I've been on the road for almost three weeks now, and managed to avoid getting a flat tyre. Unfortunately, that streak ended today.
I was maybe 10km into my journey of 75km, travelling from O Cebreiro to Lugo, when something felt wrong. I was careening down a mountain highway, when suddenly I was incredibly unstable. I immediately pulled into the hard shoulder, thinking my makeshift bike bag had fallen to one side, as it had before. I was wrong. It was worse. The back tyre was flat as a pancake. Some may read this and think 'No big deal'. But for me it was a very big deal. I had never actually dealt with a flat tyre before. And yes, I am aware that I should have learned this skill before embarking upon a solo 780km cycle through Spain... but the fact remains - I didn't. The pangs of panic began. Here I was, up a mountain on my own in the middle of nowhere with no mode of transport.
I didn't know how to change a tyre, but I had everything else - wrenches, allen keys, glue, patches, and a spare inner tube. So I did the most sensible thing I could think of. I remained calm and rang my stepdad in the hopes that he could talk me through changed a tyre. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Twenty minutes later I was back on the road. The terrain today was a mix of uphill and downhill, with some treks across huge imposing viaducts for good measure.
I was roughly 1,200m above sea level, so the views should have been amazing... But the weather got in the way. It rained pretty much all day. There were only a couple of really bad bits that forced me to stop, but the drizzle was ever present, which was a pity.
I stopped for hot chocolate in one small town, and it was a godsend.
It was a long, long day but I did eventually reach Lugo. My albergue was clean and pleasant and, small mercies, I was on my own in an eight bed dorm with a beautiful view of the river.
I never slept so well in all my life.