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FEATURE ❘ SANTIAGO TO GIBRALTAR


to attract the attention of the passing traffic. This rider’s other role was to remain with the last rider should any stay behind whilst climbing any hills.


A total of 1786 metres were climbed during the 111km ride. This information is obtained from the riders’ SAT navigational system which also collects apart from other details, the riders heart rate, cadence, speed, average speed, metres ascended/descended etc. After riding for 55 Km’s the team stopped and replenished their water bottles and had a snack. By this time the road temperature was 35 degrees, rather high for the North of Spain in early May, though if you ask any cyclist they will tell you that they would prefer heat over rain. Half the distance had already been covered and all the riders continued in high spirits riding at a steady pace ascending the numerous hills on route which are always a challenge to any cyclist Ourense is located in a valley and the last 5km were great to ride as it was all downhill, where the riders reached speeds of over 60 km/hr.


The final 3km was up hill to where the hotel was located. It was a great sight. Upon reaching it we had the pleasant surprise


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that the support staff had already made the arrangements for our rooms and had actually had time to place some of the riders’ luggage inside them as well.


Ourense (Spain) - Vila Real (Portugal)


Today’s start was an early one as the riders had to cover the 156km to reach the overnight destination of Vila Real in Portugal. Before setting out and carrying the mandatory pre-ride check of their bicycles it was found that one of the tyres had no air. This was surprising since the tyre had been fully inflated the previous evening. After a quick change of inner tube it was found that the replaced tube had a slow puncture which accounted for the loss of air during the night. Upon leaving the hotel situated on the N525 a few KMs outside Ourense the riders first challenge was to climb one of the many hills on route. The difficulty for the riders was that as they had to start the ride on a hill, there had not been enough time to warm up properly, nevertheless it had to be done. The weather was dry and overcast


with a slight tail wind which benefitted the riders on route.


When the summit of the first hill was reached, a dense mist was seen lingering in the valley ahead. When the misty area was reached, the usefulness of the lights, which are very rarely used, was appreciated as these would warn drivers of their presence on the road. The road surface of the N525 was in a relatively good state although it is used by heavy goods vehicles and local traffic. The volume of traffic was however less than the previous day.


The route crossed a number of small towns. There seemed to be activity by the local farmers busily toiling in the land. Little activity was however seen in the towns with many business closed and up for sale, a sign of the recession and the diversion of general traffic to the dual carriageway. It was somewhat sad to see this as most of these towns must have been hustling and bustling with visitors stopping for their “café con tostada.” As soon as the mist disappeared and although it was slightly overcast, temperatures increased. It was imperative therefore that the riders continued to be hydrated and thanks to the support crew


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