2,471km down: 3,754km to go.
Highways 50,65 51/525 plus back roads, 1,500 metres up and down
The past couple of nights I have had a return of my inner ear problem (Labyrinthitis) but by the morning it had been gone. Not this morning. I woke up at 2:30am to go to the bathroom; I lurched there and back like I was drunk. I lay down and hoped it would settle by the morning. The medication is yet another thing I forgot to bring, and it is of course a prescription medicine. It has been a couple of years since the last bout, but no excuse as I have had it on and off for years.
Unfortunately it had not gone by the morning, and the rain had arrived. I thought about riding in the truck for the day but I suffer from car sickness at the best of times, the thought of going in the truck through the back roads, winding up and down, was an even worse option than riding. As long as I did not look down, by the time I set off I was not too bad, but had rotten nausea. I felt I was safe to ride, and if at any time I didn’t I would have stopped and organized to be picked up. Even with the light dizziness I was not the rider that managed to just ride off the road into a ditch – more about this later.
We had been told by the tour guys that this was going to be a tough riding day, and they were not exaggerating. The 70k morning ride to lunch was just about constantly up 12 and 14 percent hills, just climbing. The rain cleared and then it got hot. I was starting to feel better but felt dizzy if I had to look into my panniers (side bags) and for some reason going up steep hills I look down. No idea why but it resulted in me having to get off and walk most of the way up a couple of them.
At 42k I made a wrong turn but thankfully I realized after a couple of kilometres and no flags. So far – touch wood – my wrong turns have resulted in only a few extra kilometres. The record for the tour so far is 50k – pleased it was not me! I started to feel a bit better, and the nausea started to settle a bit as well.
The climb into lunch was 6k and started in a cobble paved street but thankfully soon was just paved road. The road went up and up – a great view but very pleased to see the lunch truck.
After lunch we rode up another couple of kilometres of slight climb, then a 12k downhill. Because I was not sure what was coming around the corner, and some of it was uneven with pot holes, and there were cars, walkers and then in middle of it all a bus, I was constantly braking, so my hands were sore at the end of it.
There are lots of fruit trees all along the sides of the roads, laden with fruit which is dropping all over the ground – apples, plums and a purple berry. The cows here wear bells around their necks. There are still bus routes just about every road we take, but the bus shelters are not as nice, they are often rusty (not as inviting for a quick lie down). There are cobblestone streets galore, and churches of course, but I have not seen before the narrow streets with the houses opening straight onto them with no front yard.
After the downhill there was flat road for about 2k then it was back to climbing and the heat and the wind were back. The wind had lost track of us when we crossed the border, but now it was back. At one point I resorted to sitting in a rusty bus stop and pouring water over my head. I was riding behind Brian when I thought he was pulling off the road, next thing I know he had ridden into a ditch! He said he was just thinking “I wonder what’s in the ditch” and he lost attention for a moment and in he went.
At this stage the climb was getting steeper, it was really hot, and I had run out of water. We went through two small towns that had shops like dairies, but they were shut, must be because it is Sunday? I walked part of the way up one hill, then rode another bit, then I hit the wall, the nausea was back and with less than 4k to go I decided to walk up the final hill. I got to the top of the hill with a numbers of stops (cleats are not great for walking, as well as being stuffed).
The final bit to the rest stop was downhill (12 percent gradient down, thankfully not up!) then cobblestones again but steep! I had a degree of difficulty trying to ride down rough steep cobblestones!
Yay, I arrived at the hotel. I was not able to look down to take off bags or lock my bike but thankfully Ciran was around and he did it for me. I am pleased to be staying in a hotel tonight even though it is not a rest day. I got up to the room and lay down for awhile. Gen who is a Doctor had told me antihistamine pills have a similar effect to Stemetil, so I took one and had a sleep. When I woke up I felt a lot better, just so long as I didn’t do any sudden head movements.
The town we are staying at is a UNESCO site due to the old streets and buildings. I have not had a look it today apart from what I saw on the way in. Tomorrow is a shorter day about 75k, with hills still – especially the first third, but not as bad as today. So depending on how I feel in the morning I might have a look around before I leave.
The hotel is really nice, Hotel Kerling. We had dinner in a restaurant, first a nice meat and noodle broth and then a kind of chicken schnitzel with salad and chips, and an endless jug of cold water. Plus the hotel has Wifi so have been able to send through updates for past two days and today.
Not all the riders are riding all the days, or if they do they get a lift with the lunch truck to lunch stop and ride from there, or ride to the lunch stop and then go in the truck to camp. Although I came in at the back of the field today, there were four riders ahead of me, and of the remaining 12: 1 did not ride today, 2 got a lift to the lunch stop (one then caught the lunch truck again as it went past because it was so hot), 2 that were behind me got a lift the final bit. So overall although it was a slow day, I am still pleased with it.