I caught the same thing as him

After a nice morning with a big breakfast, and getting both sandwiches, coca-cola, fruit and cheese for lunch, I started at 1010. I weighted my bike before leaving, and it was 55,6 kilo! It will be fun to see how low I can go next time instead of making it ultra-comfortable. 🙂
I had decided to get down to some friends near Gibraltar until Friday, which according to the GPS would be 419 kilometres in four days. Doable, even though there would be hills in the way, and I knew it would be more kilometres.

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A really nice guy!

The first 28 kilometres were (relatively) flat, and I met an old gentleman on the way whom I talked with for a few kilometres, before the hills started and he headed right.
It went uphill to approximately 850, down to 650, up to 900, down, up, down to 500… During the day I climbed approximately 1000 metres. The views were great though!

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A break with some sheep
in the background

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Down there I had a break!

I usually took my pauses in valleys, so that I can start with energy when I continue uphill.

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Awesome me!

On the way (at my 5600 kilometre, actually) I met another bike tourer during an uphill. Richard had a flat earlier, and now had a bump in his tire he could not get away. I think I got something from him, as my following days would be really bad flat-wise!
I ate lunch in a village where I found water and shadow. It consisted of tortellini and some of the cheese Ramon gave me.
More uphill, but at least more good views!

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I can’t sadly catch how
astounding the views were

Close to the end of the day, I had a really awesome descent. Going between 60-65 for five kilometres with really awesome views, I just didn’t care about filming but instead just enjoyed the moment so much. It was awesome!
I had to check the GPS so that I did not choose the wrong way in the long run. I had already taken many kilometres but decided to keep going a bit more as it was not close to dark yet (and I was going to wild camp). It was hard to find a good spot, and I got many kilometres (128 in total) but I found a spot I decided was good enough, as it did not seem to be a place anyone cared about. It was just beside a small road, but apparently not a perfect place. No one disturbed me really, but a few cars seemed to stop to take a look, as I woke up to this more than once.

Eduroam!

I slept until ten, as I only had 70 kilometres to go. It went pretty fast, and was just a decent uphill, nothing extreme. Not much other happened, but I saw this wind mill (and a sign with Don Quixote, so it may have something to do with him).

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I came to Ciudad Real in good time, and started looking for Internet. I saw a university, and luckily I had gotten some Eduroam details two days earlier, so I used that to take a look.
No Couchsurfers had answered, but I found a Warmshowers around 30 kilometres south. He answered in two minutes, so I went there instead!
Ramon was a really nice guy, and his parents also. They lived a little bit on the country side with a really nice house, a swimming pool and some grounds. They spoiled me with food as soon as I got there, and his mother cooked a really good dinner with chicken, potatoes and tomatoes! We spoke mostly on Spanish, and Ramon usually do mountain biking, but also touring within Spain, and he was a really positive guy!

Riding in the dark

After 12 hours of sleep I went up and had breakfast with Angeles. She made a really nice one with a chorizo omelette and bread with Nutella!
I also had a second breakfast consisting of cereal and milk, and more bread. You can never get too much breakfast.
I took it easy the whole day, as my next plan was Ciudad Real, which was 120 kilometres away. Therefor, I started as late as 1730, after watching movies and planning a bit for Morocco.
The sun went down faster than I expected, though (I thought it would be closer to eight, but it was more like 1920).

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I put on my lights and continued.
Soon it was dark, but I had not yet found a good place to camp on. After a while I saw a restaurant, more or less in the middle of nowhere, so I stopped there and asked. There seemed to be a family owned restaurant, and the man in charge said it was no problem!

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I got to use the bathroom, and as a kind of thanks, and also because I was hungry, I bought a really tasty sandwich and a small glass of whiskey.

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I also got some internet shared to me from one of the guys mobile phones.
Afterwards, I went out to eat my “real” dinner and watch more series before going to sleep!

South time!

I went up at 0930, and started fixing my bike while trying to get Asha and Dominic up. They went and shopped ingredients while I put on a new tube and some oil on my bike.
When they came back, I started making awesome pancakes while people were playing with my camera.

