"Today is your day ! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way." — Dr. Seuss
Total ascent: 936m
Hours in the saddle: 2hrs 35min
Terrain: one mountain
After a bad night (I thought I may have been coming down with a temperature as I was boiling, but it turned out they has just stuck the heating on full whack), and still feeling a bit dodgy in the morning I was all set for another rest day. However the inevitable happened...
When talking to the owners they kept asking if I was going out at all, perhaps on my bike? It turned out they very much wanted to get in and clean my room after me hogging it yesterday rather than any concern or anything. I replied umming and ahhing, saying maybe I would go to San Lorenzo on the bike, but that I was very tired and not particularly well. The response and the look on their face at the mention of me cycling up the mountain...sigh, here we go again. I really need to work on my hardarsed cyclist look. I tried to convince myself that it would be probably better to stay and rest and get well. But it was a lost cause. The gauntlet had been thrown and a mission to get up the mountain and back was set.
This time no prisoners, even the heavy bike lock was coming off. I set off for the mountain. There is about 15km of uphill rolling first, so the concession to myself was that if I truely felt awful then I could just spin to Ezcaray and back and be done. I did feel awful..those 15km were a battle keep down my breakfast. But I caught sight of my target snowy mountain and there was no real choice. I had done a gradient search for the climb and so I had it in my mind it would be a toughy, but actually it was a really good 15km climb. Though that could be the benefit of not having the panniers, or rather of having them for the last month and a half! Gradient hung about the 8% mark, maxing at 10%, and it was a nice wiggly road (technical term there) rather than constant hairpins. It's a strange day when you realise that anything around a 10%er doesn't phase you anymore and you barely notice it. Get me eh! Soon I will be a cycling diva..'no no I'm not getting out of bed for anything less than a 12%er!'
It was a bit of an anticlimax at the top..it looked like the road went up to the snowline, when actually it just looped around a ski lodge.. Valdezcaray..and the line I saw was the ski lift. There was a road going further on but it was a dirt track so no good for my roadie. So a few pictures of the view then back down I went...usual gravel, potholes and lots of cows on the road to keep an eye out for. If they got rid of those three or would be a perfect climb.
The way back was quite funny. I had noticed my balance was a bit off during the descent but had put that down to lergy or cold or something. But it still carried on on the rolling road home. It took me a while but I realised that this was the first time I had been on a weight free (well panniers and lock free) bike since...well since el Torcal back in Andalucia..about a month and a half ago! And the difference in the balance of the bike and how you handle it is huge! I nearly went splat when I overbalanced getting out of the saddle and dancing on the pedals for the first time. I will have to remember that in the future. But racing along the road, even with a headwind, was fantastic fun, so much faster. Brilliant.
Back at the hotel, I tried to be uber cool about the climb..'yeah very nice, not that hard but pretty yadda yadda yadda'..their response..'well you should have kept going further to the next one'. Dammit! Lol. It is true obviously, though extra kms are not really a big thing for me and I was happy with my mountain climb. It was a nice bit of preparation before the Pyrenees.
Though feeling a little better, my stomach was still not great, so a pretty pathetic afternoon of supermarket shopping and crashing out on my bed followed. I am glad to have done the climb, to show myself that I can and that the lergy won't stop me in the next stage tomorrow, but I also realise rest is still needed especially as I am lucky that I can. It is actually the best time if ever I was going to get ill.