Everything packed, bike in its bag—off to the airport! Unfortunately, the two colleagues I'd hoped would tackle this race with me couldn’t come. I’m sure it would have been tons more fun, but I went on to get to know almost all the participants in the race and so didn’t feel like I was missing out on the feeling of a shared adventure.
In total, I spent the days with forty participants from all over the world. In addition to a few professionals from England and Switzerland, it felt like every country in Europe was represented. People had even traveled from South Africa and America as well. The connecting flight from Germany to the Azores is usually in Lisbon, and after a good six hours including the layover, I landed in Sao Miguel the evening before the race. My first impression of the island was dominated by one color: green!
Arriving at camp, most people had already gotten themselves organized and were chatting about the first day on their bikes. “Pretty technical and slippery” was the consensus on the little test run they had just completed. I was ravenous as I sat down to dinner with the group.
Headlamp on and with a full stomach, I set to work assembling my bike and pitching my tent. I was hugely excited about what was in store for us in the coming week!