Bike hard and eat well

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Last Sunday was the final stage of the Mendocup mountain bike race series. On the premise that I wanted to see some new landscapes I signed up for the 56km race. I had heard about the tortuous ‘caracoles’- as the hairpin mountain turns are called here- which would force riders to climb over 3000 feet in less than 10 miles and a total of over 4000 feet in 16 miles.  I was also advised to train a little, or at least ride a portion of the course before the race.  None of that happened.  I am not one to easily subject myself to physical suffering on my own volition.  So I waited until race day to find out what it would feel like.  It was definitely the hardest continuous workout I have had in recent memory.  The seemingly interminable 28 km of uphill was followed by an incredibly fast 28 km of downhill- fast being speeds of 30+ mph over washboard road.  The biggest challenge was staying focused on the road because the scenery was spectacular.  Once again, while most riders completed the course in 2-3 hours, I humbly crossed the finish line in 3:24 (10th out of 11 in my age group).  At the start I was amazed as I watched a 14-year-old pass me on the climb, never to be seen again.  There are some serious riders here!

To be able to know about and participate in these races comes thanks to the groups of cyclists I have met here in Mendoza and who have initiated me into the local cycling scene.  This time it was the “Amigos de la bici” whose motto is “Querer es poder”- to want to is to be able to.  I rode with them a few weeks back, via the invitation of the husband of a friend of ours.  On that occasion the group honored me with the gift of a club jersey and welcomed me into their fold.  Members of the club drove me to the race and back, fed me, etc.  The generosity of the bikers here has been great.

On race day, I enjoyed the ideal combination of Argentine culture:  a love for physical activity and the outdoors- in this case biking- followed by the undeniable pleasure of the asado, and topped off by the social ritual of drinking mate.

About jdicus

I am a Spanish and social studies teacher on year-long sabbatical in Mendoza, Argentina. Our family consists of myself, wife Jenny Breen, and daughters Solana and Frances. With this blog we endeavor to chronicle our experience living abroad.
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8 Responses to Bike hard and eat well

  1. Lojo says:

    Great post Jon. Sounds like an awesome bikers’ scene. I am continually amazed at your daring or maybe its struck by your craziness! 🙂

  2. Esteban says:

    Jon: after biking, eating an asado and drinking mate with us, it can be said you are now a full member of the “Amigos de la Bici”!!! It was a pleasure for us that you shared that day with us, and even that you wear our jersey. Un abrazo

  3. Estimado Jon, pienso que cada uno recibe lo que da y vos sos una persona da mucho cariño y afecto. No cuesta nada disfrutar con vos de las cosas comunes que nos regala la vida. A pesar del idioma, a pesar de las culturas, a pesar de las creencias, hay valores universales que nos unen, la amistad es uno de ellos. Me encanto compartir algo con vos y tu familia, espero que para vos la experiencia haya sido tan valiosa como para todos nosotros, y por supuesto cuando estes en tu pais, mi deseo es que nos recuerdes con el mismo afecto con el que nosotros te recordaremos. Abrazo grande y “querer es poder”.

    • jdicus says:

      Gracias, Alejandro por tus comentarios. Siempre llevaré conmigo los recuerdos de los tiempos compartidos con Uds. Y me queda siempre el refrán ‘querer es poder’ y tu ejemplo en este. También me conmovió tu resumen en el sito del grupo.

  4. Renee Marie Swanson says:

    Yo dude! Matt here. I’m bad with blogs, which would identify why I haven’t checked in yet! Love the pics and to read about the family adventure. Send your email you are using to mine or Renee’s address. All is well here with the Swansons. Gearing-up for ski season. Can’t wait to hear about your upcoming cycling adventure!
    Matt & Fam.

  5. Pedritomore says:

    Fun stuff to see read about Jon. Good on ya for making the time for words images movies. Barney and I sent you a pic via email, now in airports on way back to Montana. Hunting season gives way to ski season….

    • jdicus says:

      Pedro, I sent you guys an email back. Saw the pic. Thanks. Hope hunting went well. What did you get? BA hunting too? We are in spring here. But still some snow in mtns. Thanks for reading. Stay in touch. JD

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