Day 1 & 2

Jon had a bad internet connection in Portugal so he emailed me a write up of the first two days--pictures to be added at some point: Trans Portugal Day 1: The day started with much promise and excitement. We were really pumped to get underway. Bob and Rich started 30 minutes ahead of Adam/Sam/Myself; while Dan had a 15 minute head start. Racers are given handicaps based on age and the three of us are in the no handicap bracket – starting with the pros…

The weather was overcast and the temperature perfect. The first 80 km of the race were amazing; beautiful scenery, rustic villages and some nice difficult climbing on all types of terrain. When we got to the first ‘technical’ section we were all laughing about what they consider technical. We caught up with Dan around the 50 km mark (hour 2.5 or so) and then finally tracked down Bob and Rich at 4 hours 45 minutes. It was great to see everyone; we were all riding strong with only one flat tire to deal with (Adam, Sam, and I were riding together still). Adam was riding really strong and absolute beast on the climbs. He kept telling us how he was just taking it easy, hahaha, it was great. I was cruising along as well and would you the short descents and flats to close the gap on Adam. I talked his ear off during the day so hopefully he doesn’t get sick of me. Sam was tapping out a nice rhythm and we all thought we were the cat’s ass. The final 70 km proved to be the toughest I’ve ever ridden. It started to rain with a vengeance and seeing that most of the trails we were riding on were hard packed dirt or sand the day turned into and absolute mud fest. What was thought to be a 7-7.5 hour day was quickly turning into something much longer… There was puddle after puddle, sand, mud, basically felt like riding in quick sand. I couldn’t see a thing as water was running down my face washing salt into my eyes; mud and sand were being hurled into my eyes, my god my eyes were burning – for hours. Our bikes were a mess; so covered in mud and completely devoid of any lubrication at this point that nothing was working. Adam’s bike had a front brake piston that wouldn’t retract therefore his break pad was constantly rubbing. At one point there was a puddle so big and deep that we weren’t sure we could get through. Sam gave it the old college try and found out to his chagrin and our amusement that is was about 4 feet deep. He went ass over tea kettle and was completely submerged. My god it was funny. The day was relentless, muddy climb after muddy climb. Adam and I finished just a few minutes ahead of Sam. We were about an hour ahead of the rest of our crew. I can honestly say this was the toughest day I’ve ever had on a bike. It took the mechanics until 6am to fix all the bikes, crazy star.

Trans Portugal Day 2 Day two and chaffing is beginning to be an issue for me. The weather behaved today. No rain, overcast but windy. Yes it was a head wind, wouldn’t have expected anything less. The wind really punished a lot of people. Sam, Adam and I rode together again. We all went throw many ups and downs. The day was shorter – 110 km and 2600 m of climbing. We got to see some great villages and a fortified town. We road along the wall on the inside it was great. We got to do a fun little down hill on an old Roman road, about 8 feet wide with a massive cliff on the edge. The race organizers were saying please be careful, walk you bike blah, blah, blah. It was nothing but a lot of fun; we all road it and looked over the edge a few times as well. Apparently Europeans don’t understand technical descents. We hit a section going thru farmer’s fields and vineyards that was mostly a mild uphill into a head wind (for about 30km). We took turns pulling with Adam doing the lion’s share. We caught up to Dan at the 1:15 minute mark and Bob/Rich at the 2:15 mark. Everyone was in good spirits. The three of us road together all day until about the 80 km mark, that’s when Adam decided to put the pressure on. Sam didn’t want any more of the pace after about 5 km. I decided to hop on Adam’s wheel. He put the screws to me with all the constant short climbs (he stood up and attacked most of them). With 20 km to go and no more water on the course my hydration pack bladder decided to spring a leak. All my precious fluid was running down my back. I had a water bottle on my bike but I definitely dehydrated over the last hour. Adam gave me a bottle with about 30 minute to go – thank you. We crossed the finish line together at 6 hours 53 minutes and I can honestly say that I’m a bit spent from that. Sam followed about 15-20 minutes behind. Bob and Richard crossed an hour 10 later and Dan was about 15 minutes behind them. Tomorrow is another massive 132 km day.