Elevation gain: 2211m
Today was always going to be fast and it didn’t disappoint. Leaving Ladoeiro, packs formed to start the ride to Castelo De Vide and the first 20km’s or so were on undulating roads which meant some great progress was made in a very short period of time. Although there was 2211m of climbing it was mostly gradual and this helped with keeping the momentum up but also killed the legs on some short steep lifts which then levelled out (a recurring pattern for most of the day).
After four short climbs of 1km with a gradient range from 10-30% (the latter involved some hike-a-bike) riders had a mix of scenery and terrain. The scenery included fields of blossoming lavender, forests and some spectacular rivers. The terrain changed all the time from corrugated tracks, jeep tracks, fields and some very old cobbled roads, which didn’t help a saddle sore that I now have!
Today I had the pleasure of clinging on to a small group of leaders and had a great time working hard and recovering as quickly as possible. Unfortunately they were only cruising along until about 80km before they started racing, and I was nowhere to be seen by 75km, but I loved it.
The final bit of the day was a climb to the castle at the top of Castelo de Vide – 3km with some very steep gradients of about 25%. What an end to the day.
Tomorrow is the big one – 172km with 2975m climbing. I need to get my rest!
1st: Luis Leao Pinto (POR) 4:15:38
2nd: Milan Spolc (CZE) 4:15:38
3rd: Greg Anderson (ZAR) 4:22:30