“Can you see the numbers?”
“Stop here and let me out and I’ll run up”
“We need to pull off the road, traffic is backing up”
“We’re up next, they have 9 to go”
“Just park in the construction lot”
“Tire pump! Where’s the tire pump?”
“Only ten speed, you’re on 11”
"****!, ****!, ****!"
(Ride through dirt construction area, dodge oncoming traffic, bunny hop up curb, bunny hop down curb)
“I need to get my jersey from the promoter!”
“YOU NEED TO SIGN IN! Modelo tent!”
(Head shaking from official)
“Lo siento” (some of my Baja Spanish is coming back)
“Yamaha Honda se tapas de no ******. Degas de Devinchi numero siete no plumas Delgado Ramariez. Donde esta Iman!”
Hogan attacks. El Chapo attacks. I attack, Francis counters. I sit up. Gap. El Negro bridges to Francis, they take off. After several attempts to bridge by Hogan and I that are covered and shut down, Francis is making gestures to the effect of “Hurry up!”
More attempts, more covering. It’s flippin hot and humid and I’m dripping sweat like Seattle rain. Shut down several breaks that look like they might have a chance, I’m sure Francis can win from a two man and want to keep him one-on-one, unless one of is there to chaperone. Get away with two guys at one point but they are disinclined to tow me up.
Francis wins by a minute and change, the guy he’s with moves up to 5[SUP]th[/SUP] on GC. Hogan wins the field sprint for third. I roll in 10[SUP]th[/SUP] after shutting down a last lap flyer. 1/3/10 for the team. Yellow jersey for Francis. Still 1/2/4 on GC.
We go back to the car and change. We have to stick around for the podium to get paid and we need to move the car. The town is next to a river perched on a hill with a street “plan” that obviously traced the path of a peyote eating mule deer. We eventually find our way to a street that takes us to an access point to the course. We show the Policia the bikes and he lets us through. Hogan hands him a cold drink on the way down.
We find a spot on the sidewalk to park. We are in the heart of hurricane country where the curbs are built to allow the streets to become deep rivers. Our first attempt up ends in loud noises and failure. As in life, momentum will overcome obstacles; our second attempt is successful, albeit with more noise than the first.
The next couple of hours are spent in the van running the air conditioning and watching the other races, with brief forays to the bathroom (banos) which are located where ever you can find a discreet place to go, the Porta Potty industry is in it's infancy here.
Podium done we follow some Mexican friends through town on a Mr. Toads ride through the back streets. Up, down, gravel, dirt, pull in the mirrors to squeeze through spots…at one point I’m thinking we’ll probably be stopped by masked gunman, removed from the car, and kidnapped for ransom.
Actually, not true. Despite the US press playing up the violent aspects of Mexico, I felt a lot safer there than many of the inner cities I’ve spent time in in the US. Or lived in for that matter.
Eventually we arrive at a “locals” seafood place. Table para diez por favor. Two giant plates of ceviche, a giant platter of tacos marlin and tacos camerones, several (actually many) buckets of Modelo Light (hey, we’re racers, got to watch those calories) and a purchase of a big bag of fruit empanadas later, we’re back on the road.
We give a ride back to Mazatlan to one of the pro “kids” who Hogan had lent his TT bike to the day before. In between discussions of the next day’s course (“very hard”) he gives us a dissertation on the local “talent” (not the racing type) of the various countries he’s visited.
If I was single, Argentinia might be on the top of my tourist visa pile.
Vuelta Ciclista Mazatlan- Stage Two
Max Temp: 104