It rained long and hard most of the day yesterday, there was even hail. This morning the temperature was near freezing, still raining, high winds and fog that dramatically limited visibility.
As many as 11 riders did not start today, some because of injury, some because of the weather, there were a few that were sick. There were many long faces amongst the athletes, except Tom, he was grinning from ear to ear. “Embrace the suffering”. He
waited in the start corral looking excited about the day. No gloves, his choice. Around me I could hear muttering in various languages. What I could understand could be roughly translated to “That crazy guy.”
The large number of riders that did not start the stage complicates race logistics greatly. Now the race organization has to find a way to move those people and their bikes to the next location. So I helped today by driving a staff member to her check point and assisting for most of the checkpoint. It was warmer down in the valley but still only 13° C, (58°F) and raining. Hypothermia for the riders was still a big concern. I was very excited to see Tom early in 15th position with 80 km to go.
Tom managed his effort level and nutrition beautifully throughout the day and even had some nice relaxed points during the race where he managed to take some photos.
By the end of the stage Tom had gained another four places to finish in 12th. Total time on the bike was about eight and a half hours. A very long wet day.
Tomorrow’s stage promises more of the same weather, the terrain may be a little bit faster but it’s still a very long day at approximately 160 kms. That will give me lots of time to explore the beautiful village of Castelo de Vida, with its castle that was constructed in the 1300’s. Perhaps I will visit the near by prehistoric ruins. Then I’ll head to Evora where there are many more ancient ruins and even Roman structures.