Pedalling Portugal 2018: Day 1-Getting acquainted with Gertrude and The Bitch.
Faro to Ferreira do Alentejo. 87 miles.
6h53 riding time. Avg 12.6mph.
Ascent 5,288ft. Descent 4,970 ft.
The moment we set our weary eyes on our new two wheeled friends, my heart sank. This was definitely not love at first sight. They were not road bikes, but touring road bikes.
Really not what we thought we had booked and definitely very different to the bikes we had in Spain a few years ago. Heavy things with thicker tyres and actual stands. I’ve not had a bike with a stand since I was 11 years old! Now I was going to have to ride this thing the length of Portugal. Cripes!
On four hours sleep and fuelled by the previous night’s deep fried chicken we were never going to be too spritely.
Within a few minutes we had already broken the Garmin mount and missed a turning. It was going to be a long day in the saddle.
We were both muttering away at ourselves. By the first water stop I had named my bike Gertrude. Apologies to all Gertrudes but it summed up my stead perfectly. Rich simply went for “The bitch”.
The heat didn’t help. Neither did the scenery. Or the long straight, seemingly never ending roads of the N2.
Because we were a few hours late getting on our bikes (thanks Ryanair) it then meant we couldn’t avoid the intense mid-afternoon heat. My thighs flared up with itchy heat rash. We got fuelling very wrong too and didn’t eat enough.
Day one was just pretty crap. We felt like we were cycling purely to get to our hotel. It was a real, hard slog. Even rich summed it up as the hardest day he has ever done in the saddle.
We rocked up at our accommodation at 7.30pm in need of a good feed, a very well earned cold beer and a decent night’s sleep.