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Portugal: The N2 Donkey Week 2022

$7,950

Often referred to as Portugal’s answer to Route 66, the Estrada Nacional 2 is the country’s most iconic road, winding its way the entire length of the country from the ancient city of Chaves to Faro, on the balmy southern coast of the Algarve.

Cutting right through the centre of this beautiful country, the N2 gives us a chance to explore a side of Portugal that is often ignored by visitors, who favor the coastal big cities and sunny beach resorts. We’ll pass through untouched mountain ranges, the stunning Douro Valley wine region, UNESCO World Heritage sites, spectacular lakes, and a host of historic villages and towns. 

And you’ll be in the best of hands along the way because most of the inGamba team of soigneurs and mechanics call Portugal home. This special randonnée is an opportunity to share their intimate knowledge and discover one of the world’s most charming and unique destinations.

Check out this article from Travel + Leisure, who traveled to Alentejo with inGamba. 

Included With Trip:

  • All lodging*†
  • All food and beverages**
  • Pinarello Dogma F Disk with SRAM RED eTap AXS
  • Daily Bike Wash
  • Custom Castelli × inGamba cycling kit
  • Daily post-ride massage from a professional soigneur
  • Laundry service for cycling clothing
  • The single-supplement is included, so each guest has a private room

*Pre/post-trip lodging is not included
†Flights are 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:

Faro

Days Riding:

6

Total Distance:

747km

Total Elevation:

10,047m

Longest Day:

Day 5, Montargil – Ferreira Do Alentejo, 163km

Biggest Climbing Day:

Day 3, Tondela – Sertā, 2,221m

...

Day by Day Breakdown

1

CHAVES – REGUA

The first day of our ambitious adventure will set the tone perfectly for the week ahead. We'll set out on undulating terrain, before hitting the first big climb of the day between Vidago and the quaint spa town of Sabroso de Aguiar. It’s just under 7km long and averages a gentle grade of 3.2%, but there will be several more to come throughout the day as we skirt the edges of the Serra do Alvão mountains. The ride’s highest point comes around kilometer 49, just before Vilarinho de Samardã, and is followed by a long descent to Vila Real. The final 30km is on the kind of terrain we like to call “Portuguese rollers,” and will take us home to the beautiful vineyard of Quinta da Pacheca in the Douro Valley.
2

REGUA – TONDELA

Suitably warmed up after our opening ride, day 2 is a little more challenging and opens with a big climb right out of the gate. Lasting 29km and gaining 952m in elevation, it brings us to the village of Bigorne, which at just under 1,000m above sea level is the highest point of the trip. That’s quickly followed by a 10km descent to Castro Daire, after which you’ll have 60km of rolling roads to look forward to before we arrive at our new base in the Caramulo Mountains, with a couple of longer climbs thrown in for good measure.
3

TONDELA – SERTĀ

Only the third-longest day in terms of pure distance, this is definitely the toughest of the week with more 2,200 meters of climbing packed into the 137km route. There are a few short climbs peppered across the first half of the day, but the real business begins after 70km, around the town of Góis, where a 14km climb awaits us. At the summit we’ll have a little over 50km still to go, including a couple of long and technical descents on the kind of twisty, quiet roads that cycling dreams are made of.
4

SERTĀ – MONTARGIL

Leaving Sertã behind us, day 4 starts out with three climbs in quick succession, each a little harder than the last. The terrain around here isn’t very high, but don’t let the altitude fool you because this part of Portugal is anything but flat and with a total of 1,256m gain to get through, we’ll be going up and down all day as we cross the threshold into the Alentejo region, which literally translates to "Beyond-the-Tagus,” after the river that bisects Portugal and flows out to sea through its capital, Lisbon. This sparsely populated region is Portugal’s breadbasket and the landscape is a tapestry of oak trees, olive orchards and vineyards.
5

MONTARGIL – FERREIRA DO ALENTEJO

The longest day of the trip is jam packed full of those Portugeuse rollers, so you can expect undulating terrain and leg-sapping little ramps from start to finish as we head deeper into Alentejo. This region produces almost half of all the wine made in Portugal, and in some neat synergy, it’s also the largest producer of cork in the world. Expect plenty of little historic towns and panoramic views across the unspoiled countryside before we arrive in the gorgeous town of Ferreira do Alentejo.
6

FERREIRA DO ALENTEJO – FARO

Rolling terrain for most of the ride on our final day, but be sure to keep plenty in the tank because there will be a series of tough little climbs after kilometer 84. The last climb of the day tops out at 580m – and promises a glorious descent to our finish line in Faro, on Portugal’s southernmost shore. We’ll end our ride right in the heart of the city, by the Faro Marina, overlooking the Gulf of Cádiz.
7

Departure

This is our final morning together and after a leisurely breakfast, it will be time to say goodbye, or at least arrivederci, until we meet again. Transfers to the airport will be arranged by our hard-working crew but if you’re planning on staying a few extra days, let us know if we can help with reservations or a few recommendations. 

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.

Eros Poli

The Champion

The night before Eros Poli took victory atop Mont Ventoux he couldn’t sleep. It was not like he was dreaming of victory or even had the slightest idea the next day's stage would change his life forever. It was just that it was hot. Unbearably, unsleepably hot in his less-than stellar French hotel. His roommate had taken his mattress off the bed and was sleeping on the small balcony outside their room. And the man who would shortly become known as Monsieur Ventoux was watching football, Italy vs. Brazil in the World Cup final, to be exact. Italy lost. The following morning as Eros dragged his weary, tired legs out of bed and down the stairs, as there was no lift, James Brown came into his head. “I feel good, I knew that I would now,” started to repeat over and over in his head. As it would the rest of the day. He felt good and the rest, as they say, is history.

BIKE OPTION

PINARELLO DOGMA F

FRAMESET:

Pinarello Dogma F

COCKPIT:

ZIPP Service Course SL

GRUPPO:

SRAM RED eTap AXS

PEDALS:

Speedplay (or your own)

SADDLE:

Selle Italia

WHEELSET:

Zipp 303 S Carbon Tubeless

TIRES:

Vittoria Corsa

BOTTLE CAGES:

Elite Custom Race

BIDON:

Elite Corsa Team

COMPUTER:

Garmin Edge 1030