Well I can’t say how much I’m glad to be back in the saddle abroad it’s been 2 years since I’ve manged to ride abroad and I’ve sorely missed it. Today was the first day in Portugal and what a lovely place to be, glorious sunshine and stunning scenery. I’ll be riding the entire length of the country from north to south, so we start in the hillier part of the country before we head into the southern flatter part of the country. Today we rode 65 miles over some lumpy sections but nothing too hard, roughly 5% climbs most of the time getting up to around 2500 feet before dropping down to about 300 feet for our lunch stop. The food was good nothing too fancy, pasta and some salad, but the right stuff for cycling with and lots of coffee After lunch we had to climb back up to 1500 feet to get to tonight’s hotel stop but I enjoyed this as most of the climbs today were smallish In fact I was enjoying the climb so much I shot past the hotel all together and didn’t realise until I came to a junction and wondered why the route map had stopped With an avg speed of 15 mph I wasn’t hammering it which meant that all in all today was a good ride and I’m looking forwards to tomorrows longer ride.
Another fantastic day in the saddle, only better as there were more hills and a longer distance Day2 in Portugal started with a Cat 2 climb which took just under an hour to climb, the good things about the climbs here are they are never steep, around 5% – 6%. Most of the ride today would be downhill with a couple of Cat 3 climbs in the middle but these would be after the first stop. Quite a long way to the first stop about 40 miles but it was fine for me and we had some great food again here. The second stop would be around the 60 mile mark but first we had a couple of Cat 3 climbs which although shorter than this mornings Cat 2 were steeper around 7%. The second stop was a smaller affair with a bowl of soup and a can of coke, but this was fine with me as I wasn’t really hunger after only doing 20 miles. The last section to this nights hotel was just under 19 miles which again was still going downhill which meant that today was a fairly easy day for me but the best so far So I clocked up just under 80 miles at an avg speed of 17 mph but since it was mostly downhill the avg power is quite low today
So it’s day 3 in Portugal and today’s ride was probably slightly harder than yesterdays. For one it’s warmer now, temps hitting highs of 29 degrees but although the ride was a few miles shorter than yesterday we had more climbs today. This was true for the big Cat 2 climb in the middle of the ride but also for the smaller ones before and after it. The Cat 2 climb was a very good climb because it wasn’t steep probably avg 5% but the first climb we had for the day was 16%, thankfully this was short. Again good food was served for the pit stops which was very handy for the smaller climbs which although short was getting on for 11%. This shows up in the total ascent for today which was 5800 feet compared to yesterdays 5400 feet but all in all another good day of cycling For today I did 71 miles at an avg speed of 15 mph and thankfully I didn’t get lost like some other people did today by quite a big distance
Well to day was a long hot day in the saddle, with a few climbs but mostly flat as we hit the south of Portugal. I started out at the back today with one of the girls, who’s not a cyclist which is why the first 30 miles nearly took 3 hours. We had a pit stop at 30 miles and Sarah the girl I was riding with hitched a ride in the van after this. This left me with a lot to catch up with as I was way behind the group. I went pretty hard for the next 30 miles to the lunch stop and did manage to catch them up, and thankfully I was still in one piece So after lunch I pushed on by myself still trying to make up for some lost time and made the final stop on my own. After this stop I rode the last 15 miles with one of he guys to the Hotel, which is a kind of range hotel in the middle of no where. Any way I managed to clock up the 109 miles in 7 hours with an avg speed of 15 mph with some 6000 feet of climbing
Another hot day in the sun and for what seemed like a very flat route I seemed to have climbed nearly 4000 feet for an 80 miles ride. Riding in the southern part of Portugal has a wild west to feel to it, it’s hot, flat and arid. Not much to see, hence no photos, but slowly rolling land on good tarmac makes for a good ride. Even taking an easy day today I still managed to clock up 16 mph avg speed but this also allowed us to have longer breaks and stops Tomorrow is the last day with a 60 mile ride and as per usual it’s gone by so fast.
Well it’s my last day in Portugal and the time has flown again. Today we only had to do 60 miles to complete the ride a 15 mphnd it was an easy 60 miles mostly downhill with a couple of small climbs. Throughout this trip we were following the N2 road (National Road 2) which stretches 739 kilometres from Chaves in the north all the way to Faro in the Algarve in the South. We’ve been lucky from what the guides tell me it usually rains in the first 2 to 3 days in the north but we’ve had sun all the way As much as I was disappointed not to do the North Vietnam ride this year I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how mice a ride this one was. There was just enough distance and elevation to keep me interested and challenged over the 6 day ride and I am glad to have done this one.
Day 1 64 miles @ 15 mph 5266 feet
Day 2 80 miles @ 17 mph 5417 feet
Day 3 70 miles @ 15 mph 5807 feet
Day 4 109 miles @ 15 mph 6106 feet
Day 5 80 miles @ 16 mph 3996 feet
Day 6 65 miles @ 16 mph 3720 feet
Total distance 486 miles
Avg speed 15 mph
Total elevation 30,307 feet