Friday, May 4, 2012

Trans Portugal - Day 0

So the big adventure for the year begins.  Mammoth day to get here yesterday.  Up at 4am for a 6am flight and then walked around Lisbon for a few hours before Lunch.  Bus at 4pm for the 6 hour ride north to Braganca which turned into a journey from hell.  Lots of road works and multiple stops along the way in some torrential rain.  9 hours later and at 1am before we hit the bed and there was some very tired people including me.

This morning has been spent eating and putting the bike together.  Thankfully no dramas with bike in its new bag and super easy to use.  Multiple briefings on the race rules, the GPS units and tomorrows first stage interspersed with good espresso.

So there’s about 60 riders here and all a bit of organised chaos.  Some riders took 20 mins to put bikes together and there was another chap shop had a bare frame which must have taken him at least half a day to put together.  Lots of bikes worth maybe 5 times more than my old thing.  Some of them very brand new looking.  The bike of choice seems to be a 29 inch hard tail which weighs almost nothing.  Tyres seem to be Racing Ralphs or Race Kings.

The GPS units are very simple and the GPS and your race number is the most important thing.  The race as described is not actually an MTB race.  You can travel any means you like via human power.  You must stay on the course and the only way to verify this is your GPS.  The 2nd thing you need for whatever reason is your numbers.  If you have a problem with your bike you can leave the bike and run the rest.  Hate to do that for 100Km in cycling shoes.

The riders.  Well there’s a huge mix from all over the place.   We have an ex Olympic representative and a young gun that races pro in Cyclocross.  I met an old guy (61) who weighs the same as me and has nearly the same power to weight ratio.  A few husband/wife teams and a quite a few woman.  Guys from Japan, South Africa, England, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Canada, America and even another Kiwi.  They all look lean and fit and fast.  The interesting part is the handicap system.  Some of them get to start an hour in front of me and that includes the 61 year old who’s probably just as fast as me.  Not sure anybody will see him after he starts.

Tomorrows first stage will be interesting.  Just over 142 Km with 3842 metres of climbing.  It’s apparently on of the hardest days.  We went out for a brief run today of 10km or so just to shake the bikes down and work the GPS.  The trails look good but very muddy.  Had brief periods of torrential rain the last few days and I think more is forecast.  It’s going to be very dirty and muddy I suspect.  Not to nervous yet but I’m hoping for no mechanicals and no crashes.

Tomorrow we shall find out.  Time for a big sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment