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Nogalas Shakedown - David Richter
By Staff
Date: 3/14/2006
Nogalas Shakedown - David Richter

Nogalas Shakedown
David Richter, adventures across the border in the Vuelta Sonora... "On the stage one roll-out I flatted. As I dropped back for a wheel, I realized the support car was in front of the race. So I did a mild freak-out and bolted through the field with a rear flat..."

By David Richter

As we roared into the border town of Nogalas, Mexico you could see immediately things were different. We searched for the race hotel and six guys had six different opinions on which way to go and what to do. This, along with the third-world traffic, cracked Devon and Omer took the wheel. Actually I think Devon’s driving cracked Omer. But before the driver switch Devon stopped and asked some Mormons for directions. Bad move…we broke the cardinal third-world traffic rule…don’t stop for anything!

We received directions from the only dudes in town with ties, and switched drivers. That’s when the Policia moved-in. A Nogalas policia is one-third cop, one-third soldier, and one-third gangster. He asked Omer for his papers and we all shit. He explained that we could pay our “ticket” today. We bartered our way down to $33. Not bad, better than a Mexican jail. After that we didn’t stop for anything.

The race hotel was just bad, which makes it Nogalas’ best. We hooked up with our Mexican team mate, Christian and went to pick up our numbers. We didn’t have Gagg (our director) with us because of some visa problems. Good thing Gagg wasn’t there, he would have torn that place apart. They wanted us to pay. We were supposed to GET start money. We told ‘em to stick it. The plan was to leave early the next morning if they didn’t release our hostage numbers. Well, they gave us our numbers so we raced.

Breakfast was a bean/meat gruel or a pancake option. I was excited for pancakes. I was hungry and a stack of pancakes is what I needed. Two little cakes are all they would give. I bargained with the server and in the end I gave up everything for four pancakes.
As I sat down smiling I realized that there was no syrup. I immediately put on the same expression that Omer had when that cop asked for his papers. I slipped back into that mild depression and wondered if they were torturing us or if they were just retarded. I drowned my four glorified tortillas in butter, or maybe it was lard. My stomach went from growling to gurgling.

David chowing down after returning to the U.S. after a
week with no veggies.

On the stage one roll-out I flatted. As I dropped back for a wheel, I realized the support car was in front of the race. So I did a mild freak-out and bolted through the field with a rear flat.
That wasn’t enough, so I jumped the median and headed the car off at a turn-around…mission accomplished.

We went to the front (on the ‘neutral’ roll-out.) Most thought we were crazy ‘till we zagged through some killer trenches and iron grates. I could hear the carnage behind. We stopped at the border (the race was to start in the US and come back into Mexico) and I looked around to see dudes already bloody before the start.

After an eternity the race started. We cruised down the national highway at forty mph, dodging oncoming tractors, trucks, and livestock. This kind of danger sent me to the front. I wanted to see what was going on. I saw a dude get tangled in bailing wire. It was so bad he couldn’t pedal any longer…he was cocooned. Five seconds later I found myself wrapped in barbed-wire!

This was like an episode of American Gladiator! I was waiting for one of the Policia in a jeep to nab one of the gringo racers as hostage. So I tried to look as Mexican as possible. It must have worked.

After stage one nothing would surprise me or even get much of a rise out of me. Some queer shit did happen, like when the Chivas dudes jumped in their team van on a category one climb, only to jump back out at the summit. Like when Jonny Sundt’s glasses were swiped off him when he crashed. Like when Glen was karate kicked. Like when Nathan was fined but he wasn’t even in the race.

Like the stage they said was all down hill…of course they didn’t mention the 20k of climbing near the end. Whatever. We survived “tough camp” in Mexico.

I think CSC should do their survival training at that race next year. Like Plato said, or maybe it was Socrates…whichever did the Vuelta Sonora, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

David Richter is a rider with the Monex Pro Cycling Team
Other David Richter Journals:
Bear Claws and Burritos
Deep Winter
Winter Thinking


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