A long jouney starts with a single…

25 07 2010

day of 100 miles. Well, almost, I only got 156km. I would have made it had they not turned out the lights and someone had removed a few of those annoying hills.

The last week in Barcelona had been a mix of riding to the top of the nearest hill (Tibidabo) and moping around in general, but frequently in the gear shops (or playing at IT support for a ‘customer’ half way round the world). I had half packed several times, worked out what I would like to send home, and my room was basically a mess of piles of gear and clothes. I got my Rabies jab on Friday, but had stupidly taken a Cholera vaccine on Tuesday, which meant I should stay until the following Tuesday. Either that or carry a fridge (I did spend a day trying to work out how to build one for the bike, but without a power source, it’s near impossible). Again going through all my papers on Friday arvo, I decided to actually read the Cholera vaccine info sheet. I deciphered the Spanish, and realised I could take the vaccine between 1-6 weeks. But… I’ll be back in 3 for the last rabies – I’m free!

So I broke into a frenzy of activity, packing, unpacking, repacking. Filling my suitcase with things for Aus. Realising I had too much for the bike. Running around in circles trying to make it all fit (note: front panniers are a bad idea, all the space tends to get filled – if you don’t have the space…)

4am: Got some sleep. 8am, up and doing last minute cleaning, etc. 10:30 on the road. Huh! Finally! (being stuck in BCN was killing me – I thought I’d never get going).

So I went and overdid it on the first day. The sun eventually told me to stop, so I was following a sign to a camp ground when it went down. The sign said 5.6km. That should be ok. What they didn’t say was 400m up. At the end of a big day… I had to walk for a bit. But the great news is (despite my involvement in putting it together) the bike works fine (only the seat post keeps slipping down, and creaks a bit – I’ll sort this out soon enough). I was amazed that I could go that far on an essentially new bike and had no issues. Ok, I was tired, but no pins and needles, or numbness. I’m impressed.

So today I took it a bit easier, rode into Lleida. Looked at the map again and decided that it’s too hot to go to Madrid. Too hot and boring. So I turned north. Currently still planning on hitting the Atlantic, and maybe even Santiago de Compostella. But I’m going to go closer to the Pyranees. Will be more hilly, and therefore slower. But I like the mountains, and it really is VERY hot here – I’m in Lleida at 5pm, 36C or so, so I’m hiding in the corner of the restaurant I had lunch in. They’ve turned the lights out, but don’t seem to mind me sitting here too much. I’m going to load up with water and see if I can get to the next big town (Huenca) 100km NW of here. Not all today though.


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