It’s Spain, it’s the end of August, and it’s gunna be hot. Stop complaining.
But this a special kind of hot; the kind that saps your strength, the type of hot that makes you not want to do anything, the type of hot that has any self-respecting Spaniard pulling down the shutters and heading to a cool darkened room for a siesta, not stepping over a bike and riding a couple of hundred KM’s through some of the most brutal terrain Spain has to offer in the hottest part of the day.
Welcome to La Vuelta, the third and final of the Grand Tours. More than a bike race. It's a true test of physical endurance - man versus the elements. I’m not sure whether this is a bike race or just a test to see who can suffer the most, rewarding those who can endure the relentless mid-day sun and even more relentless undulations of the parcour, with the so-called sprinters stages having 3000 metres of climbing. This is a race that encapsulates the never give up attitude of the sport. To make it to Madrid, you’ve got to be made of stern stuff and to wear the Red Jersey you need to be super human.
Words & Images: Chris Auld
For the best of NZ Cycling Journal, subscribe to our print edition.