Tour of the Douro Day Five

Glorious, glorious sunshine, 82 miles and 5 hours of cycling

Supper last night was perfect, a fish pate starter, followed by bowls of spagboll, well a Spanish version of it! Extra bowls of spaghetti were put on the table and I quietly helped myself to some extra. Twice! Although I need not have worried as everyone else was have seconds and thirds as well. Then we had suckling lamb, which was delicious. So last night we were properly refuelled and to hydrate us we drank Corimbo 2010 which was delicious and fabulous with the pasta and the lamb!

After breakfast we jumped on the bus for a short ride out of town and onto the quieter roads. Today 15 cyclists got ready in almost record time, well for the TOTD chain gang it was a record time! So to the Grand Depart, straight into formation we were off at a good steady pace. Sitting at the back I was admiring the names on the back of the Tour shirts with all the Riders and Sponsors on the back of the shirt. Amps sits proudly on the top visible to everyone in Spain and Portugal. We must now be an International Brand!!!!


After about an hour riding in glorious sunshine and I mean glorious sunshine, in fact it was almost baking! We had a pee stop on the side of the ride, once back on the bikes we were just forming up again as we headed towards the Hilltop Town of Toro, when Mathews jumped off the front, I chased with Emperor Andrew on my back wheel. I add he was on my back wheel not helping to catch Chris! Just as we caught him, we had a few seconds of heavy breathing before the climb to the top of Toro started. Off went Chris again, with expletives from the Emperor, who disappeared, I chased him down again. Once on his wheel again and with rivers of sweat now pouring off me we ground on up the climb. Having been beaten to the top of climb on the first day, I was not going to let it happen again today. Then it all nearly went horribly wrong, looking up the rode trying to work out how many more bends there was to come, I caught Chris' back wheel. Thankfully both of us stayed upright, so with profuse apologies I thought I better have a turn on the front. I was grateful to see Chris just drop back, not sure if it was the pressure applied or that the near miss that made him drop. Revenge was had!

Then we pressed on, lots of rolling hills and baking heat! At around 50 miles we stopped for lunch, the support crew trapped in their cars and vans wanted to set up in the sun, all the cyclists wanted it in the shade! Funny that!

Again once refuelled we were off again, by now Reed’s knee was hurting and one or two were really feeling the heat and the rolling hills made life difficult in the peloton. Plus the Emperor Andrew’s control was being tested as a number of new chiefs started to appear, changing routes, stopping and starting it all got a bit messy. During all this the rolling hills started
to go up a little longer and go down a little steeper so the peloton started to get grumpy and fractious! But we rode on through some quite spectacular scenery, very wild and uninhabited land high up on the plains. With supposedly only 5kms plus a major climb at the finish, everyone stopped for a coffee, but Reed with his knee, Connelly, Mathews and I wanted to get back and get out of the sun. So we carried on, after a long sweeping decent down to the Douro River, we crossed a dam and had the much vaunted climb to the Hotel. It was a climb, but not as difficult as expected. Mathews, Connelly and I rode a steady 9-10 mph all the way up, straight into a café for coke and out of the sun.


5 hours 5 minutes of cycling and 80 miles, in baking heat, it was a hard day because of the heat, but I would rather have the heat than the wind of yesterday.

Back at the hotel it was, shower and then onto Kinga’s massage table. Each night it has been my shoulders, she has worked on rather than my legs, as they are far more painful! Emperor Andrew has made some fabulous decisions on this trip and previous rides, but the introduction of Kinga has been his best ever!


Dinner tonight is in the hotel, and as it is so hot it will be on the balcony!

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Posted on 12/06/2013
by Philip
in categories:
Tour of the Douro Blog June 2013,


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