It can always get worse!

The puncture has gotten worse during my last kilometre yesterday. Now, the air wouldn’t stay for more than a couple of seconds, but that also gave me the chance to find the flat! I put a repair patch on it, as that would also reinforce the rubber, and maybe hold up for the whole day. After fixing that, I started just an hour late. It was already warm, though, and I started with a 250 metre steep climb…
It felt so sucky, and my legs were so tired after five days of biking. There and then, I thought about hitching a ride, and I broke down in tears for a little while. I am bad at giving up, though, and continued upward.
Of course, everything felt better when up. This was the last day, and going to the coast, all the height metres would be given back. I went down for a short while, up a little more and took a break at a looking point.
There, I met a German pair who were really nice. I spoke with them for a while, and then continued.
I stopped counting height metres, and just pushed on through small village after village. Even if the uphill were still really bad sometimes, I could see the kilometres count down, and I saw an end, a rest!

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I thought it was a mountain of Morocco, but later learnt that it was Gibraltar I saw!

After one village, I had two ways to choose from. I took my chances, and I will not know if it was the best one. I went down pretty quick to 90 metres, and then had to climb up to 450 again. Even though, I had less than 40 kilometres left, and just continued. A racer bicyclist helped me with choosing the most flat at the next place, and suddenly I was at the coast!
After buying some crisps to have something to eat, I continued. Now, it was really flat, and I got tailwind. The kilometres started dropping even faster! I went through some areas I am not sure if I am allowed to, as there were gates for the cars (but I went over the grass). It was the rich part, and suddenly my GPS had led me into a golf course. After biking through an “employees only” area, I was met by a gate only people living there could open. No one was there, so after a small pause I had to go back. Hate to break this rule!
From 7 I went up to 10 kilometres left. Then, when I was going out of the golf course, the other gate was closed… Trapped on a golf course?!
I spoke with some people living there and got let out.
On my new way I met a biker I talked a bit with, and it helped me push through some uphills. He told me about the way where I was going, with one big and one small hill left, and less than five kilometres!
After pushing through it, and some trouble finding the place, I was now in Martina’s and Michael’s apartment. I met them two months ago on the Paris Rendevouz, and Martina had read my blog and offered to host me. I was now really dead in my whole body, but a really good dinner helped cure that!

Really crappy roads – no rest for me

During the night I got Mosquitos in the tent, probably when I went to the toilet. As they woke me up, I tried to get as many out as possible before killing the few left (I got seven of them).
And the morning started with a flat.
As it was a slowly one (all the air had yet to get out of the tube) I made the decision to take my chances and just pump it up. I ate breakfast and packed my stuff, and found this “small” one sitting on the tent.

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It was another hilly day, as South of Spain apparently is. After refilling air and water I continued biking, with a couple of hundred meters up, a couple of hundred down and then repeat. One part was hellish, as there were more than 7%, and no asphalt. I had problems with traction, but I did not give up, and after a couple of hours I were through it. At least I got some more good views!

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The downhill were not to enjoy, though, as the roads still sucked.
At a petrol station I bought candy and nuts as I needed more energy. The air cost money, though, so I continued adding some air by hand every second hour.
There were more hills, and from the start at 404 meters, the highest point I passed was 887 meters. I probably ascended more than the total of 850 metres I got numbers on, a and it was hard, but I got closer and closer to the south coast, so sometime I have to get it back!

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I passed through many high mountain villages during these days.

I was going to refill my water from a fountain a man said was drinkable, but a woman gave me 1,5 litre instead, and the taste difference were big, so I didn’t mind!
I bought more food in Ronda and refilled my stock of small energy. I got some wifi from a McDonalds and checked out the camping just south of Ronda. It seemed reasonable prices at ten euro, and I would be able to have a shower.
I went there, and apparently the price on the website were wrong. I didn’t really have the energy to argue (it was eight and dark) and at least the staff were nice. After eating my dinner, I went to the restaurant to use their wifi, and bought a plate of spaghetti carbonara as a second dinner. I am happy I did that, because tomorrow would be hard!

The day that started shitty

I woke up, made breakfast and packed my stuff. So far, so good.

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The problems were not before I saw that I apparently had a flat. I search for the hole, and any scrap in the tire, for a total of 30 minutes, without finding anything. Some road bikers stop, one who gave me some repair patches and “rubber cement”, and one who could help me plan the rest of my day.
When putting the wheel back, I managed to get the brake pads to hop loose, so I also got to learn how to insert those.
I got enough air in the tube to get to the petrol station a couple of kilometres away, where I put in more air and also bought two baguettes for an euro. After a high climb through the city, I could start biking, and at twelve I had managed 5 kilometres in total, far behind the schedule.
It started slow, with head wind and roads in pretty bad shape. I felt that this day sucked and wondered if I would even manage 80 kilometres. Then, at an intersection, I was turning right, and suddenly I had tailwind and good roads. Now I rolled really fast!
Suddenly, I got 150 meter height to take, and it was around 30 degrees. I pushed through it, and finally on the top, went into a petrol station to refill water, use the toilet and buy some ice cream. As it was time for lunch, I found a place in the shadow, and ate one of the baguettes.

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My last honey!

It went down, until the next city, where it went uphill again, until at 385 metres. I found a Lidl with some free wifi outside it, so I bought some food for dinner and for the next day.
In the next town I found another Lidl where I bought snickers. It was getting late so I needed a place to stay at, and started looking. I found a petrol station at the intersection between my road and the highway, and asked if I could pitch my tent there. No problem, and there were a water tap on the outside. No wifi though, but there were a 24-hour restaurant nearby, where I went and asked for wifi. No problem, and I talked a bit with them. After taking a look at the menu, I decided to eat some “real food” instead, and I am happy for that! It was really much, to a pretty low price. I also asked if they had a shower, wish they had, and they told me I could use it for free because I was “an adventurer”!

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Yummy!

I also asked for a table with a power outlet, so they got me a cable from the outlet to the table. Not a small one, but the ones you usually see at construction sites. The people really were nice and even if the day started shitty, at least it ended really well!

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.