It has been eight days now since we struck out from Saint Petersburg on bicycles. We are yet to have a day off from cycling, or a proper shower, and it is beginning to show.
Today has been hard work with yet more hills and a hefty headwind. After seven days straight of cycling our legs and minds are starting to feel tired. Despite this, we are still smiling, and the novelty of being back on the road had yet to wane for me. In fact, I feel like I’m just getting back into this cycle touring malarkey! 🙂
Much of our day is reduced to simple things. On a morning we wake up as it starts to get light outside, around 6am. Usually I am upright first, and immediately make coffee with the flask of hot water I store in the bottom of my sleeping bag overnight. This habit started in China, when it was so cold at night that simply leaving flasks in the tent drained all of the heat overnight. With temperatures closer to zero now we could probably get away without this now, but the habit had stayed.
After our petrol fire inside the tent last week, we have ceased to cook inside it. Instead we soak our oats overnight in a tupperware box with a mix of water, raisins, jam and condensed milk. We eat our cold porridge and warm coffee still inside our arctic sleeping bags.
After that we go off on our own to find a secluded spot to do our business before the time-consuming task of packing everything down for the day. We have managed to improve on the four hours it was taking us in China and this morning we managed it in record time: from waking up to setting off in 2.5 hours. This morning that even included a second breakfast of eggy bread!!! Our stomachs seem to rule our days and we have started having many small meals instead of a couple of big ones – they are much needed with cycling like this!
After a day of cycling, we usually arrive at camp somewhere between 3 and 4pm. We set up our tent again and begin dinner preparations. Our campstove cooking seems to be improving all the time, from generic soup/slop in China to gourmet curries and tonight, if all goes well, pasta carbonara!