Total ascent: 1140m
Hours in the saddle: 5hrs
Am feeling pretty pooped tonight so apologies if this is short and/or makes no sense. I think it will be an early night tonight if I don't pass out at my dinner table. I actually had a relatively good nights sleep last night and a siesta too but sometimes catching up on sleep is worse than when you get no sleep. Or maybe I need to drink more water which is just as likely.
So longish day today so headed off early..too early for breakfast at Albarracin and with the lack of shops there I had to get a little creative. Well food was fine..bread and cheese but how to get my caffeine fix? I was a little stumped on that one and it was the most important thing..the thought of having a full sugar coke..bleurg!! But then chance would have it the shop has little sachets of coffee..I had no kettle but a 'frappe' would work! Perhaps not the best tasting but beggars can't be choosers.
So now I have sachets of coffee as a new items in my bags. This joins several other now essential additions that I have added on this 2nd half..my cofidis vuelta cap, a purple spork, and nail clippers. Not sure how I survived all this time without them! But then this second half i have abandoned any attempts at going fast with the heat, wind and tiredness..the mission being just to get there. Instead of chasing people up climbs it is more now the challenge to keep the carbon warriors from overtaking me for as long as possible. So i can 'splurge' out and carry this extra weight.
Make do breakie done I headed out. It soon became apparent why nothing started til 9 in Albarracin as the sun did not manage to come up over and into the sierra until way past 8. It made for a very cool start to the day but the perk was that i had the roads pretty much to myself. In fact I did for most of the day anyway. I saw more wildlife..from two dogs, to a cat with the hugest rat in its mouth and three deer..than cars and people. Oh there were lots of sheep too and some goats. One massive herd of sheep I saw..had just the one goat. I got to think that's kinda got to give the goat a complex and indeed it was a bit of an outcast of the group..shunned to the side poor thing. And another example of how in the middle of nowhere was that when some motorbikes passed the other way...try waved. And that rarely if ever happens. Biker to biker sure, cyclist to cyclist..its the rules! But rarely crossing over. Cars well cars just don't wave at anyone.
It was a great route though, roads were good and the scenery fantastic. Even the road that I had been worried about ended up being super smooth and wide. There had been good signs, literally, from early on as the direction I was headed was signposted for Cuenca from 103km to go. The descent from that road was hair raising..10% for 5km. But after that it was all smooth sailing through the sierra de cuenca. Until the last 10kms when I did one of my random detours onto a smaller road which would lead me to the side of Cuenca that I needed to go to. What hadden't really clicked was that that meant I would have to go up. And after 100k's and the temperature being late 30's, that up felt worse than the Tourmalet. Seeing the road I had been on down below smoothly and flatly following the river made me utter some select swearwords under my breath. But the views of Cuenca were awesome from the height and also back down the valley.
So into Cuenca and finding my home for the night which takes the form of a converted monestry/choir boy college (apparently the reason for the choir boy college was really just so that they could make sure all the boys got to Mass on time). So my room (the cheapest) is actually an ex-priest cell. Its quite bizarre and quirky. But really nice place..am sitting eating my rice pudding on the terrace watching the sun go down on the hills...there are certainly worse ways to end a day!
I am here for another night so I think I will write about Cuenca and the surrounds tomorrow as I am running out of steam.