Winkler here we come!
28th December - Palmyra to the middle of nowhere - distance 112km- descent 24m - av speed 25.6km/hr - current position - 39,25E 34,50N
After arriving at our genuine oasis in the desert it was always going to be hard to leave the delights of Palmyra. It had been a welcome respite from the hardships of the long road. After a late start trying to get the solar panel to work we were on the road for about 10am, much later than usual.
Our tailwind seems to have deserted us, nevertheless we made steady progress settling into our routine of 25km legs. These take about an hour and the system seems to work well. Everyone cycles at their own pace but we usually arrive within a few minutes of each other. The monotony of the desert is not nearly as demanding as we thought it might be. Our pace is such that the horizon is constantly changing and the hills and scarps on either side of the road are particularly stunning in late afternoon light. Despite the scenery most of the team members have now reached for their ipods. All except me of course who left his on the kitchen table at home where I wouldn't forget it! Thankfully Nic took pity on me for the last two legs and leant me his high intensity workout mix.
To break the day we came off the road into a small town to find a drink. After stopping at a cafe in the centre of town we were besieged by a crowd of children. Tourists were clearly a novelty here and so Pauline and Jamie took charge teaching them songs and magic tricks. We escaped back to the main road chased by a growing crowd down the main street increasingly unsure if they were actually being friendly. A few km down the road we were caught by Dickie and Ro who had been doing a major shop back in Palmyra. Sarah needed some urgent medical attention after impaling herself on a rusty pole at the side of the road - say no more.... Another half hour into the wind and we pulled up behind a rocky crag at the side of the road where we've made ourselves a very homely camp. The generator is on powering our Remoska cooker for roasted vegetables later after beers and G and Ts. It's a hard life!
We're now a week into our cycling and finally we're settling into some kind of routine. Dickie and Ro are doing a fantastic job of supporting us and trying to feed us enough food. Despite this we're already losing weight as its simply impossible to consume enough calories for the exercise we're doing. Nevertheless the whole team are performing superbly and we're working together seamlessly. The days are packed with cycling, making camp and then of course updating the website. We've had some excellent feedback from those following our progress. Please do pass on the details of what we're doing by email to those in your address book. We're trying to raise a significant amount for charity of course and the more support and interest we have the better. Feel free to add a link direct to the website.
We heard yesterday that a German cyclist Gerry Winkler is attempting the same journey as us. He is some weeks ahead of us and will be on the South side of the mountain at the same time as we are on the North. We wish him well of course despite the bizarre coincidence that he is following the very route that has been posted on our site for the last year! This is not an easy journey to complete especially if you're on your own. We of course have the support of each other and cycling as a team of 5 is much easier. Nevertheless the pressure is on. England 5 - Germany 1, ring any bells! Place your bets.....