Posted by Editor on 11/22/05
The Roddi Report
Roddi Lega (Norco - Ride Guide) recently finished seventh overall at La Ruta. He has sent us the following report.
Holla from Costa Rica,
Waaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzuuuuuuuuuuupppppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!. Yes, I'm here with the Ride Guide TV show for the crazy adventure mountain bike race, "La Ruta Des Los Conquistadores". I think it means, "The Route a of Lost Beaver with Diarrhea". No, not really. It means, "The Route of the Conquistadores". I think. It is actually the route that the Spanish conquistadores took when they crossed Costa Rica in the year 1560. Except they rode horses, bbbbbppppppppp, neeeeiiiggghhhh, and we ride bikes, aaawwwaaaahhh! The race consists of 3 stages in 3 days, has a total of 320 kms, climbs 30, 000 feet and is muddy as heck. The overall winner is the rider that takes the least amount of time to complete all three days while saying, "undelay, undelay, areba, areba". There is over 400 people competing and included in there is some pretty tough competition with the most decorated mountain bike racer ever, Thomas Frischknecht. There are also a few other very strong Europeans, North Americans, and many fast South Americans going for the glory of winning the (race organizer self proclaimed) toughest mountain bike race in the world.
I am travelling and rooming with Mike Benedik and Corey Horton from the Ride Guide, and geeze whiz are they ever good guys. We are all born and raised in Alberta and we have great times talking about our many similarities such as guns, flannel, oil rigs, farming, and the traditional Alberta handshake (fighting).
We were shooting some footage for the Ride Guide on the flight. I was joking around and we got some messed up shots for the TV show. There is one of me sleeping on top of the set of 3 seats on the plane. Kind of like what a fat cat would do on the armrest of a couch. It sure was a nice shot and I must say I am the funniest man alive. And I say , "man" , because Ellen of the "Ellen Degeneres show" is much funnier than me with her crazy dancing and singing. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Ugh.
We had a few days of rest before the race was to start. The day before stage 1 we decided the best preparation would be to tire myself out surfing. Corey and Mike got some excellent footage of me doing some crazy tricks like airs and flips. If you see the show I might look like a little, dark skinned, Costa Rican boy, but believe me, it's all Roddi. Actually, I used to surf a lot when I was a hockey super-star in Florida (a whole other glorious story) but now I'm about as good at surfing as I am ugly.
The first stage of the race started at 5:15 AM. Breakfast was at a staggering 3:30 AM. That has got to be the earliest anyone has ever woken up. It's just not right. I slept a whole 2 hours as a Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen movie was on until 1 AM and I had to finish it. I think I'll use their story of dedication, commitment, and honor, in bikinis, for motivation whenever I'm feeling low in these very difficult upcoming days. I have a very hot bikini I might have to bust out. It will be just like when Hercules puts on his ring. Lightning and everything. BAAAAAANNNNGGGG, KAAAAABBBLLLAAAAMMMOOO, KLANK, PLOP!!!! Well anyways, the race organizers told me it would be very hard and I thought, "maybe a little bit tough". By days end it was probably the hardest day of riding in my life. Partly because of the race being very long, having 15,000 feet of climbing (half of Mt. Everest) and crazy hot. And partly because I have trained for this race as hard as a turkey trains for thanksgiving dinner. If you have seen me lately I very much resemble a large, smelly pile of elephant dung. The race just kept going and going for what seemed like forever. After about 3 hrs I figured I'd had about enough. It was over 30 celcius, I had a pounding headache and goosebumps from dehydration. But no, I had to push on as the Olson twins did, and I suffered through the day with a pretty good 11th place. The pain that day was unbearable. I would put it somewhere on my pain scale sandwiched in between giving birth to obese triplets, and listening to Lindsay Lohan sing her hit song, "why can't you just leave me alone". Ohhhhhh NOOOOOOOOO! Are you kidding me?
Stage 2 was a complete change of worlds. The course was one huge climb up a volcano named Irazu, followed by the descent. It was by far the longest climb I have ever done in one shot. 9,000 feet (9,875 feet actually - Ed.). I decided after my Lindsay Lohan 10 out of 10 pain on the scale of suffering on the first day, that I should ease up a bit on the climbing. So I took the days climb much slower and when I reached the top after 3.5 hours I was in the much anticipated position of 24th place. You either want to be in 1st place or 24th place. They are the two most sought after in all sport. Then the descent. It was oh so much fun. I tore into that downhill like it was a cranky kid complaining for junk food in his school lunch, but the mom says, "NO LITTLE JOHNNY, you are a fatty and you're not getting any junk. Eat your carrots and celery first and maybe after that I'll put some pudding in there. And Johnny says, "Noooooooo, I hate you. WAAAAAAAHHHHHH". And you think to yourself, "why didn't I use a condom???". Yeah! Well, it was something like that. I had a blast. It was pretty much all gravel road (fire road) but in places we were riding on human-head sized boulders at 40 km/hr. I went by two guys who were sucking so bad that I think they used to play for the Quebec Nordiques in the 90's. I passed them so fast they had to name my wind, It's now called tropical depression #46. Right now it has wind speeds of up to 100 km/hr. If it does reach hurricane levels the name will be, Hurricane Javier. Which is spanish for, very hot and sexy man in a manly way that dominates on the downhill's, is good at hockey and has to talk about himself like this because he has a problem with writers cramp right now. Okay, back to the race. It's a great feeling when you fly past people like that. It's very reassuring that you are the pretty good at what you do. It just kept getting better because this downhill was about about 50 minutes with just a few short climbs. It seemed like all the guys in front of me were barely moving. By the bottom I had worked my way up to 8th place and 7th was 1 second in front of me. It was a spanking good time and I don't know if the smile on my face has ever been bigger after a race. I had one of the best days of my life on the bike! On a side note, at the top of the climb there was a feed station/check point. I would pass my bottles to the nice guys working at it and they would fill up my bottles with gatorade. At the time I didn't know it, but this time they had gone and filled my bottles with Red Bull. I would say that I drank, ooohhhhhh heck, about 8-10 red bulls in the 15 minutes after the checkpoint. Maybe that had something to do with my ripping fast downhill.
