Bicycle racing is often about statistics and numbers, and all though the Transpyr is not really as much of a competition as it is a sporting adventure; it is a challenge. As in life, the race can be long and hard and it is often against ones self. Sergio and the rest of the Transpyr peloton struggled with heat and steep climbs and no matter what the numbers are, completing this first stage was a great triumph in and of itself.
Saturday night we arrived in Roses on the Mediterranean coast of Spain after a long and tiring trip. It took us 12 hours to make the journey from Copenhagen to Roses and when we finally got there, it was an hour before the registration office closed and the pre-race “Pasta Party” dinner got into swing. We quickly pulled the virgin bike out of its travel bag and mounted all the hardware. Sergio was saddled and off to the race registration office within 20 minutes of parking and we were left to pack all the tools and reserves back into our rented van in the dust of the parking lot.
Yesterday morning we met up at 7:45 and the first start went at 08:00. We wished our rider luck and helped him prepare his ride for the road ahead and then, suddenly, off he went with the pop of the starting gun. At first the road rolled through the coastal flats and the foothills leading to the Pyrenees. There were beautiful fields and blue skies and idyllic farm scenery in the Catalonian landscape. Sergio and the rest of the peloton managed to hold an average well over 30km/hr. Just after the first supply stop at Banyoles Sergio was among the front of the pack and riding on his own in good spirits, we even managed a brief chat with him on the phone (mandatory gear for every entrant). He was very satisfied and enjoying the ride and the feel of his brand new Gustav 530.
On the stretch from the first stop at Banyoles to the second pitstop at Can Bundancia the heat had begun to take its toll. At the pitstop there was a sense of trepidation about the two big climbs ahead. Despite having already covered well over 100 kilometers of the days 156km route, the 40+ degrees Centigrade and the steep climbs of the final 45 kilometers would prove themselves to be a big challenge in their own right.
We drove ahead to enjoy the splendor of sun and blue skies while awaiting the arrival of our hero at the finishline in the scenic mountain village of Camprodon. As the clock ticked we knew that his average speed was falling and that the sun must have been taking its toll. As the riders began to roll in it was clear that they were all well worn by the final part of the stage and unrelenting heat. The official talk was that the temperature was 41 degrees. When Sergio finally arrived his GPS thermometer showed us that it had recorded a low of 21 degrees and a high of 47 degreesC!
Placement is not recorded, but Sergio felt that he should have been further up in the pack and he looks forward to being so in the future. This stage was 156km in all and Sergios finish time was 6hrs and 57 minutes and 10 seconds. There was a total altitude gain was of 2764 meters and almost all of the climbing was in the last half of the run. Sergios personal average speed fell from the 30s to a more humble 22,5km/hr with a top downhill speed of 62 km/hr.
Sergios said he was really impressed with how his Gustav handled the downhill descents. This design is a really tight steep frame but it remained fantastically stable and calm during the highspeed decents.
We look forward to keeping you posted on the next stages of Sergios adventure.
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We at Coh&Co enjoy discovering and exploring just how unique a riding experience our wood and carbon fiber frames are. The resilience of the frame absorbs road "noise" like nothing else out there, while the carbon/wood combination provides a stiffness and power transfer unmatched by anything else on the road.
Next week we are of to the north of Spain to follow our very own Sergio Sanchez Alcalde as he crosses the back bone of the Pyrenees in the race Transpyr Backroads 2017.