Elevation gain: 2028m
Day nine was always going to be tough, even more so with the rain and wind that was forecast around Monchique. The last eight days of riding was evident on the faces of the riders at breakfast and in our minds we knew that the wet trails were definitely going to have an impact on the days finishing time. For the organisers rain would not have been ideal for the finish either, which is on a beach in Sagres.
Shortly after the start there was a 2km climb that reminded everyone that this was not going to be an easy day. On the following decent the heavens opened up for a short while and the wind farms indicated that the wind was directly head on. The first half of the day had less climbing and therefore getting through the kilometres quickly was a strategy on most riders’ minds – this meant packs formed as riders tried to keep their speed up.
Once the first 45km were covered we were treated to some really steep and technical sections that left big grins on most of our faces, whilst some were left with grazes and bruises. As we were now riding along the coast line the terrain was quite sandy and we passed some stunning deserted beaches – something I haven’t seen for many years. On one small section of beach there was a compulsory portage section, this gave some relief to our tired bodies.
As we made our way to Sagres it finally dawned on us that this was the last stretch of riding that we would have to tackle before completing the 9 days of the Transportugal. It was at this point the remainder of our pack sat up and cruised to the finish line feeling relieved, happy that we had completed this challenge and a bit of sad that the end was in sight.
The finish was well supported and when we crossed the finish line we were all passed a Sagres beer, had a dive in the freezing Atlantic Ocean and once again had an amazing spread of food to refuel our bodies before making our way to the final presentation at the hotel.
This was undoubtedly the best event I have ever been a part of and once I have recovered and spent time reflecting on the nine days of riding, accommodation, logistics, villages etc. I will send a short report giving my feedback of the good, the bad and other interesting bits.
1st: Luis Leao Pinto (POR) 4:19:57
2nd: Tiago Silva (POR) 4:19:57
3rd: Marco Almeida (POR) 4:24:17
3rd: Greg Anderson (RSA) 4:24:17