Today’s ride was a true morale tester. It was shorter than previous rides, but from the very beginning I didn’t feel up to it. My calves were fine, but my thighs were wrecked and I could barely make it up the inclines. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, I double checked my brakes weren’t accidentally on and rearranged the weight in my bags. During the walking parts I was breathing quite heavily and it felt like every sip of water immediately evaporated before I could enjoy it.
The heat was intense and I felt like I was being scorched, I now had tan lines across my shorts, shirt, sunglasses, socks and gloves. I stopped frequently for shade and in four shops for supplies and ice cream. About half way through I starting feeling doubtful about this trip. I honestly didn’t think I could do it, either I had underestimated the difficulty of my rides or overestimated my abilities. The path started getting steeper, I assumed that my NZ experience would have made it easier but I could barely move. My Garmin recorded my walking speeds at 4km/hr and that was the best I could do.
While I had some soft serve ice cream, I noticed another bike group (about 8 people), who were riding with a support vehicle for their stuff. I was feeling jealous but I knew I was on the home stretch with 20ish km to go and loads of downhill bits. I was clocking 50-60km/hr in some parts and had my jersey wide open to finally get rid of that gross and sweaty feeling I’d accumulated for over six hours. The final 10km was extended due to roadworks so I took a detour and climbed another two more hills.
After reviewing my Strava results, it was clear that the ride was absurdly steep and combined with the heat, it made sense that I struggled.
It was a relief to check into my hotel, going from a 34 bed dorm in a basement to a spacious private room. I was in the heart of Tabor and realised it was a much nicer place than I had expected. I browsed TripAdvisor for some restaurants and set off to find a way to replenish 2000 calories. I went to Havana for some delicious fried chicken wings and chips, they were so crunchy and it was satisfying to messily eat with my hands.