From Malaga to Porto by TET and ACT

Day 13

Today was my special day: not once did my suitcases fall off. And that I tried at times!

In the morning, before we left, we lubricated the chains and checked the oil. 

After 22 km of tarmac we hit the ground and initially rode over gentle hills overgrown with blackthorn or cork oak trees. The local forests are apparently in economic use. There is a dense network of legal roads everywhere.

These are mostly passable, however, the good soul who laid out the TET routes obviously got bored from time to time and created “challenges” in many forms. Deep fords, longitudinal crossings of rocky streams, rutted steep narrow trails, mud baths, muddy bogs, steep rocky ascents and descents, …

As a result, we procrastinated quite often today, and once even at the same time. Peter first in a deep puddle with a soft muddy bottom. The second time in a steep rocky exit, when he went off the narrow ideal track and then did not go up the high rocky grade. 

Where we were both pulling the bike, these are exactly the situations that reinforce the basic TET rule – don’t ride alone. Peter got stuck and was unable to move the bike forwards or backwards. I was put off on a steep downhill, crossing a deep washboard furrow. At the end of it, I didn’t pedal and that was it.

Peter is not sure about continuing it after TET. The random higher difficulty is hard to predict and we’d rather ride than pull the bike out of holes or mud.

An option is to take the easier ACT. TET – in those short but difficult sections – is great  for lighter bikes or better fighters. It’s about 1% of the length, but can be discouraging for the other 99%. 

At our age, with our equipment and skills, it’s also manageable, but the risk of falling or malfunctioning increases, and also the dosage isn’t what it used to be… 🙂

I was reluctant to this idea at first, but I change my mind at the end of today’s stage, when we are riding through about 2 km deep sand. After peeling the sand off me after the last soft landing,  I state without discussion that I am not going any further through the sand :-D. So we finish with TET and after the necessary planned rest we move on to ACT. 

Today’s most physically demanding day yet (but fun too) ends with a great dinner with huge portions .

At the end of a fruitful day we do laundry, process today’s experiences (diary, videos) and go to sleep, satisfied and tired. 

(240km, Vila Natural, San Antonio da Charneca / Barreiro)

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