Foto: Ricardo López Hevia
Some 500 bottles of water are needed on a daily basis, with each cyclist drinking two before the day's race and re-hydrating at stations set up along the route. According to organizers, an estimated 11,000 liters of water are used during the entire race. Foto: Ricardo López Hevia
"A fine-tuned bicycle allows the racer to ride at ease, with confidence. Every day, we dismantle everything and check the cushion, the brakes, the wheels, the brake pads, we change the chain. We do a complete cleaning and grease the gears well and the pedals; we check the pressure in the suspension, almost like a Formula 1 race car. We work hard, but happily, especially when one of our cyclists manages to win."(Felipe Portilla, mechanic for the Spanish Tomás Bellés team) Foto: Ricardo López Hevia
"Our medical services include Cuban and Spanish staff. SIUM and Red Cross units are here - two rescue specialists and one for telecommunications, in addition to sports medicine personnel. Teams bring their own groups of physical therapists. We conduct 18 anti-doping tests. The winners of every stage are tested and the final winners in all categories, and other athletes randomly selected."
(José Ernesto Valdés, the Institute of Sports Medicine's deputy director for medical assistance) Foto: Ricardo López Hevia
"The cyclists ride through remote sites and arrive covered with mud. Cleaning the bikes is crucial and we use a system designed to wash cars. We regulate the water pressure (coming out of the hose) so we can shoot it where we need to. For example, … the bearings can't take a lot of pressure, so we manage to control it with this equipment. Additionally, it’s a machine that optimizes water usage, since it has a narrow hose that regulates the water."(Yonier Rodríguez, Pinar del Río cycling commissioner working with support personnel during the Titan Tropic) Foto: Ricardo López Hevia
More than 400 tents were set up, in the two camping spots in Soroa and Viñales, where racers and their support teams spent the night. These outdoor sites received some 40 vehicles, among them passenger cars for road travel and cargo trucks moving mechanical supplies and equipment. Foto: Ricardo López Hevia
Cyclists competing in the Titan Tropic Cuba mountain bike race, pedal more than 400 kilometers, and face a multitude of obstacles is all the stages, reflecting the exuberant nature of the island's westernmost region, passing through idyllic sites like Soroa, Viñales and Cayo Jutías. Behind the sharp rivalry among the leaders and the great effort of others just to complete the course, is a complicated logistic challenge, to guarantee the functioning of the race and the comfort of participants.