Most teams opted to go to the model event, based in the town of Boticas, in the morning to avoid the lunchtime/afternoon heat. Team GB did the same but Windy and I (Windy navigating, I might add) managed to take a more leisurely tourist route to the event, so started somewhat later than the others!
We went out together on the 1:15,000 map to get an idea of the types of terrain we would encounter in the following days and to see how the various track symbology is used in Portugal. We learnt straight away that the fast riding forest roads were generally not that quick, being loose and criss crossed in places by storm water run off. Many of the smaller tracks were very rough and Windy’s 4 inch full-susspension bike was a definite advantage, soaking up the lumps and bumps.
We also tried several route choice options as a pair to see what was quicker.
Our last control was at the top of a hill in a beautiful old village, complete with all the old farmers and their wives we had seen in the opening ceremony video the night before, sitting on benches or standing in their doors, watching us mad, brightly-dressed MTBOers scuttling past on the cobbles.
The rest of the team went off to a lake to swim in the afternoon but I decided to stay in and around Montalegre and relax after a great lunch of lots of the smoked meats the town is famous for.