Date: May 1st, 2015
Race: 5to Reto a Turgua
Location: Santa Lucía del Tuy, Miranda, Venezuela
Rider(s): Claudia Peñaloza
It seemed I was the first to arrive in Santa Lucia del Tuy... 2 h 30 min before the race... thanks to what ended up being an off-road shortcut and an unexpected race course recon. Thereafter, riders, organizers, and spectators poured in for the 5th edition of the Reto a Turgua, yet another (almost) “Puro Asfalto” (pure asphalt), mass-start uphill race. The 17.5 km (11 mi) race, a local favorite, started out on rolling hills and ended up a grueling 8 km (5 mi) climb with 8% average grade and 635 m (2084 ft) of elevation gain.
We were beyond ready and anxious to start, hoping to avoid the mounting heat, by the time we were let off at ~9:30 am. After a ceremonial cruise around the town center, the guns were out and the chase began. The other three girls quickly dropped back as I worked hard to hold on to the “fast guys”. Right after the turn around, a crash took a few guys out, the rest took off, and I was dropped. I chased to the turn at the foot of the climb (initially a false flat), where I was about 1 minute back, by the time I turned I couldn’t even see their dust.
It was hot (~105 °F) and lonely up the mountain, I passed a dozen or so guys that dropped off the front pack. I was visited often by the “water motorcycle” and drenched myself each time to stave off melting. I wasn’t sure how much was left when I came up on the wall (a section at 25% grade) and a cyclist walking his bike... it was all I could do to keep those pedals turning. I put my head down and kept going, eventually someone said “50 to go!”, I said “50 what?”, “50 meters!” he answered. “Darn!” I thought, “ I can barely get a sprint in!”. I dropped that chain, got up on those pedals and slammed whatever I had left until I reached the top. Later, someone said I came in like a motorcycle ;D.
Results: 1st place Female Open