|10-18-2013, 07:18 AM||#46|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Cork, Ireland
Roman Road Rage !!
After watching Possu's video it appears I have unfinished business with Portugal, it'll be August of next year before I can get back there though....
Best trailride I've ever been on, non-stop fun with a great bunch, thanks lads.
I've 26 hours of video of the Anthill trip reduced down to 4.5 hours, gettin there.
Thanks Timpo, fantastic fun.
Daithi screwed with this post 10-18-2013 at 06:10 PM
|10-19-2013, 05:26 AM||#47|
Joined: Feb 2009
Wed 2nd Oct
"Blood on the sheets!"
After a good nights sleep I went into Timpo and Ricks's room
Timpo was in the shower and Rick showed the spots of blood on the sheets.
Thinking I am glad that wasn't me I looked on my bed and and I had been similarly munched upon so into the shower for me as well.
Not particularly pleasant but dutifully reported by Ela. They are only insects after all.
They do say that they only go for clean people so I think Timpo and I can hold our heads up compared to all the other unclean members of our party.
Down for a really good breakfast quick flash of my wounds and it was time to move on.
When we awoke as if on queue when Jimmy looked out of the window it started to pour down. He hoped his bike had been stolen so that he could go home but he was not so lucky.
Packing up I didn't feel quite as bad a bout a bit of mud on our bedroom floor and it was full waterproof as we kitted at the back of the hotel. Jimmy had to lie his bike down in order that he could get enough fuel to get down to town to fill up.
Whilst we we filled up a crack team of field mechanics bled Ela's brake and she finally had a rear brake.
Despite the pouring lanes the route went through walled lanes nice and flowing.
Despite being nearly as good a rider as me Ela was feeling the pressure of the pace although as always on these trips multiple people have the route so there should be no pressure.
She decided she would have a day slabbing it and seeing the sites so we waved goodbye when we got to a tarmac road after giving her the coordinates of the guest house we were planning to stay in.
This crappy pic does not do it justice the the trails were rocky and steep.
The rain was easing though and we started to have bright spells followed by torrential rain.
WE recognised a previously used locals bar so we pulled in for a coffee. Our Portuguese could not be called fluent more effluent but a smile and a bit of effort goes a long way. The local were turning up all the time on their tractors.
The landscape became flatter for a while more lunar with large rocks to contend with. A few great rocky climbs showed folk the change in scenery an how tricky some of the old tracks can be. In the book it says that Possu fell off 4 times blaming it on the fact he had his KTM on the wrong powering setting. KTM excuse number 478 I believe.
Up and down some really steep rock roads that I had done before we all made it OK
We rode back to the Douro River and down a steep track to a great spot with a sandy beach. In the middle of nowhere on your bike with friends life doesn't get much better. Oh and blue skies and sunshine even made an appearance.
A bit of sun soon get people playing.
Rick only needed a third throttle on the 501 "The last Third"
Fantastic views and we could see loads of fish in the water.
It was so good the boys even got off their bikes to have a look.
Halfway through today my Sat Nav failed due a problem with the power supply. After a bit of fiddling I stopped with Uncle Rick surveying my electrical work. He wasn't impressed that I had used a cigarette lighter connector in order that I could easily swap between bikes and told me off .
Even trying to short the fuse didn't work so we abandoned it and carried on me now sat nav less.
It makes you feel naked without a sat nav in a foreign land and you end up relying on your colleagues for everything. I much prefer to have the route as well in case of problems or just for interest. Even though I now paid my full attention to the trails my riding skill didn't improve noticeably.
We saw a few big dogs today but no real full on attacks.
Some good navigation by Timpo where the Olive farmers had ploughed up the tracks saw us soon Freixio de Espada. Ela was already at the Bar / Restaurant / Rooms so we unloaded I fixed my power supply cutting off the connectors and using scotch locks to effect a repair.
