Valencia Rest Day to – two Wild Camping nights.

Day 43 – SE of Macastre – camped on the top of a mountain.

& Day 44 – camped in the Rocky Olive groves (north of Balsa De Ves).

So the story goes like this.

Cycling Days 43, 44 of Ride to the Rock Sponsored by Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS)

Raising money for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

Im going to combine both cycling days. These last couple of days have been very challenging.

With wild camping and mostly mountainous routes – we have been tested both physically and mentally.

I have had no mobile signal but we have been surrounded by beauty and clean air.

The views have been spectacular on both days and nights. With mountains layered on top of each other . Breathtaking views. There has been no light pollution. The stars look so much bigger than they usually are. The peace , the remoteness and on one evening just the sound of rain was heard.

This was our world. On our way up.

The olive grove was littered with grass hoppers jumping and harpooning themselves onto the tent or onto the inner netting to avoid the rain. Andy tickled their tummy’s and they hopped off after a minute or so ( maybe they didn’t mind?!).

The first evening we pitched the tent behind an abandoned house -South West of Valencia near Macastre. This particular day we left the city as early as we could because we expected the temperature to rise significantly. It did just that!

We knew there would be climbs and plenty of them and this was what we got.

On both days.

Hill after hill, followed by another and several more hills. Andy was struggling.

We had considered the coastal route through Alicante as guided by EV8 – this would be car heavy and we didn’t fancy this and possibly too dangerous for cycling. So we opted for the mountains and the inland route.

With the temperature soaring mixed together with steep hill climbing – we were shattered. Unbelievably I had the stamina to climb the first day but struggled the next. I couldn’t bare the heat.

I / we sweated bucketfuls. This made me feel uncomfortable . I struggled to undress and redress in the same clothes. We were damp all day and all night, and I woke up damp.

As we cycled through a couple of small towns. Some people gave us a thumbs up, or stood and gazed or said things like “Que tengas un buen viaje ” or similar – wishing us good luck. This makes us smile!!

The first night. Cycle day 43. just the netting was enough. It was a hot evening.

On these hot nights we usually put the tent up without the fly sheet. This acts as a mosquito net but if it rains the outer covering goes on as well. The netting allows the air to move through the tent and provides a little breeze, and keeps the pests out.

The views often make up for the lows. This is our view on the first night. Cycle day 43.

The second evening. Cycle day 44. SW of Macastre to Wild Camp in an Olive Grove North of Balsa de Ves – it rained and thundered, and the tent nearly blew away – as we struggled to peg it down. We were desperate not to let the inside get wet. Such a comedy sketch but not as it was happening.

The olive grove ground was rocky and full of spikes from the cactus plants. I didn’t want the air beds to get a puncture and am pleased to say they didn’t. Bless Andy I pointed them out and he pulled them out. The rocks didn’t matter too much as long as you didn’t roll onto them.

I usually fall asleep as soon as my head hits my bundle of clothes (pillow). I’m so exhausted by this time. The thing I have struggled with these 2 nights are my knees. They have throbbed.

I wouldn’t have said either cycling day was suitable for cycle touring. Maybe if I wasn’t carrying a heavy load and on my road bike – then yes I wouldn’t have struggled – as much as we did!

Both days 43 and 44. These routes have been monumentally challenging. Early rising at 0630 to beat the sun has helped though. As the day progresses our cold drinking water becomes warm and this tastes dreadful , and I struggle to drink it – but I do drink it.

Both Andy and I understand what a challenge is – we’ve cycled across the USA from San Fran to New York though deserts and over the Rocky Mountains. However, we both agree these last 2 days are harder than the Jura, the Alps and the Pyrenees no question.

On day 42. I remember Andy saying ” 4 hours climbing and then it’ll plato and then repeat but just for an hour or so’. He wasn’t wrong. The climbs have been intimidating and I have to say we didn’t see another cyclist. Roughly 4 miles per hour. Slow and steady.

Day 44. We met some absolutely lovely people after a long down – who have a family run cafe in Venta Gaeta. The young lady helped with translation and Christina is 5th year medical student in Valencia and Andy chatted to her about MSF after she said wanted to support vulnerable people as a doctor. Christinas mum Dolores gave me some homemade cake and we chatted, and she offered us to shower in her home. I laughed saying “Do we smell’ – Dolores and Christina said no but I still thought it was funny.

The evening of day 44. This happened. I look frightened but I could see fish swimming and I was watching them.

Following this. You guessed – A BIG CLIMB. I mostly pushed the bike uphill and I had nothing left to give after a couple of miles and called it a night. This night it rained and we got drenched.

Too shattered to notice – I fell fast asleep.

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