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Yesterday’s Chupacabras 100km in Juarez, Mexico was one of my best.  After making it through a bunch of absolutely retarded crashes and trying to figure out why all the tiny Mexicans half my size wanted to be in front of me or beside me, I made it to the turn around without harm.  I couldn’t believe some of the shenanigans on the way out. 

Right after we started heading back west, a group of about 15 or 20 rolled off the front and I was sitting back in about 50th.  I roll up next to Scott Romero and asked him how many were in the lead group.  He told me and I asked him WhyTheF did they get away and WhoTheF let them get away.  Sheez. 

Well,  after making it through a few miles of high speed double track, we popped back out on the levee and I tried to get a double paceline together.  Turns out all the roadies are doing the Tour of Chihuahua, so teaching 10 mexicans how to double paceline was my mission of the day.  I kept yelling, “Dos lineas!  Trabaje!”  Well, we got two lines, but the line that was supposed to be pulling off would never stay close enough to the pulling through line and it was all f’d up.  After about 20 minutes of that crap, we rolled up on the lead group.  They were sitting up!

Cool, I was the second rider across the railroad tracks….freakin’ nightmare if you are in a group….and got into an awesome group with the two Italians (eventual 1st and 2nd), Tinker, McCalla, dude name Scott from Trek grassroots (top 5 last year), the Turbo boys, and some other Mexicans.  We made it off the levee unscathed and headed up a wash/road/neighborhood.  Trippy seeing cars parked in a wash.  The Italians and the Turbo boys said seeya and dropped the piss out of the rest of us.

I was climbing great with Tinker, Scott, and McCalla, but I got caught up between some fence posts and a gap formed that I didn’t want to close.  Seeya guys….been nice riding with you.  So I was by myself up to the Christo and ended up getting back with a Mexican guy after the Christo.  We worked together pretty well until he flatted. 

So it’s mile 30 and I’m already starting to cramp. Freakin’ hamstrings.  I went halfway through my food and water and I took a bunch of water from the support crews before the Christo.  Cramping should not have been happening that early.  I was in the top 10 before the first hike-a-bike.  I felt much better pushing my bike.  Santiago and I put a gap on the rest of the local expertos and I pinned it over the top and down the first long descent.  I put a good gap on Santi, but lost it as I stared at a huge pool of water below the chapel.  It was like one of those mud pits they use in the tractor pulls you see on ESPN or Spike TV.  Did I have to ride through that thing?  Some old lady waved me around the side of it.  Whew.  That looked disgusting.  I was cramping again so I took a banana and more water and Santi and I headed up the long single track to the Asphyxia climb (flankerdog has some great pics here).  We were working really well together.  I was riding way more stuff than he was and I felt good despite hamstrings that felt like they were going to pop.  We were almost halfway up the asphyxia, I’m still riding, and my tire got cut. 

I lost three places while putting in the tube.  I caught one guy on the way down the big descent and I never saw him again until the finish.  I managed to make it through the slum without breaking down like I usually do…..something about having kids in a slum cheer for you and knowing that the bike you are riding is more than their family will earn all year….and hit the levee with plenty of strength.

I was able to climb the rock wall with no issues, got lots of cheers, grabbed some more water, and rolled into the finish in 12th place.  Awesome!  My second best finish ever and the race is easily twice as large as it was when I finished 10th in 2003.  Someone told me 3800 pre-registered but that includes the kid’s race, the spinnathon, and an archery event.  So maybe about 2800 real Chupa participants.

Half an hour later, Jen rolled in.  First female!  She was stoked.  38th overall.

We grabbed our loot…..another sweet jersey and full-zip to boot….and rolled back across the Rio. 

McCalla got 5th, Tinker 6th or 7th, and Santiago 11th.  Scott from Trek and one of his buddies were also in the top 10.   Not a bad day for the Americanos.  If Damian or Jens had shown up, we may have had the first gringo winner since Sager.

I drank 100oz from my camelbak, 7 bottles of water/cyto, and drank from at least 5 other bottles handed up to me.  I ate one banana, 4 gels, 3 Clif Z bars, and 5 salt tabs.  It’s never enough.

I started my GPS about 6 or 7 miles down the road from the start…bonehead move….but check it out here….