The winds have still not let up on the island, and so again the day started with rough sea. Even rougher than yesterday. We had about half the camp out for a very fun 30 minute swim. The section along the line of buoys was particularly challenging but the surfing in to the beach on those waves made it worth it!
With two King of The Volcanoes climbs to do on todays ride, and the ferocious headwinds to contend with on the climb northwards out of town, we made slightly earlier departures on the bikes. It was indeed battle of will over watts on tired legs as each group made their way up The Donkey Track and “Donkey Track Extra” (thanks Emma for finding this new route out of town for us) – but we all got our reward when we reached the Spine Road and turned west to enjoy descending through La Geria with a massive tailwind. We’d managed to time things just right so that all 3 groups arrived in Yaiza, for the start of climb 1, within a few minutes of each other.
The first climb was the Degollada Climb that we first introduced back in 2016 as a bit of a surprise on day 1. This climb has a long steady run in with a big tailwind before two increasingly severe ramps. At the top a fantastic view south is revealed making it all worthwhile. Jo had a fantastic ride up – this year she’s had the role of starting the races off, and thus going last. Although riding outside of proper handicap order, it provides huge motivation chasing everyone- especially when the last rider off today was Mel!! She’s experiencing the help Steven has had all these years by going last. Jo produced the best time of the day in 8:43 with Matthew the only other person to break nine minutes in 8:58. Jo’s time places her 4th in our all time list. Greg won on handicap. Looking at the results we can see how the handicap is getting better with 2nd to 15th finishing with 90s of each other.
Although we sis not know how that first climb had effected the results, in retrospect we can see that TheJersey did change hands at this point – as can be seen by the points table after this climb. The “on the road” leader round to Femes was Karen with Steven having dropped to fourth.
After a quick coffee/ice-cream stop it was back notes bikes to ride around El Golfo and down to Playa Blanca. Again, all 3 groups came together as we went through Playa Blanca resulting in no wasted time started the second climb of the day up Femes. Climbing Femes has always been the highlight of Day 5 of camp but this is the first time we’ve had a race up it – all the way from the very bottom at Playa Blanca, and with the winds today it proved a very tough climb, that most of us were dreading!! The traffic on the steep top section was also a lot busier than we’ve ever seen at the top which makes us question whether we will be including it again in future camps.
Jo continued to be riding very well producing the fastest time up Femes in 22:58 which immediately becomes our course record. Rob is showing his strength as we advance through camp with the best time on handicap which moves him up the points. The handicapping is looking very good now with the top five within 30s of each other.
The net result of all this is a very close race for the overall win tomorrow. Steven just holds on to the jersey by 2 points from Karen who is only a point away from Matthew. Given every place is worth 6 points that gap is irrelevant as whoever out of them gets to the top first on handicap will lead those three. The top 6 are within 30 points of each other which is a mere 5 places. Everyone in the top 10 could potentially win it off tomorrows’ climb!
Massages had been booked for the afternoon, so certain people made a hasty departure to battle the winds again in the way home….and to our surprise, given the state of everyone’s legs today – several people rounded there training day off with runs -it’s always so nice to see the others out along the beach front doing this, knowing how tough it was to get out myself for a short 4mile chatty run with Dan. Matthew impressed (and delighted Steven) by closing out the 21km Eddington number with a half marathon run too!!!
A big day tomorrow since, to our surprise, everyone is keen to ride the Ironman route …we’d planned a fairly relaxed day with the main feature being the Grande Finale climb up to Mirador Haria… but despite enjoying ( we think??) the new format, people do seem to like this tradition!To achieve this, some of the slower paced riders will need t0 make a very early start – which was accepted with enthusiasm….it makes it more exciting and i’m certain that this will be Sheryl’s first ever 100 mile ride.