CASTELO DE VIDE > ÉVORA
Climbing - 1554 m
Weather - bloody hot !!! 38c
Stage Place - 4th equal
Overall Place - 3rd but maybe slipped to 4th
Well... Not sure what to say...it's been a long hot day that's for sure.
First 20km were the steep up and down bit. The rest was Portugese flat on never ending dead straight roads that never seemed to finish. Portugese flat means it's actually never flat and at 38c they are a killer.
We lost Jose on the first climb. Not by a lot but enough for us not to see him again. From here it was myself , Luis and Aaron that hung together. We passed Danny on the trail. Asked what was wrong and all I got told was we've been here for 10 mins already. We creasted the hill and sat up with should we wait or should we go. We hung around for 20 mins or probably longer on these massive rolling roads. You could see riders 2km behind you.
Edgar bridged the gap to us and said Danny had lost his chain. What this normally means is it's just off the chain ring. In Danny's case he had literally lost it. Off the bike completely and no idea where it is. Turns out when we saw him it was being fixed and then on a rough downhill it had flown off the bike. He had to run back up the trail looking for it otherwise his race was over. They found it and repaired it for he second time with help from others.
We were 4 riders and pushed on. I set the pace up the climbs to keep things moving. It was a big wind again and we all worked fairly well together. At the stops we went for water and lots of it. Some went for coke at cafés whilst others lubed chains. First stop was 69km in and it was already 35c. It got to 38c later. 2nd stop we were all together still and had picked up a fifth rider.
We picked up Raffalle not long after the last water point and he hung with us for an hour or so. There was a horrible old train track which we followed. A bit odd cruising through old closed railway stations with no train tracks. Horrible but fast track into a wind and it always felt up. The group was working really well but I was not looking to finish with them. I was looking for a place to get away from the group.
Finally happened at the end of the railway. On a 180 degree turn the wind was now tail and it headed up. Perfect. Only 10km to go. Wasn't the best attack I ever did and Aaron bridged the gap to me. Few more hills had me thinking WTF and did I make the right choice. Running close on empty Luis only 50 metres behind me. It did stick although it was not helped by two bad navigation decisions on my part and having to turn back twice.
Myself and Aaron finished together with the same time in 4th and 5th, and I gained 1-2 mins on Luis. However Peter in front of us must have had storming day. He's starts 20 mins in front each day and yet had 25 mins on us today. Ouch !!!
Not sure which GC place I will be tonight but going to need to pull some finger out to keep third in the next three days.
Tomorrow is going to be just as hot and even faster. We averaged over 27km/h on MTB trails for 166 km today. Tomorrow is only 99km and flatter again...
By the way lovely hotel !!!
The ice bath with Jose the leader post massage
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