It’s official, this is now a tour, not a race for Team Mountain Flyer/Correio da Manhã.
Bad legs and bunk pedals are primarily to blame. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Once you stop worrying about the clock, and embrace the fact that you’re in the midst of logging your fourth straight 9-plus-hour day in the saddle amidst the majestic Pyrenees, you realize life could be a lot worse.
Stage 4 of TransPyr was a 99km jaunt from El Pont de Suert to Ainsa with 2,530 meters of climbing. The first 70’ish of those kilometers were spent on a mix of road surfaces that encompassed a pair of monster climbs, each gaining about 2,000 feet.
Throw in uncooperative legs, temps that rose well into the 90’s, and a pedal spindle that decided to intermittently stop spinning and never stopped squeaking, and you got an author who had a very hard time finding his happy place.
Fortunately the majority of the final 20km on the way down into Ainsa was primarily an extended rip of rowdy singletrack that required very little pedaling. At varying times the trail reminded one of high alpine Crested Butte, Durango’s Horse Gulch, and Fruita’s 18 Road. Good times for sure.
Tops on the results list for the third day in a row was the Buff International team duo of Arnau Cano and Pau Perez, who stopped the clock in 5 hours, 19 minutes. That was 17 minutes ahead of GC leaders Emilio Vasquez and Daniel Jimenez of the Alberto Contador Federation, which sliced their overall lead to about 12 minutes with four days of racing left.
As for Nuno and I, we slipped back into the 150’s after posting our fourth straight 9-plus hour day. That brings the four-day total to around 38 hours. To say I’m smoked right now is the epitome of a bear-shit-woods-Pope-catholic statement.
As for tomorrow, it’s appears to be the easiest of this 8-day race that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Of course easy is a relative term, as the stage 5 trip from Ainsa to Jaca is 99km with 1,910 meters of climbing that essentially comes in one 60km gradual uphill grind.