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The pancakes were being made, and as usual, I do never do too few pancakes!

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We had many things to choose from!

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Not everyone knows
how to eat pancakes.

It was a pretty crazy morning that was really funny, or maybe not morning as it was twelve o’clock. The weather were really nice, so a perfect pancake morning!

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After the long breakfast I started packing, and Dominic and Asha helped me get all the things down.

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This picture reminds me
of the movie Leon!

At 1340 I started biking to my next stop, Toledo!

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It was warm and sunny, and the wind were good, more or less zero. On the way I saw really many bunnies, apparently they are living by the road side!

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They were really hard to catch on photo; this is their homes, the small holes in the wall!

It went pretty fast with not many stops on the way, but on one of the stops I ate the chocolate Dominic and Asha had been cute enough to buy for me!

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At 1730 I was at the meeting place, and met up with Angeles!
She and her flatmate were really nice and easy to talk to. After a shower and some food, we went shopping for some food for me, and drinks for the evening.
When they were going out, I was too tired from the biking and not sleeping much the night before, so I stayed in bed instead. That felt as a smart idea 12 hours later, I think I really needed that sleep!

Sometimes I hate metal…

I had a nice morning, laying in bed until ten-something. I ate some breakfast, and just took it really easy. Found out I had another flat, apparently, so I would have to take a look at later, and I should buy new tubes.

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I went out to eat lunch with Dominic and two friends of him, Tom and Pete. It was a nice lunch, with starter, main, desert and drink for ten euros!
After that we went to buy new tubes, and then tested the local bikes in Madrid. They were much fun, as they were electric, and crazy fast without having to do almost anything!
On the way home, I picked up some food for the next day on Lidl, before heading up to the apartment for a siesta.
When I started changing the tube again, I found two more pieces of metal!

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Therefore, I took the whole tire off, and cleaned everything really throughly, so I was sure to be able to find out if there were any mor bad things in the tire.
In the evening, I went with Dominic to a comedy competition, which was really funny. It felt a bit long, but it was worth it anyway!

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Afterwards, we went to Tako-Away and ate burritos and tacos. As it was getting late, one o’clock, wee had to take the electric bikes on a really funny crazy ride to a metro station, and take the last metro home to the apartment!
There, Asha was looking at a documentary from the fifties, about communist Polen. It was pretty funny to see, but soon it was time to go to bed after a long night!

To Mudrid!

As my host in Madrid would come home around eight, I slept until ten in the morning. I fixed more blogging, ate breakfast and lunch, and packed. I also checked the air in my tires, and that was lucky!

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It was the right day, as I had time to change tire without getting late!

Today was sunny, and at 800 metres actually pretty warm, so I could go without rain clothes!
I biked according to my GPS to take smaller roads into the city. At one point, there was a barrier, and apparently private roads for some sort of company or something. The guard let me through, though, with the warning that there was “water on the roads”. Could be fun, I thought!

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Not the best roads, but good enough!

There were no problems until I came to a pretty deep one. I biked through it, slowly, and suddenly I hit a stone, and rather than falling, I put my feet down in the cold water.

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I continued, and down here it was warm enough not having to care about the wet feet.
When passing by a nice view, I got to think about that “every time I go into a city, a barrier is raised between me and nature”.

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I am so deep!

With 15 kilometres left, the road I was supposed to take was blocked off. I was forced up on the high way, and the next exit was in a few kilometres. That led me to a toll, but even though I tried the help button, no one answered. In the end I just bikes by it, as I don’t think I need to pay as a cyclist…

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After another couple of kilometres, I got off. I biked ten more, and now I was close! The GPS led me through a park, and this was a bad one. The roads were wrong, and in the end of the park there were no road at all, but too much mud. I don’t like to go back (“Rule number 1: Never go back” – My German friends) so I dragged the bike through the mud when the wheels stopped turning. I managed to get through the 100 metres and get most of the mud away, and it “only” took 20 minutes. Instead of being 10 minutes early, I ended up 30 minutes “late”, after having a problem to find the right house. I met Dominic as he was going out to walk Madra, his dog, so we left the bike at the guard booth and went for a walk. Back at the apartment, he had prepared dinner! The balcony also was really big, with a water hose, so I made a quick cleaning of he bike and stuff. After eating and talking over a cup of tea, I went to take shower before going to bed!

