Posts tagged ‘nicaragua’

One more ride in Nicaragua – to the beach!

I went for one more ride here in Nicaragua yesterday before a day full of very productive meetings talking about the future and vision of Nuevas Esperanzas. The ride started out through the one-way streets of downtown Leon before heading out on the main boulevard which was being repaved when we were last here in 2009. The road is absolutely amazing two and a half years later. There were many horse-drawn carts coming to town and horse riders so the only really challenge was avoiding the horse droppings that were sometimes hard to distinguish from mud washed onto the road during the heavy downpours the night before. The terrain was gently sloping on the way out of town, but then became much more rolling as you approached the coast. The volcanoes were visible through the nearby trees and plantations rising up above low lying clouds.

Strava map of the ride showing the line of volcanoes. And here is a link to an interactive map of the ride with elevation data: http://app.strava.com/rides/702182

Check out the pictures from the ride below … if some of the images below look blurry, click on them for a full-resolution image!

Volcan San Cristobal and Volcan Casitas – the highest volcano in Nicaragua (San Cristobal) and the volcano which triggered a devastating mudslide during Hurricane Mitch wiping out entire villages

Two more volcanoes in Nicaragua’s portion of the ring of fire

A beach road at Poneloya

The beautiful Nicaraguan coast on the Pacific Ocean

June 9, 2011 at 11:08 am 1 comment

Volcan Telica, Nicaragua

Post ride covered in tiny bugs similar to gnats that dissolve and die on contact!

Fun ride today out over the small hump of the volcano ridge line near Volcan Telica. The bike rode beautifully except for the bottom bracket and cranks coming loose towards the end. I didn’t have a camera with me, but there were tons of visual images that I’ll recount stream of consciousness style here …

* Roads were nearly empty with it being a Sunday morning and so few people owning cars. Every 10-15 minutes, I would get passed by a loaded bus who would honk well in advance of passing as well as giving you plenty of space on the wide open road. There were a few cars in between, particularly closer into town.

* So many modes of transporation: people were walking, riding bikes, several people riding on the same bike, motorcycles, several people on the same motorcycle, people pushing motorcycles, horseback (raced one horse), horse-drawn carts, school buses (local buses), microbuses (small vans that travel larger distances non-stop), a few eighteen wheelers, a few cars, and one or two taxis.

* The volcano hillsides were so green (we usually visit in the dry season, but it is the middle of the rainy season right now — speaking of which, it is thunderstorming right now as I write this)

* Steam and possibly ash coming from Volcan Telica made for quite a sight

* Porcupine, skunk, rabbit, and snake caution signs … gotta watch out for those rabbits!

* “Hasta America?” – I was asked by one person waiting for a bus …

Here is the Strava map and a link to the complete Strava data: http://app.strava.com/rides/680069
Strava map showing my route betwen the volcanoes

Chocolate milk in a bag – the perfect recovery drink

June 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm Leave a comment

Cycling in Nicaragua

A bike race in Managua -

1. 6:30 wakeup by the kids, goodbye to Kristine

2. 6:50 walk out the door pick up taxi on the way to the bus station

3. 7:20 Take a “microbus” to Managua – these microbuses only leave when they are full and cost $2. When I arrived, there was only two or three people out of the 12-15 that can fit on the bus. I sat down thinking oh no, this is going to be forever before we leave, then a person came, then two, then another, and before you know it (< 5 minutes) the bus was full and we took off. Very fast driving. The distance is only about 60 miles, but with horses crossing the road (we had to stop for one), cows, mule-driven wagons, barely functional vehicles littering the highway, the drive consists of weaving, slowing, speeding, passing very quickly before the oncoming semi-truck arrives to meet you head-on. Absolutely beautiful drive with no less than 5 volcanoes that you pass including Momotombo (over 5500′ tall)

4. 8:30 Arrive at the bus station in Managua. Hop into a taxi going to Rotunda La Virgin where the bike race is. When I tell the taxi driver that I am going to the bike race, he seems excited and says something excitedly that I don’t understand. This taxi driver was very quick and used the traffic signals as suggestions to help guide us to our destination in less than 10 minutes (It would have taken me 20 if I were driving)

