4,331km down: 1,894km to go
I woke up during the night to heavy rain, so I jumped up and pulled in the washing. I slept the best I have so far in a tent, I only woke about four times.
It was still raining this morning – it is always so pleasant taking down a tent in the rain! We had breakfast and then set off, wearing our rain jackets. It had been dry for ages so we also had to be careful of slippery roads. The first part of the ride we went through some really old towns, sitting perched on the top of the hillsides, on narrow streets, with shutters etc.
One thing I have noticed all the way from St Petersburgh is how important the pharmacy is in a town. In every town it is the one place that is really easy to find, usually it has a lit up sign making it easy to find. Maybe they sell a bigger range of stuff than our pharmacies at home.
Roads we followed today: D9, D30, D23, D3, D561, D15, D561, D561b, D15, D543A-D, D15C, D917, D15m, D15h, D17, D16. We climbed up 758 metres, and went down 1,158.
The rain stopped about an hour after we left camp, and before that was really only drizzling. Although it looked like rain a few times during the day, it held off. One side effect of the rain is the snails and bugs were out in force. We saw a man at the side of the road with a half filled bag of snails – either he was going to have a snail race or he was planning to eat them – yuk! They were just like the snails we get at home.
We were coming up a 6k hill – which is not without difficulty by itself – and I was getting blasted by sandflies, they were going up my nose, into my mouth etc, it was very unpleasant. It must have been the result of the first wet weather for ages. Thankfully once we got to the top of the hill they were much less of a problem. When I am riding I work on a reward system “When you get to the top of the 6k hill you can coffee” etc, so we stopped at the top of the hill for coffee, when we walked in I took my helmet off and shook my head, it was raining sandflies everywhere!
We got into camp about 1:30pm and put the tent up, it was damp and grubby after last night. Having no toilet paper or soap is becoming business as usual but this camp has taken showering to a whole new level – the water in the shower only works whilst you are pressing it! Next time you are bored try having a shower with one hand out of action, pressed against a wall, it’s not straight forward. I also had forgotten that I had no shampoo until it was time to shower, so it was soap again!
One of the riders Jan turns 30 tomorrow, so we had a wee celebration tonight. In Cannes, Brett and I had gone to the equivalent of the $2 dollar shop and got lots of silly presents and a card. The tour guys organized a cake and wine paid for by Danya, luckily they also organized dinner in the camp restaurant because it poured down about 5pm.
We had also planned some skits. Jan has a really good sense of humour (as does Danya) but Jan had never heard of the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch, so Brett and Geergo and I did it (Geergo was the musician). It went down well.
Hopefully it will be a fine day tomorrow, at least we have another rest stop once we get to Montpelier tomorrow, so we will be able to dry out the tents if they are wet, and dry our clothes. Tomorrow we are climbing about 800 metres. Ha it’s funny, but after days of climbing over 1,110 this now seems a light day, a bit like how 100k is now a small day.