Waking up at 7 on a saturday morning is hard - until you realize why...group ride! This morning it turned out to be just Sergi(nh)o, Helder and myself. A short ride but with lots of wind on Guincho beach and some hard time trial efforts by the triathletes who dropped me...the post-ride pastel de nata was welcome. After lunch and the Holland-Japan world cup game (it's the result that counts!) I went back to the bike shop to pick up some goodies and discuss packing options with Julio, best bike mechanic in the world ;-) Initially I was planning to ride with a backpack but Julio talked me out of it, telling me I should opt for an aluminium seatpost and a Topeak carrier system. This would keep my back free - something I think will indeed be much more comfortable. As long as my bike can handle the weight...but it should be okay as the same bike can be ridden by people in a completely different weight class than me.
The bike I will be riding is not the red one that features on some of the pics in this blog. The red bike is my first road bike, 'the old Bianchi', a Bianchi Gold race team purchased in 2002 in Oxford and which I ride when I am in Holland. Not a gram of carbon and Campy Mirage 9-speed. The bike I will ride to Holland is 'Scotty', a 2008 Scott CR1 team bought at Lusobike. It is pictured below and has been slightly modified from when I bought it: all components are stock Shimano 105 (compact crankset), but the pedals are Ultegra, the wheels I upgraded thanks to Sinterklaas to HED Ardennes (very very very nice), and I just purchased a new saddle, a Prologo Nago PAS gel. Like the previous saddle, which was a bit too worn out to take for a 2500+k ride, it has a hole in the middle to relieve sensitive body parts, but this one is white so it looks more pro ;-). The fact that the saddle has gel makes the manufacturer state that it is for fitness rather than performance use which of course is a bit of a bummer (click on the video and you may or may not understand). But then again: another adjustment that still needs to be made is changing the cassette from 12-25 to 12-27 to allow for a mercy gear in the mountains - that's definitely fitness level!
I also picked up a multitool with a chain tool that I hope I won't be needing and ordered some baselayers and an extra bibshort. I will be riding in yellow as the sponsored shirts come in one colour only - many thanks to Julio, Pedro and Sergio at Lusobike - best bike shop in Portugal!!!