Last weekend was filled with great friends, awesome food, incredible weather, visiting new places throughout Andalucia, y la primera carrera del año para Tito Elias (and the first race of the year for Uncle Eli)! Yes, it is true that Uncle Eli has officially finished his first race in Europe!
First things first... None of the aforementioned greatness would have ever been possible without the kindness of two AMAZING FRIENDS De España! A BIG THANK YOU TO PILAR AND LUIS! These two people gave up their entire free weekend to drive all the way to the western coast of Andalucia with a crazy cyclist and his guapetona mujer (aka aunt Jeanna)! Not only did they offer to drive us four hours to the race but they made the hotel arrangements and showed us an amazing time in neighboring Cadíz the Saturday before the race! Their company honestly made the trip for both of us. They are incredible hosts and great friends. We look forward to having them visit Oregon where we will spoil them rotten trying to repay them for all of their undeserved kindness here in Espain!
Racing in Europe? It was FANTASTIC! There were over 100 participants lined up for the 100 k (leg breaker) course. This was the first race in the series for the Copa de Andalucia. There were many eight man teams, all of which were fully equipped with team cars and race radios! The teams were all willing to work for one or two riders and that kept the pace very high. We were given the entire road with a "rolling enclosure". This made moving up much easier. There was a fierce head wind for the first 50 kilometers and a few 2 and 3k climbs that started thinning out the field. Unfortunatly, there was a crash about 40k into the race. The crash probably cut out one fourth of the peloton. The crash was followed by a 3k climb into a head wind! This climb shattered the remainder of the field. The last 40k of the race was fast and furious. Somewhere during that time a small group of six or seven escaped. I did not see that move go and made the decision to set in with what was left of the field. I took second in the final sprint! I was super excited to have finished. I never would have expected such a good result but was ecstatic to have it. We were in a bit of hurry so we were unable to stick around for the celebration. We showered, ate some lunch, and hit the road. (offical results are still not up).
The trip did not end with an uninterrupeted four hour drive. It easily could have but Luis and Pilar decided to spoil us once again and treat us to un Café in a Castle from the 8th century! Yes, they stopped in Carmona, a beautiful little pueblo of Andalucía! The entire walk through the pueblo was beautiful. The views of the valley were breathtaking and the company was great! We are truly lucky people to be here and to have found such amazing friends along the way! Pictures are to come. Love and miss you all,
Elias y la Guapetona!
PS. Please forgive the lack of posts. "Our internet Cafe" has been shut down for repairs making it a little more difficult for us to use the internet. We are trying!