Au revoir and Hola

Hello All, I am in Pamplona on Spain day 2.

The last 240km of France rolled by, with two long rides to Mimizan-Plage then Bayonne followed by a final 50km ride along the coast to Hendaye. The next time I see the Atlantic will be in Càdiz on the other side of Spain.

An uneventful ride in large. Accomodation and food harder to get as everyone is having a break after the Summer’s chaos. The highlight was in the beautiful coastal town of Biarritz, where I helped out in a photo shoot for two guys doing a piece on regional cycling routes. I’m hoping they send me copies as it will be nice to have some professional photos of me in full gear.

Wednesday morning I crossed the bridge into Spain. Eurovelo 1 in Spain is really just a concept at the moment. The E1 signs were plentiful to Sunbilla, at Subilla a sign point to Legasa, and Legasa helpfully pointed the way to Oieregi, but sadly Oieregi was silent on the matter. A local policeman and two local cyclists had never heard of it!

So off I went to make my own way to Pamplona. The marked trail stopped on a highway that led straight to Pamplona so it wasn’t too hard, except that cyclists couldn’t use the highway for much of its length. So instead of tunnels through the mountain it was the old road for me over them.

It wouldn’t have been too bad ordinarily, but lucky me just happened to choose a day when they were doing roadworks. So when I left one of the few sections of the highway I was allowed to use to start the climb, all the cars and trucks came with me.

Trying to keep a straight line on the edge of a steep section of road isn’t much fun at the best of times but when you have a constant stream of trucks and cars a couple of feet from your left shoulder (all pissed off that the highway is closed) it is awful. About halfway through the 13km climb they thankfully were allowed to return to the highway, but the damage was done and by the time I finished the climb I was exhausted. I started the descent but also started looking for somewhere to stay. Four villages and four “Cerrado” signs, so I headed back to the highway, stopped at the first roadside rest area, put up my tent and called it a day. Pretty noisy night but did manage a good sleep.

With fresh legs I covered the last 24km to Pamplona in just over an hour! Oh well I certainly couldn’t have done that last night.

I hadn’t given any thought to where I was going in Spain and was somewhat surprising at Pamplona being such a big place, and as Rose advised me this morning the place where they run the Bulls.

So I have a good wander around, a nice lunch in the Piazza, done a bit of detailed planning to identify some fallback locations if needed, and a nice nap.

So off to dinner, a quiet nights sleep, and then I set off along the Camino Santiago tomorrow.

Best wishes to all.

Last day in France

In Spain

 

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