Friday, November 14, 2008


Day: 415
Cercal to Grândola
Time: 3:59:00
Distance: 54.7
Avg Speed: 14.7
Terrain: Hills
Location: N 38˚ 10’ 31.8”, 08˚ 34’ 4.1” W

Man, I’m getting tired. I don’t know if it’s the fact that we are on day 415 and 9,500+ kilometers into the trip or if my body just knows the end is near. Fatigue has been setting in around lunchtime and we usually have a couple of more hours to go before the day is done. Perhaps it has something to do with the weeklong break we took recently. Chris equated it to running a car for three months, turning it off, and now it doesn’t want to start again. With one or two more days to go, I think we can muster up the last little bit of energy. I just keep telling myself to be present and enjoy the last bit of pedaling. Soon enough we’ll be home facing the winter months and no regular rides to depend on.
We had another peaceful ride through the undulating cork groves today. I enjoyed examining all of the twisted branches of the trees with no leaves. I’ve become quite fascinated with these oaks. I also tried to soak up the atmosphere; blue skies, rural landscape, and smiling locals. Most people will give a wave if you give them a nod. I’ve had such a good feeling from most rural people across Europe, but the Portuguese are special. I don’t know what it is exactly, but they just have this quiet confidence about them.
And so we come to the eve of the last day riding. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we prepare for the last day of a big ride. I’d like to think that we have many more adventures with bicycles ahead of us. It will probably be a day of reflection and I’m sure we’ll share our thoughts here. You’ll probably get tired of us philosophizing in the next week or so. I’m finding that it’s hard not to think about what we’ve done, where we’ve been, and how life has changed. My mom shared a quote with me yesterday in an email. Apparently it was something that I wrote down when I was in college. Ironically it’s something that puts our trip into perspective.

"Presence: Success is a matter of desire, failure is a matter of excuses. Strength is building a road of dreams into the future, but still following it when weakness arises. And nothing happens unless the mind has presence."

Until tomorrow,

1 comment:

Michele said...

I am so glad that you are having a great time in Portugal. It really is a hidden gem!! And as far as the yurt living goes, they are bigger than you think but they need plumbing.