15 June 2010

Travessia de Portugal-part 12

Here are all the pictures.
Here is the ride profile.
Here is the official newsletter.
Distance – 77 km
Moving time – 3:37
Stopped time – 39 min
Moving avg – 21.2 kph
Overall avg – 17.9 kph
Total ascent – 2248 feet

FAST, that's what today was. We started by descending Monseraz (65 kph!) and then blasting down 20 km of paved road. Most of today was on pavement and what wasn't was almost all on very firm, wide dirt roads. And it was flat; meaning we never had to use the small chainring.

The first notable feature of today was a road that descended a valley to a river. Sounds normal enough but in this case you are flying down what appears to be a modern, well maintained asphalt road when suddenly the pavement ends and you are in the dirt. Just 20 m later the road disappears into the river! On the other side the process reverses itself and you start on dirt and then climb out of the valley on asphalt. It's like a civil engineering project that never quite got completed. 
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At the cafe the water tap had a pump! 
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Much of today was spent riding through field after field of sunflowers. 
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Today we only stopped once to grab a bite on the trail, once at a cafĂ© for an ice cream and then rode all the way to the hotel. Where there was a crystal clear delicious swimming pool! 
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It did not matter that it was tiny. Oh man did that feel good... soaking the legs is wonderful. I tried to hit the lounge chairs after but the sun was too intense so about 10 of us walked a block to the local bar and had snacks while watching Portugal play in the World Cup.

As mentioned previously a really popular appetizer here is boiled snails. Just like the big ones of French origin, these little ones taste like whatever you cook them in which seems like salty water. Add some fresh bread, beers and you have a really good way to tide yourself over until dinner.

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