What goes up…
…must come down
After the huge opening day we were treated to a different flavour of Costa Rica on day two, although constant in the experience was repeated ups and downs. The first of these arrived rather too soon after the start. It must have been a good one since the locals were out in force to offer encouragement (and push favoured ticos up it). By all accounts Roberto Heras and the front runners made the climb, however us mere mortals were reduced to pushing.
The payoff was stunning views and some entertaining singletrack bringing us to the day’s mud. Thankfully we got off lightly as it seems to have been dry of late – it was slippy as hell but negotiable by all except one quad bike rider who managed to roll his noisey device, with no lasting personal injury.
Next were a couple of starter hills before one long Tarmac drag up to the day’s highpoint of 1950m. In Europe this would have been punctuated with hairpins to ease the gradient, but this is out of vogue in Costa Rica and straight lines are preferred where possible in an almost Roman style. This climb was harsh. I’ve never climbed in the bottom 2-3 cogs on the granny for so long, you shouldn´t have to have your nose on the stem on the road, it’s just not right.
But after every climb comes a descent and this was worth the effort as we plummeted down through scenic coffee plantations to a short road section to the finish. How short depends on which local you ask, but we were warned about that at the briefing. For me the finish arrived after 6hrs 2 minutes during which time I´d covered 4,400m of vertical in 76km. The winner was just sub 4hrs so must try harder tomorrow…
Standings after Day 2
1. Federico Ramirez
2. Paolo Montoya
3. Enrique Artavia
4. Roberto Heras
5. Thomas Dietsch