Daily Archives: September 18, 2012

Day 67: Canizar de Olivar to Molina de Aragon – 120k

5,339km down: 886km to go  (Up 1,424 metres, and down 1,130)

I had a good start to the day as I got a reasonable sleep last night. The local rooster must have slept in because he did not start until after we got up. I have rationalized my panniers down to one which Brett has very kindly offered to carry for me. Every bit will help get through the next three days.

I rang home to get the update regarding how Lizzy and Xavier are getting on. They are both going well, and Lizzy was taking Xavier for his first walk, along the beach near our home. Not that Xavier knew – he was fast asleep! After having a chat to Lizzy, I spoke to Kelly and got some fantastic news.  Kelly is 12 weeks pregnant, she had the scan today and all looks good. So I will be a Gran again at the end of March. It put a big smile on my face. I also shed a few tears, and had to explain to my fellow riders that they were happy tears, as they weren’t sure what was happening on the other end of the phone, they just heard me shriek and then start crying!

So off we went, and of course we first of all had to climb up the 2k we had gone down to camp the night before. Then it was 2k up a 5% gradient – ouch on tired, unwarmed up legs. However this was followed by an 11k downhill 🙂

Heading up a hill early in the day

We had rollers for awhile then a 4k up but then a 6k down. Brett said they are honest hills – they give back more than they take. The bugs going up the 4k hill were a pain, trying to get in my eyes, it was very odd seeing them walking across my sunglasses. Plus there were a few I had to spit out, and one I nearly swallowed, yum.

After 20k I had a quick stop and my legs were wobbly and tired, I did not see how they would make the day. Thankfully they loosened up. Overall it was a great ride until lunch. There are lots of small towns perched on the hillside, often they don’t have a shop but they all have a church. We passed a town called Caminreal, it had heaps of Piggeries, there was building after building of them however it looks like the  pigs never get to go outside 😦

As I said, it was a great ride until lunch, and we set off with 55k to go feeling really positive and looking forward to an early day. You know that saying don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched?! Well the afternoon was mostly up; at one point there was a hill that was 15k, with a hideous head wind. The afternoon went on and on.

The ride goes on and on

Thankfully we are staying in a hotel tonight so no putting up tents and listening to noisy campers. It’s a really nice hotel we are staying at, the Parador de Santa Rita, established in 1826. I have a hotel room to myself with three beds and a bath 🙂 But it does have a low ceiling  that I have to look out for, so far I have only banged my head three times.

We had dinner at the restaurant, it was really nice: salad, meat and pasta. I think they were surprised by how much we ate given that we are not enormous people.

Tomorrow we are riding 109k, the same uphill distance as today, and the weather forecast is for the wind to be at least as bad as today.

The Shepard and his dog were walking along with the sheep, they probably cover quite a distance each day. Not much food for the sheep though.

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Day 66: Arnes to Canizar de Olivar – 116k

5,219km down: 1,006km to go  (Up 1,478 metres, and down 943)

I had another dreadful night’s sleep, the Italian family at the campsite before Genoa had nothing on their Spanish counterparts. There were people drinking when we got to camp about 2:30pm, and still going after midnight. One particular woman had a great parenting technique, every 20 minutes or so she would scream at the top of her voice something that sounded like “Harriieee!”. Also it was really hot again in the tent. So far this half of the trip I have slept every camping night in a tent but my resolve is quickly waning.

The day started off with us being served porridge for breakfast, which is always a sign that the day ahead will be challenging – usually we just have muesli. The good news was the first 50k was on a rail trail (www.montsport.es), the bad news was that there was 10k of it on a gravel road, and after that it was climbing for the rest of the day.

The rail trail was pretty good, a slightly up gradient but cool temperatures. The gravel road was challenging, it was more like stones and rocks.

Rail trail after it turned from rocks to gravel

We went through three tunnels, and yes my light chose now to die again.

Rail trail tunnel

The hills after lunch just went on and on, and up! We only had two small down hills the entire afternoon. It was hot too, the country is stark, the scenery was like the desert road – miles and miles of dirt, but instead of tussock grass we had dirt and olive trees!

Dirt and olive trees

At about 15k out from the finish I had had it, my legs were sore, and I was over it! I have to admit there were tears, but tears are not weak – giving up is, so on and on and on I went. At 11k out I came across the lunch truck again! For a moment I thought “Oh my god we haven’t even made it to the lunch stop yet!!”. But Esther realised that we were having a hard day and had stopped to refill water and give us watermelon. I have not yet mentioned the watermelon, it’s the highlight of the lunch stop each day, as it is instant sugar and fluid.

The road went on and on

And on and on some more

I finally got to the last turn, and it was a 2k ride downhill to camp. And yay – a campsite with grass, I should actually be able to get my tent pegs in. And the toilet has soap and toilet paper and toilet seats, plus a shower that stays on. I’m moving in. There were also hardly any other campers, so it should be a better night than last night. We had the riders meeting and got some daunting news about tomorrow – 120k with some big hills. I think it’s time to review what’s in my panniers.

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