UCI observer. She disqualified him on the spot!
*Most flats: Had to be Jon Nutbrown, at least 10. Read his account on Marg's site.
*Best Hotel: Guayabo Lodge, good food and great views. All the non-Costa Rican elite riders (Tinker, Frischi, Craig, Leonardo et al) were staying there.
*Worst crash: Jeremiah Bishop's nasty crash at speed pretty much right in front of the Guayabo. I saw him at the San Jose airport a few days after his surgery and wished him a speedy recovery. He was looking much better.
*Best conversations: 1) Talking with soon to be dad Tinker about Florida, fishing, next year's schedule and rides around LA over a couple of beers after stage two. 2) A three hour conversion with Leonardo's coach, Andrea, about training at the elite level, his plans for Leo and coaching the Colombian national team. It's tough training in Colombia (see bottom of page) so now he and Leo are based in Italy.
*SS award: Tim Dougherty was absolutely ripping it up on day 3. I've never seen someone ride a SS like that. It was amazing to see.
*Best company: the La Ruta Champs.
*Firsts: I think this was the first year that someone with a 29ner did the race.
Results: I was 9th in the Master A, 36th overall and 4th guy from the States. No too bad, but my goal was to break into the top 30 again (I was 25th overall in '04). I'm happy with it. Sho-Air had a nice showing with Manny 13th in the open men's and Lou was 2nd in the women's category. Sho-Air sponsor Geoladders had Doug 5th in the Master B.
My left leg is always begging for attention