Two mugs of coffee, few biscuits, a bag of chips and two apples over a day and a half. Then the nagging headache, most likely from all the welding fumes from the day before. It's three days short of two months since I went on a longish ride and notwithstanding the conditions, it couldn't be postponed further. Decided upon a solo non-stop 80 km starting when our rides as a group generally end. The midday sun is hot, but not as cruel as it can be during peak summers.

The non-stop part of the plan failed because I stopped for a minute at the 70km mark in an attempt to take a photo. The first 50 are a breeze when you conserve energy and accelerate at will when needed. For a large part it is just the music, because someone else does the riding. The yellowing fields and polarizing glasses urge me on with false hope. Bikers and children waving is common, but bikers following in an attempt at conversation not quite so. There are butterflies crossing the road, dead cats lying with legs still high in the air while, from a distance I'm hoping it is a sack and no more only to meet with disappointment as it nears. The stench of the dead is common on highways - heat, time and tyres flatten the dead onto the road until they become part of it.

Fatigue arrives late and rises exponentially. The headwinds grow stronger until everything turns numb. Needs then are the most primitive. For water and for food. Not unlike the emaciated bearded man, with skin as dark as hair poking a twig into the soil. Mozart, Metal and Mark Knoppler are my favourite accompaniments to the revolutions of the pedal. Fatigue brings with it a strange high and there's nothing else left but music. Someone else does the navigation. In the end it's three hours and two bottles of water are gulped down from the kitchen before I crash.

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