The plan was to just ride. No timeframe or schedule. No final destination. Just ride and enjoy the lifestyle cycle touring would give me. This day was no exception to that lifestyle I had come to adopt over the previous several weeks.
With my Michelin Map in easy reach, I looked for the most direct route south bypassing all the major roads. Besides, the small back country roads were stunning for cycle touring. A pattern was emerging on this Spanish route I was riding – cycle through small traditional village, climb up hill to exit village, cross expansive countryside to next village, repeat.
My diet was now consisting of canned tuna, stale bread, bananas, Coca Cola, ice-cream and Oreos. Not the ideal diet for endurance riding but with what I had and the places I was visiting, it’s all I needed.
I pass through villages with names I cannot pronounce, Aguilar de la Frontera, Puente Genil, Estepa, Gilena, Campillos, Teba, before finally deciding to rest for the night. By this stage its getting dark, and I am quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Not a car, person, home, farm, street light, or cow in sight. The nights begin to get colder and I just want my tent up and me wrapped up inside. I have learnt by this stage that when things get tough or you start getting that uncomfortable feeling of questioning why you are doing what you’re doing, to just need to keep on riding around the next corner, because there may be something there to keep you going, keep you motivated. Sure enough I see a faint light in the distance and convince myself its a petrol station. Perfect! I ride fast as the lights on my bicycle are not adequate enough for me to see the road or for passing traffic to see me for that matter. As I get closer to the growing light I soon find it is in fact a lone restaurant. I glide into the car park and survey the property. I jump off my bike and run inside to ask the staff if they wouldn’t mind if I camp in the vineyard behind the property. Without any hesitation, I am welcomed with open arms and invited for dinner and vodka. I quickly raise my tent, and go back inside to warm up and feast. I have one final look at my map and realise I could make the Mediterranean Coast the next day.