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Long Distance MTB
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In Juarez Mexico and all mountain bike places around here (plus some TX and NM places) there is a great expectation for Chupacabras.

"The toughest MTB competition in Mexico, and the most popular"

And there is a good reason, in 1998 less than 50 riders finished, in 2000 312 riders finished being the champion Ziranda Madrigal, Mexico national champion. And it grows every year, last year more than 2000 riders participated, only 898 finished the race.

I participated for the first time in 2002. About three months before the event a class mate told me about the existence of the race. Since I had a "mountain bike" I used to go to school, I registered to race. The only problem was that all my exercise was riding three times a week to school, 1.86 miles uphill and the same distance to return. My bike was a Mongoose from Walmart, it don't even had the brand Mongoose but MGX (but it had the Mongoose logo. A 24in tire bike to fit in my car trunk to move to international bridge (Juarez Mexico, El Paso USA) and from there a ride to the school, crossing from Mexico to US in bike is faster than in car or walking. The bike was a full suspension with steel frame and 21 speed drive train, it was red, pretty.

I was going to race without realizing what 100 kilometers really mean, a day before the race I bought some cheap gloves from a local store, cause I read that helmet and gloves where mandatory, I bought the helmet a week before.

I saw the internet site, so I knew it was not a small event, but I was surprised by number of racers approaching to the gathering point. My wife and my recently born child could not wait for me there, against the weather we are used to here, there was a light rain and as usual it was windy.

I raced with an old short I haven't used for a couple years and a Mickey Mouse T-shirt. I did my warm up (but it was not enough), the night before the race I had only 6 hours of sleep; I had to deliver a school home work. Somebody recommended me to raise the seat and I remembered that when I used to go to spinning classes I used the sit higher, so I did (as much as possible for the bike)

I started in one section before the last. With the rain it was a messy start even with the grass (grass is not usual in this dry city, but the start/finish had a nice grass). After walking in the mud the first 130 feet we started racing thru a road (not paved) called "bordo" (I believe it is called like that because it follows the border between US and Mexico). During 25 kilometers you have the Rio Grande river to your right and the US side and not much to the left in the Mexican side, some fields and houses (that part of the city was not developed then).

During the race I was talking to another racer, he had the same last names that I have but in inverse order (Mexicans have two last names, one from the father one from the mother). He told me he attended spinning classes three times a week. How goes talking during a race? I did.
I had the chain I used to lock my bike in the school in the seat post and much less I thought about taking off the leg it had to stand (the one no respectable bike has).

The first 25 kilometers went between people in the border who sopped to see why so many people in bikes or family and friends of races trying to cheer up racers and taking pictures.

While riding thru Anapra (a low income area of the city where you cross the only 2 paved kilometers) many people is watching, no doubt the have fun watching all those loons, with rare clothes (some are ridiculous enough to wear licra shorts). Some kids join the race for some kilometers with bikes of all sorts (I had troubles leaving behind a child for about 5 kilometers).

Right alter leaving Anapra, there is a small climb of 4 or 5 meters that has a respectable slope for those not used to racing. As you can imagine I was riding with the slower people, from that people almost no body could climb that, but I could. It was an accomplishment to fell proud, if not because the children accelerated the pace and continued with me for a couple more kilometers.

In that part, the person who I was talking to (I don't remember the name, sorry If you are reading) was falling behind.

I crossed the "Cristo *****" (Black Crist) that is white (I have lived in Juarez for just a couple years, so I don't know if it was black in the past) . And there is where the mountain begins.

In that part I started thinking "I must be about to arrive to the kilometer 50". I knew there was going to be water, bananas and more there. During the race there are some water stations, but not with solids and all, I had with me was one granola bar and some candy (It may be enough for the pros, but I was less than a beginner).

Ah, I forgot to tell you I had no water with me (well, I had about half al quart). Incredible? Wait to read the rest. Of course I accepted water in every station without stopping.

And so I was thinking, I must be about to arrive to the middle, that was when I see a sign in the distance. When I get close I read "K40" AAAAHHH

It was a steady climb and in the distance I saw a station and they offered apples. I ate like half an apple, a cup of Gatorade and a water bottle. I walked a really sloped section and continued.

At the top I could see the station that I was told was the 50K station. While the down hill lasted I was in the bike, but walked the rest to the station.

