"You never have the wind with you -- either it is against you or you're having a good day." ~ Daniel Behrman
Total ascent: 1151m
Hours in the saddle: 4hrs 55min
Terrain: half mountain and undulating
(Half mountain being new definition of climbs about 500m ascent, full mountain aprox 1000 and up).
...and today it was against me. Headwind the whole way, except the last 7km. But knowing it was going to be that way meant I wasn't too worried..a pootle along would be fine as it wasn't too long a day distance wise.
Lovely start to the day..smooth slight downhill for about 20km to Haro, then on to the sierra beyond. If I didn't know it was wine country before I certainly did now...field after field after field of vines. On climbing the new sierra it afforded a fantastic view back across the valley with its vineyards, and bumps with castles, and in the far distance San Lorenzo and its sisters, all softened in a slight haze. So up the half mountain climb, passing the first of many cyclists going the other way. Then a nice smooth descent down the other side and toward Vitoria-Gastiez with few bumps along the way. It was when I reached the city that I realised that actually the wind was stronger than I thought as I was quite worn already! Amplified by the fact that it was a nightmare to circumnavigate..signs disappeared half way round so it was all a bit of a guessing game. All led to grumpy me, and so executive decision to stop and get some sugar onboard at the next village.
The road out of Vitoria, surprised me..there were hundreds of cyclists! And I am not exaggerating here..there was a whole range from solo riders to small groups to speedy chain gangs. All obviously going the opposite direction to me..being the sensible direction as you had the wind with you. And they just kept coming. Just up ahead was the beautiful Embalse Ullíbarri-Gamboa, and this road made up one side of it. So either there was some sportive or something similar, or it is the locals tradition to have a Saturday morning spin around the lake. Either way once past it though they pretty much all disappeared. So back by myself I headed up an even mini'er Puerto, with another fantastic descent the other side and undulating all the way home to Onati.
Watching all the Spaniards this morning made me realise that I had my ideas all wrong..I shouldn't be wanting to be like them and need upteen layers on and a scarf across my face to be warm..I was actually the hard one here, and they were just Michelin men I seriously don't know how they cycle in all that gear, it would be what I would wear (and more) if I was going into Dartmoor and it was zero degrees c or something. Not 20 plus! (Ok so the morning my garmin said 10 but it was in the shade..so more like 15). I think what sums up the difference best is watching the weather forecasts on the telly and the temperature charts. Both have red, yellow, green, blue to show the gradient between hot and cold. But for this time of year, the UK (well in the UK its very similar all year but..), would have red being oh 20/25 at Max maybe?, then blue being zero or thereabouts. In Spain however..red is 35ish, and blue 20!! No wonder there is such a different attitude to the temperature and the sun here! The sun is a funny one..at home..always curtains open to let the light and sun(cough!) in, and if the sun is out people will always gravitate to the side of the road where the sun is hitting. In Spain, it is the reverse, blinds and shades down all day regardless of where the sun is, and always walk in the shade. I can go with the latter but the former is quite difficult to get my head around..I don't like blocked out windows except at night..it just feels wrong, especially as it needs the lights on.
Also to note that I have hit Basque country..most obviously seen in that all the signs now are in Basque and then Spanish. It seems a hugely different language, with all the constinants it reminds me more of Polish. So not only do the roads have multiple names/numbers (the other day one stretch of road I was on had 4 numbers; numbers also change when crossing province, so if you weave a long a boarder, you can be switching road numbers every few hundred metres); now all the towns and cities have two names too. At least wprking all that out will keep me awake!