Event Review

REVIEW: Skyroad Granfondo Portugal

by Jeremy Humphries

PT Flag

The ride is based in Lousã, a small town in the centre of Portugal, surrounded by low mountains that reach heights of about 1000m. It is just over 2 hour's drive from Lisbon and about 1.5 hours from Porto. If you are flying from the UK, Easyjet fly to Lisbon from several airports, TAP - the Portuguese airline - and BA (if you don't value your bike!) fly from Heathrow and Ryanair fly to Porto from Stansted. 

We came up from Lisbon and stayed locally in a small cottage. However, there is a lot more choice of accommodation if you stay in Coimbra which is about 20 mins drive away. 

One of the excellent things about this ride is that they keep registration open until midnight on the day before the ride. We turned up around 11pm and experienced no queues and got our ride numbers and goody bags straight away. Much better than queuing in the cold on the morning of the ride. One thing I should point out is that you will need to take your passport with you to sign on. 



The morning of the ride was cold and foggy in Lousã. Car parking was in the plentiful, free parking spaces around the town rather than one organised parking area but as it is so small, it was only a minute's ride to the start. 

The start was well organised. There were about 1200 riders taking part and we were allocated start pens of 200 depending on our rider number. The start was a typically noisy affair with an MC shouting into the microphone to give encouragement and at 8am we were off. 

The roads in the town were closed to traffic for the start, which was excellent and after a few minutes we were out on the road on our way to the first climb of the day, 5km from the start. Before we reached it, the fog cleared a bit and we were treated to the impressive view of the mountain rising up in front of us. 



By anyone's standards, a 22km climb more or less from the off is a slog, and although the first 10km of this one is rideable in the big ring, it does drag on once the Granfondo and Mediofondo riders split. I rode the Mediofondo route. The next 10km or so is definitely steeper than the first section, but it won't have anyone standing up out of the saddle. 

Once we reached the top the views were outstanding! The fog had been left far below in the valley and the sun was shining. All we could see for miles around were the tops of mountains poking out through the veil of mist in the valleys. 

Sensibly, the first feed station was situated at the top of the first climb, and there were quite a few eager recipients of what was on offer. I didn't stop though. 



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