Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lighthouse Cycling Tour Day 3

Michelob ULTRA Lighthouse Cycling Tour of Puerto Rico -- Day 3
125 miles -- Mayaguez to Old San Juan

Day 3:
Leaving at around 6:00 am (8:00 am group riders ... LIGHTS REQUIRED) we will ride east bound to Old San Juan not before riding through the world class beaches of Rincon. We will then head to Isabela for breakfast not before climbing the "Las Cascadas" hill and passing by the Aguadilla Lighthouse. The exact location for the breakfast will remain “secret” like the previous day. After filling up our bellies in the amazing location, we will head towards the Arecibo Lighthouse for lunch. This section will take us through Jobos Beach in Isabela known for its sand dunes and surfing beaches. This area is also known for its short, sharp, very steep climb to the towncore of Isabela followed by the Guajataca hill that eventually leads us to Arecibo. Lunch will take place within the Arecibo Lighthouse as a backdrop and from there we will ride through the northern coastal plains where we will see some of the most spectacular beaches on the north side of the Island reaching Dorado. In the Dorado plaza we will wait for around 15 minutes for the fast riders that departed Mayaguez at 8 am. From Dorado, we will be escorted by a police motorcade weaving through the financial district of Hato Rey and into the cobblestoned streets of the City of Old San Juan ending at the San Felipe del Morro Fort where the closing ceremonies will take place.

The finale, Day 3. Another late night and another early, early morning. Dinner last night was provided by the mayor of Mayaguez, the hotel provided a large pool and we even had a casino to gamble in -- that is of course if you didn't wear sandals, flip-flops or crocs. Side note: Some cyclists wore their bike cleats instead. For some reason, certain sandals were bad, but tearing up their carpet with cleats was super-duper. So, what was suppose to be a restful night for all, was an eventful surplus of money for a few. Either way, 5AM comes pretty fast. And with the accumulation of little sleep you might not even here it coming. That's what happened for Paul and I this morning. We sprang from our beds nearly 30 minutes after the alarm and sprung into action. Battery packs, lenses, cameras, clothes, glasses, more batteries, media cards, etc. It was a mad dash and while we scrambled with our things Eric was calmly lying in bed waiting for us to go downstairs. For those of you who don't know Eric Goetz, he's fast, really fast on a bike and this year William made a stategic move: the self-guided fast group would head out almost 2 hours AFTER the main peloton in an effort to have everyone reach Old San Juan at the same time. It was a smart move, but as Eric would recall later, it only made the fast group faster in an effort to catch the peloton.

With that said, we were on the road. It was an early start to another long day, but beautiful sights awaited us. Paul and I were producing better and better shots and with everyone wearing the Tour Jersey, the day called for plenty of peloton shots. Of course, the terrain and route were going to be an issue. Though it was only 135 miles, the sun was strong, the wind on this side of the island was great (it is every year, this year stronger than normal) and the changes in the course made it all the more difficult. Did I mention William wanted to arrive in Old San Juan by 5:30pm? Uh...yeah...that might not happen. But we're certainly going to try.

Day 3 is always the day when everyone wears the Tour's Jersey. Uniformity my good man, uniformity!

Love the Puerto Rican flag in the circle. Nice touch and the only red on the jersey. Draws your eyes right to it.

Cyclocross anyone?

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

This is why you come to Puerto Rico.

Tough course? Tough doesn't begin to describe it. No, just kidding. Just take your shoes off and relax.

We were blessed with the ability to climb all the way to the top of the lighthouse for this shot.

I never grow tired of early morning light.

Congratulations! You've just completed the best cycling tour in the Carribean, if not the world.

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