Ever since I read the what activities we were going to do on our holiday this was my favorite one! I loved the walking down the hill, I absolutely enjoyed myself during the water sports. I was sure that I would love the boat trip and I always enjoy cultural trips so Friday would also be no problem for me. But I was looking forward to this day the most. The mountain bike trip!
I don’t know if I ever talked about this on my blog – I honestly don’t think so – but I have my own mountain bike. I’ve had it for a couple of years now and I love it. I really enjoy going out on my bike into the woods and just feeling the ground under your wheels. The cracking and crunching sound that branches and stones make underneath your wheels, I love it. It’s so relaxing.
So the chance to do this in another country in different circumstances and of course a different environment really appealed to me. I couldn’t wait to get on that bike and get going. We had to get up at seven in the morning … scratch that we had to be at breakfast at seven. So we could leave on time and get back before the day was getting too hot.
I think that I was ready to go at six this particular morning, but I guess I was the only one. So I spend some time reading a book in the hammock, while I waited for the others to go and get some breakfast. At seven thirty breakfast was done and I was completely hyped up. We received our bikes – which were of really good quality, we all got a 29er mountain bike with all the good stuff on it. I myself have a 26 inch bike (which refers to the wheel size), and I always wanted to try out a 29er. Especially because they say that these bikes have better grip, are easier to ride because they can take obstacles with more ease and they in general are less prone to flipping you over the steering wheel. They ride smoother, it’s easier to get out of sand and it rolls through rough terrain easier. I was ready to experience all of that and more.
So we all got on our bike and got ready to ride off. They told us that it was going to be a thirty five kilometer ride with a stop at the halfway point. This was supposed to be a beginner ride but honestly if this was supposed to be for beginners I really don’t want to see what they call an advanced ride. It was tough! I’m not going to lie about it, it really was.
Picture this, the Netherlands are flat … really flat except for the very south where I’m from and even then nothing close to the hills and mountains of Sardinia. If you have higher and steeper climbs, you’ll also have tougher descents. And that made it all a lot tougher add to that the fact that it was 36 degrees outside and you can do the math. In my group we had a couple of people who’d never been on a mountain bike. As well as a couple who have a cycling bike but I was the only one with any experience on a mountain bike. Anyway our group varied from absolute beginners to slightly more advanced riders. And we had it tough but one of the beginners wasn’t able to keep up with the pace. Besides that she really didn’t like the mountain biking, she was afraid and I can understand that. It’s certainly not for everyone. We all knew that there would be a point at seven kilometers where we could decide if we wanted to go back or continue. She decided that she’d had enough. I think that it’s a good thing that you try something even if you’re doubtful that you’ll like it and even continue on when you’re afraid. She really broke some boundaries, set herself up to try something new. I would never see that as failure, merely as growth. I applaud her, she tried it and it wasn’t her thing there is no shame in that.
After the seven kilometer mark we knew that we had about ten kilometer to the halfway point what we did so far wasn’t really challenging and I was looking forward to getting on with the tougher stuff. Most of us were ready for it. As soon as we left we got some pretty steep climbs ahead of us and now I was the one struggling. I was feeling so confident literally minutes before and when that climb came I knew that I wasn’t going to make it all the way up. Especially because I got stuck in a track which was too sandy. Most of the other people in my group had experience in cycling – they are used to riding fast while I do the mountain biking thing at my own pace because usually I’m on my own when I ride my bike. I was really struggling to keep up but I couldn’t, nevertheless I was enjoying myself tremendously. Most of the ride I was the last person in the line. But I didn’t care. I decided that I was going to enjoy this, no matter what and I was not going to allow myself to be pushed over my own I wasn’t afraid and I could easily handle the trail we followed. So that sure wasn’t the problem. Once the two men who guided us convinced themselves of the fact that I wasn’t afraid, they gave me the room to ride at my own pace and catch up with the others at certain points. Which was great, I loved it even more when I was riding down the track on my own. It’s what I do at home, what I’m used to. I was glad though when we reached the half way point. It was time to eat and drink something since it was so warm and we’d been so active.
The stop at the halfway point was a beautiful small place, hidden between the trees. It was one of those places where you would have walked or driven past if you didn’t know it was there. Simply beautiful and a perfect place to take a break.
After the break we continued our path through some small rivers, where we definitely had to get of our bikes. We had about seventeen kilometers to go after the break and little by little the terrain changed. From the hills we slowly but steadily made our way back towards the sea and ever closer to our end point the camping side.
The afternoon was for relaxation. I needed it! I’m gonna be honest here, I was really tired and I decided along with most of the other bikers that the swimming pool would be our place to retreat. Besides that I had my massage that same afternoon, there really couldn’t have been a better moment for a full body massage!
While we were at the swimming pool in the afternoon there was a bushfire at the beach and some people who decided to go to the beach were send back. All afternoon we could hear the planes over our camp side while they made their way from the sea in front of our camping to the beach which was in a small bay. Luckily the fire wasn’t too bad and besides us no one seemed really worried. Apparently bush fires happen in Sardinia all of the time. Especially in a dry summer like this, from what we heard it didn’t rain one drop since March. So the drought was at this point as bad as it usually would be in mid August and it was only the end of June!