26.08.2014 42 °C
Total ascent: 1133m
Time in the saddle: 4hrs 22min
Terrain: I'm gonna go with undulating
After the meting session that was yesterday afternoon, I was a little bit concerned about today's ride as the forecast was for even hotter. Ideally an early start would be needed but my hostal didn't open until 8 so I would not be able to get to my bike before then. So that foiled that plan..I would just have to leave as early as I could.
After what seems like weeks of riding into the headwind my legs again took some time to warm up, not aided by the fact that yes again I was into the wind even first thing. (Wind goes to the sea first thing and then usually it comes from the south, or on from the sea near the coast) To take my mind off it I ditched the map so to speak and headed well where ever it took me..and that was following the signs for castles and embalses. Dilemma time when these two were off in different directions but as always water won. Lovely road that ran along side the lake shore in the cover of the pine trees. And then up up the valley toward the main road. Again an almost empty road, save for lots of cyclists, and never ending trees. I think this was a bit of a local hotspot and training climb as there were even some guys with a support vehicle going up any down (way faster than me obviously).
Onto the main road which climbed further and then descended down fast. I should say that since crash number 2 on Mallorca my descending skills have vanished and descendaphobia has taken over again to some extent...frustratingly...it should just be a matter of time to get it back but when descending on roads like today when you are buffeted by strong gusty winds ..oof. It doesn't help. Anyway after that I was feeling pretty exposed on the main road though literally it became a less so the lower I got. I was glad then when I reached Mora d'Ebre where I turned off.
Best of all here was that I rejoined my old friend the Rio Ebro. This is the third time I have crossed its path and it was just as impressive as before. After the last few days of crossing many dried out riverbeds, the Ebro was quite a sight..its wide and fast flowing water a complete contrast.
If I had thought that it was downhill following the river to the coast from here I was sorely mistaken. Insult to injury was that the temperature rocketed..my garmin reading about 42°! However there were two blessings, one was that the humidity dropped massively, and the second was that the wind from the sea was mainly a cool one (even if it was a headwind). It was still hard work. But again most of the route seemed to be cyclist friendly and I was even overtaken by the Russian UCI team Lokosphinx in their Russian and Ukraine colours, and their support car (I seriously need it get one of those..I still sometimes find myself tapping my helmet in a hope that a support van will come by and stop).
Finally made it to Tortosa, finding myself standing at reception a sweating melting mess. I made the mistake of asking questions about WiFi and breakfast then..a mistake as it went in one ear and straight out the other as there was nothing working in between. Anyway I finally got myself sorted and cleaned up and headed out to find a supermarket. Yup it was still absolutely scorchio and the streets were deserted. So taking the hint I dove into the Spar across the street and then went back into hiding in my air con room to eat and watch the Vuelta. Its really interesting watching the race as_its going by places and routes that I went on all those months ago. seems ages away but familiar all the same.
I did make it out for a wander about town later on when the temperature dropped to 30. The town has a nice feel to it but it is a bit chaotic and illogical. With other town..yes they have a maze of streets but after a wander they do make sense and you get the hang of them quite quickly. Not so here. Perhaps it is my heat befuddled mind but I couldn't get it. That's not necessarily a bad thing mind! Just makes things more difficult to find and all that. Tomorrow I will find the castle and explore more....