In December 2011, while living in Natal/RN, bored for not having much to do, I acted without thinking and signed up to participate in a mountain bike cross country (MTB marathon) in the middle of northeastern backlands during the summer! Surely it wasn’t a great idea, but more on that later.
I placed my bike in the car’s rear support and left alone from the Rio Grande do Norte capital in the early afternoon, driving calmly as it was predicted to reach the interior of Paraíba state before sunset. As on that time it wasn’t common to use the smartphone GPS for location, I’ve put the route in the Chinese automotive device that I purchased on the Internet for about 50 reais. Guess if it didn’t let me down?
After losing a few hours in the wrong routes, I had to speed up. The problem is that it was already getting dark when I left the BR-101 toward the inside and the roads were poorly lit and full of bumps. As a result, I’ve shocked sometimes with these obstacles, until the bicycle fell. There I was in the middle of nowhere, no company, a stretch without any light to be robbed or killed at any moment. Trembling, I collected the equipment and tied again in an instant, without even checking if there was any damage on it.
Later, I got guidance from a man who thought I was a gringo, because of my accent and appearance, very different between South and Northeast.
On arrival, two serious problems. The hotel reservation was canceled because I did not come early (what?) and the rim of a tire was completely unusable because of the fall on the road.
I just have to thank the organizers of the event and the participating population, which promptly took me to another hosting and fixed my rim completely for free!
Cabra da Peste MTB Marathon
With all this stress and the start of the race quite early I just slept for a while little, but there I was with the other competitors in the select group of the first Mountain Bike Marathon of Cabra da Peste.
I had no luck going into the longest category (120 km – 74.5 mi), judging that after I had already traveled this distance in one day around Floripa, it would be similar to this challenge.
Shortly after departure, the arid city was giving way to inclement nature and hills and I was getting behind.
I remember only overcoming the competitors when they stopped to change a flat tire, which often happened in the beginning. Luckily (?), I didn’t have had this problem. Each checkpoint increased the difficulty because the hot and dry climate was becoming unbearable as the sun rose. To get an idea, I passed several animal skeletons on the way, on that typical desert back country setting. The only part of the vegetation that remained green were cacti.
And so the competitors were going through the other municipalities of the route: San Vicente do Seridó, Cubati, Olivedos and Pocinhos. At that point there were some dropouts. I was already in the time limit and starting to get seriously dehydrated, so that when I reached the halfway mark a few hours later, I had to do something I never thought I would do, abandon it. I took the banquet of fruit served in the post and was taken with other quitters back to Soledade. Only this time I could see some living nature.
It was a remarkable experience and a learning to prepare better next time, in every way. This is my tip. And for those who enjoyed this innovative idea and want to participate in any end of year the Maratona de MTB Cabra da Peste happens successfully.