A collection of cycling adventures and other thoughts

Fri 17th Jan 2020

Stormy Seas, Head winds and Sore Knees

Here we go — the first proper blog post on the Big Adventure…

Wednesday 15/01/2020

Vaguely heard the ship slipping in the night, we finally left at about 0420. The unusual noises on board and the rough seas made it hard to get a good nights sleep.

Splosh goes the ferry

Dragged myself out of bed in the end and treated myself to a breakfast of pastries. Captive audience and all that, but it wasn’t to bad. I settled down in the ‘Reading Lounge’ to darn my Kari Traa wool top that the washing machine had decide to try and eat.

Darning was one of the skills I learnt in preparation for the trip to help me keep my clothes in the best shape I can. I made up a kit with the help of some Christmas presents from my mum and a gift from Ellie of a pin book.

Darning and Sewing kit

There were a number of little holes to be darned, some longer ones and one really large one. I mostly went for really contrasting colours to make a feature of my poor darning rather than try to hide it. Except for the run under the arm which I used the best match I could, as I don’t want to attach any more attention to that area other then the smell…

Big and small holes all darned up

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling great having a headache, cramps and maybe sea sickness… turns out I might not be as resilient as I thought. I had grabbed some food but couldn’t face it so I hand a nap instead. Which seemed to help and I had my food outside and watched the light houses go past. I then spent ages arguing with WiFi to try and download all the maps I needed for adventuring. I reviewed some previous blog posts that Ian had drafted for me… they might get posted soon!


I was struggling with feelings of anxiousness and “what have I done…” I wish I had someone with me. I know I will be dealing with a lot of this at the moment but still struggling with it all. I wish I could have cycled to my parents to gently break myself into the adventure, but the Plymouth–Santander ferry doesn’t start again until March 🙁

Thursday 16/01/2020 — Day 1

First day of real cycling!! Ship docked on time (1030 local) and disembarking was fairly painless. Unfortunately I missed looking at the harbour as we came in to dock as I was packing up the bike.

View from the window as I was rapidly packing

Once I had some mobile internet I sorted the last bits of maps I needed to start. OMG the bike is heavy! I am struggling with the small climbs I have done, they have just been very slow but I have pedalled them.

Sunny monastery or church

Once I got onto the Via Verde cycling has been a dream except the HEADWIND!! Which was really strong and right on the nose most of the time so going has been slow 🙁 I made it about 45km which is way less than I need to do over all but my knees are hurting. I am feeling a bit bad about how far I might be able to manage each day. I was very tempted to check into the hotel that I stopped to have some Coca Cola in, but couldn’t do it on the first night. I found an O.K. spot to hide that wasn’t to visible and close to the camper van parking place.

Camp site from the first night (taken the morning after)

The tent was reasonably sheltered and kept me warm and secure from the wind. Again sleep was restless, but I got some. Dinner was really simple — couscous and a cup of tea as I didn’t want to cook for ages.

Friday 17/01/2020 — Day 2

Second day here we go! I wasn’t too slow getting up in the morning, though irritatingly it started to rain just as I was packing up. I managed to miss getting too wet, but the outer fly-sheet of the tent was really soggy. Bike reloaded and off we go…

Plod plod plod climbing away

I knew from the start that most of today would be climbing up hill to get over the initial set of mountains. The climbing wasn’t that bad at first but some of the sections were steep. I ended up walking and it only got worse… My knees started hurting so it was mostly walking and more walking 🙁 The view was really good and the sun did eventually make an appearance. I enjoyed the view down the valley as I got higher and higher.

High point of the pass I spent most of the day walking up…

I was struggling with the pain from my knees, feeling lonely and not being able to ride as much as I would like. I wish I could have ridden more today. I am not making anywhere near the distance I want to make and I have retreated into a hostel/hotel really early tonight to try and rest and get a really good sleep.

Pretty lake on the other side of the climb/walk

I think I only made about 29km today. I do need to remember to eat more during the day as it does help. I am still getting a headache… more water and maybe stretching to get the lactic acid to go down.

Weather tomorrow is not looking great, with rain/snow forecast later on in the day… fingers crossed it doesn’t get too bad. Also I hope the climbs are not too bad, looking at the map they seem shorter then the long one today, and there’s an interesting looking valley coming up. I have strapped my knees to see if that helps.

Off to go find some dinner now, wish me luck with my non-existent Spanish!


Add Yours →

Love the darning. There is someone in Brighton, Tom of Holland, who makes a feature of darning clothes so you are in good company. Be patient with yourself and try to make each day’s goal achievable.

Looks like a better days progress today hope you aren’t hurting too much. Nice to have a chat this morning. I am always on the end of the phone for you. Xxxxxxxx

Just caught up on your first few days. Loving the journey so far. Hope the knee holds out until the downhill stretches. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. JonD.

Ruth you have already done more than I could ever do! Will keep Tyler updated of your travels and show him the pictures too 🙂 we’re all rooting for you from here xxx

Hi Ruth, i’m really enjoing the blog. Keep it up! Any time it feels tough, just think what you could be doing back at work and i’m sure you’ll feel motivated to carry on and put some real distance between us! Seriously, you’ll do brilliantly. Take it slow and steady and look forward to sunshire and tailwinds. Good luck!

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