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