Raid Gallaecia Sets Off in the Sunshine May 12, 2019 11:34
Rob Howard / 12.05.2019
Raid Gallaecia 2019 got underway at 10.00 on a beautiful sunny morning at the Area Recreativa de A Veiga in the village of Muras today. The teams arrived from Viveiro well ahead of the start to the small river side recreation and picnic area and spread out on the grass in the morning sunshine as they built up their bikes ready for the first stage of the race.
They were also keen to receive their first set of maps (stages 1-3) and start plotting their routes, the navigators were poised, highlighters in their hands keen to get to grips with route planning! The maps are all 1:25,000 and on waterproof paper, so there was no need to prepare them for the weather, though the forecast looks set fair for the first few days of the race in any case.
One team who did have an issue were the young Swedish team Hamilton who snapped a bolt on a seat post as they got ready ... too excited at their first international race maybe! Luckily they could borrow the bolt needed from a local supporter who had ridden his bike to the start to watch. (And who rode home with care!)
Activity on the maps was intense as and the most noticeable thing about them were the long ribbons of red out of bounds markings, mostly on the main roads, which teams cannot cross. They have been used to effectively create corridors as route guides for the racers and to save the race putting out lots of controls. The race area here is not as wild as some and there are lots of roads and tracks in the hills so the out of bounds are a way to control the course.
There was also an announcement by ARWS race referee Lars Bukkehave to clarify that going off of the map is also out of bounds. (There are one or two places on the first ride which teams might have risked that.)
The time to the start ticked away all too quickly and it was hustle to get on the start line for the first stage, which is 37.5km with 1269m of ascent through the surrounding hills, after which teams move onto the first trek (which includes an abseil).
After a quick countdown and with a cheer ARSweden lead the procession out of the picnic area and the race was underway!