Day 1

23 May 2016

Phew. Day 1 is over. In a rhetorical answer to my question yesterday, Nat, as to whether 110 kms a day would be enough: yes it is. I’ve just had a shower, stretched, devoured a sandwich and some cereal (yes, I know it’s the afternoon and, yes, I know I’m no longer a student) and just about feel human again. Turns out the extra 10kgs on the bike is quite noticeable when it’s 25 degrees and hilly.

I’m going to keep it brief as I want to go enjoy a cool beer in the gardens of this amazing B&B half way between Porto and Santiago de Compostela shortly… So, what did I learn today?

  1. Minor mechanicals turn into major incidents when you have bags on your bike and are too lazy to take them off before trying to get a chain back on. 100 metres from the hotel you've just set off from. Grazed leg, bruised ego.
  2. It's difficult to tell the difference between a stonemason's forecourt and a graveyard. Apparently the route I took today is the most popular place in the world to site a stonemasons. So if you're after a headstone, you know where to come.
  3. Portugal appear to have Grade II Listed potholes. Wonderful newly laid roads with massive potholes around manhole covers left in place.
  4. However hard you try to stop it, your Garmin will always try to route you via a major trunk road where bikes are prohibited. Twice.
  5. When sitting down to lunch, remember that banana you stowed in the back pocket of your jersey.
  6. All the planning in the world, and technology will still get the upper hand. Apparently my phone and my Garmin have now had a falling out and don't want to talk to each other any more. Even after I tested it thoroughly.

And a message to hoteliers in my future. Yes, I do generally like talking about politics and the upcoming EU referendum we’re having in the UK but not just as I’ve arrived after a long ride.

All in all, a good first day. Tough, but good. I’m now wondering how good an idea that little detour I added in the French Alps to take in Alp d’Huez was.

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