As reported by Rex:
I woke up on my 50th birthday with somewhat weary legs on the second day of the Waldy Tour. I headed down to breakfast with a sense of purpose, looking forward to another day of cycling in the Portuguese countryside. I was proudly sporting both the pink and yellow jerseys, having been awarded them by Tim the previous evening to celebrate my birthday. The day got off to a great start when Anne presented me with a card signed by the Tour party and Richard brought me a glass of champagne (I promise I drank some of it Richard!).
After a quick briefing poolside, the Waldys split off into their groups for the route to Aljezur on the West coast. I elected to be in the medium paced long ride, which was being led by Simon B. The first three-quarters of an hour involved a pleasant meander through the coastal towns and villages of Praia da Luz and Burgau. After the hills of the previous day, thiswas a much-needed opportunity for the legs to get going again. Every time another group passed us someone gave me another rendition of happy birthday, further lifting my spirits.
As we weaved down another hill, there appeared on the far side of the valley what proved to be a very steep ramp. My heart started racing as I quickly dropped to my lowest gear and stood on the pedals to keep some momentum going. My trusty Garmin told that the gradient was around the 20% mark so I was glad to reach the crest after a few minutes and have a chance for a breather. Definitely an unexpected test so early in the day. So much so that Andy H (who had set today’s route and had previously suggested that there was no climbing in the morning) relieved me of the Yellow Jersey at lunch.
Soon after reaching the town of Villa do Bispo, the road veered Northwards. This section of the route involved a long, straight section of road. My group decided to get into a chain gang routine and we made rapid progress along the tree-lined road. We made a quick stop in Carrapateira for some much needed coffee and Portuguese tarts and were joined by the Elegant long group. I had hoped to lose one or both of the jerseys as the Portugeuse sun was starting to hot up, but sadly (for me at least) no one had committed so much as a minor misdemeanour. After a hair raising incident involving a lorry who seemed reluctant to brake and practically forced an oncoming driver off the road, we soon arrived in Aljezur having completed a very satisfying morning’s cycling.
Top marks to Andy for finding a cracking restaurant where we feasted on steak and vegetable tagine whilst chilling in a wonderfully shady spot. He even managed to find a candle for my pudding. I did have to say goodbye to both jerseys at that point, so my eternal thanks goes to Rich for presenting Liz with some flowers and taking on the pink jersey, as well as to Andy and his short but very steep hill.
Upon leaving the city limits, we started the long climb of the day which involved gaining 300m over 7km. I was definitely feeling the heat by the top and was very pleased to see the fast group marking the end of the climb. After a brief plateau, we turned to the South and started the descent. I felt my back tyre lose control and was desperately trying to work out what I was doing wrong – I presumed I had pulled on the wrong brake. It turned out to be a puncture, although with some much appreciated help from my ride leader Simon B, I was soon racing downhill to catch up the other members of the group (yes Clive, passing Simon the tyre levers was a very important part of the process). This next section had some beautiful swooping downhills, during which (according to the chat in the bar that evening) some Waldys managed to hit tip-top speeds.
The major incident on the ride back to Lagos was when an overtaking driver seemed to be trying to push Dave B out of his way, but fortunately no contact was made. Simon B did suffer a seemingly never-ending series of punctures within almost a kilometre of the hotel, but by then the hard riding had been completed and the group remained in high spirits.
All in all, being on the Waldy Tour was a fantastic way to celebrate a birthday and I will have great memories of the day for many years to come. All that remains is to express my thanks to the all the members of the Tour Committee for organising such a fantastic weekend, with accommodation, food, cycling and company exceeding all expectations.