by Kristin Mayer

I have some crazy friends. Roch Frey & Heather Fuhr (yes, the one that has won 15 Ironman-distance races) suggested my boyfriend and I join them for a week in Costa Rica. I had never been, so I thought it would be a ton of fun. Hot weather agrees with me, and they tempted me by outlining the perfect vacay. Some surfing, mountain biking and lounging by the pool in some top notch resorts. Perfect for wear-testing environment for my gear. 

The plan was to do a ride that Roch & Heather did about 8 years ago. According to Roch's old GPS data, we would have up to 3-4 hours of riding a day, but plenty of time to chill. Nytro & Cannondale helped us to get the perfect solid Trail 29ers for our adventure. I was a bit concerned about 4 consecutive days in the saddle, but Roch assured me "I'd be fine." I upped my road riding a little bit, and did some mountain bike riding on the weekends with my son on what I thought would be, similar terrain to the fire roads we'd be tackling in Costa Rica. 

Here's the reality: I did get to surf the first couple of days. I also ended up with gnarly chaffing from surfing on a rough, rented foam surfboard sans rash guard, but I will save this story for another time. The riding ended up being WAY over my head. We conquered close to 170 miles in 4 days. Over 20,000 ft of climbing. On mountain bikes. Rough roads with washboard bumps and loose gravel. Multiple river crossings. Frightening descents. Multiple meltdowns. Filthy humans. Lots of saddle sores. BUT, we stayed in 2 of the most amazing places FlorBlanca and Hotel Punta Islita.


Some thoughts I had before our trip:

1) I'm pretty tough

2) I love heat

3) 4 days in a row on my bike sounds like a lot

4) I can't climb

5) I don't like riding my bike all day

6) I like getting dirty

7) I descend like a granny

8) I am going to miss Gavyn


After our trip I revisited these thoughts:

1) I'm pretty tough. Even with the meltdowns due to being scared out of my mind on descents and frustrated because I was not having any fun riding all day long. I mentally fought to finish what I started. Physically my fitness was not a problem. See #5.

2) I love heat. The average temperature was mid-90s and really wasn't bad because it was the dry season. I will take heat over cold any time!

3) 4 days on my bike IS a lot. 

4) I can climb. yes, really. I never believed I could, but by day 4 I was going up things I never thought possible. That was pretty cool.

5) I don't like riding my bike all day. Never have. Never will. 

6) I like getting dirty. Always have. Always will.

7) I (still) descend like a granny, but now I go down a lot more technical and steeper descents with (some) confidence.

8) I missed the hell out of Gavyn. It was the longest stretch I had gone since his birth without talking to him or seeing him. Next time, he's coming with us.


Lastly, I can't imagine having done this adventure with any other people. The three of them know me well and we all had some good laughs once the tears dried and now that the saddle sores are gone. Costa Rica is beautiful. It was an experience I will never forget and I will be back. Only next time, more surfing, 4 wheeling, relaxing and chill time.