Ahh, I love racing south of the border, it’s always an adventure. Last week we loaded up the family and headed south to Tucson for the Gesta Heroica MTB just east of the border town of Nogales. I actually felt pretty good after Breck Epic this year, I tried to keep riding instead of taking too much time off the bike because last year my body shut down after doing that and I was sick for like 6 weeks. So this year I kept pedaling easy and used the group rides to keep the HR up in Durango and then down in Tucson.
We made it across the Mexican border Saturday evening, had a relaxing night in town and then were up bright and early for the 7 am start on Sunday. I don’t know what it is about August and early races but seems like August is the month I set my alarm, wake up in the dark and hope I have all my gear together as I’m driving to the start.
I knew what to expect from last year but I almost missed the start since we actually rolled at 7:15 instead of 8:15 like last year. We took it easy for the first 30 miles or so, mostly flat double track with some huge puddles. Then we turned east and hit the 1500 ft climb. Mario Rojas of Columbia nailed it just like last year but instead of dropping me I managed to stick the wheel all the way to the top and didn’t have to risk my life on the descent to catch back on. We rode together for the rest of the day.
We crossed a ripping Santa Cruz river like 15 times, last year it was axle deep in parts, this year there were a few times my head tube disappeared under the water. We also had to cross a rancher’s finca and he must have forgotten there was a race coming through because the gate was locked and we had to scale an 8 foot fence with our bikes. Nothing too crazy just part of racing down south, it was actually really fun. I managed to get rid of Mario in the exact same mud bog as last year inside 500 meters from the finish to take the win. Probably the only check I’m going to win that is five figures, but only worth about half as much as it was this time last year(not complaining, just say’n the peso is hurting).
Gesta Heroica is a big festival celebrating Nogales so it is literally a holiday down there. In addition to the race this year they had a running race, MMA, flag football, kids races and a giant boxing ring for the kids. It was awesome. Especially with the big fight that was on Saturday night, luckily it was free on TV down in Mexico.
The race takes 2:30 hrs so we’re done before 10am, then the awards aren’t until 4 so it’s a long day. It never seems too bad though, lots of bands playing, amazing food and tons or kids running around going crazy, it’s great.
Myron managed to hang onto his passport long enough to make it back across the border. Coop had to cool off after all that playing in the dirt so we hit the pool, it was over 100 when we got back to Tucson around 7 pm. The guy loves his Buddy Pegs hat.
Not much time to rest since the group rides come thick and fast in the dirty T. They are such awesome training it’s hard to pass them up regardless of how tired I am and how early they start. Today there were a bunch of caterpillars out on McCain loop and I spotted this guy after the ride heading up Gates.
The mercury is going up to 105 today in the Old Pueblo, we’re heading for cooler temperatures up in Park City this weekend for the Point to Point. I’ve never done it but it sounds like a single track version of the Grand Raid in Switzerland. 70 miles and 15,000 ft of climbing. Less distance then the Raid but same climbing and all single track, it’s gonna be great.
I wonder what Winstons’ doing right now……..