I fell asleep very quickly, despite of some family chatting very close to my camping plot. I slept around 8h straight, being awake at 7h40. I totally forgot to set the alarm clock!
I had some breakfast, chatted with some friends and girlfriend on whatsapp and I felt like being slow in the morning. Afterall, why to rush?
I packed slowly and I was ready to leave the camping around 10AM.
|All set and ready to roll|
The sun was shinning and it was an easy ride to Vila Nova de Milfontes, where I stopped at a small supermarket for some supplies of the day. I do not recall exactly the distance, but I had the feeling I could easily reach it the day before, the camping there is also quite good, and I would have less kilometers to do today. Well, what is done is done!
|Downhilling towards Vila Nova de Milfontes bridge|
Vila Nova de Milfontes is worth seeing, but it would mean around 5km detour, and I would have a lot to cycle today. Moreover, I was only biking for around 1 hour, so it was early for a more extended break.
|River Mira. Milfontes on the right|
|One more picture over the river Mira|
The road would take me to Odemira, where I should make a decision on which way to cycle to get to Monchique. The scenary varies from time to time, making it an enjoyable ride!
|Vegetation just close to the road|
|Open fields close to Zambujeira do Mar|
Around km 30 the hungry was starting to strike, so I found a cool spot for some meal. It was only about 15 meters from the road. The water is used for watering the fields, so it was a nice meal with my feet on the chilled water.
|Me and my bike|
I just stopped for about 30 minutes and, as I was still far from home, I needed to hit the road again. When I got a bit after the turn to Zambujeira do Mar, I spotted the first time the mountain where Monchique is located. Gee, that is huge!!
|Monchique in distance|
The highest peak is 902 meters above sea level, although the village itself it is about 600m ASL. Nevertheless it is located on the South part of the mountain and this is the north one. Well, it is better to keep cycling, as it is still far away.
Still before Odemira, the first climb of the day! Not very long (about 1km but steeeeep).
|1st climb of the day|
|View from the top|
It made me realised that would be hard to get to Monchique with no pain. No pain no gain, right?
I tried to look for some snack bar with internet connection, but I was no able to find it. i decided to try my luck at Aldi supermarket. They also did not have, so I just bought some more supplies and rested just there seizing the sun and the breeze.
|Break at Aldi, Odemira|
At this time, i had two possible routes:
- Turning East towards Saboia - Nave Redonda - Monchique
- Continuing South for about 38 km till Alzejur
Option two seemed more appealing, so South I went!
|Peter Lamb cycling South|
While on the road you have time to think, to have some breaks just to chill or take a picture and also time to switch on technology :)
I haven't prepare the route precisely, as I knew that I could go all the way down to Aljezur and then take a massive uphill till Marmelete and find my way till Monchique from there. I looked it up on the Ipad map that there was a much more narrow road between Odemira and Aljezur, but I guess that without finding a internet spot on the way, I could not find it (the ipad map, as a sort of location feature, but only works with a wifi connection).
Turns out that one of my many stops was close to a little place called S. Teotonio, that is where it starts a road much more directly towards Monchique (at least 15 km shorter). Well, a narrow road means less traffic and avoiding the uphill just out of Odeceixe seemed appealing enough!
|Road M501 towards Monchique|
Like mentioned above, a road like this has very little traffic, so it is possible to stop right at the middle of it for some picture!
|Somewhere on road M501|
The road is quite nice, although quite hilly I would say. Anyway I thought it would prefer starting the climb some kilometers before Monchique, rather than a steep climb at the end of the day.
|Views from M501 after some km of climb|
More or less at this point I stopped in a small snack-bar and it seems that the people there saw an Alien. I asked for an ice-cream and they were surprised I speak Portuguese. Well, I am Portuguese, ok? I would say that there are not many "new people" passing there, specially portuguese bikers... I left the snack bar after charging a bit my phone and having an ice cream. When i asked them how much kilometers were left to Monchique they said around 30. Well, 26 is around 30, but 34 is around 30 as well, but 8km mostly uphill it is quite a difference! No more precise answer, it was time to leave.
I was stopped after some meters by an old guy who asked me where I was going. After I told him my destination he said: Well, there is no way you will make a mistake: you keep always on this tarmac, after the downhill there is a bridge and you turn left... But prepare yourself for the uphill!!
Humm, why there is a downhill before? That does not sounds good. When it was starting, I could spot a bridge far in the valley. I hope it is not that one, I recall thinking! The downhill starts, the a 10% slope sign appears, well, lets just seize the descent. I accelerated the most I could, tried to get the most aerodynamic I could, realsed the breaks and let the bike flow! I looked at the speedometer (gps based, by Garmin) and it was a bit over 60km/h! The top speed with this bike was also in the Algarve, close to Lagos, where I reached 69km/h.
Well, this downhill was quite lomg and I was curious to know how fast I was, but just at the end of the day I got to know that I reached 78,36km/h!! It was a great feeling, but it is nice that there was no crush in any of the curves! :)
After that bridge, a steep uphill for some time and not much to tell about the road from that point.
|Still on M501|
At some time, I found some other snack bar, and few meters after it a dog, quite big and without leash starts to run from the house towards the main road. The road was uphill, so no way I would escape from it. i stopped a but, drank some water and recall what is most said. If you show fear it is the worse. I starting biking towards him, quite slow and looking into other direction. I had the water bottle in my hand so that I could throw some water on him in case things would get worse. Gosh I am afraid of this big dogs!!
I could pass this test more and then I got close to a small bridge and oh my God, started the biggest uphill I ever climbed. It starts at Ribeira Grande untill Portela da Viuva. It is about 15km uphill!!!
|Just the start of the big climb|
In this situations is all about lowerimg the gear and keep a comfy pace, cycle and forget you will take loads of timr going slowwww. The thing is, every turn you expect to be the last, but you see more and more road ahead and up up I went! It is a great feeling though stopping sometimes and look at the road below your level and realised you were there some minutes ago!
After that big climb I just got the road N266 towards Monchique. I was only 3 km away from my destination and a few more from home (but downhilling)!!
|My bike just about to get to Monchique!!|
|Tired Peter Lamb!|
It was a very tough day, luckly not too hot, but I made it, amd that is all that matters!!
What could be better? Pushing a bit more to Vila Nova de Milfontes on Day 1 and save the legs on Day 2!
Summary of the day:
- Distance: 94,5 km
- Time: 6h16m55s
- Average Speed: 15,04km/h
- Top Speed: 78,36km/h
Well, what is nice comes to an end pretty fast, here it is a picture of my bike close to our home in Monchique.
|At the end :)|
That's all for now folks!