5. 8:40 Arrive at Rotunda La Virgin, disembark from the taxi, and look for Shannon O’Reilley the presidente of the Nicaraguan Cycling association. I find him and introduce myself and he shows me his shiny silver Scott bike that I will be using. I then meet Fernando who speaks a little english and is the national road and mountain bike champion of Nicaragua. He will be my teammate in the race. Then we go to get my bike setup to fit me. Then we go for a ride on the course while the other races are going on – we just pull over towards the side when they come by.

6. 10:30 and the race was underway! I’ll just include my racer report that I sent out to my team earlier this evening:

For the race today, I borrowed a bike and shoes from Shannon OReilley, the president of the Nicaraguan Cycling Assocation. The race was a 1.25 km course with two 180 degree turns. The start/finish was at the top of a downhill which took you shortly into the first 180 which was a VERY large roundabout called “Rotunda La Virgin” complete with a statue of the Virgin Mary and for the Christmas season all kinds of camels, sheep, and wise men. The roundabout itself was probably 1/10th of a mile or more. When you exited the roundabout you came back up the start/finish hill but on the other side of the road. The hill wasn’t that steep but it was into a strong headwind (20mph?) so that going super hard across the top you were only going 16-18 mph. Then you went into this headwind all the way to second 180 degree turn which was a normal 180 (not a roundabout) so it was pretty sharp. Then you had a 20mph tailwind and we easily were topping 35mph through here on the first couple laps.

Two riders on different teams attacked on the first lap, and my teammate, Walter, joined them to form a small three man breakaway. They got a little bit of a gap, but the pace was just way too fast on the downwind part of the course. We caught them at the start of the second lap. My other teammate (the national road and mountain bike champ) attacked on the hill and got away solo but another rider bridged to him and then again because of the tailwind we caught them both at the start of the third lap. So for the first two laps, the pace had been super fast when we started the third lap and made it around the roundabout starting up the hill into the headwind. I attacked as hard as I could thinking that people would be tired and I at least wanted to put on a show as the token “gringo” in the race. I had a 20 second lead for the next 7 or 8 laps but then I could tell my gap was shrinking. It was awesome to hear everyone on the side yelling “allez”, “allez”, “allez”, and one boy yelling “allez gringo, allez gringo”. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to stay away from the chase group behind me which included one of my teammates (Walter) who had bridged from the third group to the chase group so I eased up and then there were four of us off the front. We used our numbers perfectly with Walter attacking first and forcing the strongest sprinter in the race to chase. I hopped onto his wheel and when Walter was reeled back in, I launched a counter attack and only the Shell rider could follow. So the two of us got away and worked together with me pulling up the hill into the headwind and the Shell rider pulling on the tailwind section. We worked together for the last five laps and then I was able to outsprint him.

There was somebody taking pictures, and I am going to try to hook up with him on Saturday before we leave to buy a few for $1 each. Also this website has some pictures from the race including the podium picture: http://www.ciclismonica.com/Circuito2009/circuito.html

7. Wow – what an opportunity – thank you so much Shannon for loaning me your bike and helping me have this opportunity to experience cycling in Nicaragua. Thank you Raly USA teammates – Walter, Fernando, and Allan!

8. I was impressed with how many “jovenes” youth were racing today. That’s a good sign for the future of cycling in Nicaragua! Hopefully, I will be back to race again and maybe next time I can bring some of my teammates from the USA.

January 4, 2009 at 10:32 pm 1 comment


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Short very hot ride. Cahaba river at the lowest I've ever seen it - at Hoover east ballfields shortly before running over fresh gum and cutting the ride short to clean it off my tire. Today's rollercoaster experiment - 20 repeats with Garmin 1000 forwards and backwards. Movie theater roller coaster (top) and Green valley rollercoaster (bottom).

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Brian Toone

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Anaerobic Threshold:
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AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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