This morning I knock on the door of a house but nobody is inside so I keep going to another house, an old couple is having breakfast and let me use their phone. I get in touch with the deer farmer who will leave the gates open for me.
Once back on the trail I ride up a massive hill. Progress is slow, it’s a bad surface as there is no traction. I play with my cameras and attempt to document the tremendous effort.
I make it to the top on the hill by 1pm and I have burnt most of my energy.
The afternoon is not much better with undulations that exhaust me even more.
Eventually I reach a gate. There is no way around, it’s very high. The route notes do mention a gate but not how to unlock it. I have to unpack everything and put it back together on the other side for the second time today. I’m exhausted. If I had been in a horse I would have been stuck. Lifting a bike above a 1.60m high fence is not easy.
Around mid afternoon the sun is going down, I’m already counting the minutes of sunlight left for the day. The terrain is flatter, allowing me to go faster, but I’ve given up on completing a third leg today. I won’t have time, I will have to crash at the next campsite.
Just to upset me even more, a third gate is locked. This time I have the combination but it just does not work. Nerve breaking stuff.
I make it to a campsite with no facilities but I’m able to wash myself entirely in the river before it gets completely dark. I spend my evening making a fire with half wet wood and learning to use my new wood stove. I eat two meals before heading to bed. I realise though that it will be extremely difficult to make it to the next town by 5pm Friday, time at which the post office closes and won’t reopen before Monday. I have a parcel waiting and don’t want to wait two days for the post office to open.
By the look of it, I’ll have to ride 75km at least tomorrow and the day after. I hope there won’t be any more gates and that the next climb is not as bad as it looks. I set my alarm for 5am, waking up earlier every day to make up for the shorter days. Packing and having breakfast in the dark is not too bad, it’s something you get used to.