Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Andalucia Bike Race day 4 pre race

Day 3 was a 6am to 11pm affair. Bus, ride, bus, clean up, snack, ride coordination with Bunnin, dinner, missed massage, bike drop off, home. Snack was in our lobby, the bar has a mounting device for a pig's leg so jamon sandwiches are just carved off and served up. We're up at 6 again for day 4, and to be honest I actually do feel decently rested. We do some last minute blow drying of kit, as our bathroom is a full laundry room which can get some, but not all mud out. It can also remove some, but not all wetness overnight when we have so many kits being washed, and the heater on max with the fan on all night. We jam in some breakfast, then head for the bus. We have the comical group of Spaniards on our bus that make every bus ride whimsical with songs, chants, jokes I don't get, etc. It's fun. Either me, my friends, or middle aged guys in anglophone Canada don't do as much enthusiastic rally calling for no particular reason.

Jaen (remember the j=h sound) is beautiful. Mountains right near by on one side. Other side is olive fields as far as the eye can see in row after row on the rolling hills. Snow caps mean our day 4 route will cut out a bit of climbing to avoid a snow pass. Temps are nice, I think like 15C highs mid day in the sun. Fine with armwarmers, vest, knee warmers and keeping moving. The bus this morning in the shade before sunrise on mountain roads say 2C. Puddles in the olive fields that I can see from the bus are frozen. It doesn't seem that concerning, we've been warm enough, and have brought windbreakers and our fleece gloves for standing around in each morning, we can start riding with those if need be and put them in our pockets later.

Shawn (and I) have been marvelling at his Peugeot 308 station wagon. Every time I come to Europe I wonder why I don't have some tight handling little euro wagon. I guess practically speaking that means a VW Jetta or BMW 3 series at home.

There's some hiccups, but so far this is a good event in a great part of the world. Off course, I'd say half our hassles would be gone if we were at the main race hotel - if you're going to do this one, mark the signup date and hit it right away so you're in the A hotel pack. Massage is there, buffets are better, busses come and go from there, all the mechanics are there. Technology could fix the bottlenecks on first few days, or you can decide you don't care and just take it as training and happiness to be biking in Spain. I'd say with the level of walking skills sections vs. "forced" riding them (ie. if everyone rode you feel pressure to) makes this an excellent beginner race. Very touristic, manageable terrain and distance. Staff are excellent, helpful, positive, funny, multilingual, and seem to never tire. Norwegian Viktoria makes us feel like locals with her helpfulness.

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