We enjoyed a few beers waiting to the Irish lads to arrive after a marathon Journey. I won't go into the gory details here but suffice to say after some thieving bastids nicked the two bikes out of Famous's van in France whilst he was competing in the Rally with Timpo and Rick. Meant a trip home a borrowed bike for Seamus and a new CCM for Daithi but more of that later.
The girl who spoke good English was there again and really looked after us well a lovely meal with wine and beer.
As we had all been so wet through Timpo suggested CRF's all round. For those that don't know CRF is a Portuguese liquor that is the strongest desiccant known to man. Even if you have drank a swimming pool of water you will still end up direr than a chip in the morning having drunk just one of these.
A bit more riotous behaviour before GFJ pushing me up the stairs to bed.
The Book of Truth says it so it much have happened "Timpo picked up the tab"
|10-19-2013, 10:31 AM||#48|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Oxford, UK
|10-19-2013, 12:40 PM||#49|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Oxford, UK
During the night I suddenly woke up - something was missing. Silence. The constant pattering against the windowpane had stopped; there was hope!
When the alarm went off in the morning it was still quiet outside, and upon opening the curtains we actually had a view of the historic centre, including the castle and the cathedral of Miranda do Douro.
Our delight was only short-lived though - whoosh, the heavens opened again and gave the city a massive shower.
Oh well, the pequeno almoço might cheer us up a bit.
Timpo conveyed that his body had already served as breakfast for other creatures earlier, a fate shared by Matt and duly reported to Branco in somewhat paraphrasing Spaniguese as 'insects that live in beds and drink your blood during the night'. Well, I never have encountered bed bugs on all my travels and just couldn't think of the technical term. I know that most English people would be too nauseated/embarrassed/cultivated to talk about incidents like this, but I thought the hotel must be given a chance to do something about it - and I wouldn't want to be the next person sleeping in room 302 if we didn't say anything...
In the meantime the rain had subsided and we had a view again
Rooms were paid and vacated, bikes were packed and fuelled and Timpo and Possu restored my bake brake to working order again...
Yes, Timpolino, I should have looked after my bike better and one day (in the not so distant future) it will bite me in the bum for that...
A last glimpse of Miranda's monuments...
... and off we went. It wasn't long into the first lane when I suddenly realised, after almost riding into a hedge: I'm not really enjoying this. The pace is too fast for my liking, I feel under pressure to keep up, I'm already anxious about the 'Ford of Doom' and the 'Olive-grove of Death' before even seeing them - and this is my long anticipated holiday for which I have worked so hard without any break for seven months. So at the next stop I told the boys that they shouldn't take it personally but I would carry on by myself, promised not to do anything too silly, stay mainly on tarmac and easy trails and meet them in the evening in Freixo de Espada à Cinta.
As I had their track on my Montana, I could see when they were crossing a road and navigate to that meeting point
Here they come...
... and there they go
Keep up, Rick!
What a lovely lane...
Portugal is full of them!
I rode a bit of tarmac, enjoyed the solo-travelling feeling rather a lot, calculated roughly when the lads should have negotiated their way through fords and olive groves along the Douro and then headed to the next rendezvous near Bemposta
Contemplating how good life can be, I patiently waited...
Half an hour later, the advance party arrived
... including Steve G, my dear Possu
The others still took another 15 minutes, having got lost somewhere between the olive trees, but then hurried along by the quickly approaching weather front
Rick - working on his posture
Jimmy - glad to have survived so far
... and trusty tail-end Matt
What took you so long?
Well, the one who doesn't wait and thus loses the group, has to pay for the drinks later, right?
The boys decided to settle the score straight away and stopped for a coffee in Bemposta. I didn't know that and carried on to the next meeting point, waiting in vain. Not that it was boring at all, I got a good overview of Portugal's agricultural productivity in the meantime.
Vinho verde e tinto
But the rain was closing in, and after warning an elderly gentleman walking his donkey that there would be six motos coming up the lane soon, I continued my journey south.
