First mission is complete, I made it to the checkpoint! After a lovely night's sleep at the Old Mill, I forced the savory breakfast in. I usually can't really handle any solid food so shortly after waking up, but I knew that I needed it and I had no clue if I'd able to get any food on the climb. The morning had the kind of hotness in the air that predicted another scorching day, but at that moment it was still quite okay.
The climb itself was absolutely lovely. It was going to be the longest and highest climb I've ever done, so I just settled into a rhythm and worked my way up. The climb went really well, it's never excessively steep and the views will keep you distracted. I did make the classic mistake at some point to congratulate myself a bit too early, thinking I was nearly at the top, when I realized the 'fun' part still was to begin. The picture above shows the last 5km, fully exposed to the sun.
Then a not so fun tunnel (I hate tunnels…) and a 15km descent down the south side of the Transfagarasan took me to the checkpoint location, where I met Chris and part of the first shifts crew. Chris works for Apidura, one of the race sponsors and responsible for checkpoint 4. Paul was also there, who you might remember as the person I copied the route from that took me over the rough gravel track after Brad. He was feeling a bit guilty, which was of course completely unnecessary, but I might still accept that beer from him. 😉
The media car following the race leaders came in late last night, because we were expecting James and Bjorn to arrive during the night. In the end they decided to take a rest before they got here. I imagine at least James and maybe both of them must have had a very rough ride along the same road that stressed me out so much on Wednesday, because the race organisation communicated earlier this morning that they strongly discourage the riders to use this road. James is now on the parcours towards the checkpoint and should be here in probably two hours, with Bjorn likely to arrive somewhere in the afternoon. The fun is about to begin!