My bike arrived in Mucuge around 8:30 PM on Sunday night. Jeff’s bike did not arrive with the driver. I unpacked my suitcase as fast as I could and transferred everything to the big black duffel bag we all received to hold all of our stuff for the week. It barely fit. We also got my bike built up. I was planning to ride stage 2 solo, which was the longest and hardest stage clocking in around 90 miles. It was also my favorite stage last year. The wake up call at 4 AM would come quickly and I dozed off to sleep feeling relieved that my bike and luggage weren’t permanently lost. I was frustrated that’ve could not actually race, only ride for personal fulfillment.
I heard Jeff shuffle in his tent next to me and would hear him get up periodically all night. He was also coughing a lot which was not normal. I found out around 2 AM that he was throwing up and was up all night long. I felt so sorry for him… There is nothing worse than being sick while sleeping in a tent!! In the morning, I decided to bag the ride and take care of him. I wanted to make sure he got to Rio de Contas ok because the race home base was moving. It was chaotic in the morning trying to find a ride for my bike. I was running around to every car and gesturing with my hands and trying to explain. I also found out we would ride on a bus, but I couldn’t find the bus. Shimano agreed to transport my bike for me, but in the end, there was room on the bus.
Our bus need up getting lost and we arrived at a town with an aide station. I walked to the aide station to see the riders and was surprised to see Jenny. I asked her what happened and Brian was very sick. In fact, his blood pressure was 63/40! They had to pull out of the race. I felt so sad for them because they were winning. They got in the bus with us and we continued to Rio de Contas and checked into a pousada (hotel). The sick boys laid down and slept the rest of the afternoon and night. Another mixed team (Lorenza and her partner) had to pull out because her partner was sick. At least 10 people had food poisoning and had to pull the plug.
Jenny and I drank some delicious caipirinhas in the shade and sat in the town plaza for a couple hours. It felt surreal and we admired the lush hills surrounding the village. The cobblestones and church next to us were the perfect touch.
Today was the first day I rode my bike in Brazil, and only the third or fourth time in 3 weeks since my concussion. It was the XC stage. 5 technical laps of 7km. There was a very large downhill that I walked every lap. I decided that it is better to be safe and not risk another head injury. It was fun to finally line up at the Brasil ride, but out of contention. Jenny and I lined up behind all the racers and let them get started before jumping in. I rode the first lap at a decent effort, but spent the rest of the race enjoying the company of other riders and also enjoying the scenery. I was bummed I forgot my camera!
Tomorrow is stage 4(my stage 2). I am looking forward to riding again, especially since my legs should feel better after riding today! I really hope Jeff’s bike arrives today so we can ride together tomorrow. American Airlines will be receiving a letter and an invoice! They said on twitter that they are sorry and want to make it right,but you cannot make it right that we could not start the race.
The reason his bike isn’t here is because it was snatched and locked up by the police. Apparently people bring bikes to sell in Brazil all the time, and they were suspect of his bike. It is awful at out of all the people that flew here with bikes, he was the victim.
I am definitely making the most of it and having a good time despite the nightmare chain of events. I guess I am someone who can see light when things are bleak… Fortunately!
I am just happy to be healthy and riding again! I have really really really been enjoying all the delicious local food. So local that when you order fresh mango juice, it comes from the tree in the backyard of the restaurant!
Sorry for no photos. I do have a card reader adapter for my iPad, but do not want to spend time trying to upload and suck up the very small bandwidth.