I had thought I wouldn't be able to sleep much during the afternoon as it would be warm and sunny but after a cup of tea, I decided I would just go and lie down at least to get some rest. Ad shut all the shutters and the room remained pretty cool and actually I was soon out like a light. Obviously I was physically tired both from the exertion of exercise and no doubt from not having had a proper night's sleep for two days. Ad and Ed also needed a rest after having been up all through the night before with me so the house soon became still and quiet.
I woke up about 5pm ready to have a shower and stretch, eat a decent meal and get ready for the cycling. Lynn as always did superbly well for us, providing tasty, filling meals with salad and bread and I felt the energy returning after the break. I had a stretch and tried to decide what I wanted to wear for the first leg of the cycling. I would still be warm at 6.30pm but would get cold reasonably quickly as the sun went down after the first hour or so. I was nervous about the cycling as traditionally it is my weakest discipline and I hadn't done any real training for it. I think Ed was a bit shocked when I told him I hadn't been on my bike once since the Double in August. It may seem foolish to some people but I knew I had a good base of cycling fitness from the Double and, as I wasn't fussed about time, so long as I kept moving forward I would eventually get there. I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't have any strength for the wind or power for the hills as I hadn't done any specific training and Lanzarote is notorious for both of these factors!! As 6.33pm approached our little party headed slowly down the driveway to ready for the off. Ad carried my bike down the drive to the amusement of Ed who made some 'under the thumb' comments but I was extremely grateful and couldn't have asked for a better support crew than my wondeful fiance! At 6.30 I gave Lynn a hug, Ad a last kiss and clipped into my pedals. At 6.33pm precisely I pushed off and headed off down the road to Yaiza with the Endurovan trailling slowly in my wake. The first part of the bike course was familiar to me as I had cycled it many times with the RAF Tri team during our training camp the year previously. We headed through Yaiza and then onto the road into the Fire Mountains and the Timanfaya National Park. The road up Fire Mountain was straight into a quite hearty headwind but I knew the landmarks I was looking for and kept my head down and pedalling on. I think Adam was a bit amused at how slowly I was making progress as he hasn't been to Lanzarote before and doesn't know of the notorious wind. About halfway up the drag up Fire Mountain he got out of the Endurovan to bring me down a new water bottle. As he reached me he turned and was nearly immediately blown backwards by the wind. I think he was shocked at the force and said, 'Oh, now I understand why you're taking such a long time!!!' It was tough but like I said to Eddie, 'I've done this hill once so I'm not scared of it, I know I can do it again!' So I started off with a positive attitude to the cycling though still apprehensive about the notorious Mirador that leads up to the highest point on the island which I've never attempted before so couldn't approach with the same confidence.
The climb up to the top of Fire Mountain was a lot less strenuous than I remembered (the last time I was here I had a massive bonk* at Yaiza before the return leg and people had to pour Coke down my throat just to get me to start peddling again!) which I was pleased with - maybe after all this time my cycling is actually improving a little?! And the descent down the other side past the Timafaya National Park entrance was also not as white-knuckled as I remembered from previously either. I think the fact that by now it was almost totally dark probably helped as I couldn't see the steep descent or corners approaching!! The road then rolls on for 10kms or so into Tinajo which was a part of the ride I really enjoyed. The Endurovan had left me to it to leap-frog on to Tinajo and prepare me a hot drink so it was just me and the amazing sky full of stars. It was lovely to arrive in the lit-up but totally deserted town of Tinajo and to stop for the first of my ham sandwiches. It was funny, I thought I would really like them on the run but they didn't work for me at all whereas on the bike they were totally fabulous. I wish I had made more than two as they had to be rationed as the Pepperami had been on the run!! Funny how food can be such a big factor on your mental state! After a swift cup of tea we rolled up through more villages beginning with T (Tiagua, Teguise) before hitting the route to Haria where I knew my biggest challenge lay ahead. I don't remember much about this part of the route (hmm, maybe I was sleeping!) except that each village triggered vague recollections of being there last year with RAF Triathlon and how much I have improved as a cyclist since then!