Today marks day 3 of checkpoint 4 being open and so far we've had 7 riders come through and 6 of them up the road expected to come through during the night. From tomorrow onwards the mid pack will start to come in and it will probably be a lot more crowded.
At the moment James Hayden has about a 4 hour time gap on Bjorn Lenhard, who came to the checkpoint late afternoon yesterday respectively. Both of them had a fairly quick stop with us of maybe 30 minutes, before they got back on the road. In third position is Jonas Goy, who arrived around 2am and had a 5 hour kip in the Wendy house (is what I think the British call it… a little house with a slide for children to play in). From then on it got a little more exciting. Geoffroy Dussault's dot had been stationary for quite some time in Sibiu 100km away from the checkpoint, and in the morning he was overtaken by Nelson Trees. Nelson broke his front wheel a couple of days ago, causing him a couple of places in the race. But he cut back on sleep and managed to work his way back to 4th again. Not very long after Nelson left, Geoffroy Dussault, Rory McCarron and Mathias Dalgas entered very shortly after one another, all in completely different states of mind. It's so interesting to see how riders respond differently to having just ridden 3000km with the knowledge they still have 1000km to go.
Mathias Dalgas packs really light
It's been difficult for us to closely follow the race as internet is really, really sparse, so all we could focus on was the riders in near proximity of the checkpoint. I do know that the heatwave (they call it Lucifer apparently?) has taken its toll on a lot of riders, causing a bunch of them to either scratch or seriously take it back a notch. The first women have passed checkpoint 3 though, and are likely to arrive late on Sunday or early Monday morning. Can't wait to see them!
Chris and Paul geeking over Bjorn's bike
Meanwhile at our hotel things have been slow (internet in particular), but fun. Volunteering obviously means a lot of waiting around, but there are definitely worse places to sit on your arse all day. The hotel has a creek running at the back and a little campground right next to it, which turns out to be a popular weekend destination for Romanian families. It's been very crowded around the hotel and there's a constant smell of barbecue or campfire coming from the campgrounds. The hotel is sort of hot on the whole bear theme, but apparently the media team really saw a mother bear with her cubs after sunset the other day, so I find it a bit surprising that everyone is so comfortable to be cooking food in the open air and then sleep in a tent next to it. When in the States, the campgrounds were really strict on leaving all your food and items with strong scents in the bear box and not in your tent or car. But maybe that's just American hysteria, because so far there have been no reports of bears hovering around the tents here (sadly). Hopefully better news tomorrow. 😉
Oh, and let's not forget: Marianne Vos won the European Championships today, HELL YES!