Camp Sweat & Nonsense: Day 2
Some how we managed to sleep for almost 9hrs. How did that happen? Sam only ever sleeps between 4 and 5hrs and Flic never any more than 6.5. Still, we needed it for what today would bring.
Today is Mount Teide day.
Bikes and Giant ass packs fully loaded with eats. Spare inner tubes. Tools. Map. Water bottles full. Everything we could possibly need. Off we set.
Out along the coastal road. Flat. Ish. Wind behind us. This is more like it. Then at about 10k the climb starts. Back into the lowest gear and grind it out.
About a third of the way up the climb, Sam says to Flic: “Shit, I’ve forgotten any money.”
Flic to Sam: “Shit. Me too.”
Hmmm. What now? Too far up to turn back but we will need more water and knowing us, more food. And we were looking forward to the much hyped coffee stop at Vilaflor. Hmmm. We decide we’ll just have to tough it out. Idiots. Standard.
Climb some more. Mostly it’s awesome. The views are stunning. But every so often a dark moment washes over us. We both go very, very quiet. Not something that happens much, especially if we don’t have Twitter to be messing around on.
Relentless climbing. 6% feeling like flats again but 9% somehow feels like 20%. Urgh. How much further until our first stop at Vilaflor?
See a sign. 6 more km. Someone told us it was only 40k to Mount Teide. Hmmm. We are already at 34km. And the sign that said 6km to Vilaflor also said 33 to Teide. We try and come up with reasonings for this not to be a km measurement. Fail.
Suddenly feeling very sleepy and out of water. Major dark moment. But then see 1km to Vilaflor sign. Hallelujah. Ah, but we’ve got no deniro. Surely someone will just fill our water bottles? Nope. Apparently not. People in the cafe at Vilaflor not as nice to cyclists as the guys at the top of Box Hill. Sent on our way.
What to do? We won’t make it to the top on nothing. Are we stupid enough to try that? Potentially. Then, as if sent from heaven, a group of lovely Scottish people come and talk to us to find out what these two mentalist girls are doing. We say we are climbing to the top of the mountain but have forgotten all our money so might not make it. They start handing over all their change. We say, we can’t take your money. They insist. Actually fallen in love with them. They may have quite literally saved our lives.
Like children that have just been given their pocket money we head off to the nearest shop to see what we can buy. Flic comes out with a 5 litre bottle of water.
“What?”, she says when Sam looks quizzically at her, “it was only 90 cents.”
Next stop coffee. A language mistake sees two white coffees ordered. Error and €3 wasted. Sam downs both as milk goes nowhere near Flic. Two black coffees ordered and two oranges. Almost human again.
Now time to get back on our bikes and continue climbing. Steeper now. Gradient seems to hover between 7% and 12%. Legs are ruined. But at least we’ve got some fuel in our bodies and on our person now so it’s time to use today’s mantra – Shut up legs – and just keep climbing. Start seeing lots of cyclists heading down the mountain. Jealous. Altitude also starting to have an effect. Hard to take big deep breaths and we are feeling sick. Flic’s superior strength and power sees her pull away a bit while Sam continues to grind it out (Sam: I was totally just looking at the scenery not struggling. Honest.)
We regroup at a vista point that puts us above the clouds. Glorious. A quick couple of mins here to comfort each other that we are both feeling sick, seeing stars and are in a generous amount of pain. Brilliant. Shall we carry on up then? Yeah.
Off we climb. A few more dark moments and then we see it. A sign that says we are on El Teide. Big smiles break out across our faces. We’ve bloody done it. But the challenge is to go all the way to the cable car station. So on we go. Ooh. Some flats. Ooh and some descents. Ah, some more climbing. Then after 61km and 4hrs 18mins of almost entirely climbing we pull in at the cable car stop. Whoop whoop. High five big hug. Smug feeling. Amazing.
Like celebrities up here. Photos taken, someone asking if we are Team Sky and another not believing Flic’s done it on a TT. Ha.
Spend 10-15 mins soaking up the sun and views. And enjoying the mildly vibrating road.
Now it’s time to head down. But there’s a bit more climbing to do first. It seems to go up for longer than it went down but eventually we are ready to descend. Hmmm. Better put some clothes on as it is bloody freezing. Off we whizz.
Trip back down to Vilaflor takes about a 10th of the time it took to go up. We still have some of the lovely Scots’ money left so buy a chorizo (our second of the day. Oops) and two more coffees. Warm up then back out on the road for the whizz down. Head back to El Medano through Granadilla. Descent is cool. Lots of switchbacks but it is ridiculously cold and quite scary. Gripping on for dear life. And there’s that bloody wind again that rattles us around on the road. It causes us to physically wobble on our bikes. Flic uses the super quads to stop the wind wobbles. Sam just gets a fit of the giggles. Not quite as effective.
48km of descending. 1.32 hrs to get back to sea level. Almost as difficult as climbing. But finally we are home. We delicately clamber off our bikes. Ruined. Hug. Wonder what the Hell we are doing. Broken. Then reminisce. Giggle. How on earth do we get ourselves into stupid situations but always come out the other side having survived it all?
This time we have those four great Scots to thank. And perhaps our sheer bloody mindedness.
Already looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure.