Recovering from Santiago and getting in a few key sessions thru the week had me ready to race again in Chile. This time about 80k NW of Santiago in the port City of Valparaiso.
Arriving on Friday I had two good looks at the beautiful race site for this one. Choppy, technical swim followed by a well paved 8 lap bike with a 1k gradual 3% climb, finished with a hilly 3 lap run.
The swim started well with a good start position on the far right. The loop had 2 bouys and a natural bouy as a set of rocks on the return leg to the beach. This was a very fun swim as the chop really seperated everyone and required good sighting skills. I found i was quite slow on the exit/re-entry and then the run out to transition, losing a few positions each time. On the first lap exit there were two street dogs on the beach waiting to get in on the action. When a few of us re-entered the ocean they came along with us! Salty dogs....
With a decent swim I exited about 20s down of Vasilev and 4 others in a group of 6 including eventual race winner Marek Jaskolka for Poland. This time around on the bike I felt much better. Power was there from the get go and stayed up near the front for the 40k. On lap 3 our group caught the leaders, due in large part to Will Huffman and Quinchara, a rising Columbian commodity, but a few laps later a large chase bridged creating a group of 25 or so coming off at T2. This race had a bunch of fun technical bits, including T2. The last section of the bike included climbing the 1k hill to the turn-around and then bombing back down into T2 (which itself was on a slight downhill). T2 dismount was the fastest i'd ever done and I was very close to not having the leg speed to match the pavement.
Out onto the run i had better speed. At about 1 mile seperation began into a head wind. Although this run went better than Santiago I was stlil a bit unsatisfied with the overall result of 13th.
My stay in Valparaiso was short but I saw quite a bit of the area on my bike. Very pretty, rugged, coastal landscape. Many of the different communities nest on top of small mountains (100-200m vertical). I was staying on top of one these in a B&B. At first I was a little concerned with the brutal climb up to home each time I ventured outside but then I found out they had 'ascendors' for each mtn. Essentially a train car that ascends the slope, I found these very cool and well worth the 75cent fee.
This trip to Chile was a great racing and cultural experience that I would recommend to all. The more and more I travel to races, especially unique ones such as this I find myself realizing how fortunate I am to be doing what i'm doing. A moment during the Valparaiso race I found myself saying 'you are the only Canadian to ever have done this...take it all in.'
Can't thank Felipe and Pam for their gracious hospitality and comfort during my stay, you guys were great.
Travel home was a bit of an adventure. After jetting from the race shortly after I got to the airport Sunday evening in good time. However the flight was delayed delayed delayed and then canceled. Everyone was put up in hotels for the night and would fly out the next morning. At about 3am that night I woke up with that feeling you know where you don't quite know where you are? Pffffew your in the hotel....then things went all wonky and it felt like I was surfing on jell-o.....earthquake! Thank god it was not significant. What is the world coming to?