Published on July 21st, 2019 | by Admin0
Final Long Distance Rides Before Tapering
Over the course of 3 nights we aimed to ride 800km which in effect would be our final training before tapering for PBP. With the very hot temperatures here on the Costa Blanco, we sensibly decided to cycle overnight.
So bikes prepared with lights, spare battery chargers, sun cream, bum cream, rice pudding, tuna sandwiches. Bars, aspirin and caffeine tablets, drinks bottles with Flectomin and Palatinose, we set off at 6pm. It was still 32 degrees Celsius but we knew it would cool down a little overnight.
A big problem when riding through the night, here in Spain, is finding places open to buy water, so the routes are chosen with this in mind.
We tackled some hills first before heading down the coast, where we knew we could find some 24 hour garages open.
Another problem at night is with wildlife. Nightjars sit on the road and fly out in front of you. One brushed against Tony’s shoulder whilst he was cycling. Another case was when I pointed out what I thought was a dead animal in the road, only for it to fly out in front of me, it was another Night jar! Then we had to contend with loads of rabbits, who liked to dart out in front of the bikes. We certainly had to keep our wits about us, which is easier said than done when you are suffering from sleep deprivation.
The first night we managed to 302 kms and 2500 meters climbing. We were both pleased with our endeavours, then home to sleep.
The next night we decided on a 6pm start again, just trying to combat the heat a bit. I only got two hours sleep. I don’t know why because I was tired. However, I knew that I didn’t feel right when we set off again at 6pm. We had a tailwind at first but I was still struggling. We stopped after 35 kms to buy ice and a cold drink. I wasn’t feeling any better.
As we approached the 60km mark, we knew there was a little village shop which was open until 9pm. We approached the shop at 8.50pm only to find it closed. We knew there was nowhere else to buy water for another 80kms and Tony was nearly out of water. I saw some Spanish people sitting outside their house on dining chairs just by the shop. I spoke to them and asked if we could possibly have some water. We were there a good 15 minutes as the conversation flowed and jokes made. I told them that it was far too hot for what we were doing and that I fancied staying with them or perhaps one of them would like to swop with me. One of the ladies, who was about 70 said she would if she could ride a bike, her friend replied that no, she was too big and she’d break the bike. It was a light-hearted conversation and as we left, the five of them told us we were welcome to stop by for water anytime.
Another 50 kms on and I was overcome with tiredness. We found a bit of concrete just off the road and lay down in the dark. Then we heard the pigs, we had stopped outside a piggery! We both thought the other was asleep and so said nothing. After what seemed an eternity (35 mins), I couldn’t stand it any longer. That’s when I found out Tony was awake, cause he felt the same as me. 35 wasted minutes but a lesson learned. Speak up if you’re not happy with the situation!
We continued to a garage we knew, where I had previously spotted a drinks machine, only to find it was out of order. Luckily though, a few kilometres up the road there was a late night fiesta still in full flow, so we managed to buy water.
At 150kms, I was so tired, my eyes were closing. I actually lay down on the concrete behind a bus stop on a main road and slept for 15 minutes, I woke up feeling like I had enough energy to get me home.
The next evening we set off again at 6pm to complete another 300 kms. Feeling refreshed after 6 hours sleep, it was a much easier night and not quite as hot. We even stopped to take some photos. I felt wide awake all night and had no wish to sleep, so hopefully the body is learning!