Lanzarote Day 5: 90kms

“The world is a handkerchief!” (El mundo es un panuelo)

….it’s a small world…..a very small world.

Heading up the steep hill out of Costa Teguise, a cyclist flashed past me going downhill, so fast that I nearly missed him.IMAG1119 But in that briefest of glimpses, there was something so familiar about the profile that it prompted me to turn around and chase him down the hill. As we reached the T junction, I looked over and said “Oh, hi Brian! Thought it might be you”. He stopped immediately, dumbfounded: “Frank, this is amazing!”…….we occasionally cycle together in a Northamptonshire group, and our hotels are only a few hundred metres apart in Costa Teguise. He invited me back to his hotel and we sat drinking coffee together.

That same evening, as I was sitting down to my evening meal in the hotel dining room, I noticed a chap (whom I guessed was a cyclist) sitting at a table nearby, we made eye contact, and eventually sat together and shared tales of the road, diet, training programmes, and much more. After about an hour of chat, we eventually got around to introducing ourselves and enquiring about each other’s background. When I told him where I lived IMAG1136and which club I cycled with, he said “You must be Frank Burns then. I’ve read some of your blog”. I was left speechless…..well, only for a few seconds…….until Paul revealed that he was also a member of St Ives CC and, although we had never met, he knew about some of my overseas expeditions. We went on to sit together over several meals, ‘chewing the fat’ and sharing anecdotes. He shared his current thinking about cycling and diet, and revealed that he has ditched the use of carbohydrates altogether (the traditional source of energy for cyclists) and has converted to a high fat diet, which not only changes the metabolism of the body completely, but also forces the body to seek energy in fat reserves, which are much more enduring.

I have yet to be fully convinced about the wisdom of all of this, but the following day he actually completed a very challenging 110 miles/175kms on a single banana and water, and never craved anything else during the whole ride. To say that is impressive is an understatement. I can’t imagine ever going more than 50 miles/80kms without sustenance, and then I would be at my limit.

Other cyclists I met at the hotel included a German triathlete who, at the age of 50, was training hard for his next Ironman; a Belgian, probably in his early 60s, who was on a serious training schedule, going out every day with a group and ploughing the same furrow each morning……always going north into the wind, and coming back with a tailwind. I couldn’t imagine anything more boring, but then he was focused entirely his training statistics.kite_caleta_de_famara_lanzarote

My route today was quite spectacular, but the wind was stronger than ever. Getting out to the Caleta de Fámara, on the north west coast, was very tough, but for the last ten kilometres, I managed to tuck in behind a couple of similarly paced cyclists and ‘sucked on their back wheels’. The strength of the winds along this particular coastline is the very reason that surfing, of every description, is big business. The small village is dominated by watersports shops and restaurants.IMAG1127But, perhaps the most intriguing person I met in my time in the hotel was Alex, from Geneva in Switzerland. He is currently ‘in between jobs’ in the high tech industry, but is also a super-keen kitesurfer. He had come over to the Canaries to scout around for the best kitesurfing beaches. His mission was entirely one of research, jumping from one island to the next, to get a global idea of what was available.

Meeting people like all of the above is, for me, the stuff of life. People with an outward-bound mentality are a constant source of inspiration.Screenshot 1

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on January 29, 2015, in Cycling Lanzarote and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Talk about co-incidences – I saw a bloke just like you in a pub in Isham today. He even had a bike!

  2. Hi Frank,
    Enjoyed your blog as always. The Peace family spent time at Costa Teguise last September and spent much of the time at Caleta de Famara watching Jonathan kite surf albeit the winds were regrettably not as strong as what you have probably experienced in the past week. You have obviously had a great time and your cycling reputation seems to be going international !!
    Best wishes
    Graham

    • Thanks Graham! Caleta de Fámara was a wild place when I was there. I suspect the winds were too strong for most surfers/kitesurfers……..certainly nearly too strong for humble roadies like myself.

  3. A small world indeed. Sounds as though you had a great trip.

  4. I have been off the air for a while but have just caught up with your Lanzarote days. I was particularly taken with Day 5, partly because of your amazing collection of serendipitous encounters, but also because of the wonderful little habitation which takes me back to Greece of 50 years ago. It also cures me of fears that Lanzarote has gone the way of all touristy type flesh Keep it up Tony

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