After my recent Coast to Coast ride I had one day at home before a weeks holiday in Portugal. I had been on pain of death not to get injured and ruin the holiday so I was somewhat relieved to make the Easyjet flight and ensure matrimonial harmony. The format was a walking and sunbathing vacation and the weather co-operated with temperatures in the high 20s. Although I enjoyed the walking I am not a good sunbather and tend to get restless when a sun lounger is mentioned but like a trooper I endured the pain.
It would seem that the Algarve coast of Portugal is a cyclists dream apart that is from the Portuguese car drivers who all think they should have a place in an F1 car and rarely use indicators for fear of making their intentions obvious. For cycling you seem to be spoilt for choice with long flat sections of road and some steep climbs in the hills to the north of the coastal strip. Every time we drove out we seemed to come across groups of cyclists enjoying the countryside and smiling, I think jealousy reared its head and I am still plucking up courage to suggest next time I bring my bike.
The final evening of our holiday ended with a visit to Parkys Bar in Vilamoura and we were amazed to see that Tony the manager is undertaking a charity cycle ride which starts today for a former employee who is now sadly suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. The ride is impressive and we wish them well.
On returning to UK the urge to get on the bike saw me out of the door within an hour of arriving home, a quick thirty miles to loosen the legs and a thought to try to do my first 100 mile ride the following day.
Ride With GPS allowed me to plot a route and upload it to my Garmin Edge, so with a back up paper map, two water bottles, plenty of food and mobile phone I set off early on Wednesday morning.
Given my first venture to the magical “100”, I was mindful to moderate my pace, remember to eat and drink and with the Garmin giving the turn by turn directions I was left to rotate the pedals and take in the countryside. The first fifty miles passed quickly and even with a couple of steep hills I felt good. As we passed the seventy mile mark the Garmin switched itself off and stopping to restart I noticed the battery was low. I switched off the navigation/route track to save power and then found myself restarting it about every five miles, this interrupted the flow of the ride and I completely forgot about drinking and eating and found myself really struggling with cramp for the last five miles but the target was achieved at an average of just over 15mph and a very happy and tired Binsted at the end.
The Garmin Edge 705 is a really good training aid, the literature suggests 15 hours of battery life but I have rarely seen more than half that figure if you are displaying maps and turn navigation. I will investigate the Garmin E-Trex 20 for use on longer rides as that model at least has the ubiquitous AA batteries as a power source.
So an interesting week, my thoughts are with the two guys cycling in trying to make a difference to a friends shattered life and my attention now turns to the next two events, the IOW Randonnee and The Lincoln Grand Prix at least I am in the fortunate position to have the good health to be able to enjoy cycling.