The temperature is literally freezing. Despite putting on my moderately thick merino socks before bed, and despite adding another pair of even thicker merino socks over the top, my feet never got warm, I also slept in my beanie all night. In the early hours of the morning it got so cold I basically buried myself in my sleeping bag, head inside and all. I got a big shock – and it’s a first for me – to find my tent covered in a thin layer of ice. One of my bottles of water had also frozen. I struggled to get moving in the cold. Fortunately, unlike yesterday when my tent was wet and took some time to dry in the sun, I discovered that frost is better than wetness. I wiped as much of it off as I could and it didn’t take very long for the sun to dry any remnants off. The day looked amazing weatherwise: sun out and clear blue skies. I rode in thicker socks and my cold weather leggings. Previous days I have just ridden in thin, ventilating sports leggings, but it’s time to wear my proper cold weather cycling ones.

The riding was utterly exhausting. I basically spent the entire day doing interval training that generally headed uphill. Some of the climbs were incredibly steep, sometimes so steep that I couldn’t maintain a straight line, instead weaving back and forth across the road. At one point I opted to push inside of ride. While the riding was hard, it was also incredibly rewarding in terms of the scenery it took me through. This is a beautiful part of Turkey and I am glad to be on these back roads. It was nice to ride directly through some very small villages. I particularly liked Akpinar. My last extreme climb took me past the peak Karagedik Tepesi, after which I finally found some decent downhills.

One bad thing about where I am is that it is so rural that people are more self-sufficient in terms of fresh produce and bread. Consequently, these basic items aren’t available in the little shops I come across, which only stock things people can’t grow or prepare themselves. I really needed some lunch supples like bread, tomatoes and cucumbers, but I couldn’t find any. The closest thing to bread I found was sponge cake. I also wanted some vegetables for dinner, either fresh or canned, but alas there were none. As I ate the sponge cake with my last two tomatoes outside one little shop in Catalcam, the owner must have felt sorry for me. He disappeared into his house and emerged with what I thought at first was plain bread, but turned out to be flat bread that was stuffed with spiced potato. It was amazing. I ate some immediately and saved the rest for dinner.

I’m adapting my routine to deal with the cold a little better when I stop riding. The aim is to get dinner cooked, camp prepped and myself changed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Tonight’s routine: 1. Set up my tent. 2. Got some water heating on my stove. 3. Unloaded my bike into my tent. 4. Cleaned and changed my bottom half (putting on two layers of socks, pyjama boxers and two layers of pants, with shoes). 4. Added rice to the now-boiling water. 5. Tidied up the tent, prepared my bed and locked up my bike. 6. Moved the rice to my home-made pot warmer to finish cooking and put on some more water to boil. 7. Cleaned and changed my top half (putting on two thermal layers, jacket, neck warmer and beanie). 8. Finished cooking dinner and ate it, with an orange for dessert. 10. Washed my dishes and cleaned my teeth. 11. Got in my sleeping bag and began to write my diary. After I put this down I will have a spack-attack to generate some extra warmth. My feet are already feeling cold.

Hillside water supply

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 68.15km
Average cycling speed 13.6kph
Total distance ridden 25,543km