Overnight the winds had picked up further from yesterday, which made for the roughest swim so far. Most of those – those who hadn’t been out for one too many the night before, that is!- who swam really enjoyed it with some proper surf to get through and swim in on. There was only one taker, Mel, for the longer swim round to Playa Chica so Steven and Mel, our faster swimmers, headed out that way as a pair, whilst Jo took the others around our “usual” loop – which seemed very different in nature than at the start of camp week! It was choppy and high waves meant that they kept a very tight group with regular stops to “head count” along the way…..so it was a little longer and harder swim than usual, but great fun and both groups arrived back at the beach to come in on the surf together.
With the strong winds the ride to the start of the Tabayesco TT was sure to be a challenge, so as such the first group set off nice and early to give them plenty of time, and to have a stop along the way if they needed. The next two groups were then set off hoping to get there at about the same time. It was a very strong wind up the donkey track and along the spine road Stevens group of faster riders caught Jo’s group. In these conditions it certainly helps having the bigger guys in your group which Steven had as they provide a much bigger shield from the wind when on the front. The going was tough for everyone directly into the wind most of the time, with occasional unnerving side winds making it tricky to eve grab a drink from out bottle sat times. Dan managed to lose grip on his arm warmers as he was removing them…and they were blown out of his hands. The rest of the group joked that having turned back to chase them, and finding the wind on his back, we might not see him again!! Lucky for us, he was scooped by Steven’s group as they caught us – and we were reunited.
Having caught group two already, Steven’s group realised that they had time for a quick stop for coffee in the ‘birthday cake cafe’ from yesterday. They’d only just parked up their bikes when they saw Jo’s group go by; by working hard together they’d done a great ride across to Teguise in the wind. However, they re-passed Jo’s group who were having a quick stop at the garage a little bit further on. The net effect of all is was that all groups arrived at the start within about 5 minutes of one another 0 and Emma’s mission of getting group 1 there before everyone else arrived to allow those first off on handicap a few minutes to prepare for their race up Tabeyasco.
It was pretty tough conditions with strong winds providing a nice push at times and a vicious headwind at others. Rounding some of the hairpins the wind almost brought you to a hault. As usual, once it’s a ‘race’ everyone put in fantastic efforts with the handicap compressing people near the top and spurring them on. There were some very broken looking riders at the top – which we love to see. (haha)
For the first time we had a dead heat ! Both Steven and James managed 32:50. It shows you how tough the conditions were as that was our slowest ever winning time by over 90s. It did however get James in to our top 10 efforts, placing 9th. Karen won on handicap – probably much to her own surprise – but we’ve seen through the week that Karen is a changed rider from a year ago – looking back at last years results she’d knocked 15 minutes off last years time ! Very impressive.
As usual, we had a get together and provisional results in the cafe at the top. Then the majority decided to ride straight back, enjoying an easy ride as a nice bunch all the way home, via a nice new road that Emma had scoped out in the week before camp. Emma lead those keen for a few extra miles down to Famara in to the teeth of the wind before enjoying a tail wind home through La Santa and across the lava fields – and by her accounts at a “no messing” kind of pace set by a sugar fuelled Matthew and Gabriel.
After this tough day on the bike (and swim for some) no one could be persuaded to do that last 21km run …. ;o) Maybe they’re saving themselves for tomorrow?
The large points tariff on today’s climb ( points per place values increase daily, so today, each position carries 4 points) meant that placings in the KOV competition changed dramatically again….with Emma and Steven, who both had great Tabeyasco times relative to their week’s handicap, standing as tied leaders. In such a case the tie is broken by giving priority to the rider with the faster ascent overall through camp. so Steven will be in the jersey tomorrow. Here are the points standings as of end of day 4: