March 16

Good day today, did about 120k.  We started in our campsite beside the river, waking up at 5am as the sun came up,  I had some trippy dreams involving a rollerblading French princess after I nodded off, and come 630 was up and breaking camp.  As expected, cold this morning and we were quick to get on our way.  The hills that had been brown when we went to sleep were now capped with snow, with a promise of more snow from the clouds as well.  Unfortunately, the area between the road and our campsite was quite muddy, so our wheels were covered by the time we got to the tarmac.  I was able to clean mine in a few quick scrapes, but Ryan’s mudguards got a bit clogged, so he had to take a while longer to fix them. 

Once we were rolling had a pretty slow day, taking us until 1130 to do the first 30k as there were quite a few hills and a pretty steady northernly wind slowing us down,  We stopped before a large set of hills we needed to crest in order to reach Sivas and had a quick chocolate bar and some warming cey.  While Ryan was in the bathroom, one of the local Jandirma approached me and offered me a spare pair of his gloves.  I didn’t really need them, as my gloves are pretty good, but it was far too nice a gift to refuse, so I put them on immediately.  It was such a nice gesture, that when I cycled off I was full of cheer, then realised I should give him something, so pedalled back to give him a small metal bike keychain that I’d been given from the bike shop in Ankara.  Almost as good, the hills we had to climb turned out to not exist, and it was a relatively flat run into Sivas. 

The road to Sivas took us through some fairly big hills, and they were just so barren and bleak, it really reminded me of Scotland in places.  Every so often, you would see a small field or garden that someone had painstakingly worked on turning fertile and green, but for the most part nothing grew on these hills.  This landscape continued after we left Sivas, with hill after hill being brown and dry.  Some of the valley floors were being farmed, but they were small plots and it didn’t seem like productive land.  As we cycled through, it felt like being on the moon – it was monotone colour and no plant life, just rocks and dry soil.  As night grew closer, we started to look for a nice campsite, and after a few false starts (read incredible amounts of mud) we found a decent place about halfway between a river and the road.  No hot dinner tonight, as we managed to misplace the lighter, so cold beans and sausage, yum.  Should be a cold night, with some snow, but Wednesday should warm up again.  Can’t wait for it to not be freezing cold at night. 

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