Tour de Scandinavia. Tour D’Iceland. Tour D’Espana. Tour D’Italia. And now from Porto to Bordeaux. 9 stages. 1.400 kilometers and 24.000 meters of altitude. 17 friends.
The kids all ride again…
Why are these guys doing it? Because travelling on bikes is simply THE best way to explore a country. Fast enough to see a lot. Slow enough to enjoy the most beautiful landscapes. Long days out in the saddle. #longdaysout
// Stage 1
Porto – Geres: Cortado. Wild horses. And some crashes.
It all started as the 17 dudes met up in Porto, took their bikes for an easy spin in this awesome city, got some nice food and then went to bed way too late to get up the next day at 8 am to start the first stage.
Only 120km and 2000m of altitude ahead for the day. Sounded easy but… Axel and John had some minor crashes, then the group had an unbelievable six flats. It took them forever to finally get rolling and to be honest the first 100k kind of sucked. Did anyone ever call Porto the Roubaix of Western Europe? The RAD PACK guys want you to know that the name would indeed fit: they rode at least 20km of cobbles!
As always in cycling if you endure the pain and suffer enough you get rewarded with the best you can get. And they got it. A 15,8 kilometer ascent with 600m of altitude proved to be the first tough challenge of the tour. Everyone was pretty much riding his own tempo (well except for Jo, Max, Ben, John, Fritz, Mo and Eike who made it a race (Ben won and took the “KOM” on this last mountain).
On their route they passed wild horses, some smaller waterfalls, a huge dam and were able to enjoy some stunning scenery.
Their campsite was a perfect little spot under some trees, and everyone just seemed overwhelmed that another great bike adventure is really happening again. Life is just better in bib shorts. #longdaysout
// Stage 2
Geres – Meiraos
203km. 4000m of altitude. The queen of all stages.
Well… the RAD PACK made it. 12 hours in the saddle. 203km. Almost 4.000 meters of altitude. They barely made it into the next camp before sunset.
They hit Spain after 30km or so and it was just unreal to see that not many years ago there was an actual guarded border between Portugal and Spain. This is now gone and they were able to easily pass the now empty gate.
It was an amazing experience riding in the most beautiful landscapes you can imagine. Spain is just green, colorful and heartwarming. This country really has it all.
Perfect roads and so many nice people along the way.
And it’s cheap too. 17 coffee and some cake: 17€.
The guys from RAD PACK need sleep now. 203km and 4.000m of altitude just hurt. It’s the plain truth.
// Stage 3
Seoane de Courel – Sena de Luna.
155.8km. 2.594m of altitude. How to survive a 100k climb…
Stage 3 was another tough one. Waking up with only a couple hours of sleep felt terrible but the riders are confident they can make it to Bordeaux tonight. The night was cold too and the breakfast light and then again they hit the road.
After 30km they already had more than 1.000m of altitude, so the hardest climbs were already behind them. Just 30k of more or less flat and then a nasty 100km ascent ahead…
The last 50km or so they had a great battle among themselves. Everyone fought hard to win this stage. Funny thing though: Axel already took the crown after a break away, so everyone just fought hard to get to 2nd place.
A day like this is why the RAD Crew does what they do. The whole team was working together, battling it out, climbing and just having the best days of the year on the bike.
And in the end they made it to the most beautiful campsite.
// Stage 4
Sena de Luna – Prada de Valdeon
168,7 km. 2.600 meters of altitude. Sky’s the limit.
The riders started the day in the mountains. The first thing they saw in the morning was their friends. Their bikes. Some tents. Then they all enjoyed breakfast together outside in the sun.
Then began the RAD PACK ride into the sky and the unmistakable feeling that goes with it. They feel the rain, but it more than that. It’s the clouds. They are cold. They are fighting their way up. It’s almost more than they can bear. But they have to make it.
And then suddenly they were above the rain. Above the clouds. The sun was out and it was warming their skin.
And then they were heading down at almost 100km/h.
They felt like they could have ridden on forever, but again they arrived to their campsite at more than 1.200m above sea level.
// Stage 5
Prada de Valdeon – San Vicente
105,7 km. 1.559 meters of altitude.
A day with only 1500 meters of altitude actually felt pretty easy. And the best part was chasing each other towards the beach.
They ended on the beach in San Vicente. A few of them went surfing, some others took a nap right in the sand and some of the guys tried to treat their sore muscles.
// Stage 6
San Vicente – Orinon
120,9 km. 1.459 meters of altitude.
The 2nd “Rest Day” of the tour with “only” 120k to go. Leaving our beautiful campsite in San Vicente and riding to the next beach in Orinon.
A few took the rest day at face value and spent the day in the tour bus. The rest of the guys took the opportunity to put the hammer down.
The group split after the lunch break and half of the crew decided to make a race out of this stage. Maybe not the best idea for the rest day but worth the fun for sure!
// Stage 7
Orinon – San Sebastian
170,2 km. 3.036 meters of altitude.
Seven big days into the tour the crew was faced with a steep (40%!!) climb in the heat of the day. The length of the route, combined with more than 3.000m of climbing meant more than 10 hours in the saddle for the day.
// Stage 8
San Sebastian – Prechacq-les-Bains
170,1 km. 2.338 meters of altitude.
This moment when the Di2 is empty and you’re on your own. You don’t really know where team bus is to pick you up. So you need two friends to push you more than 30k through a beautiful France… This sums it all up pretty much.
The guys from RAD PACK started the day pretty wet. Their stuff didn’t get dry. Yes, camping kind of sucks when it rains. They started a 170k and 2.300m of altitude tour in pouring rain. Breakfast more or less in the van or not at all. Since there was no dry place to sit.
Well, it is how it always is: if you endure the pain, if you help each other out – than it will most likely pay off! And it surely did. They got loads of sun. They got an amazing route with very few cars and once again they stuck together and gave it all out for the finale 40k.
Unfortunately it was already the second last stage. Tomorrow is gonna be a flat 150k one. And the guys are all looking forward to it…
// Stage 9
Prechacq-les-Bains – Bordeaux
150,3 km. 457 meters of altitude.
This is it. The guys from RAD PACK arrived in here Bordeaux. Safe & Sound! No one got hurt. 1.365 kilometers and 22.218 meters of altitude. In 9 days. 9 stages full of climbing and endless roads. Loads of sun. Some rain. Wind was most likely ok. They’re more than dead. But happy to have made this.