The 3 Towers, and with capital “T”, they deserved. July 22, 2012, I don’t have the exact number, but I think than more of 50 cyclists we came together to call for Tequila Bike group for, beyond that going after the 3 Towers, go after our own limits, going deep into our own being, our ability to achieve our goals. Everyone got a goal, was prepared in the best way to join with many others that agree very early on Sunday at the gates of “La Primavera” Forest. It’s 6:0 o’clock, cyclists and cars kept coming; they were swarming the lamps, the yells that called into battle, the challenge … “encourage dogs … and ladies!”, As the tide indomitable, comes first drop by drop as well, cyclists we were approaching the starting line and in groups of two, three, five, ten, we took the road towards our first goal, having behind us a city still asleep in the Valley Atemajac, as in a bed. It was 6:08 am.
This time I didn’t bring my camera, so you won’t have my “graphics”, but I’ll try to describe the experiences and “snapshots” of this unique experience that I enjoyed and suffered during that Sunday. We were heading for the Tower 2, or hill of Nejahuete, marking as our first check point. Climbing the forest plateau we rode into the area of geothermal fields, even dark I just discovered that my lamp did not have the scope to shoot at considerable speed safely, so I kept as close as I could to Ruben and Fernando, as their lamps were working better and went until I could not keep up and I preferred to save my energy for later. I started to go with other cyclists and together we approached the first tower. The day began to light up when we arrived to the Nejahuete hill Tower, 7:15 am. Excellent time, and with no waiting minutes further, I initiated the descent of the tower, then I realized that the sun reached me far beyond what it had in previous years, went down and I was reached by Marcos, also from Intel bike team, and then we were joined by some other anonymous companions to descend again at full speed down the broad road. Once there, we saw Ruben taking a breather while we continue to the step of “Obsidianas”(a long downhill covered with a lot of that kind of stones in the pathway), about 12 kilometers into the forest. There we joined some other “first-timers” of the route, and they did not know the stroke. So we move apace, until we headed in the climb to “Obsidianas”. Knowing the stroke, I preferred to slow down and save some energy for the time of the ascent of the San Miguel Tower, which was seen in the distance, still flirting with some clouds. I got to the point where we began the descent of “Obsidianas” being as 8:20 am. A drop of our dreams, then we regroup Liz, Marcos and Ruben, 25 minutes riding down until we reached the lowest point of the travel, to be hovering around 1900msnm, we were getting the 1500msnm, this stage was covered with a great gift, a fog bank that cooled us light on one of the most arduous sections of the trail. There were still a new companion followed us a long time, and another left us, Ruben, feeling a little unwell that best decided diverted to Tala town.
We headed for the Torre de San Miguel, being in this high elevation, the lowest of all the forest, crossed a couple of gentle streams, where I took the opportunity to supply water, and no, it was contaminated, a mockup of the purity our forest, still I’m alive, lol. We keep riding, starting to feel the constant elevation of the road, not stop until the second tower in our challenge. And the best, with clouds above us gave us protection at least up to the Tower. There was a meeting point, cyclists who were going to the last tower, others that were just arriving, others that there remained little over time, recovering from the first 5 hours of challenge. It was 11:20 am, I was just over 5 hours riding. There must leave the bike at rest, to climb the last steps to the tower, sign in the guestbook (those who wanted to) and some water supply, very little, because the poor Rangers on guard that morning looked with awe as they kept up cyclists for water, until he had to say “all gone”, otherwise he runs out of water the rest of his week.
It was time to move, came another “rest” for being down, but that didn’t mean an easy section, I consider that this lowering of the Torre de San Miguel to the “forest main road” is one of the most risky in the forest, especially since is likely to take a confidence in them, and the slightest slip can become stuck in a stone, or taking a curve too fast, but fortunately on this occasion was not the case, at least we were down in my group, we and went ahead to the point of slaughter, where Alex, was in charge of giving a little support challengers in fruits, water, chocolates, break … we had 62 kilometers, we did even 30.
After refuel and convince our own minds, we left that point in a small group, with Liz, Marcos from Intel bike, and with Mengele, the “Black boy” from Tequila bike and I with the last goal… Tower 1, “Planillas”. It was the starting of the last section to complete our challenge … around 12:30 pm. There were gaining strength in a section somewhat tedious, which is the main forest road, which then become Mariano Otero Avenue 10 miles straight forward, but before that we must to divert to the “Planillas” Tower climbing, and that road can overwhelm because it is a continuous slope that takes us back to the high of 2000msn without being properly part of the climb to the Tower, but was really good keep taloking with Mengele and “Black boy” went ahead without boredom in the meantime that Liz and Marcos were left a little behind until I didn’t no longer saw them. We finally arrived at the beginning of the ascent to the “Planillas” Tower (the last one), but not before “rescuing” a rider was lost, Miguel, who join our group and with other 3 went and toward our ultimate climb … here I was hugging fatigue and in time I flirted with the idea to decline … “and you are here…” “…and you come, come, come back …” “nothing happens if …” here I realized that the challenge of the 3 towers, may be more than physical, mental. This shows that not only muscles are required in your training; you must demonstrate to yourself the integrity of your spirit, your conviction to overcome the ego. Because in the end, you don’t ride the 3 Towers to prove to anyone but me that you did for yourself. Especially when a rise in the latter is being left alone, each of us, we parted on the trail, everyone is taking their own pace, it is difficult to see two riders going together, near each other, but not together, at least I did not see me. Here’s one with himself, I was convincing, proving with every pedal I could move forward, and suddenly saw one of those who were already back down, and as a bucket of cold water passing saying “Courage”, “already done”, ” almost there “… that was more energetic than a “red bull”, I take air, straightened my back a few seconds and continued riding. It was then that I saw it… the “Planillas” Tower! No more than 2 kilometers ahead, and with these latter forces coming from who knows where, quickened my pace, and reached it being 2:38 pm, 8 hours and a half since we had just begun … now with the sun in full swing, just touched down back to the starting point, then I went with two co-challenge, we went a short distance along with the wisdom of not relying on the descent.
So, at 3:15 pm that Sunday I was arriving at starting point and end point of this adventure, called the challenge of the 3 Towers, no prize money, no cheers at the finish, only some of those already had finalized or were concluded, saying “That’s it, congratulations!, you did it” that is worth more than you could imagine, look on the face of honest smile colleague to know what it was, fist held high , greeting, fatigue start to make you aware, all worth it, worth the effort, back pain, numb muscles, the sweat still falling, it was worth wake up early on Sunday, it was worth the tension of the previous days, it was worth being there to prove to myself than I am able to demonstrate what convinces me to go back and enjoy and share with my family, friends and others, even though I do not know who , might be motivated to move again!
Until next time!