No photo from today, such a hard hard day, I didn't think to take pictures on the phone as well as camera.
Everyone woke nervous, today being the day of the big climb. 24km up a mountain, amidst a 99km ride.
It all started as usual, bags down to the buses at some unimaginably early hour of the morning. Breakfast, then off to the start point.
This morning we had a transfer by coach, the before the start point of the ride. The road was somewhat impassable due to last nights storm, and alas we were delayed by about an hour, whipsaw all gathered stones to try and bridge a flooded, dried river bed. Much fun watching Daniel attempt to navigate the obstacle, but eventually we were on our way!
We got to the start point, a subdued lot. We had been watching the terrain around us and now knew what was in store.
The ride began with an 18km downhill run, I have never had such am exhilarating experience, the speeds we were doing were frightening, not least because we kept encountering herds of goats crossing the road - thank heaven for decent brakes!
After that we crossed the valley, the view would have been spectacular, had we not of known that the mountain we were facing was our next challenge.
Refilled water and then we began a 24km climb. This was without any doubt the worst day I have ever had. Because of the mornings delay we started at 11.15am - no shade!
Doing the climb I learnt perhaps the most valuable lesson I could - managing my expectations. I desperately wanted to get to the top, but I just couldn't. I did 14k of the climb, and am very very proud of what I did, but the rest was impossible. In part it was my own fault, I started too fast, so exhausted myself quickly but also ran out of water, the first stop not having been supplied by the time I got there.
I am fine now, but when I got to 14k I just collapsed, heat exhaustion. Fortunately there were people on hand to help and a van sent for the doctor. I was fine after an Hoyt or so and successfully completed the rest of the ride.
It was frightening though. I was cycling alone without water, and the heat and exertion made water a necessity. Living in Britain I had never before felt the NEED for water like I did today. I pray never to again.
Tonight's hostel is interesting - slugs on the ceiling......
Would write more, but must sleep.