Tom Letsinger and I arrived in Braganca May 7, for the Garmin TransPortugal 8 day mountain bike race.
I was so happy to see some of my old Portuguese friends when I arrived at the hotel. Portugal is really starting to feel like a home away from home.
This is the first year I have come to the race and I have not been a full staff member or a racer. I am not very good at standing on the sidelines but I’ve also desperately needed a vacation, so I arranged with the organization to do body work in the evening for approximately two hours to help out the massage staff. It’s a perfect balance of being on my own during the day and having some good downtime but still feeling like I’m part of the race.
Day 0 is always very chaotic with riders anxious, staff very busy and a tight schedule. This year should turn out to be quite interesting as the weather has been cool and rainy. There will be a lot of mud and both the bikes and riders will suffer. I’m anticipating a lot of mechanical difficulties due to the conditions and a lot of saddle sores from the wet and grit. Here’s a link to my advice on saddle sores from my race experience in 2013.
Tom always says that day 0 is the hardest day. That’s when all the stress happens. After that, you’really just out for a bike ride, albeit a very long one.