Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Riding near Lisbon

Time to get caught up on my blog while I sip on a fabulous port in a hotel that we really shouldn't be in. Luxury doesn't quite
describe it. But more about that later. I am trying to keep this chronological.

So let's go back 3 days to our last adventures near Lisbon. I briefly mentioned a ride Tom and I did with friends José and Rui. My description did not do the ride justice. We started out in a small, typical Portuguese village south of Lisbon. We found our friends by following the GPS coordinates José gave us. After two attempts to head south on a bridge from the city (which looks an awful lot like the Golden Gate bridge by they way) we finally managed the task only to get trapped in small cobblestone alleys in the village of our destination. Many villages, well cities too really, have a bad case of "you can't get there from here". We arrived at the appointed meeting area slightly late but ready to ride.

The rest of the day was full of fantastic double track dirt roads, single track through mud and a little pavement to get us to the next village and cafe. We started out in fall weather, drizzle and mist that turned into a full on downpour, at which time we took shelter in a village cafe. We sampled pastries of the area and sipped coffee while trying not to get mud on the white marble tile.

When the rain slowed we continued on our way. Eventually the sun came out and we were treated to beautiful views of the ocean, followed by riding through wine growing areas and cork trees. Mixed in was another fantastic degree stop. The pastries here are amazing!

All tolled, we rode close to 60 km (36 or so miles), 5 hours plus including our time in the cafes. A great prep day for Tom, I was trashed. Big thanks to Rui for loaning me a hard tail, titanium mountain bike (light!!) that was great for this ride. And huge thanks to José Carlos, who led the way, directed us to a room for the night and led us to a fanastic restaurant to help us replenish.

A great day by any standards.


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