You know it’s going to happen. And deep down you also know it’s why we all do these races. Taking a beating and getting back up, that is… Favorite phrases include “The wheels came off the bus”, “It went sideways” or a perennial favorite, “It wasn’t a good day…” The phrase used by the boys from the Bay was “We had a miscommunication…”

Things had been going pretty well in the early part of the race. Gear selection, nutrition, team tactics and mechanicals were all dialed, giving the team confidence in each stage. Stage 3 saw strong pulls by both riders as they leveraged their confidence that bikes, legs and lungs were in proper working order. Stage 4 saw some racing within a race when Yuri and Brian picked off fellow racers cresting a hill, hit the gas on the downside and fended off a late charge to take back time on a competing team.  But a minor mechanical adjustment threatened to derail things midway through stage 5.

Blown communication around stopping to adjust a seatpost lead to some expletive-laden “clarification.” There were reports the f-bomb was heard all the way back in Berkeley.  The problem wasn’t so much in what actually happened but more the context of intense competition and grueling endurance efforts: minor things take on a life of their own and become major things. But are they really major things? In ultra endurance racing, minor is major and major can sometimes be minor…

So for the next 24 hours the team cooled down, sorted it out and regrouped before the final stage 6. And this is where they actually got back on track, even after Brian got stung by a bee mid-stage, in the eye, and Yuri had to guide him down by simple voice commands. So, to recap, the guys blow a gasket over something that’s relatively minor, stew on it for a night but find a way to regroup, then when something arguably more major like getting stung by a bee comes along, respond quickly and effectively to have their best racing day of the whole race. Interesting. But maybe that is why we sign up for this stuff – the potential to get into and out of trouble. Yes, sometimes self-inflicted. And to take an impressive 2nd place in the team category as a result. Nice job guys – looking forward to the next installment.

And since pictures are worth a thousand training hours… compare the before…

transandes_stage5

and the after…

transandes stage 5

 

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