5.54pm and I’m ready for bed. The 5.30pm call to prayer has ended. A dog is barking in the distance. The classic sound of crickets has filled the air. It’s nearly dark.

It took me a while to warm up and settle into today’s ride. I felt out of energy in the morning, but picked up as the day went on. My first 12km was a steady climb. Then I enjoyed an epic descent for at least the same distance, reaching speeds of around 68km/h at times, probably the fastest I’ve been. The rest of the day consisted of long climbs and descents like yesterday. Towards the end of the day I pulled off the main road to skirt around Elazig to the southwest via Keban Dam. After the turn the scenery changed instantly for the better and I am now surrounded by peaceful farmland with a rocky scarp dominating the horizon. I will reach the lake tomorrow. Now I am camped in a patch of dry grass between a vineyard and some fields.

My cereal-for-breakfast days are unfortunately over, with no shops in this part of Turkey stocking the stuff. I bought bread, cake, fruit and chocolate spread to have in the morning instead.

I feel proud of myself. Today is the fifth day on the road since leaving Van and I have achieved my goal of riding at least 80km each day and camping every night. My muscles are settling in after giving me lots of pain. My Achilles tendons are still giving me trouble though. I have been able to keep the pain in the left one at bay with some stretches, just, but the right one hurts all day every day.

Freedom found

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 90.31km
Average cycling speed 16.6kph
Total distance ridden 25,097km