Fido decided he needed to make an ‘urgent’ visit outside at 03.50 so I got up to let him out. Then I got up to let him back in. I was awake so decided to remain awake plotting a spontaneous outing into the mountains. I charged my Watch and my Phone so that everything would be working then concentrated on deciding where to go. I was dressed at the designated alarm time and able to go out the door to turn it off immediately.
I prepared the dogs for departure so we were soon on our way to the Promontory. Everyone was present, even Luis. We passed a lone car on Alonáki Beach and needed a little artificial light as the moon was obscured by some clouds and is now quite reduced in size. We walked as usual with Isabella attacking from the sides until she got worn out. We did the rocks dodging the waves then headed back to the camping.
I put all the dogs into the van except Isabella who went into her crate then prepared for my outing. The bike battery had been charging during the night and was now balancing the cells. I took my small rucksack with some tools and a torch as I felt I might engage in a little light shopping on the way back. It was still dark at 07:01 when I started my outdoor cycle workout and headed east towards Paleochora with my lights on. The front light is perpetually on due to some regulation or other so it’s important to remember to turn on the lights so that the rear light also comes on. A little bit of a flaw in my opinion. I was soon passing Petrakis which was a blaze of light so obviously open. I took the long way around to start the climb to Anydri which was going to be the first part of my expedition. I’d see what happened after that. That climb, by comparison to what was to come, was very simple. I made it using PAS level 3/5 and working quite hard. I didn’t want to use the battery up too early as I had no real experience as to how far it would go.
The next section was from Anydri to Prodromi. There is a track which is more direct however I’d decided to stick to the roads on my first proper outing. The road follows the contours so is a long way to go a short direct distance. The gradient is not too bad but there’s a lot of it! I reckon I was probably working quite hard on that climb for over an hour. I decided not to stop until I reached the top. It became cooler the higher I went and it might have been a good idea to have brought gloves as my hands were cold. The road wound round the mountains providing magnificent views all around. On an ‘ordinary’ bike it would have been a lot of work!
I finally arrived at the highest point and turned off to descend via Azogires towards Paleochora. The descent was much quicker than the climb and more relaxing. The bike can go quite fast so it’s important to watch for the bends and the possibility of oncoming vehicles. Everyone drives in the middle of the road as the edges are often unstable and the roads are quite narrow in places. I passed silently through Azogires and continued on to the junction with the main road to Paleochora. I turned right towards Kandanos and started another climb heading north as I figured I had some battery left to get as far as Spaniakos. I wanted to compare the climb to the previous time when I was riding the road bike with the Brose mid-drive motor. I stopped at Sascha’s plot to inspect his new retaining wall then kept on going to the top of the mountain. I was still heading north and away from Paleochora.
There is an interesting descent to the main road with plenty of water running down the road. The recent heavy rain has already saturated the ground. The run down to Paleochora was exhilarating although there was a wind from the southwest to slow me down. The last time I did that route I was in shorts and T-shirt! It was certainly too cold for that today.
I pulled up outside of Petrakis where Yiannis was carrying a gas cylinder to a nearby car for a customer. We discussed the bike and his recent visit to Istanbul. He said he enjoyed his trip and would definitely go again. I did my shopping then headed back to the camping as I knew one of the customers needed to put on a load of washing.
It was a little while before I ate my breakfast as I was distracted by missing dogs, the departure of Peter and the washing machine. I didn’t immediately tie Skinny to his line on releasing him from the van so he benefited from the opportunity to visit the camping. Peter was offered a lift to the airport by Sascha who must have really been desperate for something to do! And then there was the washing. I sat with Isabella on the beach waiting for Skinny to return. He came back and seemed to be with me but disappeared once again. I asked that someone bring him back when eventually he returned.
I finally ate my brunch very late morning and settled down to do very little. The afternoon was filled with fiddly jobs and I went to the office to pick up the Raspberry Pi computer as I wanted to see how well it worked as a media player. Then it was 17:00 and time for the Evening Walk. The sea is now from the southeast and quite strong so it was a little exciting dodging the waves as we crossed the rocks. As far as I know, no one got wet and I still have the same number of dogs!
Early today was the Winter Solstice and tonight and tomorrow we are promised rain. I’d better put my bike inside!