Day Five: A final dawn raid…Posted: June 15, 2013
6am in the Douro Valley. The sun breaks over a far hill, casting its warming glow over Quinta de Vargellas. Riders enjoy a hearty breakfast and freshly squeezed estate orange juice before receiving their briefing for the day. A light walk to the river bank, then a sharp, arduous, winding climb to kick things off with a bang. Faces dropped, knees quivered, tempers flared. This was going to be tough, but the glory of successfully riding 600 kilometres and raising £25,000 for The Benevolent prevailed and any dissenters were soon brought back into line.
The start to day five was the most calamitous so far of a remarkably incident free tour, with one tiny sideways tumble into a ditch, a set of locked brakes and the first puncture of the week. All riders successfully powered to the top of the steep inclines for a quick tour around the Quinta da Nogueira winery, before freewheeling right back down again to follow the course of the Douro river to the town of Regua, the final stop for the tour.
Arrival at Quinta de Tourais became a highly organised military operation, with all riders in pedal procession descending the driveway in glorious fashion. And quite rightly so. Completing the Tour of the Douro required gargantuan effort, months of training, mental fortitude and thighs of steel! Well done to all those who took part, this has been a memorable experience for an extremely worthy cause. We are grateful for all your efforts and good humour throughout. Now, has anyone seen Alan’s bike lock key…?