Thank you YKK zips.

Ok. The temperature has been steadily rising; we have had 35° at times. Vents open, YKK zip in use to try and get as much air as possible, we’re just not used to it, after all.

Mr Mapman has been busy plotting. The last couple of days we have hardly seen any main roads at all. One route in particular we saw 2 cars and two tractors. That might just give you an idea of the sort of routes that Ed had been plotting!

Last night we found a nice hotel, courtesy of Fanny the Satnav. At that point, I was fit to burst. It had been a challenging road to Najera and I did admit to having a bit of a sense of humour failure. The route had lots of lumps and bumps and to be honest, I didn’t 1) eat enough or 2) drink enough. There was a wee lack of communication. We stopped for coffee just before 12. Ed said that the ‘menu of the day’ would suit him, however, he had also said that he would stop at a supermarket for a picky lunch. We hardly saw any bars for a soft drink, let alone a bloody supermarket. No lunch for me. Or Ed.

Grumpy as hell, Ed forced water down my throat. Just to clarify, it was me that was grumpy. Ed just recognised the signs! I grumbled as we rode through the most lovely vistas and dodgy road that resembled a patchwork quilt. Cambers were all over the place. Not to forget the drop into ravines if you lost concentration. I found it quite hard work. The problem with being tired is relaxing on the bike. Try telling yourself to grip with your knees and put the balls of your feet on the pegs. Automatically your upper body moves forward, taking pressure off your hands and arms. I will never forget those top tips from Rennie & Roddy. I also find that using my hips to manoeuvre the bike through the twisty bends helps keep my hands lighter on the bars, instead of using positive steering. Well, not instead of, it’s just an alternative technique, it does the same thing. Wearing vented gloves also means that you get more of an air flow through your hands if they’re relaxed, instead of gripping on for all it’s worth!

It made the wine taste all the better when I eventually got it. I drank a couple of litres of water first though! My pee was still yellow though, I know, too much detail, but it is a sign that you’re dehydrated.

There wasn’t much on offer in the town for dinner. The ‘we heat it, you eat it’ paella was very tempting. We ended up having an OK dinner with a waitress who needed a jolly good slap. She dumped our desserts on the table whilst we were still eating our main course. Grrrrrrrr. It didn’t restore my sense of humour by much! Not even worth the effort of posting anything on ‘that’ website, they just wouldn’t give a rat’s ass.

I had a fab nights sleep. Apparently I didn’t snore (much) should have had more wine. Breakfast the next morning was the best we’ve had yet. I felt surprisingly refreshed. I bounced out of bed before 8am! Ok, ‘bounced’ might be a slight exaggeration. I don’t bounce well…. Well, some parts do, better than others!

Looking at the vista today, you would have thought that we were low down, vey flat plains and not many mountains, however, we weren’t. Average temperature was around 32°. Sweaty. Amount of shade, not much. Water consumed? A damn sight more than yesterday. We got to a supermarket today, so found a local park and some shade and ate cherries, cheese, pears, crisps and drank a much as we could. I had two gluten free crisp breads that I’d put some ham and cheese into and it was decidedly chewy by 2pm. It was squeaky on the teeth, but just what was needed! By this time, our bottles of water were a tepid 35°+. Given they were in the pannier next to Ed’s exhaust, all I really wanted to do was spit it out…. I forced it down.

The last section of the day was erm…. Another challenge. “We should be at our destination by 6pm.” Says Ed. Aye, right. Miel, a wee village in the middle of nowhere was my last sighting of Ed. apparently, he wasn’t that far in front, however, I had managed to convince myself that I’d taken the wrong road somewhere. Even though, to be honest there weren’t many options. In Spain, they do a pretty cool thing; they count down the kilometres left on the road. At about 25 km to go, I was pretty much on my own. Paranoid. The 25 km counted down at glacial speeds. The first part was like yesterday, a road in pretty bad condition. Luckily the last part was more smooth. When I found Ed, I had a face like fizz. It must be the longest distance we have travelled where I didn’t get sight of him. I wasn’t a happy bunny. He had seen me though, not hard given the colour of my gear. He wears black, so much harder to see through the trees. We had a large Coke light after pouring the rest of my (tepid) water over my head helped. Slowly, my sense of humour returned. My hair was dry in about 5 minutes.

