From Malaga to Porto by TET and ACT

Day 18

So today we jumped on the machines early – we have a lot of work to do!

We start with a short off-road section, but then at the town of Barca d’Alva we descend into the Douro valley. There is a circuit that starts on the asphalt upstream. But after a few kilometres it rises to the northern ridge and continues along the gravel ridge. At the top we stop several times to take photos.

The loop then continues around Cruz Peak to eventually take us into the wild canyon of the Ribeira do Mosteiro. Today it is deserted, but remnants of old buildings and bridges can be seen. A paradise for romantic hiking!

Then we leave the circuit and head west. From the Douro Valley we take a beautiful offroad to the town of Torre de Moncorvo, where the 4th stage of the ACT ends. We immediately start the next one, the last one.

At the town of Meirinhos we have a light lunch and descend to the dam on the Sabor River. The wide gravel road along the bank directly encourages small and large drifts, the suitcases are an unnecessary burden.

The asphalt and off-road sections continue to alternate as we steadily move towards the finish. We skip the sections that are marked “hard” because we fear they will delay us too much. We watch the sky with apprehension as the clouds gather and the wind picks up. With the first drops we put on our waterproofs.

With only a few dozen kilometres between us and our destination, Peter is getting nervous that we’ll pass the old Roman bridge he’s been looking forward to all along. It’s documented in just about every ACT report Peter and I have seen. Eventually I discover that the bridge is located on one of the skipped “hard” sections not far from our current position. The rain has stopped, the cold is bearable, so we turn the machines around and soon we are descending to the bridge. We cross it and head up the opposite slope. We take pictures and go back.

Before the trip, I speculated which side would be better to cross this section and whether we could even make it. So in the end we pass it from both sides without any problems. ACT Hard is not that hard. Very nice experience and ride at the end!

This was actually the perfect end to the main goal of the whole trip. The remaining kilometers to Braganca (ACT’s destination city) were easy. This is where we refill gas and calories before the next journey. In fact, we agreed to quickly move as close to Porto as possible while it’s not raining and at least a little warm. From the next day onwards it is supposed to snow rather than rain in Braganca and half way to Porto is above 600m where it is also supposed to be very cold.

We arrive in the town of Valongo (about 30min from the centre of Porto) in the dark, rainy, quite chilly, but only got wet for a while and acceptably so.

(300km +200km motorway, Parkhotel Porto Valongo / Valongo)

Route 16. on. I’m not providing a GPX download because ACT routes are only available to ACT club members.

I’m adding two videos this time. The first a classic short cut, the second with long passes without much editing and original audio (mostly for you, Dave 😉 ).

Long version

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