Hours my butt was wedged on that saddle: 4hr 30 min
Injuries: random bruise on my wrist. No idea where it came from but it is quite impressive.
Today was a good day - aside from an early mistake of looking in the mirror..not something to be repeated first thing ever ever again -I give a new meaning to 'puffy eyes'. Sugary coffee consumed and off we go. As it was overcast and a balmy 21 degrees, arm warmers were donned..now I felt like a real Spanish cyclist! Except it was real muggy and they made me sweat like a pig so I had to take them off..but for 10 mins there I was like a local!!
Today's ride was split into 3 parts. The first was on country roads that just put ours to shame! Pretty much all smooth, with sleek cornered climbs and descents that would make a Top Gear presenter salivate. What's more I was pretty much the only person on the road..and very few houses or anything at all really in the area. Oh there was a man with a shotgun but I thought it best to get past him as soon as I could.
The second part was on a single carriageway main road which was smooth sailing 'undulating' riding across the plains, hampered only by the brutal winds and gusts. (At 2nd lunch, the gusts were strong enough to take glass botles off tables and send them crashing). Tried to get 1st lunch at a town called Almargen..cycled in and was confronted by a hoard of tractors..and this should have been a sign for when I got into town it was the equivalent of walking into a local bar at home, everything stopped and everyone turned. I quickly made my escape and cycled on 20km to the next town for food.
Third part, still in the winds, was back on country roads through olive tree plantations. Bit crappy roads but had some entertainment in watching all the flybys they were building..no idea where they were going to or where from, they didn't seem to connect anything, but they sure like building them and building lots of them! Sun came out at this point and the temperature rocketed to over 30. Amazing how much difference the sun makes, the heat can be so draining.
So a good day..pretty smooth sailing and uneventful! Just like a normal ride out at home really. There were also signs that I myself was relaxing into it more..
- in the first part, coming to a new hill to climb the mental response was the more usual..'I wonder what's on the other side?' and 'bring it', rather than the despair of the first few pannier days.
- I was talking to myself. Now this might sound quite strange but I assure you for me, when I am cycling I do tend to talk out loud. Well 'talk' might be exaggerating it a little..more like random sub-conscious interjections said out loud based on what I see..'bus!', 'rabbit!!', 'caterpillar!', 'bug!'..think p.c. tourettes and you get the idea. Its not really something I do on purpose it just happens. For the latter examples, well they had a downside..after I spot these poor little creatures minding their own business crossing the road, I forget that the bike goes where you look. So those interjections were actually more along the lines of 'caterpillar!....oh', 'bug!...oh'. And unfortunately there are now a few less caterpillars and bugs in the world.
-no fighting with the bike!
I think, and I don't want to jinx it, but I think I have found the style of touring that suits me now. You may think there is only one type but not so. Most of the info I read before coming out here on touring in Spain were 'slow' tourers. I don't mean that in a bad way but as in they are on mountain bike tyre, fully laden, and tackle short distances per day..more about the getting there than anything else. They also tend to eschew 'main' roads and stick to the country roads. So I had in my mind that main roads then should be avoided as they are busy, not good to cycle on and you miss the sights. But the main roads so far are amazing! So few cars, and most have a wide enough hard shoulder that you can neatly tuck yourself away from any random cars that do turn up. They are also fast. I like fast, its more freeing. Slow frustrates me. My bike likes fast, that's what it is built for..being a roadie with skinny 25 tyres. You do see the surroundings too..it is not like there is massive developments either sides of the roads. You can stop and turn off to towns and villages if you want..and more important you know that there is at the very least a service station or something not far off. And being near food is everything.
So it's not that I will not use the country roads but more I will make more use of the main ones. My trip has been constructed around around the places I end up rather than the what's in between. Except the big climbs which of course I will still seek out. Fast lightweight touring..that gonna be my thing.
The port of call for the night is Antiquera..a largish town that has the most stunning architecture throughout. Like, it seems, all Spanish towns it has a maze of streets and one each turn there a vast array of beautiful buildings and scenery. It seems predominantly untouched by tourism which adds to the character of the place..it's all very 'natural' beauty. My hotel has a very similar feel. It is brilliantly friendly (the lady behind the desk found me very funny..it is becoming a common thing it seems) and ornate. My room is..well I wouldn't call it modern..quirky might be the best word for it. It has a double bed, a granny chair, a small flat screen TV, and best of all a beer fridge! Almost enough to make me forget that sofa....