At the time of going to press 13 of our 250 active riders are in Slovakia and heading for Vysoké Tatry or the High Tatras mountains. The Kinesis UK sponsored CP3 is hosted by the Horsky Hotel Sliezsky Dom perched on the shores of the Velické pleso. At 16:31 CEST Björn Lenhard (#26) arrived at the control smiling as usual and, according to Juliana Buhring, in great spirits. There was great excitement at the control while they waited for Björn knowing that James Hayden (#75) was so close on his heels. Kinesis representative Bruce Dalton was there to present Facebook coverage as both guys arrived, had their brevet cards stamped and were back on the road within an hour. The two passed each other in opposite directions on the parcour and James tweeted his respect for his rival. Juliana said “He's clearly got his strategy down for this year”.
A shower hit just as James left the hotel cooling things down in time for Jonas Goy (#60) to start the climb. He made it in a record time of 42 minutes, fast and fresh and, by the time he arrived, ready for the buffet dinner served at the hotel restaurant. Jonas shared the story of how he almost scratched at CP1 the night after we lost one of our racers Frank Simons in a terrible traffic accident. Jonas had arrived in 2nd place but had decided to wait a full 13 hours for his girlfriend Melissa Pritchard to arrive. After a discussion they both decided they would keep racing. Jonas’a alpine training stood him in good stead as he powered past many of his competitors to arrive at CP2 in second place once again.
Control 2 Monte Grappa closed at 17:00 today. 199 riders made it in time to collect their stamp and meet the PEdAL ED crew who had ensured a hot shower and a towel were available for each and every rider 24/7. Paolo Botti and Stefano Mantegazza (273a and b) were the first pair to arrive at the control in 16th and 17th place respectively - clearly managing their pace successfully as a pair. Melissa Pritchard (#233) was the first woman to arrive close on their heels at 22:31 CEST.
Reviewing the route choices after CP2 it's clear some riders chose to stay in the mountains and avoid the flatter, faster Po Valley with a flat run into Austria or Solvenia. That route has it’s downfall however, the traffic can be stressful and dangerous and Nelson Trees (#80) posted regretfully on social media having routed that way for his third Transcontinental Race.
As this post goes up our three leaders continue on into the night while those directly in their wake seem to be finding bivi spots or treating themselves to a shower and a bed. This section of the field seem to have opted largely for James Hayden’s route through Hungary noting perhaps that it had served him well. We’ll check in tomorrow for an update on their progress.
photography by James Robertson