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J73 - Monday, December 28: Ciudad Real – Estacion de Molinillo

73.3km  9H45’
Altitude 723m
« A dull day as far as excitement and emotion are concerned.”
“A dreary day!  We drove with headlights all day.”
These are the comments this evening by our “Dupontd”.
My comment was: “It’s so dark during the day that it would be better to stay in bed”
7H15’, Olé !  
« I started out like a wet turtle (5.7 km per hr at the 10th km).  Then I woke up and held to 8 km per hr. until the end.  The last two hours my legs hurt because of the cold.  I didn’t cover up because when I do I feel hampered.  The scenery is magnificent; it reminds me of the film “Out of Africa;” plains with   scattered trees.  Yesterday, Julio explained to me that the trees have a wide spread of leaves so that a good number of animals can take shelter from the summer heat.  I was delighted to see the storks flying and pecking in the stubble of corn. I’m always impressed by their nests.  Today my morale is good; I was getting very tired of all the rain. Since leaving Lisbon, we have covered precisely 1,200 kilometers in 16 days and I’m reassured by that.
Today I surprised Philippe sleeping at the wheel of his parked car.
On the whole, it was a good day. » Serge
Joël and René found the time long.  To break the monotony they played music and then they calculated exactly how much liquid Serge drank during his 14 refueling: a total of 6 liters, not counting soup, coffee, etc.  Today, only water and 2 cans of Hydrenergy4.  He didn’t drink any Coke or Red Bull, as he does sometimes when he needs a boost.  Joël and René have noticed that Serge is eating better than he did on the Paris-Tokyo.  His weight has stabilized at 58 kg.  Serge loves locally produced ham and sausages.  It’s the first race where he has eaten so much salted food and pork products.  I have to say that Spain has shops full of ham, where it is sold whole or in slices.
One finds a lot of sheep cheese and it is delicious.
We have crossed 3 distinctly different regions in Spain: The Basque country, Cantabria-Asturias, the north western region, and Andalusia.  The scenery is different, so are the cities and the types of houses.  The common denominator of all these regions is ham.
La Castillo-La Mancha, the 4th region, will take us to Madrid the day after tomorrow. It seems that Miguel de Cervantes made his hero, Don Quixote de la Mancha and his servant, Sancho Panza, leave from Madrid.  They traveled in the region of Aragon to play at defending the oppressed. The Hildago Don Quixote thought he was a valiant knight.  Since we arrived we have seen green signs which mention “Ruta de don Quijote.”  And there is a book which traces a multitude of hypothetical routes…. Yesterday, Serge received a terra cotta Don Quixote and his acolyte disguised as runners.  The legend lives on.

Tomorrow: Menasalbas – La Puebla de Montalban - Torrijos

Town : Molinillo (Province de Ciudad Real)

GPS : N39.46670° W004.2556°