Wow. This was a crazy day of riding. We started out in the van and headed uphill. At the top of the climb we got out and hopped on our bikes for a 33km descent along an absolutely breathatking stretch of road. The road had recently been resurfaced, and it was nearly free of traffic, completely void of intersections, stop signs, traffic lights, etc. And there were only a handful of driveways.

Again I followed the pros down with about 6 other riders. And again they took lines through the corners that were impressive, technical, and damned challenging for me. My speed topped out at 72.2km’h for me but it certainly could’ve been faster as there were many stretches where we were just following, not pedalling or pushing it.

Once we made it to the bottom we turned around and started back up. 33km uphill. It was tough. Made tougher by the craziest wind storm I can recall. At a few points I was riding into a headwind with a tailwind, and a crosswind. All at the same time!¬†The winds brought down hundreds of bits of the trees and other vegetation lining the road. And it kicked up the dust. Lots of it. At a few points it was so dusty I couldn’t see more than about 50 feet in front of me.

Eventually the “storm” passed and I made it to the top of the climb. I thought the ride was over and switched my brain over to thinking of food, a shower, etc. But it was at this point that the suggestion was made to ride the remaining 40k or so back to the hotel. This sounded good to me as much of it was downhill, and the final stretch is quite flat. The downhill portion was great. The ride guides here seem to know every single road, and more specifically know which ones are the best for cycling. Pulehu Road. Awesome.

At the bottom of the descent we dashed across a 2km stretch of asphalt that was possibly the worst stretch of pavement in the known universe. I now know what riding the cobbles in Roubaix must feel like.

At the end of the worst stretch of pavement in the world we turned south and into a killer headwind. Coupled with the wind was dust. Lots of it. Crazy amounts of it. I was filthy. And I was falling off the pace of the leaders and decided that I should probably pack it in and ride in the van back to the hotel. The leaders were killing it, despite the wind, and I was not.

Here are the ride details on Strava.

However when I met up with the van I was encouraged to continue on with a “Hey, it’s only 10 more miles!!” So with Spencer as my leadout man we set off for the hotel. A couple kilometres into the ride we turned off the main road and hit the coast road. This was just what I needed and we kicked up the pace hammering it back for the next 14km averaging close 40km’h. Either the wind died down, was blocked by the vegetation and buildings, or I just needed that momentary break – but the result was positive.

Here are the ride details on Strava.

Post-ride was shower, lunch, an hour or so in the pool/hot tub, and then dinner.

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