Countdown to Madrid

Since my last post in September 2014 my cycling habits have changed. I have developed my training for the goal of the next foreign trip. On 29th July 2014, I booked the flights, or rather changed the date and destination of our original return flights to Prague. So the countdown is on from then.

The accommodation is booked each night of the trip, for myself and Cheryl. Cheryl is my Support and Companion for the trip. A trip that will take us from Madrid to Lisbon, where we will meet Aldo and Karen and spend a few days with them. This is me doing the first stage of the EE, it’s part of the game that I need to complete this part of the journey before moving on to stage 2. It’s like doing the rubik’s cube; You do one side then move on to the corners, complete the corners and then do the middle row and then the final side. You can go on and do the corners first, then the middle row and the bottom side, but at some stage you need to go back and do the top side. May as well do the top side first, that’s the order you plan it.

There is no flying the bike out this trip, no hassle in getting it to the airport and back and no need to cart a bike bag around. I am using a company based in Sintra called, Cycling Rentals, who will deliver the bike to my hotel in Madrid on the day before my first day cycling and collect it from the hotel in Lisbon after my last day of cycling. Magic! They have good reviews and the communications have been good, so I am confident of a good service. The bike I have ordered is in some ways better than I ride at present but it comes as it is, so I will need to do a little adjusting, of the seat, at least. It’s a full carbon bike, and since I can travel light this will be fun. I’m not sure my legs are strong enough going up hill on a gradient of more than 7% for more than a few minutes, or even less on longer climbs. And I can’t come off for a breather as it might be a tight, busy road or my ego might not let me. Though I dare say my legs screaming at me might force such a decision! Watch my blog for this section, it may contain a lot of pics as I find an excuse for a new photo opportunity at each layby.

EE Stage One (reversed)
EE Stage One (reversed)

There are a few changes to the original route that Aldo and Mac took. They did Lisbon to Madrid, I am doing that trip in reverse. This means my trip should have more decents and less ascents as Madrid is at 2500 feet above sea level, and Lisbon is near sea level. Making up for this I have taken a little detour via Segovia, which includes climbing through the Sierra de Guadarrama. Thankfully I have scheduled a days rest so we can enjoy Segovia. Onto Avila, and then to Plasencia, where I don’t think I’m punished any more than they were by the Sierra de Gredos range. From Plasencia, the road to Lisbon is very similar to the original, but in reverse of course.

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