Once there, I drank a medium Gatorade, two bananas, had a massage, took another Gatorade and continued. Right after leaving the station there was a person saying the position of every racer out loud, now I don't remember my position. The people in the station told me the bike was too small for me, I answered "I know"; I really didn't knew it was too small. The next part was a very nice down hill (somehow fast, not technical but with enough curves), I like it very much and later was told I was named "postrecito" (little dessert). But the down hills have ends. The next section was a single track (I didn't knew that is the way they are called until months later) between two mountains, the wind was like hell, I had to walked several times to avoid leaving the track.

I had to be very careful not to leave the track because in Juarez surroundings there are a lot of thorny plants and, guess what, I had no spare tube, patches, pump or tools not even to take the wheel out of the fork (then I didn't even knew what quick releases are). There I felt what ghosts must feel, very tired, but no change to stop. If I stayed there or punctured there was nobody to pick me up (there where groups that pick the people, but in that part, far from civilization who knows how long it could take). I was praying to God not to flat.

And so I arrived to another climb (I walked of course), and then a down hill (latter I was told that part is knows as "Castrellon"). Down and down past the "Cristo *****" and back to the "bordo".

"El bordo"… just imagine a long straight track, and imaging having to ride it after riding 80 kilometers. I was 5 minutes on the bike and 15 walking. A couple trucks passed offering a ride (part of the organizers). But I was not going to quit.

But I did quit. After a little more than 8 hours I quit the way only a macho can. Later I was told only 5-10 kilometers where left. I left the race without saying anything to anybody (I now it was wrong, but I was not thinking clearly). I went walking to a Carls Jr. because they accept Credit Card in case my wife had no cash with her; I call her from a public phone before arriving to the burgers.

From the point where I left the race to the hamburgers there are about five or less kilometers, but it took me too long to get there. When I arrived my wife was not there.

So I lay down in the floor smelling the hamburgers and waiting.

My wife arrived very nervous, she said she hear me pretty bad in the pone and hurry, she arrived and after not finding me she when to another Carls, thinking that maybe she misunderstood the directions. When she found I was not in the other place, she called my brother almost crying (who then lived in the same city) asking for help to find me. She returned to the first place, and there I was laying on the floor under a light rain.

My son was asleep in his seat My wife hurry to put my bike on the car rack, but I beg her for a hamburger.

In the way to the house I finished the hamburger, the fries and the soda enlarged (for 5.99), while in the car my wife called my brother to tell him that she found me and we meet in the house.

Mi wife hurry to prepare some food for me, but I preferred to go to sleep. I didn't wake up for the next 12-14 hours. If I woke up was because I had to go to work the next day.

For several weeks I was too tired no matter how much rest I had. No doubt I was dehydrated and much more. If I didn't die of thirst of fell unconscious during the ride was just because of that light rain, if the temperature where closer to usual the 95F, either I don't get that far in the race or I wouldn't be writing this now.

Never in my life I have been as tired as that day, without the proper physical, technical and mental preparation, without and idea of what I was really doing.

I was sad because I didn't finish, and more after the friend that told me about the race was surprised about how fare I went and about quitting when I was so close.

Much of the reason I didn't finish was that I was not concentrated in the race when I was in the "bordo" during the last part. I was thinking what I was going to eat after finishing, I was dreaming about pizza and hamburgers (it is horrible when you have those thoughts when you are as tired as I was)

But… it was wonderful.

It was so wonderful that I was sure that I was going to participate the next year.
I started in spinning classes, I met some people to ride during the weekends and I read all I could in Internet about MTB. And finally, I raced the next Chupacabras and other local events.

Without going into detail I participated last year with a Mongoose bike, double suspension, steel, 21 speed drive train, but it was not the same bike, this was a 26" tires (I had no money for a better bike and all I needed then), I used a cheap 70oz Hydratation Pack, cheap clipless pedals, extra tube, patches, the necessary tools and slime in the tube to avoid using the spare tub. I even joined the club and raced using licra.

I finished in the place 575 after 6 hours and 25 minutes. And that is with the track changes to make it harder, the competitive level was higher, and there was no light rain that day to refresh de air. I felt a little disappointed not to finish in the first 500 racers, but…

This year I will race with a Specialized FSRXC full suspension (I need full suspension for my back), it weights around 8-10lbs less and has a 27 speed drive train (oh yes)

Chupacabras 2003 was a very interesting race and I know this year will not be less. Mi target is to finish within the first 500 racers in less than six hours. Later I will tell you if I made it. (http://www.chupacabras100km.org/eindex.php)
 

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Long Distance MTB
Joined
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284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fecha / Date

The date for this year race is October 9th. You can subscribe and pay using Internet.

Este año la carrera es el 9 de Octubre. Es posible apuntarse y pagar por Internet.
 
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