by April Herring
That 3:00 am wakeup call came all too quick, nerves were high, temperature was already warm and sticky. Most of the racers if not all were staying at the same hotel, the Best Western in Jaco. Not as nice as the Quality Inn in Santa Ana the bathroom reminded me of a prison..not that I have ever been in prison, but I guess we were not sleeping there for very long! I had gotten most of my things prepared the night before mainly to put my mind at rest, I am not sure it helped that much though. I made three bottles of perpeteum, paste style, to keep me going through this long grueling stage. Also I had GU brew in blueberry pomegranate in the camelbak since it has two times the sodium in it. Usually I ride with water in the pack but I needed calories wherever I could get them since breathing would be an issue (as in not being able to breath with a HR of 180+) on the steep climbs, it would be hard to eat and chew, the decents are too steep to fumble with food. My plan was to stick with the perpeteum, gu gels and gu brew with some endurolytes mixed in for good measure. I planned on pounding in a fruition bar at the stops for solid food, these seem like they would be the best to digest since they are not so chunky like the probars we had. I stuck with plain water as a bottle on the bike. Once I had myself organized I went to breakfast, it was a buffet style with plenty of options but being that early and being the first day of the race it was hard to eat much, I got down all I could, then I went back to the room to finish packing and took my stuff to be loaded into the CTS van. After that it was just sitting and waiting for the race to begin at 6:00. About 15 minutes till I got on the bike and tested all the gearing, then went and got in line. The energy levels were high and the race organization had some drum music playing, I just wanted to get the show on the road so that nervous feeling would go away! Finally the hour was near… diez, nueve, ocho, siete, seis, cinco, cuatro, tres, dos, uno, zero, and we were off!