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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129

    The adventure begins

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    Been in Portugal for about 9 hours; flight was delayed a bit, but not horribly. Let's just say business class on Sata is not what I've experienced elsewhere. I had to beg for a glass of water! Anyway, it's a short flight from Boston, under 6 hrs. We spent all day walking along the main boulevards, down by the river, and up to the castle, which means steep freaking hills on cobbles. My feet are killing me. But, Lisbon is beautiful and friendly.
    We saw some people in cycling clothes in the lobby, who are with our company, but we think they may have done last week's trip. It was odd, they were in riding clothes, but had their bags and didn't look sweaty. Getting ready to go out for dinner with our friends who are traveling with us. I managed to stay up, I'm exhausted, but after tonight, my body clock will be reset. Tomorrow is a relaxation day, Monday we are touring a historical area outside Lisbon, and the cycling tour starts Tuesday with a walking tour.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Exciting! Have fun! Looking forward to your pictures and ride reports.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    543
    Beg for water on a six hour flight??? Yikes!!

    Have a great time, sounds beautiful there. Jet lag is HARD the first day or two. I never knew that kind of exhaustion before we travelled to Europe. Have fun, safe travels!
    "Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,845
    Have fun!!

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Pac. NW
    Posts
    354
    Looking forward to your ride reports. We will all live through you! Enjoy.
    2011 Specialized Ruby Comp
    2015 Giant Liv Tempt 3

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    Day one of riding
    Yesterday we met the group at 2:30 and after introductions, headed out for a 3 hour walking tour. Everyone seems ok, a bit of a different group than when I went to Spain with this company. After this, we headed to dinner with our friends. Got back, got re packed after 5 days, got my cycling clothes out and finally got a good night's sleep. Woke up nice early, ate, and started praying that it wouldn't rain. The van drove us to our destination, and it did rain a bit on the road, but was ok when we arrived. Then, the bike set up began. Got my pedals and saddle on the Trek Madone 3 series and I rode up and down the hill to the castle we are staying at. I have to say, I have never been on a bike that fits so well, and I had the precursor to this bike about 10 years ago. Hmm... A new bike may be in my future.
    I took off my rain gear and off we went. We rode 18 miles to the lunch stop, flat to rolling, with a vicious headwind. It was a bit more tiring than I thought it would be, but we were the second to arrive. Had a great sandwich and then took off for the beach, about 4k. It was gorgeous. The scenery on the way was ok, mostly cork trees and cacti. This was a one way warm up ride, so we headed back in the van, although a couple of people rode back. We wanted to get back and explore the town, which we did. Had a beer and walked back up the big hill, to the castle, where I am now waiting for dinner. It's raining out now, but was awesome today.
    Last edited by Crankin; 10-08-2014 at 10:40 AM.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    Ok, for some reason I haven't been able to access TE on hotel WI FI. So a short summary of riding days 2 and 3. Thursday rained. We rode in mostly a drizzle, light rain, totally doable. There were some challenging hills near the end, but again, nothing horrible. The roads were great and hardly any traffic. The scenery was somewhat underwhelming, but I was concentrating on the riding. About 30 minutes after we got to the cafe where we were going to be shuttled to our hotel, the skies really opened up and some of the group got caught in it. They stopped making fun of our toe covers after that...
    Yesterday had much better scenery. It also had significant climbing. I found myself looking for a lower gear a couple of times. We saw lots of vineyards. And, of course, cork trees. We are in Evorra, a Unesco site. We spent 2 days here, but unfortunately had to switch hotels for the second day, as there was some kind of screw up. Had a walking tour last nite before dinner. Aside from the romanticized version of the Inquisition, the tour was really good.
    Today is the big climb. I am nervous.
    I *really* don't like riding on cobbles.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    Today was kind of a bust. I am not in a good mood; basically we were lead out of Evorra through the city and rode on a flat road for awhile, which turned into rollers. We ended up stopping for a coffee break in the same town as yesterday, in a completely different way. DH had to stop and get a new wheel from the van, so I went ahead and he met me there. As we were rolling out, a donkey was running loose in the road! I rode by very slowly, as some men tried to catch it. From there, we rode to Redondo for a picnic lunch in the plaza. It started raining as we were eating and the decision was made to stop the ride there. Hence, we did not do the climb. We drove it, and I am sure I can do it, but after that there was an extremely steep climb on cobbles up to the castle where we are staying. I could not have done that. Riding on cobbles scares me and I am freaked out about leaving here, going down this. Not sure what is going on tomorrow, it's weather dependent.
    I need to get my saddle leveled. Had some sit bone issues as well as the start of some bad stuff, but thankfully, no real saddle sores.
    The hotels on this trip are outstanding.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    I didn't have to worry about the cobbles, because we took a rest day a day early, because of the weather. Went on a winery tour in the am and then the group made the decision. It was in the 50s, raining, and winds of 20 mph. So, we were driven to Vila Vicosa and had a late lunch, rested, and had a group dinner last night. There was a window of nice weather this morning, so we did a 25 mile loop ride with over 2k of climbing. This has been the best ride of the trip, in terms of scenery. I've been struggling with sinus stuff and generally feeling crappy since a week before we left; I'm doing the riding, but feeling like it's a struggle. DH is not happy with my complaining, he is not 100% either, but it just gets on my nerves. Everyone else is happy happy and I find myself just waiting to get done with the ride. On a brighter note, the food here is awesome and it's interesting. Today is a holiday here, nothing is open, so with the rain this afternoon, more eating and resting.
    Last day of the riding is tomorrow. We have a steep climb up cobbles to the hotel; I'm already obsessing on this, but the rest of the ride should be good.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,651
    Hi Crankin ~~ I've been too busy for TE for awhile with all our travels so am just reading this thread now. I wouldn't like riding cobbles (or in the rain) either! I hope your last day ended up good. I guess even if the riding wasn't all you hoped for and that you weren't feeling 100%, but at least you are enjoying good food!