Day 3 was set to be an easier ride. It had less climbing at 6,000 feet and about 40 kms of pavement for a total of 129kms. The pavement was not supposed to be in the race but this summer numerous hurricanes have dropped loads of rain over Costa Rica. This made the river crossings head high and people would surely have died. Also, if it couldn't get any worse for the organizers, a train bridge that we were supposed to cross, which was over top of crocodile infested waters, broke apart and fell into the river below. The overall course was supposed to be easier because there was more pavement, but it turned out to be nothing but more pain. Not quite as hard as the first day but on the suffering scale I would say it was a 7. Which puts you right at blocking a slap shot with your teeth, ear or junk. Ooohh it hurt. It was over 30 celcius again and I would drop, and lose, both my water bottles by the halfway point of the race. I somehow got in with the lead group of 5 after the first hour of racing which was great. I did have to slow it down a bit on the climbs. You see, I was going as hard as Metallica to stay with the leaders, and it was for my own good to slow down and be less hard, more like Bryan Adams. I made it over the top of the incredibly steep climbs in 8th position and got in a group of 15 (we were 8th to 22nd place) for the 40 km road section. Then we got to a train track section. Yeah, we were riding right down the middle of abandoned Chiquita Banana owned, train tracks. It was super bumpy, like something insanely bumpy and went on for about 7 kms. The guy behind me in line said to me, "I think I would rather stick a needle in my eye than ride these tracks". We also had to cross a couple of train bridges and I was trash talking the guys in front of me for walking them. I was getting pretty mad. Then, as we crossed the final and biggest bridge I realized why we were walking. There was a section of the bridge that was missing 2 or 3 bars of wood across it. The gap was 8-10 feet. Yiiiiikkkkkkesss, would I have crashed hard if I was riding it. Imagine, I would have just fell straight through the bridge and into the water below. There is an old folk lore that under the bridge lives a 30 foot long Rosie O'Donnell and no one has ever made it out alive except a healthy bowl of oatmeal. After the train tracks ended there was a 10 km section of sand-beach road. It sounds nice but could not have been worse. The road had massive puddles every 30-40 meters and you could not see how deep they were. Some were a couple of inches deep and others were 3 feet deep. Plus you had to pray that under the water you didn't slam your front wheel into a log, rock or Santa. I did hit something at one point. I flipped over the bars and fell into the water. It was really nice because it was just like a hot tub, and after a few beers I tipped the waitress a few bucks, and gave my Norco some CPR (because it had drowned). It coughed a few times and I hopped on her lovely back and rode in like Sea Biscuit. Disney is thinking of making a movie of this race with me as the lead character, played by Matt Damon. I'm going to be rich and famous. Acually I didn't ride in like Sea Biscuit. It happened very differently. We were all in a big group and if you busted your butt the top place could be 4th and the last of our group was 22nd or so. That last section of sand-road was extremely painful. On my suffering scale it is right off the charts. It was an 11. Which is on my scale of pain and suffering as the worst possible, watching Oprah. OOOHHHH the humanity. man, did I ever suffer. When I crossed the line I could not even stand anymore. My fat head was sweating so much I could not open my eyes for the Ride Guide fellows trying to interview me.
I finished the last day with the brown medal of 4th place, and in the overall classification I was 7th. I couldn't have been happier with my results. It is the first race in over 6 months that I have been satisfied with. Ahhhhhh. It shows me that next year I can bounce back from my altitude sickness and rip the pirate ship up. Thanks for reading and thanks going out to everyone, here goes. My sponsor Norco, and especially Mark and Pete from Norco. Mike, Kevin, and Corey at the Ride Guide. Kathryn, Mom and Calvin, Dad and Heather, my sisters and brother. United Cycle for allowing me to look like I'm working but really just watching TV. My coach Houshang. My friends and fellow racers that let me win sometimes because they feel bad for me because I'm fat and everyone else that I will thank by kissing when I see you next. Now, I have to get back to my training of eating cookies and bacon. See you all at the races.
Here is my "Scale of Pain and Suffering"
The way the scale works is much like a Richter scale for earthquakes. Each number is magnified by 100. So, what I think that means, is that a number 1 would be 100 times more painful than a 0. And the same goes for an 8, blocking a slap shot with your ear, teeth or junk. It has 100 times more pain and suffering than hitting your thumb with a hammer. All good.
0 - No suffering or pain. Much like partying with great friends while watching Seinfeld, eating chocolate and drinking beer.
1 - Chapped lips or a hang nail.
2 - Reading this whole story.
3 - paper cuts
4 - Stubbing your toe on a bed, desk, or door and breaking it. It has to break to qualify for a 4, or else it's a 3.
5 - Eating Tuna fish sandwiches. Man, you sick bastards that eat those stinky things are crazy!
6 - Hitting your thumb with a hammer.
7 - Blocking a slap shot with your teeth, ear or junk.
8 - Drinking gasoline while smoking.
9 - Giving birth is a 9. Giving birth to more babies or larger and fatter babies can be even higher than 9.
10 - Lindsay Lohans singing or Britney Spears and many more of the same sounding women.
11 - Watching a full hour of Oprah.
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