Mira to Porto
Today was the longest ride of our trip so far and while the forecast predicted thunderstorms, we began our ride with the uneasy feeling that we would be put to the test yet again. After fueling up with our routine chocolate croissants and espressos, we hit the road by 8:30 a.m. To our surprise the “weather gods” were on our side and provided us with a tail wind as a fresh batch of impending thunderclouds were advancing in from the south.
It's my guess that we were averaging somewhere between 18 and 22 mph on our first leg of the route, which took us to our first ferry crossing from the Port of Aveiro to San Jacinto.
It was awesome to be riding on flat roads and not having to push our body, bike, and gear up a mountain, but what was shock us the most, as well as got our blood pumping was being able to feel how strong our legs are getting. Every peddle felt great, our muscles started burning in the greatest possible way, sweat began dripping out of my pores. Ryan and I continued to push ourselves harder and harder until we reached the ferry.
Upon reaching San Jacinto, we picked up were we left off with our lovely tail wind and continued with our record speed for the trip. The miles continued to fly by and in no time we began to approach Porto.
Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. The thunderstorm unfortunately found us, taunting our high speed, letting us know that we aren’t fast enough. Porto was now in sight, our legs burned from the previous 50 something miles, but our bodies were not wanting to get wet, so we challenged the storm and decided to race it to Porto.
Our cadence quickened. We hopped on the tail of some random road biker trusting his every turn that he was going to the same place we were. We rounded the last corner of the bike path we were on and hopped onto the cobblestones now wet with the bump in humidity. We could feel it. The sky was about to open up on us and we only had a few more miles to go.
Following our new friend, we continued to peddle along the banks of the Rio Douro searching for a bridge that would allow us to cross into Porto. The only thing keeping me going now was the beauty of Porto and it's reflection on the river. All I wanted to do was to reach this medieval town I would be staying in for the next few days. As we finally reached the Ponte de D. Luís I Bridge, and crossed into Porto, the rain won.
Now wet with rain and sweat, our main distance primarily covered, we just needed to make it up the over-hanging stone hills to the apartment we found the day before on Air BnB. We looked at each other unsure of what the rules of the road were deemed acceptable in Porto. My Fly 6 camera/bike light flashed, recording the mayhem as we went for it. Weaving our ways through honking drivers, our wheels sliding on the cobblestones we made the grueling climb up the hills of Porto through the rain until we made it.
Soaked and Tired we found ourselves clogging the busy sidewalk on a main street when we saw our landlady Claudia throwing her hands in the air greeting us with a smile while standing in the rain on Rua Santa Catarina.
We had made it.
Made it to our cozy warm apartment, made it to a warm shower, and more importantly made it to our first washing machine of the trip. We walked into the apartment to a mini bottle of the local port wine and traditional Portuguese cookies making the ride all worth it. I have a feeling our stay in Porto is going to be great.