I was still not feeling too crash hot when we got up the next morning. Breakfast was good but again no scrambled eggs. Yet it was an improvement over Rilland. We set off to improving weather destined to make it to Eindhoven Or rather Son and Breugel. It was going to be about 63 km. This time I was wearing my black cycling pants (with the padding that feels like thick feminine hygiene pads). This was a good plan as by this stage I had developed some pain in the bottom from the saddle. So with an optimistic view we left our great hotel.
Well, things did not go according to plan at all on this leg. This was by far the most difficult leg of all. It started off with us not being able to get onto the correct track. Initially it seemed we could only get there by lifting the bikes over electrically charged fencing. Not a good prospect, but in the end we found away through. Another train pull was required to get there, but it was preferable by far. It was clear that SO was in pain though. You could see it in his skating. In a forest with a lot of clinker-bricks and standard pavement he was in agony. In the end we decided at a sandy road to detour over the tarmac to the next village instead of pulling the guys through again. Once there we found a pharmacy and the lady there recommended some special pressure relieving bandage used for callus. Basically it is a ring that is out around the point of pressure.
By that stage it was too late for apple pie and we decided on an early lunch. Which by the way was hard enough to find there. In the end the guys walked out the village to the villa. This as the pub where we had wanted to eat was only open for drinks (12.30pm, duh). After having bread with croquettes (no uitsmijters here, not flash enough) SO started with the pressure relieving experiment on his feet. Quite a sight to be seen I tell you. Initially it looked OK. It also became clear that the distance was going to be more than 63. bummer. As at that stage I could stop worrying about SO I started to feel my own tiredness again. When we left the villa I could feel myself running on minimal reserve.
Skating was near to painless on SO’s right foot and significantly improved on this left. This combined with the wonderful tarmac meant that we made good time. Until we nearly got to Goirle and we hit another sandbank On the big and little bird it was not possible to see how long this path was. Fortunately it was a popular area for locals and I decided to ask the question.
In very local slang-and-hard-to-follow-near-Dutch the people proceeded to tell us that the path would be no good for the skates and the told us how to go instead. it sounded like a long way round.
Another local agreed (this man actually spoke Dutch) and told us that though this part of the path was not too bad, the farther part he would not even recommend by bike. He offered to show us the shortest way back to our route. We accepted.
So 10km later we were only 3 km further on our scheduled trip. Ouch! Time was getting shorter for us and we still had a long way to go.
We had apple pie at 43 km, still 30 km to go and already 4pm. My body was craving the sugars but my stomach was not in agreement with this assessment and it did not fall well. We left quickly to make up some time and we made reasonable time. Yet I felt awful and from about 50 km onwards I felt myself weakening. My legs were going through the motions like they were on automatic pilot, my mind and rest and the body were resisting. At 54 km I lost it. I cried my eyeballs out. I was ready to call a taxi to get myself to the hotel but my pride kicked in. I was going to get there! So after some sobbing and being comforted by SO (who was still in pain himself) I dragged myself on the bike and we set off for the last 20 km. A steady pace and not caring at what time we’d arrive as long as we got there. We had one more mini break and of course the last bit was wonderful in surroundings following the canal and great tarmac for the guys. We finally got to the hotel at 74km. I was too tired to feel how proud I was for managing to get there. My companions virtually carried me off my bike. My bags were carried up and my bike put away. Th room we had here was huge and I mean huge. You could have a dance party in there. I pulled all our clothes out of the bags and spread them around (looking for something) and it still did not look filled. Then I went again straight into the bath.
When SO and I were discussing the day we were convinced that if asked now we would not make it to the last leg. However we decided to wait with an answer until the next day after we’d had a good night sleep.
The bath was a blessing and I felt so much better afterwards and had a great evening with a good meal. I was not even in need of vitamin ch to cheer me up.
By that stage felt proud of what I had achieved and went to bed, exhausted but happy.