The day starts with a phone interview live on radio with Radio Merseyside, arranged my ever efficient PA Vicky. International fame at last.
Am feeling a bit better after my day off, but still not 100%. I leave the hotel outside Fuente Alamo and go into town to get some provisions. I discover a bakery that sells wholemeal bread (rare in Spain) and huge pastries. I buy both with a can of coke, and sit outside eating the pastry and drinking the coke as a fuel supplement for the day. Some chap comes up and tries to move me on – I realise that although the table and chairs are right outside the bakery they must belong to the cafe next door. I play dumb and stay where I am.
Just outside Fuente Alamo I meet the first other long distance bikers. Juan and Mariano are travelling a trail called Camino de la Vera Cruz and have taken out a couple of weeks to do it. I am impressed by how light they travel, and start to wonder if, now I am out of the high mountains, maybe I could cut back further. We discuss routes and tyres and then say farewell. Mariano has a blog and here is a pic of the chaps:
I pass through long fields of vines and wheat, but the scenery is not as spectacular as in the mountains, so I do some travel on tarmac to get to town faster. I intend to visit a bike shop as I have some new noises coming out of my drive train.
Almansa is quite a large town, and fortunately does have a very good bike shop (Bici Hobby on 108 Calle de San Antonio) where the mechanic takes it in and tells me to come back at 8.30. I do, and by then he has diagnosed the new noise as a problem with the crankshaft in the bottom bracket (sounds painful). He doesn’t have the right tool to open it up, so I will have to find someone in Valencia. I think there are some interesting parts to Almansa, but the leaflet that tells me all about it is in Spanish – I’ll update with the details when I have translated it.
The place I have booked is a self catering apartment To help myself recover I go the local supermarket (fortunately a big one) and allow my body too tell me what food will make it better. I end up with baked beans, eggs, creme caramel and weetabix. I eat them all and feel much restored.