Getting to warmer levels

I slept until ten as I was not in a hurry, with 78 kilometres and more or less downhill to get there. Ate breakfast and wrote some blog before checking out, going by the restaurant to check my e-mails.
I started biking, and it was more or less spraying water with a really thick mist. When I got a little lower, the mist disappeared, which I was happy for as I don’t know how visible I am even though the red, orange and reflective parts on my bag, plus my red bike lamp.
I had headwind all day, but with mainly a little bit of downhill, I still managed to go around 17 km/h. I also passed by this exit on the way!

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I also know that even if the weather was bad, cold and not so fun to bike in, there is always someone having it worse than you.

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Getting into Guadalajara, I saw this big statue, welcoming in a roundabout:

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I first went to a Lidl as my breakfast was out, before heading to my host. She welcomed me, and after loading my stuff into the apartment, she showed me around the city, until my left foot started hurting too bad.
Back at the apartment, I applied for four courses, so I know that I will have something to do if I go home. I then talked to Astrid, which apparently took over an hour. Time flies!
Alicia had two friends visiting for dinner. The dinner was nice, a potato soup and a salad with apples and stuff. All of those three are bikers, so we had things to speak about.
After the dinner I put the reflective tape on my jacket, so that I will be even more visible if I have to bike in the dark!

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The rain/hills/cold continues, but still nice!

When I started biking in the morning, it was already raining, and 8 degrees Celsius. I started with going to the Lidl in Soria to buy food for the day, and also look for new gloves. Too bad this Lidl had car-theme instead of sports-theme.
I started biking from Soria, and it went really well! This would be my first long run in a couple of weeks, with 96 km planned. I was going on the National road instead of Autovia, but suddenly it was a warning sign that the road would be cut-off. Oh well, onto the Autovia…
I ate small lunches, consisting of bread and bananas, as I did not feel like taking my Trangia out in the rain. In Almazan I stopped by at a hotel and asked where to buy some gloves, and got the tip of Bazar Asia. I really fell in love with that store! You could really find everything, and I wanted to shop so much and send it home. It was pretty small, but shelves everywhere, crowded with random stuff! I would need this store at home.
I found a pair of gloves for 1.80 (everything in this store was also cheap) and they warmed really well!

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Apparently you were not allowed to bike on this part of the Autovia, as some construction guys stopped me and told me I could get fined. They told me about the national road, and apparently my GPS is a little outdated, as I thought I was going on the only road. I went by to the N-111, and no more cars for a while, until they had a construction on the Autovia and all the cars had to go on the National for some kilometres.
In Medinaceli I asked the police about the way, and apparently the N-road would continue for three kilometres, and then I would have to take the Autovia. Suddenly legal. I guess it is only illegal if there are any other road besides.
After a while I came into a new province, which I think has a pretty funny name!

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I was now close to the top, which was over 1220 metres height. Halfway to Andorra!
I got some down-hill at least, rolling Ito the first hotel I saw. It was 26 euros and no wifi on the room, so I decided to continue to the one I had seen on the Internet. 21 euros with wifi, which I later got to know was down due to the rain…
After taking a shower, I went by the small supermarket and bought chocolate pudding. Back at the room, I cooked my lasagna, which also helped the heat in the room rise a little. As the Internet was still down I went to the bar across the street. I got to borrow wifi, and the guys, including the bartender, were really interested in my traveling. I checked some courses, as I am going to apply for those to be sure to have something to do in the spring. After that, some other internet stuff and more talking, I went back to my room and ate chocolate pudding while watching TV, before going to sleep.

