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FEATURE ❘ SANTIAGO TO GIBRALTAR


Santiago de Compostela – Ourense


T


oday, 9th May 2014 the 1st stage of the charity cycle started from outside the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. The target was Ourense. The team was in high spirits to complete this first stage especially after receiving numerous messages of support, which only increased their motivation. Once the bicycles were mechanically checked it was time for the riders to fill their drinking bottles and stock up with their snacks. At 1100hrs they set off from their hostel to the large area in front of the Cathedral, the Praza do Obradoiro where they formed up and the group photograph was taken.


It was an overcast day with a slight breeze thereby providing excellent conditions for cycling. There was light traffic on the SC 11 though this increased substantially as we entered the N525, the national, road which would take the riders directly to their destination for the day.


Only 3kms had been ridden when one of the riders sustained the first puncture. Wow, so soon, considering that the team had only had one puncture last year throughout the Fatima to Gibraltar ride. It was a quick change of the inner tube an shortly after the group was off.


The road tarmac was in an excellent condition with a hard shoulder where the riders could ride. Some unkind soul however, had positioned numerous ‘cats’ eyes’ on the hard shoulder, which protruding from the ground made riding over them very uncomfortable. Nevertheless it was a matter of being attentive and avoiding them as far as possible.


The ride commenced at a very easy pace making sure that all those muscles used for cycling were properly warmed up. Soon after the pace picked up, when lo and behold another rider suffered a puncture also on his rear wheel. The cause of it was established to be a small thorn which had embedded in the tyre. This was soon removed and a new inner tyre inserted. Not a good start bearing in mind previous experiences, nevertheless this did not dampen the riders’ spirits and off they went.


COLLECTIVE HIGH SPIRITS DOMINATED


Continuing along the N525 the scenery was extraordinary with the views of green pine trees growing on the side of the mountains together with different types of rock formations. Passing through the little towns on the route, the team drew the attention of those in the area, all 9 wearing the same kit, cycling in a group with the last rider closing the group wearing a fluorescent bib


38 www.cyclingworldmag.com ride of epic A charity


Ian Howes details the highs and lows of this amazing journey


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