Oops, Possu just reminded me that it is my turn to cook dinner tonight, so I have to go -
To be continued.
|10-19-2013, 01:37 PM||#50|
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: hampshire ,UK
noticed on one picture with armco barrier that it had a yellow over red painted marker by the trail you went down..is that common in portugal...similar to the French way of marking trails and footpaths..
you all look to clean must have been the rain washing the muck off..lol
Ride it like yo stole it and the devils after you
|10-19-2013, 04:25 PM||#51|
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Oxford, UK
Managed to finally edit and upload the last of the Portugal videos this evening, the idea is to show the variety and type of trails that we rode during the eight days of riding.
Part 3 is the last day of riding when we left most of our luggage at the campsite, hence the pace being a bit quicker.
Possu screwed with this post 10-19-2013 at 04:33 PM
|10-19-2013, 06:44 PM||#52|
NORTH WALES TRF.
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Downtown Wombatislava, England.
Looks great...where do I sign up for the next one?
The Rave Generator......
|10-20-2013, 04:37 AM||#53|
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Oxford, UK
|10-20-2013, 06:11 AM||#54|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Oxford, UK
The markings - at least in the Parque Natural de Montesinho, where we had our base camp - are really well maintained and clear: turn left / not this way / that's the one!
|10-20-2013, 11:27 AM||#55|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Oxford, UK
During the course of the afternoon, I tried to meet the boys again on several occasions -
Here near Vilarinha dos Galegos
... and here south of Lagoaça
... where they have their own bouldery version of Long Barrows...
But the further away from our last rendezvous, it got more and more unlikely that our paths would cross again - there are just too many unknowns on such a trip: punctures, bikes drowning in rivers, forks or wheel bearings collapsing, GPSs dying, Timpo granting the group another break, etc, etc...
And so I headed back to the N221 and enjoyed the views from beautifully smooth, twisty tarmac
There are trails just everywhere...
Just before the rain I arrived in Freixo de Espada à Cinta, rode a bit into the track where I expected the boys to emerge from and then circled around the town to find the hotel we were going to stay in. I stopped at the most likely location, asked in a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish and French if three British motorcyclists had stayed here in April, showed recent pictures of Timpo, Rick and Matt, but the barman couldn't remember. He even called a nice young lady with perfect English to assist, but we were still not entirely sure. I should have read Matt's Three Stooges Tour report again, then it would have been clear... ).
Oh well, the coffee was nice, it had started to rain again, the locals offered me to sit at their table and so I happily waited until familiar noises approached. Yes, it was the right place!
In person, the Three Stooges were recognised immediately, we were shown to our comfortable and spacious rooms and started to carry our luggage up to the second floor...
I could have sworn that Gareth was an ATTGATT person - you know, role model for the public and all that...
Talking of - that's exemplary efficient parking!
We made ourselves comfortable - guess which room we were in?
... had some drinks in the bar and then moved up to the restaurant on the first floor
... where we were excellently looked after by Katia, the helpful young lady I had talked to earlier and who had already met the Three Stooges back in April: 19 years old, very bright, fluent in English, French, Spanish and, after her dad sadly died last year, sole breadwinner for her invalid mum and two younger siblings; resourceful, responsible and with astonishingly mature views of the world - a truly remarkable young woman, whose future prospects will hopefully brighten up very soon.
The food was delightful - Alentejano, the famous black Iberian pig which roams the cork oak groves feeding on their acorns
The wine wasn't bad either...
... and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening until we were politely asked to vacate the restaurant and retire to the bar - Katia deserved some rest after all!
Here the newbies were introduced to another of Portugal's specialities - CR & F (a legendary brandy produced by Carvalho, Ribeiro & Ferreira)
... followed by numerous rounds of Sagres...
Think very carefully about what you put into your 'Book of Truth' tonight, Matthew...
Pondering the repercussions of inaccurate reporting, I went to bed...
To be continued
|10-20-2013, 12:21 PM||#56|
Joined: Feb 2009
Thurs 3rd Oct
Feeling a bit dried out from the CRF we breakfasted and fussed around with our luggage.