Onto bookingdotcom and we found a fabulous guesthouse. Just amazing and not one that you would just find riding past. It’s been an amazing wee app and I highly recommend it if you do as we do, taking a chance on accommodation. El Corral de Concilio is a wee gem, that’s for sure. Ma, Pa, a wain and a bonkers kitten. Birds cheeping, other than that, silence. Off for dinner. As local as you mood, all organic and a lot of it grown by the family. It was by far the tastiest dinner of the holiday so far. As for the dessert; white and milk chocolate ice cream just to die for. I’ve not had much chocolate this holiday, it’d melt in the top box. The occasional ice cream has been a welcome substitute. Raspberry Magnums are a bit of a hit!

It was a balmy 27° when we headed off this morning. Back roads didn’t do the route justice. We were on the back roads to nowhere, going through people’s back yards and random farmer’s land. From leaving to finding civilisation again there wasn’t a single bar for a coffee. That’s unusual. In Spain, there’s always a watering hole somewhere! We had plenty water stops with some cherries thrown in, all in the shade which was thankful!

I lost Ed again, however, this time it was his fault! When he caught up with me, we stopped, had a chat (!) with a local wifey looked at the map and we voted to turn round and go the route that Ed had planned. Low and behold, the route became a dirt track. “There’s about 30km of this, I think. Do you want to go for it and look back and be proud or turn back?” I voted for the turn back…. To be honest, if Ed had said it was a couple of kms, I would have done it, however, writing this a few days later, I think I would have still been out there, sitting at the side of the gravel track, weeping.

We didn’t get to main roads until mid-afternoon. Phew, what a morning! Once again, bookingdotcom turned up trumps. We ended up in Cerler, a skiing resort right up in the mountains. Before we were allowed to get to our destination, Ed insisted that we rode on as far as the road would take us. It was thoroughly enjoyable, however, finished me off. Smoggy, my wee pal sounded as though he was going to fall to bits at one point, I spent a good bit of time standing on my pegs. I was relieved to get to the hotel, via some of the twistiest switchback roads of the day!

The hotel was quite big, functional, comfy. There was a pool. We couldn’t get our bike gear off fast enough. Down to the pool, jumped in. OH MY DEAR GOD!! HOW COLD? Bloody hell. We didn’t really ever ‘warm up’, no matter how fast we swam. Ed complained later, after a shower, that his balls were stuck up near his navel. PMSL!

The food wasn’t fabulous. The highlight for me was mushroom risotto. Even Ed said it was yummy, he doesn’t really ‘do’ risotto either. I gave him a couple of forks full. I scoffed the rest! I was too tired to blog anything. Even Ed asking me to search for somethings on the internet took so much effort. Early night. Didn’t need much rocking.

Saturday. More bikes on the road, both pedal powered and motorised. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the weather and perfect conditions. We had a lovely picnic today, sat in the shade, watching the bikes going by. Final destination was reached at about 5:30pm. An excellent boutique hotel in a really old town, Solsona. I have to admit that I was shattered. Just done in. We voted for wine and tapas. Just as the town was coming alive, we were heading to bed. Rock on! We did walk round the town to work up space for more tapas.

After my wobbly day, minor hissy fit and general bad humour, it reminded me that it’s so important to take in lots of fluid, eat regularly and take breaks when they’re offered. We’re just not used to dealing with hot weather. A hard lesson learned. Amateur. Mind you, I shouldn’t beat myself up too much, it’s the hottest weather I’ve ridden in and the routes have been challenging!

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