It feels as if my body is working against me. In truth the opposite is true: I have been working against my body (having pushed it pretty hard lately) and I’m paying the price. In addition to my ongoing Achilles tendonitis problems, I have had some real trouble with chaffing. Because my bike shorts have slackened with use, and because I’m wearing extra layers to ward off the cold, there is extra contact between my groin and my gel seat cover. I have coated parts of my thighs in sports tape but in the last few days I have had holes wear through my skin right in my groin where it’s impractical to stick tape. Today I took off the bike seat cover, which helped to reduce the chaffing. It means getting a bruised bum though, but at this stage I’d prefer a heavily bruised bum than holes in my groin. The other issue that has arisen in the last two days is some kind of painful infection in my eye. I have a very sore lump in my bottom eyelid and it has caused my eye to appear bruised. I’m also generally exhausted. I didn’t feel mentally ready to have a day off, as I feel I have ridden some half-days lately (stopping early on the very wet day out of Gallipoli and again stopping early in Alexandroupli to sort out my bike tyre), but I have to remember that even though I rode shorter than planned on these days, they didn’t represent proper rest days, and it’s been a while since I have had a relaxed day off.
All of this offers some explanation as to why I found it easy to stop in Kavala today. My original plan was to push hard to Ohrid where I would have two days off. Last night I made a new plan (in response to by increasing exhaustion) whereby I would push hard to reach Thessaloniki tomorrow and have a day off there before pushing hard again to Ohrid for my second day off. I began an entirely new plan the moment I rounded the coast and saw the beautiful Kavala. ‘Maybe I should have a day off here and completely avoid the big, busy Thessaloniki?!’ was my instant thought. In addition to giving my body a much-needed break, I thought that I can’t pass through Greece without stopping to explore at least one town for at least one day, and Kavala seems like a perfect place to do it.
Without a backpacker hostel around, I had to find a hotel. After checking in, I went for an evening walk before doing some grocery shopping and enjoying dinner at a little café tucked away in a narrow, pedestrian-only street. As I left the café to head home I could see that the city was undergoing a transformation from a relatively quiet, empty place to a colourful, bustling marketplace. Tomorrow I will make sure I go for a night time walk to soak up the atmosphere as the streets come alive with local life.
|Distance ridden today||67.72km|
|Average cycling speed||17.6kph|
|Total distance ridden||26,961km|