June 16th 23:53
FINE LINE BETWEEN PLEASURE AND RAIN
The first week of cycling has now concluded and looking back over the week am not sure anything was easy and predictable and for sure it did not end that way.
For whatever reason I went to bed thinking that I was going to manage the planned 110k, regardless of how quick or had to crawl to get it done. No thought of bus or rest was being considered.
I woke up and pulled myself out of the tent and noticed my Belgian friend had pulled in late the night before. Also the motorcyclist that had given my the thumbs up a couple days before was there as well so we all spent breakfast exchanging war stories of passing the frozen plateau. The campground was quite nice and had view on the water…
It also had pool access, laundry, showers etc so they both had decided were going to stay there an extra night to take advantage. I briefly considered it but looking at the weather Saturday was going to rain so it only reaffirmed my commitment to purging ahead.
I packed my kit, paid for my 1 night of camping (12euro), heckled the Belgian for being lazy and off I went. Apparently news of my tour has been drawing some local attention as some gad lined the streets to catch a glimpse
I friendlily said goodbye to my fans in their native tongue and continued on.
The first challenge of the day came after about 15 km when the road turned into a dirt road and soon after an evil incline…
I had read stories of the climbs on today’s route and the problems they had caused other riders but I managed to make the first climb on the bike without major issues other than gasping for breath.
The roads returned to pavement until challenge two. Funny how they refuse to pave the most evil parts. This one was a monster… there was just no hope… the loose gravel and dirt made it very hard to push but to be honest with no bags, no wind, paved road and fresh legs I am not convinced I would make it. 14 degree incline that stretched more than 2km. I made it about a third of the way up and had enough. This is the view from about 2/3 of way up..
More walking to the view from the top…
The good part was the ground was firm enough to be able to come down it at a pretty good pace. I was nearing about half the distance so was time to find a place for lunch. Like the day before there were only few moments of sun and the rest very dark and gloomy. One thing about it here is that with the sun is VERY hot on your skin but when it disappears it becomes cold quickly and with wet clothes and wind takes little time to not feel well. So choosing a sheltered place for your stops is very important. Luckily I found a big recycling dumpster to hide behind 🙂
I had run out of mayo so bought what looked similar (tasting similar different story) at the store the night before.
The next part is where the day started to unravel 🙂 As mentioned the wind was making things “cool” after stops… I decided to change opting for a dry long sleeve underwear top and new tshirt since the Ines I had on were soaked. Since I only carry two I usually save this for end of day but figured I would manage. So back to the roads I went when I hit the 75% mark and as Phil says “Just let it rain down all over me” and it sure did…. unannounced, unpredicted, unplanned and UNWANTED!!!!
For the next 2 hours the wind and rain chilled me thoroughly…. I was so looking forward to getting into warm dry….. CHIT !!!! I was wearing them !!! I finally arrived at what I “thought” would be my destination (key word thought). And unmounted. Despite the discomfort I was pleased that I endured the challenges of the day and made it.
I went into the N1 gas station, ordered a burger and asked where the camping was… I was given a blank stare… she talked with here colleague and then told me there was one 15km away…… no no no no no …
Then I asked of the nearby guesthouse that I had read people stayed in ….. she answered… “it’s closed”….. no no no no no!!!!
This was a gas station next to a round about in middle of nowhere joining a couple of major roads… all around was thick, wet, swampy land… nowhere did I see a way to put up a tent.
I had passed s guesthouse 10 km before and this was last hope… alternative being an EXTREMELY IFFY night…. So back up the hill I pedaled… I arrived and to my happiness was open and plenty of room so I jumped in the door. I will add that I am writing you from a bed, warm showered with laundry washed…. heaven!
Hiding from that!
So in the end of seven days of cycling managed to bank 755km. Has been a tough but great week full of challenges and fun memories.
Well time to take advantage since be back in a tent somewhere in Iceland tomorrow and when I get there I will let you know🙂