16 June 2010

Travessia de Portugal-part 13

Here are all the pictures.
Here is the ride profile.
Here is the official newsletter.
Distance – 66 km
Moving time – 3:46
Stopped time – 1:47
Moving avg – 17.6 kph
Overall avg – 11.9 kph
Total ascent – 2460 feet

I rolled the bike out of the hotel to oil the chains, that much went fine. When I spun the rear wheel to see if it needed truing I discovered two more broken spokes! Crap. Time to again remove the cassette, remove the brake rotor, replace the spokes and kinda, sorta true the wheel. This is getting a little discouraging. We have four more rides to go and I really want to finish! Thanks to Shelley for being so patient and helpful and supportive while I was frustrated.

We were treated to a spectacular view from a new bridge that spanned the river. Under this automobile bridge you could see the old train bridge that this tour used to use to cross this river.


It was another super fast stage today. Mostly flat with just a handful of hills requiring the little chainring. And today was all about sunflowers and wheat. We rode through field after field of both. 
Several times there were sunflowers on our left and wheat on our right. Once we even saw a solitary sunflower in the middle of a wheat field… Alone, proud, apart from the crowd.

Normally there is one cafe that we all tacitly agree to stop at for lunch and some days we are just on our own but today Antonio had officially reserved a café at the halfway point for everyone. They served up a traditional Portuguese veggie soup, grilled sardines, grilled mackerel (both crusted in salt) and bread. 
We ate off these old, stone tables that used to be the stands for the city market where the vendors would display their goods; very cool. 
Of course nothing like a big meal to make you want to get back on your bike in the blazing sun... my legs were so toast.

ASIDE – it seems that on this tour starting back up after just about any stop was a monumental effort. My legs always felt like someone had poured lead into them. After warming up they were always much better. Note to self – bring a personal masseuse along next time.

Lately one strategy I have been employing to deal with the heat is to soak my cotton cycling cap in cold water right before starting out again and it works great – for about five minutes. Then my cap is bone dry. Oh well.

We rode past another reservoir today and had to cross a spillway. This involved carrying our bikes down an embankment, across the concrete spillway and then climbing back up the other side. 
Just another day on the Travessia! :)

The last town we rode through had what appeared to be a group of locals (gypsies?) on horse-drawn wagons cruising down the middle of the main road. We tried to pass courteously but I think they took offense and we were treated to what I'm sure was some choice phrases in Portuguese as we finally edged past. Maybe they were worried we were going to spook the horses or something, not really sure… 

This cafe in this town was MUCH needed. I also stopped at the town tap to fill my CamelBak because I was drinking so much. Even though I am not dehydrated it seems like I can't get enough to drink. And water seems insufficient – I want juice, sports drinks, Coke, beer, anything at all. It feels that way minutes after we roll out each morning and lasts until dinner or I get a beer. If only there was some way to keep the liquid in my CamelBak cold, I might fill it with beer…

At the end of the day all that mattered was that the hotel room was spacious, there was a spot in the sun to dry our laundry, the swimming pool was large and refreshments were available. 

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