10-Mar-2018 -- This is the first out of 4 reports reaching confluence points during a 4-day cycling trip from Lisbon to Seville. According to my records, this was my 116th multiday cycling trip. With about 490 km of cycling, it is my 62nd longest trip.
Friday afternoon, i.e. the evening before confluence day, I flew from Zurich to Lisbon. After a scary, but successful landing during a thunderstorm, I unboxed my bicycle and spent the night in the suburb Barreiro across the bay of the Tagus.
The next day at 5 PM I reached the village Beringel which is located 6 kilometres north of the confluence. I could already see the city of Beja in the distance of 11 km where I planned to spend the night. I had still more than two hours of daylight left. With the confluence being so near, the sun shining and only agricultural land on rolling hills ahead, I felt sure to have an easy and quick confluence visit ahead.
I should note that it had rained cats and dogs for the last 3 weeks, the soil was soaked with water. As I left the main road and turned into an unsealed track, two local women warned me that this road was impassable and that I should not go further. Well, I had no choice and went on until I reached a flooded road. Since the water was too deep to walk through, I tried to walk on the pillars of the flooded bridge, thereby carrying my bicycle including the gear. What I had not thought about was that the pillars had recently been flooded as well and were now extremely slippery from the remaining mud. I almost fell into the water, but made it across. However, I was not going to return the same way.
Approaching the confluence, the conditions worsened. A thunderstorm hit me and wetted everything. The track petered out and I found myself pushing my bicycle through the mud. The dirt accumulated at my tyres which immediately refused rotating. From now on I had to carry my bike, making progress extremely slow and exhausting. Leaving my bike in the middle of nowhere behind and continuing without it wasn’t an attractive option either.
At a distance of 1.6 km I had reached a track again, but it wasn’t pointing to the confluence. Above all, another thunderstorm commenced with heavy rain and strong storm. I hid myself in a low-ceilinged abandoned stable. Cowering for a while, I noticed that I was running out of daylight. It was a tough decision, but I had to keep on going. Now I left my bicycle behind and ran against the storm.
Eventually I reached the confluence on an open field – or more precise between two fields. Taking the pictures against the storm was almost impossible without wetting my camera. Nevertheless I took the cardinal directions pictures to the south and west, but in my haste and with the fading daylight they came out blurry.
When I was back to my bicycle, nightfall set in. I decided to follow the track even if it was in the wrong direction. This extended the journey for another 10 km, I am sure it was the right decision. I had enough of mud-wrestling. Still during heavy rain I reached wetted and frozen the town of Beja at 8 PM.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance of bicycle parking: 1650 m
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 2 hours
- Time at the CP: 6:10 PM
- Measured height: 178 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy: 3 m
- Topography: rolling hills
- Vegetation: grass
- Weather: thunderstorm, 8° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Muddy Stable-Hide Confluence
The story continues at 38°N 7°W.