The morning was bright and sunny, although a bit chilly on the mountain. I took Mo for a nice long walk up past the barricade – the paved road turns to hard dirt/gravel after a short bit.
It winds around the side of the mountain going up at a nice easy grade – there are marked walking trails everywhere and some great views along the way with cattle and a few horses grazing in a field.
There are some lakes, but I only walked far enough to see a small slough before turning back to make some breakfast – leftover mashed potatoes with mushrooms, onions and cherry tomatoes all fried together.
The race wasn’t expected to finish on our mountain until at least 4:30 so we had a whole day to take walks or sit and read. Hundreds and hundreds of people had walked up from the lower parking area and were doing to same thing, although without the comfort of table and chairs.
We took a short walk down to the finish line – they’re erecting the barriers that come all the way to where we’re parked.
Just as we returned to the campervan we were told – very nicely – that we would have to move, but we should be able to get in right behind the large trucks that were unloading the barriers. No problem – they even directed us in so we’re almost the first in line for getting out later.
We had nice big salad for lunch, read for a bit, then headed back to the finish line just before 4:00. We wandered around ‘back stage’, then chose our spots.
I was just behind the barrier next to the podium stage and no one was getting in front of me as that area is roped off for one tv camera guy and he wasn’t in my way. There was a group of fans from Ecuador right across from the finish line and podium – all dressed in their yellow tops with a large flag in front of them – they were very enthusiastic.
I was able to watch the progress of the race on the jumbo tron to my left – the climb to the finish starts in the town of Quintanar de la Sierra and is about 13 km long.
The winner of the day – and of the overall race – was the young Colombian Sosa from team Evil – oops, I mean Ineos – unfortunately he rides for my least favourite team.
I quickly went ‘behind the scenes’ and got a nice photo of the winner giving his first interview, then hustled across right next to the fans in yellow for the podium presentations.
As soon as they were done we went back to the campervan, having already packed things up we were ready to go in minutes. Since we were at the beginning of the line we made it out in very good time – much quicker than we’d expected. We did have to weave our way through the throngs of people walking down to their cars, but we made good progress.
At the bottom of the mountain we had a bit of a navigation screw-up – I confidently told Colin to turn left when he was sure we should turn right. Oops – I was wrong and he wasn’t too happy about it, although we didn’t go far before we were able to turn around and get back to the proper route.
We made our way to one campground just outside Vinuesa that we’d thought might do, but didn’t like the look of it so kept going to another one further north. We turned up a small road at the village of Villoslada de Cameros and went 3.5 km before coming to the other campground – this one looked very nice so we checked in and hooked up the electrics. The fridge still isn’t hardly working unless we’re plugged in so it’s nice to be able to keep food cool again.
The campground is inside a ‘natural park’ and is on a nice little river – very pretty place. We went to the campground bar/restaurant for dinner and sat outside – for once Mo wasn’t allowed inside, but as it was a pleasant evening we would have been outside anyway.
Dinner was very good – although there wasn’t any table service. Colin’s food had appeared at the bar inside, but I didn’t get mine for awhile, and only after noticing it sitting on the bar and going in and retrieving it did I get to eat.
Anyway – it was good, and they even had ketchup for the fries, which were perfectly cooked – nice and crisp and not soggy or mushy.