Cold day

I made breakfast and packed my things at the same time (still cooking indoors).

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in less than one hour I was ready to go, and at ten, I started rolling. It was pretty chilly outside, so I put on some extra clothes from the beginning.
It was windy, but not as much as yesterday, but much colder. I had no big problems though, biking 45 minutes and resting about 15. I put on more clothes, and also my wind/water protection on my feet, so that I could keep warm. Of course the road was not plain, but better than yesterday!

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Yepp, getting pretty high

A little more rain, and after 40 kilometres I was in Soria! Now, to find my host.
I sent out a SMS, and then made lunch. As I had no answer yet, I tried to find Internet, and that took time. On the way I borrowed a phone to call my host, but his phone seemed to be off. At least I found a toilet at the bus station, but I could not connect to the Internet.
On my way through the city, I saw a medieval market, that gave me vibes from home!

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On my way to Lidl I saw a McDonalds sign, and almost at the same time, an unprotected network. Apparently a car dealer has a customer network that worked great from 30 metres away!
I sent out the messages on Couchsurfing and started fiddling with other stuff, and got the idea that I should be able to find the address in Spain, too. It worked, and I only got one hit, so I went the 3 kilometres with my bike. After going back and forth, I finally found the right house, and… No one home. The village were small, though, so I asked around to confirm the house. In a nearby bar a guest spoke English and with her help I could confirm the house. After two calls, I also managed to get to him, so that I at least knew he was coming here for tonight. He was not going to be here for a few hours, but not all plans could be perfect. In the meantime I wrote about seven blog posts, dried my tent, drank a cup of tea in the bar, made dinner and spoke with some nice locals!

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When he and Paula, his girlfriend, arrived, I got to put my tent in a dry place outside, which would be really good as it was not yet completely dry.
They were really nice, and it is a little bit sad that I couldn’t meet them more. They made some nice fungal food and Paula also arranged a Couchsurfing spot for me in Madrid. Awesome!

Wind. So f***ing much wind.

Wow. This day.
After a breakfast (I even got some from my host before she went with the bus to the festival in Zaragoza) I packed my stuff. The sister, the man of my original plan-of-host, went by and said hi before heading home from work.

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Some mud…

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…from yesterday’s adventures!

I started biking, from 473 metres height over sea. There was a hill in front of me, but I thought, that should be no problem. Also some wind, but no problem.
After two hundred height metres I felt a little bit tired. Also, the winds felt as one of my courses in the mountains, about 20 metres per second (that is 72 km/h). The slope was 5%. I was averaging 8-10 km/h in the hill. Wow. At least the view was great!

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And it continued. More height metres, a bridge, even more winds. I had to take brakes on the plain, as the wind were too strong (the highest I experienced in my life that I know off was 26 m/s, and this was more or less that. Problems with standing straight. Took much energy to keep the bike straight.)
Then, after the uphill to 1008 metres, with a total increase of over 500 height metres, I got some downhill. What happens? Well, I have to pedal, and take brakes, because this is too. Damn. Hard!
After 28 kilometres, I am already tired, and not so little. I see a hostal (motel?) that I stay at to eat something, get out of the wind and use the wifi, and my body is so out! This felt as I usually do after 130 kilometres, and I have averaged 11.6 km/h. The next thing after the village is also another hill… so I decide that I don’t have to save every cent, and I don’t really have a time to pass (Couchsurfing, but I tell them I will not come today) so I check in. That was the best idea today. At three, I just lay down, with clothes on, and start sleeping. The best thing? It still felt pretty damn good!
The weather for tomorrow looked better, with a little rain, but not that much wind. Also, it would be about 150 metres to the highest point, instead of 535. Relaxed, knowing that even if the weather would be the same, I would probably be there in five hours, I just took it really easy. When I woke up later, I cooked the lasagna (indoors) and took a shower, talked some with a friend, and went to sleep. 30 kilometres, averaging 11.6 while biking, with many pauses. Two perfect bike days in a row!