Upgrading my tent for this bike trip was worth it. It might seem a little excessive carrying around a four-man tent for one person, but after the fiasco of my one-man tent last year I was loving the luxury of head room. I woke up revitalised and unexpectedly mobile, considering the wake-up call my legs had received yesterday.
I went for a stroll around the campgrounds to grease the joints and distracted the campsite cat from ”playing” with a mole until the rodent had scurried out of sight. Then began the already familiar routine of packing down and prepping to leave, I re-used my teabag from last night to make another cup with breakfast. It was awful, I do not recommend.
The morning clouds dulled the luminosity of my surroundings, but the ride was incredibly peaceful. I didn’t cross another soul for hours. It was just me, the trees and the birds.
Later that day along the waterway, as my body was starting to fatigue, I met a Welsh couple: Dean and Jane. They are well traveled cycle tourists and great people. I stopped for a chat and a bite to eat while we all sat along the wall by the water. We were headed the same direction, so I joined them to the next campsite. The sun had broken through the clouds earlier that day and the temperature soared. Dean, Jane and I checked into the campsite and upon setting out stuff down a gentleman called Ray came over and handed us each a cold beer. Does it get any better?
That evening we went to a local pub for dinner and a pint. Dean and Jane were very welcoming and a good laugh. I have notes in my journal from 11 p.m that evening stating that I was glad I had earplugs. Apparently Dean’s a snorer.
I had covered almost 90 miles (145km) in two days and I was surprised with how my legs were holding up. It was my derrière that began to protest first. The next day would be shorter at only 25 miles (40km). My destination was the small but sunny town of Pontivy with its €5 campground.
The cycling was over quickly and I was glad to have a long afternoon to rest my legs. Dean and Jane arrived later In the day, as did two Irish lads, Sam and Eddie. I hadn’t struck up conversation with them yet as Eddie was looking a little worse for wear. He was essentially unconscious on top of a picnic bench in the shade. I think he’d caught the sun a bit…
When the day had cooled down, after I’d had some dinner and done some laundry, I discovered that Sam and Eddie were also cycling to Portugal. They had a different destination to me and a shorter time schedule, but what were the chances! I had thought about taking a rest day, yet after an invite to cycle with them tomorrow I couldn’t refuse. Knowing that my legs and backside could use the rest it was time to try and get some shut eye before Deans snoring caused more seismic activity.
I’m still in contact with Dean and Jane, and here is a picture of them enjoying the cycle life:
The first few days of this adventure were incredible. I had none of the anxious, worrisome thoughts that plagued the beginning of my first trip. I was already having a blast, and I had barely begun!