Date: April 12th, 2015
Race: II Caimanera Puro Asfalto El Cují
Location: El Cují, Miranda, Venezuela
Rider(s): Claudia Peñaloza
Results: 1st place Female Open
Early Sunday morning we headed out to the foothills of the Altos Mirandinos (Mirandan Heights) in southwest Caracas. A very friendly, no-frills, “pick-up” race of sorts was being held by a budding local organizer. Notwithstanding, he chose the steepest, longest, no-mercy climb he could find for this “Puro Asfalto” (Pure Asphalt: a race held on steep (>10% average grade) and long (>2 km) paved roads traditionally raced on a mountain bike, which is commonly fitted with slick, narrow tires).
The climb, called El Cují, is a 4.5 km (2.8 mi) climb, 11% average grade with sections at 19%. Elevation gain is 488 m (1602 ft). About 60 riders of all ages gathered for the start. Women and juniors were let off together and this group quickly split up for the foothill section of the race that lead up to the climb. I stuck to the juniors and reached the climb ahead of my competitors… then stuck my head down to tackle the mountain. I passed a few cyclists as I labored my way up, had a minor mechanical (chain dropped off the small chain ring) that cost a few seconds, but was quite pleased with my performance as I reached the top. However, as I was coming up on the line one of the guys thought he was just going to sneak by me… I dropped that chain about 4 or 5 gears, got out of the saddle and barreled in as hard as I could to that line. The 20 or so spectators were going wild! I got him by a wheel ;)