Seamus and Daithi had agreed to meet the group at a waypoint further down the track as they still had some work to do. Seamus worried about security had arranged with the bar keeper a special place where he could leave his Rally Bike.
I had agreed to ride with Ela as I had ridden the track before and knew it would not pose any problems. As the holiday progressed I had been practising my German on Ela who I think was quietly impressed.
In talking to the campsite owner on our return we found out that there was a large wine cooperative opposite the bar where the local wine of the Douro Valley could be purchased at very reasonable rates.
Off to the petrol station as a group we filled up Ela and I letting the guys go off ahead. We climb up on good gravel tracks to above the Douro Valley and although the weather was cloudy the views yet again were stunning. Ela and I rode up to a view point and watched vultures circling as the used thermals to gain height a fantastic sight.
The view from the top.
The tarmac road far below not for us.
We must have been getting lazy as we got the bikes as near as possible.
Not a bad track to head off on.
WE carried along on great tracks before getting a a village and a bit of twisty tarmac that I knew well. We were coming up the start of the Roman Road. I knew a shortcut around it as I knew Ela and I would struggle her with a heavy bike me with a tall bike and short legs. Back in 2011 on WYOA the scene had been carnage with bikes lay all over the place.
I pointed out the start to Ela and we carried around to the ford which because of the rain that had fallen was flowing well.
It might have seemed to Ela that I dived into the Ford however I could see that another Buffalo Girl (They go round the outside) had been through recently so a confident approach paid dividends.
I won't post lots of shots of the Roman Road as it has been documented well before and I am sure Ela has better but we had a birds eye view of poor Possu on the Rock step.
Now some will say they heard Ela in some distress "My Possu, My Possu" as at one point he lay down perilously close to the edge.
I am a bit deaf but might have heard a different version "The van keys, The van keys"
Anyway Possu made it to the top safely.
GFJ was now on his knees not sure if he was praying thanks that he had made it to the top or begging Rick to take him home.
Despite being a mountain bike athlete Jimmy looked rather warm at the top still a really good effort for someone who rides rarely off road.
All at the top the banter started and Possu opened the big book of KTM excuses again number 859 I must have slipped on one of Matt's contact lenses being one of the better ones.
After redressing we carried on the winding tarmac road to the valley floor where we crossed the river at Barca D'Alva and stopped at a Cafe that always brings a smile to my face.
2011 on WYOA it was here amongst there bikes that I really thought this is what I want to do in the future with my holidays.
Coffe and a Tosta Mista for Rick and I. Seamus and Daithi arrived Seamus not happy with the DRZ even though it had been race prepared by Daithi with his surgeon like mechanical abilities.
Ela and I opted to get away I knew that there was a stiff section of climb ahead and by now the weather had changing to hot and sunny a total contrast from what we had so far experienced.
We rode up through numerous Olive groves Ela leading the way again the sat nav showing the individual trail really useful in picking the correct route out.
The climbing started and from behind Ela I was really impressed how she stuck to it and didn't let it phase her. The sting in the tail in in the last 20-30m of the track before it levels out. 5m from the top Ela span off and I went up retrieve her and the bike.
After a bit of an effort we righted it and I managed to get it to the top of the tricky section having left my bike below.
Hearing other bikes I positioned myself at the tricky section and got the camera out.
Timpo passed my bike and made short work of the climb. Notice how his body position is over trying to the the bike back straight.
Possu and GFJ not using this technique.
Once we were all safely at the top Ela and I carried on and we went through more olive groves the tracks turning into walled lanes.
We went through the communal wash area one of many in the villages we went through a brige and ford was the other side it didn't really matter which you took.
On pausing at a rocky climb we heard the noise of bikes. We tactfully waited as the lads came through.
Timpo going well.
We headed onwards the planned overnight stop @ Sabugal seeming a long way away whenever I checked the sat nav. Still the riding was great so we just kept going along some trails that were familiar to me.
