It’s 4:30 AM. Can’t sleep. The wind is gusting around the hotel, flapping flags and banging everything not tied down. I stick my face out the window. The rain is cold and stinging. I feel excited to soon be cycling in this storm. My reaction surprises me. I feel powerful, and vulnerable at once. My vulnerability makes it exciting, the power is in casting myself into the storm and sailing it to Santiago, the end of my pilgrimage.
3:30 PM. The reality is less appealing. A strong headwind sends that stinging rain into my face all day. A dozen times the wind pushes me to a dead stop. I don’t really understand how I can get so soaked, with my waterproof jacket and pants, but I do. They cling to me like cold Saran wrap. My waterproof gloves and waterproof socks are soaked and cold and squishy. I grab the handlebars tightly and water squeezes out of my gloves. I am cranking into the wind and rain in my lowest gears all day.
I do reach Santiago, and dive into a private hostel for the night. The owner is Spanish and very loud. I know he is not angry or upset. It’s the Spanish way, the other end of my laid back California way. So I keep listening and paying close attention and don’t react. He is actually very helpful and soon starts laughing and calling me friend. I put my hand on his shoulder in the Spanish way and all is good.
Another couple shows up at the hostel. They see my bike and ask “Hey, are you that guy that’s cycling around the world? We heard about you from another hiker….” Can you feel the smile on my face?
My pilgrims passport showing some stamps. It has been soaked, tattered and taped.
Tomorrow I see the cathedral and get my certificate. What fun this has been!