We got to Tenerife, bought some Bepanthen bebé for our saddle sores, stocked up on food and water and had one last delicious gas station coffee before starting the 170 km and +4,500 m ride across Tenerife. We truly enjoyed the first 6 km of flat road before starting the first part of the climb up to La Laguna. Luckily the climb was on asphalt, so it was doable even at night. However, 45 km and +1,200 m of climbing after the full day in Gran Canaria was quite heavy, and the temperatures dropped the higher we climbed. We decided to camp in La Laguna and after two hours of broken sleep, set out riding again at 4.00 am. There was still almost 130 km and +3,300 m to go before the one and only 5.30 pm ferry to El Hierro.
The first hours went well but then we turned on to a small gravel road that led us deeper into the forest and to the bottom of mount Teide. It was freezing—temperatures had dropped to 4ºC. Besides being cold, I wasn’t able to eat or drink often enough on a muddy and rocky gravel track. That’s when the problems started. We stopped for a short break but I was still struggling to eat. We kept riding and I started losing power, but couldn’t force myself to eat enough. Eventually, I couldn’t keep up with the others so I found my own pace and kept moving forward, slowly but surely. By the afternoon I was so exhausted I just wanted to cry. I had to lay down a couple of times. I forced myself to eat something but my legs were empty and it felt like the longest climb of my life—probably because it was.
I was also running out of water since there hadn’t been anywhere to refill my bottles. After a long, slow battle, I finally reached the road and soon found a restaurant where I was able to stop and refill. I should have eaten but I could only manage a cold coke. When I got back on the bike I was hurting a lot, my left achilles had started to bother me on the climb and the saddle soreness made sitting down extremely painful. I no longer thought I would make it to the ferry, but I was too tired to care. I just wanted to get off my bike.