Peru is amazing. The people are wonderful, the place is beautiful, and the whole experience of being there and contributing and giving back to the sport is fulfilling. What an awesome experience it is to go to a country that steps you back in time where the people have the biggest hearts and care about you being there. Gosh - the entire town came out to the events!! We were rock stars for a few days and did our best to return the sentiment!
The race promoters were also extremely nice to all of us. They treated us like kings, excellent accomodations, food, and hospitality, we will definitely go back next year. The riding was so good too! Can you imagine racing up in the mountains where they grow pinapples and the workers had slices of pineapple waiting for you to offer to you as you go by. It was awesome! That pineapple melted in your mouth - even the middle parts.
It is amazing how far I had to go to get some good luck and it was great to be able to finally get a good finish. My teammates Alex and Bart and I raced hard - against the rest of the competition and each other. We rode good races. The first stage Alex and I tied but day two he had a tough day and I finished ahead in first place. The time gap was good enough to keep me comfortable for the third stage so we had a good race that day. I won the race but was even a bigger winner to have the opportunity to be in Peru with the team and for the experience.
The locals were excellent climbers and you could see they had good skills in the technical sections. They have good potential and obviously love the sport. No matter where I go I love to see the passion people have for mountain biking - this is what keeps me going and going and going.
I am looking forward to next year to challenge some of the biggest mountains in the world. The race promoter did an excellent job and I recommend this experience to anyone. Check out all the photos on www.monavie-cannondale.com and the stories! If you go make sure you tell someone - anyone - you heard it from me. I guarantee you will love it!
Special thanks to Samuel Paulino and Ronald Perez. They helped me so much.
If you plan to go call them:
Samuel Edgar Ortega Paulino
Guía Oficial de Turismo