Date: January 2-13, 2014
Today's Mileage: 0 Total Mileage: 1756
Espinho was very quiet, wet, and seemed somewhat depressed. The beach communities along the north coast of Portugal get most of their tourism in the warmer summer months. This area is well known for surfing but the waves were looking messy today. The weather was terrible with lots of wind and rain. I think I was the only guest at the hotel in Espinho. 30e got me a comfortable room with a good breakfast.
In the morning, the weather was awful and I went across the street to see about getting a train into Aveiro. Bikes are allowed on trains in Portugal! The question was could I get Myrtle on with the full load. The ticket was only 3e for the 40 minute trip. I had to take an elevator down to the track and it was plenty big enough. The last car of the train is reserved for bikes. There was one step up and I asked another passenger to help. He also helped me get off the train in Aveiro. Once off the train, I saw that I had a flat on the left front tire. There was a covered waiting area next to the track and I rolled the trike in. No one was on the platform so I could spread out. I rarely get flats and this was kind of an event for me.
The rims on the Scorpion aren't as deep as my old Greenspeed and removing the tires is much easier. I was able to put the Marathon Plus tire back on the rim without tools. Nice! With a fixed flat I rolled the trike over to the elevator and discovered it wasn't wide or deep enough to roll on. A guy was standing around and offered to help me lift the trike sideways into the elevator. I raised the rear wheel and it fit. Getting the bags in too made for a cozy ride. Once in the station, there was another elevator to get out to the street. This one was big enough to roll right on. Out on the street, the weather was dreadful. It was pouring down rain and very windy. Aveiro isn't a small town and I had a recommendation for a hostel to stay at. I got a few blocks and realized I didn't patch the tube very well and the left front tire was going flat again. I pulled over a couple of times and pumped it up instead of patching. The conditions were just too wet.
It took a bit to find the hostel because there wasn't a sign on it. I had a general idea of where to go and finally asked someone who pointed across the street. I got checked into a dorm room for 15e a night.
My legs were not doing well. The aching was so bad I was having trouble walking. I planned to stay put until the pain is gone. Turns out the woman who runs the Aveiro Rossio hostel is also a physical therapist. She saw how much trouble I was having and suggested I go to the university to work with a professional there. She even made the appointment and drove me. I met Rafael for an hour. He used heating pads, did ultrasound and showed me a new tool that reminded me of cupping used in acupuncture. The cups are suctioned to the skin raising it from the fascia. Then he gently moved the cup up and down my muscle along the grain. I was so impressed with this that I asked to buy the tool. Rafael said he would bring it to the next appointment.
This injury is different from any I've ever had. I turned to Facebook and the recumbent bike groups for help describing my symptoms. I got many responses suggesting the boom on the trike is too short. Interesting. The more I thought about it, the more this made sense.
This tour is the first time I've biked in cold weather conditions for more than a couple of days at a time. While riding in Spain on the Camino, I was wearing many layers which added padding and put me closer to the pedals. I was wearing 4 layers on top more I do at home in Portland where I had set the boom length. I was also wearing a pair of thick Sealzskins waterproof socks on top of a pair of thick wool socks. This too would shorten the length to the pedals. I was essentially jamming my legs into my hips with every pedal stroke. No wonder my thighs and hips are in pain. It simply never occurred to me that the boom length needs to be changed when I put more clothes on.
Now that I had a better idea of what the problem is I could work on getting my body back in shape. Everyday I was spending extra time stretching and rubbing in tiger balm. Ibuprofen helped too. I found a spa to soak in and went back for physical therapy 3 more times. Every day saw improvement but it took over a week feel like I could start making plans for moving on.
Aveiro is a very sweet town. There are many canals with gondola type boats called molicieros. There was also the biggest festival of the year going on. This is a celebration of Sao Goncalinho for answered prayers. There is a beautiful church in the town center for this saint. All day, monks throw cavacas from the roof of the church to the waiting crowds. Some people use fishing nets on long poles to try and catch the pastries. Others use umbrellas turned upside down. Really fun to watch. Cavacas are large and heavy pastries and many thousands are thrown during of the 4-day festival. I got hit with one of these flying pastries and it was painful! There is also a music festival close by on one of the canals. All kinds of music was show-cased. Rock, tuna, fado, folk, jazz, blues and everything in between. The weather was great I really enjoyed this unusual festival.
I also took a day to go to Coimbra. It was an hour's trip by train on a gorgeous day. This town is home to one Europe's oldest universities that dates back to the 1100's. The university is up a very steep hill. I had to take a few breaks for my legs and wondered if the smartest thing to be doing. The buildings are all very formal. The library had gold-leaf. Photos were not allowed inside. The views were terrific too. I spent a few hours walking around before heading back down the hill and to the train station.
Little by little my legs are feeling better. After 11 lovely days in Aveiro I think I'm ready to move on. I will miss the fantastic Aveiro Rossio Hostel and all the wonderful people who work there. They all took really good care of me. I made lots of freinds here and hope to see them all again.
I fixed the flatted tube, this time putting the patch in the right place over the puncture. The weather doesn't look great for the next few days but I think it is time to start riding anyway. I don't have to go far and will pay attention to how my legs are feeling while I ride. I'll be taking a coastal route for the next few days which looks to be fairly flat as well.