Women’s Week: Northern Portugal’s Undiscovered Paradise

$7,950

This unique week combines all the best cycling has to offer and gives it a feminine twist. Expect long days surrounded by incredible scenery and some even more amazing women from all around the world, led by Heidi Swift, the writer-photographer who many of you will know from publications such as Peloton and Bicycling Magazine.

Heidi eschews the sport’s competitive nature in favor of camaraderie and a whole load of laughs – on and off the bike. This year she will be taking us to the heart of Portugal where several of our support team call this place home, and they’ll be on hand to introduce you to a land that they hold dear to their hearts, guiding you towards all the best bits so that you can properly soak up the local culture.

This special randonnée is an opportunity to share their intimate knowledge and discover one of the world’s most charming and unique destinations. We will skirt along the coastline, explore Medieval towns, and ride through the oldest village in Portugal, all while putting in plenty of miles and riding some of the most beautiful roads in Europe, embracing the “Mangia, Beve, Bici,” philosophy with a Portuguese twist.

Check out the video.

Included With Trip:

  • All lodging*
  • All food and beverages**
  • Pinarello Dogma F10 Disk with SRAM RED eTap AXS
  • Daily Bike Wash
  • One Giordana FRc custom inGamba cycling kit
  • Daily post-ride massage from a professional soigneur
  • Laundry service for cycling clothing

*Pre/post-trip lodging is not included

**Beverages ordered by guests beyond normal amounts and away from group activities will incur additional charges

Trip at a Glance

Start Location:

Porto

Finish Location:

Porto

Days Riding:

7

Group Size:

8 – 12

Total Distance:

503km

Total Elevation:

8,437m

Longest Day:

Day 6. Geres Loop. 87km

Biggest Climbing Day:

Day 6. Geres Loop. 1,850m

...

Day by Day Breakdown

1

Viana do Castelo Test Ride

Bem-vindo a Portugal! To begin our adventure, we’ll leave Porto with a short transfer north to our starting point in the city of Viana do Castelo. From there, it’s a relaxed 46km route that should give you plenty of time to get acclimatized and make sure that everything on your bike works perfectly. The highlight of the day will be the Santa Luzia climb towards the end, known for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at its top and for its panoramic views.
2

Viana do Castelo

Almost half of this loop runs along the coast, so expect some stellar ocean views and perhaps some wind. This region is famous for its Vinho Verde white wine, and for its traditional salted cod, bacalhau, which has been a staple of Portuguese cuisine for centuries.
3

Viana – Vitorino’s

We’re heading towards the interior of Minho, through an area characterised by its Medieval architecture and dominated by the Lima river. Our scenic route gets a little lumpy in the middle so expect some testing climbs before a relaxed downhill finish to to the Hotel Paço de Vitorino, our new home that is famous for its gorgeous gardens and bold, baroque interiors. There will also be plenty of views of the mountains in the nearby Peneda-Geres National Park.
4

Ponte de Lima

This loop is relatively short, but it packs in plenty of climbing as we explore some of the area around Paço de Vitorino, heading northeast as far as Arcos de Valdevez, a historic town with megalithic and Roman roots that isn’t far from the Spanish border. The two biggest climbs of the day are only a couple of kilometers long, but the terrain will be unulating from start to finish.
5

Vitorino’s – Pousada Caniçada

A decent climb begins today’s ride, before a lengthy but gentle descent into rolling countryside. Towards the end, the road will tilt upwards again, as we approach our new base, on the outskirts of the Peneda Gerês natural park, a place protected by Unesco as a World Biosphere Reserve and one of the biggest natural attractions in the country.
6

Gerês Loop

The Geres Loop is the queen stage of the week, with 1,852m of altitude gain and a total of 87km, each one of them packed with brilliant roads and stunning surroundings as we wind our way through the natural park.
7

Amarante – Porto

Our final riding day begins with a transfer to Amarante, before we embark on 81 kms that runs mostly beside the rivers Tamega and Douro. There are no big climbs but expect plenty of ups and downs as we race through the spectacular Douro Valley towards the finish line in Porto.
8

Porto

Today we say goodbye to Porto and head for home.

YOUR Guides

Manuel Cardoso

The Quiet Crusher

Manuel Cardoso is no longer sitting on the front of the pack, pulling everyone along at what some would describe as a “brisk” pace and what others are unable to describe at all, because they're too busy gasping for breath and holding onto the wheel in front of them for dear life. Manuel is now sitting just slightly off the back of the pack. As I look back, I realize he has that look on his face. The look which struck fear in the hearts of the Pro Peleton for many years. The look which is part grin, part mischievous child and all business. He is about to start some shenanigans. Sure enough, just a few kilometers later and Manuel has picked one lucky contestant out of the pack and they are sitting-in, waiting, like predators, for the perfect moment. For Manuel, just like when he raced pro, this is when the road turns slightly up, a spot in the road where it gets tough for everyone. And he accelerates with his breakaway “partner” in tow. It is something to see. He ramps it up to a speed with which no one can latch onto the back and with such precision you have to question whether or not you actually want to try and close the gap he has created. And you can’t see it, but you just know, he is grinning from ear-to-ear.

André Cardoso

The Zealous One

When he was but a wee-tot André fell in love with the majesty of cycling. The racers used to come to his hometown once a year and he would set his alarm clock to wake him in the wee-hours of the morning, so he could run to town and take in all the majesty of the days races. It wasn’t too much longer he started bugging his father for a bicycle of his own. His father thought it was a fad, his father told him he loved everything and his father thought this love affair would pass like so many young men's dreams. But his father finally caved to young André’s drive to ride the bike and bought him a bright and shiny race machine from the local shop. André went on to finish on the podium in his local race, then pile up a huge list of professional palameres and, luckily for us, his love of bicycling has never faltered.

BIKE OPTION

PINARELLO DOGMA F10 DISK

FRAMESET:

Pinarello Dogma F10 Disk

COCKPIT:

ZIPP Service Course SL

GRUPPO:

SRAM RED eTap AXS

PEDALS:

Speedplay (or your own)

SADDLE:

Selle Italia

WHEELSET:

Zipp 302 Carbon Clinchers

TIRES:

Vittoria Corsa CX

BOTTLE CAGES:

Elite Custom Race

BIDON:

Elite Corsa Team

COMPUTER:

Garmin Edge 820