At one point we got to a place where we had struggled with the route in April so we went round the village and long a good track that came to a large ford that necessitated us going round it via a stone bridge. As with many water features on this trip it was dry so we carried on with no need to use the bridge.
We headed off the track log where we had been turned back in April and made out way to a village as Ela was out of water. Speaking in perfect Portuguese she asked an old fella where she could obtain some water.
He looked confused, mind you I would have been as I had noticed that we were in Spain not Portugal so the mother tongue had changed.
The water was that pure there were fish swimming in it.
Ela was happy though as although no treated the water was fit to drink.
As headed more into cattle country there were more barriers to remove the route following the border just into Portgual. Going via a big railway town Vila Formosa. The highlight being a large steam train under cover near the centre.
Great Trails but Ela was starting to get tired and we still had quite a few miles to do.
We elected to slab it to Sabugal as it was still 36 road miles away.
A bum numbing 45 mins later saw us arrive at the hotel we had used last time.
I though it was strange that I could see no bikes outside, so started to unpack my phone.
"Eh mate!" I heard only for Ela nd I to look up and see first floor balconies festooned with bike gear and semi naked middle aged gentlemen.
The accommodation was really good very modern, I was now honoured to be sharing a room with Timpo! Quick shower and into civvies and it was straight to the bar next door to waiting for everyone. The young lady serving behind the bar had a very attractive figure I seem to recall.
We knew where we wanted to eat, a real gem of a small local pizza restaurant
with a proper oven and cold beer. Looking at a leaflet from a previous trip the name is "Pizzeria Sabugalense".
We managed to all cram in upstairs and were served by a beautiful lady who had worked for 10 years in Paris. Ela has already posted a picture so I won't go on any more suffice to say the book of truth has a quote from Jimmy in it. "I'd marry it" .
Much wine beer and banter flowed but it was time to head back to the hotel and bed as the bar was shut.
The more sprightly of us went up the stairs.
"The Portugal 4" however choose the lift promptly getting it stuck and them in it.
They were stuck not far from the ground floor and they had frantically pressed the alarm. Much like the vultures the friends of the Portugal floor now circled the lobby shouting words of encouragement through the lift door.
Finally the chap from behind the counter arrived and so did his father in law who opened the lift box.
Tell them it will drop down two floors before coming back up. So I did Daithi's language was not the normal sort that you would hear from a fine upstanding gentleman. I think he though it would drop like a stone before bouncing back up.
Excitement all over we headed to bed ready for tomorrow.
|10-21-2013, 04:57 AM||#58|
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Market Deeping, Lincs UK
Thoroughly enjoying the write up.
That Roman road video from Possu looked scary. Not so much wrong trousers (although they probably needed changing afterwards) but more wrong tyres and power delivery for slippery slabs ?--Maxxis are doing a really sticky trials/enduro cross over tyre for the Freeride.
Ela's report is more scenic--Matt's is more soap detail!
I blame it on the Jet stream as it had a more northerly path during your trip pushing the Atlantic lows across the Iberian peninsula.
I think Ela's CRF230 will also carry gear--mine has managed it in France--and it is lighter! (a bike for ladies and old men!)
|10-21-2013, 11:10 AM||#59|
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: In my shed
58 posts and I'm still enthralled! Great quality account of a great looking trip. I am so inspired I will even go and write something for the Oxford TRF newsletter about some far less interesting stuff! Probably without photos.:-)
|10-21-2013, 01:21 PM||#60|
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Oxford, UK
I think the grunt and weight of a 690 would destroy the Maxxis tyres designed for a Freeride in no time all. Gareth replaced his rear tyre with a Kenda 677 mid way through the ride and after 4 days it was obvious it would never have lasted the full eight days.
I've already welded a steel subframe extension to Ela's CRF, now thinking about a small detachable rack system to carry Kriega US20's each side.
Possu screwed with this post 10-21-2013 at 01:26 PM
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