Cycle tours are like exams. You need to prepare for them. Just four weeks before the start of my Peak Tours Portugal end to end trip I’m feeling nervous. I’m horribly ill-prepared, but have finally begun training.
I’d like to think I have an excuse. My father died in February, and I simply couldn’t find the energy for bike rides, especially in March’s distinctly un-spring-like weather.
But this weekend I rediscovered the pleasure of cycling on my new Specialized Roubaix. It reminded me of the revelation of first rides on my original Roubaix, my first road bike, in 2014. This new Roubaix replaces my much-missed Cannondale Synapse, retired in 2021 with a damaged frame after over 7,000 miles, including a wonderful Land’s End-John O’Groats tour four years ago. It’s good to have a fast bike again.
Over the next four weeks I’ll try to regain some tour fitness, initially by building cardio hours, then adding increasingly tough hill climbing hours in the ever-hilly Chilterns. (Not to mention my weekly personal training sessions.) I clearly won’t be as match fit as I’d like, but hope to start the Portugal end to end without the feeling I’ve entered the exam hall without a moment’s revision. That’s the hope…
PS: it will be poignant arriving in Porto next month. Last June I flew there en route to Vigo in Spain to support my 95 year old father, and get him home from hospital. That was the start of the final chapter in Dad’s extraordinary story. I am looking forward to returning to Portugal for a very different challenge.