Today we transitioned away from the interior and rode to the coast. We started with a roaring descent on paved roads from the hotel (as they always seem to be located on the top of a hill) and then it was dirt, pavement, dirt, pavement all the time with more and more white sand on the ground the closer we got to the ocean.
Today we climbed the hardest rideable hill on the tour – up to Portela da Brejeira. Since there was not much in the way of cafes on the route today the staff met us at the base of the climb so we could top off our CamelBaks.
The climb is about 3 km total, averages something like 20 percent but the beginning is wicked steep with a loose surface thrown in for good measure. As you ascend the grade eases just slightly but the surface deteriorates with more and larger stones. We actually rode most of the first part but then the fatigue became overwhelming and we had to dismount. Under ideal conditions this climb is rideable for sure – even on a tandem. In this case ideal would mean fresh and not so tired. :)
At the top it's more up and down and up and down and I think we made more wrong turns today than all the other days combined. :( The surface was fun and the riding was okay but after a while having to backtrack – even just 100 m sections – was getting really old. It was tough to choose the right path! You would arrive at five-way (or more) intersections and have to select the correct route on the fly.
As we got closer to the beach we rode along an irrigation canal for about 8 km. This was a nice reward for all the climbing earlier in the day for sure.
I love stuff like this! Not only is it pretty, it makes you concentrate. One wrong turn and you are in the drink. As this warning sign seems to imply.