Kas to Fethiye 108km
To Karginkuru 40km
To Mugla 93km
Eighteen months and 30,000km have passed this week, and you would think that by now it might be getting easier, but if anything, the hills of Turkey, are wearing me out. There just seem to be so many of them, and they all seem to pretty relentlessly, wind forever upwards. And my legs, for the first time since leaving home, are not recovering. Jellylegs at 9am are not a good sign, when I'm hoping to do 100km a day.
So, am I breaking down? Well, to be honest, I'm going through a tough period on the road. I think the biggest problem is sorting out my mind. Before I left home, people asked me "Don't you think cycling around the world is too big an ask?" My answer was...."Small steps, when added together, make a big challenge manageable." The problem at the moment is I've been focusing on meeting Ju in Rome, which is still several thousand kms, and 80 days away. I've also been cycling across Turkey for a month, more than 2000km so far, and perhaps another 1000km to go, it's a very big country. And, because I need to, I've been working on my USA itinerary, which begins sometime in April..... and finishes with me flying back to NZ...... So I've been focusing on "big" steps, instead of small ones. Thinking of home, instead of the coming few days.
Yesterday, I was feeling pretty knackered, and the hill climb out of Kas was particularly unpleasant. There were a few negative thoughts flying about. So I dropped down the other side of the hill and stopped at a small town. I sat on the beach front promenade, under some shade trees, ate, and ate, and ate, and drank juice, and read my book, and dozed. For the first time in Turkey, a local came up and gave me some fruit..... a sign? After four hours resting, I cycled up the next hill, through a tunnel, (that was closed to cyclists) and found a lovely campsite in a pine forest. There I ate some more, drank more juice and water, and slept like a baby for twelve hours.
This morning I was feeling refreshed, but I knew there was a big hill coming up. I was thinking "small steps". The hill was my goal for the day. Before getting to the bottom, I was thinking about what I have been missing. Ju, and my family topped the list. Chatting to friends was a close second, although just lately I've been lucky enough to skype some of them. Speaking English to native English speakers, face to face, rated highly. Marmite, and a nice fruit pie also rated.
I ate at a restaurant at the base of the hill. No marmite or fruit pies, but a very yummy cheese and tomato toasted sandwich. And then I started the climb. Damn, the top looked high. That's one thing about Turkish hills. You can often see the summit from a long way down, but the big sweeping, uphill curves, take so long to climb. I stopped about halfway up..... not my first stop..... and a car stopped as well. Amazingly, two English girls, with their Turkish boyfriends, heading to Mugla to sort out Residency. We spoke...... in English..... I couldn't stop yabbering..... I'm sure they think I'm a nutter.
Wow. That meeting lightened my load. The rest of the hill was not nearly as hard....... well so it seemed. At the top, time for food again. I stopped at a Petrol Station. Oh my goodness. For the first time ever....... "Apple Crumble Cookies". Where did they come from? Almost a fruit pie. I devour a whole packet. The 20km into Mugla was so easy...... and a hotel.
So thinking small, decreases the height of the climbs....... Here's hoping so. 200km to Izmir. 300km from there to the Istanbul ferry. Small steps. Perhaps a week of cycling, to Istanbul. That doesn't sound nearly as tough as 3000km to Rome.
(Jono Lomu's funeral featured on TV in Turkey.)