    Hope your trip back to the US will be easy and uneventful. Safe travels!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    We had an awesome last day of riding. Definitely the most beautiful scenery, great weather, and I had no problems with the climb up to the castle where we are staying. It was hard, but, it's done. The cobbles were after the climb, on the descent into the parking lot. It was steep and very few rode down it, except for DH and a couple of others. Even walking down was challenging, as the cobbles were uneven. We are going into an area that is noted for ceramics in about an hour (in the van) and later for our last group dinner. We didn't actually ride right up to the border of Spain, but we can see it from here. Tomorrow they drive us back to Lisbon, where we are spending 2.5 more days. I am looking forward to that. It is a very cool city.
    I will post a link to our pictures after DH culls the amount and puts them up, probably next week.
    I would still recommend this trip to anyone. It was not as difficult as Spain, but the scenery wasn't as spectacular, either. Riding with Cycling Country feels like you are riding with a family, which you are. The down side was on this trip, we had a group of 6 from Colorado who were slightly cliquish. Not like when I went to the Czech Republic, though. And we have our friends with us this time. We don't spend every minute together, though.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    543
    Enjoyed reading about your adventures Crankin, can't wait to see the pictures of what you've described. Cobbles...yikes. Glad you enjoyed the tour, even though you were feeling a bit off, it's hard to bed happy happy when you are not feeling well...
    "Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,045
    Sounds really beautiful and I'm envious. Keep posting.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    Had an uneventful trip home, though Sata Airlines is a slightly below average airline... but it was the only non stop from Boston to Lisbon.
    DH is working on the pics now, should be posted soon. Laundry is on, now to make grocery list. My kitchen has rarely been so bare.
    I am feeling better today, but it is not all from being home. I just never rested once I got sick, before the trip; I led 3 rides, commuted 3-4 times, which in retrospect, was not a great idea. However, it probably helped with getting through the climbing. I've never been one who's much for "training," but I do think I should have tried riding more consecutive days in a row. I did ride 4 days in a row a couple of times, but some of those rides were my short commutes. I know I can always make it through on sheer mental toughness. I may not be the fastest, but I can do it. In fact, I was squarely in the mid range of ability on this trip, toward the top of the mid range. There was one couple that was very fast, along with my DH and our friend. However, except for part of one day, DH rode with me. DH is probably not as fast as this couple was, or at least he has no desire to bust his azz this way, for several days in a row. Next time, though, I think I will do a little more preparing.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IL/FL
    Posts
    3,863
    Never made it to Portugal, but the pics I've seen show some very pretty countryside... looking forward to seeing yours.

    Electra Townie 7D

 

 

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