I was slept quite well considering I was in a normal bed compared to the roll mat I had been getting used to. The noise of people clattering around outside and of church clocks ringing 8 o’clock woke me up. I felt bedraggled and haggard after such a good kip.
I went to wake Dan in his room but he was already up. Shortly, we went down to get breakfast (Desayuno) but there was no one else around and the dining room was dead. Oh. Had we missed breakfast? We went out into the town to get some money, deciding to try for breakfast later. The roads were wet and the air was cool. The streets were busy with the locals on their way to work and the smell of fresh bread caught us. So, in we went to the bakery and had an apple turnover each.
Outside again, we went in search of a bicycle shop but found none but found the tourist office instead. Inside, we met some Australians whose Ford van had broken down. They had had enough of Spain and were heading home after four weeks when the clutch had gone. We found out the location of the bicycle shop and left the Aussies to sort out what they were going to do in Teruel.
Back at the hostal, we had a breakfast of milky coffee (that was what it was called before I knew of the word ‘latte’, thanks to Starbucks), and fried bread topped with jam. Dan paid the bill (£12 each) and off we went into town to find the bike shop.
We walked into various places selling bikes and also some garages that might weld up Dan’s rack (welding aluminium is particularly difficult so this was a long shot). However, we ended up buying a new rear rack and adapting it to the front. This took up a frustrating afternoon but we succeeded and left Teruel at about 4.30pm. The road we took was heading for Cuenca and it was particularly beautiful, another green valley.
We pulled up 15kms later and went up a re-entrant for 400 metres to get away from the road. It was quiet, peaceful and flat. Ideal for camping for the night. However, it turned out to very different after once we had got into our sleeping bags. It was boiling hot and we could see storms heading our way. It began to rain quite heavily and the water was seeping beneath our tent at an alarming rate. It was time to evacuate from our spot. We leaped out of the tent and hurriedly packed up, mud and all, our kit onto the bikes by torchlight.
The ground was a mass of sticky mud which clogged up the wheels and made them hard to push. The mud lodged itself between our wheels and the mudguards. Fortunately, Dan had fitted removable mudguards which we took off to help ease the problem. We pushed our bikes back down to the road using our torches. It was a nightmare. Everything was caked with mud and grinding as the wheels turned.
Eventually, we managed to get back down the valley and onto the road. The rain had stopped and we stopped for a snack. We had not fitted lights to our bikes and it was very dark. To find our way down the road, we followed the roads’ white lines. 7 Kms later, Dan pulled into a layby. The sky was clear and it was very cool. We wore our fleeces and waterproofs to keep warm while we put up the inner tent again in the layby. In went our damp sleeping bags and roll mats followed by us. It was about 5am.
Distance 24.86 kms Average Speed 10.8 kmh Time 2 hrs 17
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family, works in a technology company in London and does as many micro-adventures as he can.
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