Tabua to Pedrogao Pequeno

It’s the longest ride of the trip so far today so we need to be on the road by 9am. Not an issue as most of the lads had an early night after the football last night.

Not exactly inspiring was it. An early lead then they bullied us second half. Still, a win is a win and let’s hope they improve for the Denmark game on Thursday. The draw in other group match was a bonus as well.

Anyway, as we were staying off the N2 route last night we have to retrace our steps and get back on it this morning.

I head round on the main roads and pick it up at Penacova and wait half way up a small climb.

The lads reach me about an hour later and again have had some off road issues getting back towards Santa Combo Dao. These odd detours are a pain as it adds time to the lads day and takes it out of their legs.

The route has been tough for them so far but the real climbing is still to come…

We now have 16 miles to get to our lunch stop at Gois with some tough 3-4 mile climbs en route.

I stay where I am to wait for John and the lads push on to Gois.

After John gets to me, I set off to chase the lads up to Gois. They are already there when I get there and have found a lovely cafe by the river for lunch.

It’s a fantastic little spot, you can see small trout in the river and the gurgling of the waterfall is very relaxing. I could sit here all day (pics on our Facebook page).

After the lads have had lunch they set off on the next part of the route. A long steep 8 mile climb up to 2500 ft.

John gets to the cafe 10 minutes after the lads have left and decides he’s now going to jump in the van to get up the next big climb.

After John has had lunch we set off to chase the lads up but, with the head start they’ve got, we may not pass them on the climb.

The road up is very Alpine like with sharp steep hairpin bends and long sections of varying steepness.

We eventually catch up to Marty, Ade and Gibbo on the climb and push on to catch Coxy and Spenna but we don’t get to them before we start decending again.

We finally spot Spenna, speeding down the long fast descent but there’s no way I’ll get past him. I go much slower than him around the hairpins and he’s flying down the straight sections.

Eventually the road kicks up again and we get past him and hit a smaller climb where we finally catch up with Coxy who must have been going like the clappers down that descent.

We are now only 15km from the hotel so we decide to push on in the van to the digs.

A couple of miles down the road though and we get a call from Gibbo, Marty and Ade who are at the top of the big climb in need of water.

So we head back to get them sorted. After that’s done we again head for the hotel.

At the last though, there’s a really steep climb to get to the hotel itself which is in the middle of nowhere. As Spenna said, when he gets to the hotel, it’s been like a really tough 70 mile ride then with a ‘Carlton bank’ at the end!

Although the hotel is isolated it has everything we’ll need tonight. A sauna and jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor pools and a restaurant. And a bar of course…