Today’s ride is sponsored by Logic Fire and Security.
Fuensanta – Ardales
The Last 100 miler
It was a relatively early night last night as the fatigue is starting to set in. We needed to be off by 9:00am at the latest as we had 102 miles to cover. It was cold, very cold, well it was for Spain 🇪🇸 anyway. It was about 6 degrees but we were nearly 3000 feet in altitude. All were well wrapped up and we needed to be as the first couple of miles were downhill so we also had the windchill factor. Of course, we had seen colder in the Arctic!
One thing you look out for when doing long distance cycling is a tractor to get behind and take the wind. For the first time in 4500 miles of cycling, one came along in our direction! The problem is, you need it on a flat road and I got it going up hill so could only benefit for about 500 meters before the climb was too difficult, but both tiny and slim who were ahead of me got it at the top and were able to follow it down the hill – the trouble with that is it is then too slow and you don’t really get the benefit but hey ho.
Today’s ride was one of the best of the last phase. It was 102 miles, 6600 feet of climbing but guess what – NO WIND!!!!! What a difference it makes! We ditched the Garmin cycle routes and followed google driving but with no motorways or tolls which means decent roads. Overall, our average speed was about 15 miles an hour, this was 3 miles an hour faster than most of the rest of the trip. Today everyone enjoyed the ride and we came into a beautiful spot by a lake where once again the fantastic backup crew had set up and were making tea for the last time.
Paul, or Tiny as he is known to the team, is a friend of my son, Jonathon. I have known Paul for many years and he first took up interest in the cycling when we did the Birstwith to Rome trip about 7 years ago. When he heard of the Arctic to Africa trip he jumped at it and I knew from the Rome trip that he could do it and would do it. Paul is not always the best prepared and takes some looking after, usually by Kathleen. He tends to drop things where he stands and then wonders why he loses things. He gets hangry when he needs food and has a bit of a temper, usually taking it out on his bike by dropping it as soon as he gets to camp for everyone to trip over😂. I think today’s ride demonstrated what he is like. As it was cold this morning he put on plenty of layers, after lunch we all took them off and put them in our shirt pockets, however, despite Dave’s advice not to, he wrapped his jacket around his seat. “It will get caught in your wheel if you do” Dave said. “It will be ok” Paul’s reply. After lunch we were in a fast down hill Dave in front then Paul with me following. All of a sudden smoke was coming from Paul’s bike, the back wheel was all over the place but he managed to keep it under control until the bike stopped, then he fell off!! As I check if he was ok, his jacket had got caught in the wheel and locked the wheel causing all the smoke. Lesson learned???
But hey, that’s Paul and we all love him, he has an amazing sense of humour and fully gets involved and does what he says he is going to do. There was no doubt that Paul was going to complete this challenge and I am sure the experiences and places he has seen will stay in his mind for a very long time. It’s my time to say thank you Paul for coming along on this adventure you have been amazing, I am very proud of what you have achieved and I hope you are, as you should be – it’s been amazing.
Dave, or slim as he is known. My pal Dave, I have been best of buddies with Dave for over 25 years, we met at crimple golf club but both our dads were good friends for many years previous. I can say when Dave and I get together it usually ends up a bit of a mess and we have many stories to reflect back on. Dave first got me into cycling but mainly mountain biking. It was HIM who suggested we do the coast to coast many years ago which we did with my uncle Andy and Jonny, it was an amazing trip which kicked everything off.
Dave passion is cycling, he lives for it and is also a natural, he is a machine at going uphills due to his light frame and high cadence (spinning the pedals). Dave is also the mechanic if something goes wrong, but more than anything Dave’s support and encouragement when I am down is exceptional, just at the right time he knows when to intervene and either calm things down or raise spirits with his cheeky grin or a big hug. I could not have completed this trip without a lot of people and Dave is most certainly one of them. I know we are going to have many nights reminiscing this journey over a beer or bottle of wine in the future and I look forward to those times. Best mates are made over time and through experiences, we have been through many experiences tough, difficult and good. Love ya to bits mate.