Day two of the conference in Cascais and the "Well & Healthy" menu includes golf, yoga, sightseeing and a workout in the gym... all of which pale into comparison when cycling is on offer. I'm choosing to repeat yesterday's ride and I'm in the company of a different selection of colleagues. The route is exactly the same, however the ride experience is completely different because the weather was a lot more fierce today and the wind was turning the gentle slopes of yesterday into a greater test of leg strength.
By the time we reached the coast the the riders were much more tired than yesterday, and the wind had turned into a gale as it blasted in from the Atlantic, carrying sea spray with it. Huge rolling waves crashed into the shore and splashed up on the rocks. The horizon is filled with white water and my glasses are splattered with salt water. Cyclists all over the world know that adversity brings challenge and challenge brings achievement, difficult conditions make the "hero" stories so much more compelling in the following evening! Everyone in this group was happy, bearing in mind that some of them were tackling a distance they hadn't done since childhood.
If the strong wind had been against us on the way out, we were now blessed with the 'Tailwind of the Gods' on the way home. This was accompanied by a torrential downpour and within minutes my shoes, shirt, and shorts were drenched, but it wasn't cold, so I had a great big grin plastered on my face. Everyone in the group was smiling too. By the time we arrived back at the Citadel there was a rainbow to greet us and everyone was laughing and filled with the sense of achievement.
We got back on the coach and soaked the seats thanks to our sodden clothing. What a great way to get some exercise in during a conference with an organised bicycle ride. Thank you to Luis and Herlander again, and to Kari for organising this for us.