As you can see from the title I am not in the mountains after all. I spent a LOT of time last night debating about whether to go into the storm or not. It was tricky as I had no idea about the type of mountain storms they have here or indeed any idea about cycling and storms.
Time to consult the oracle that is Google... Cycling and lightning...discus! It sounds a really stupid thing to look up, but I wanted to cycle but not if it was dangerous or cause extra problems...it is a 'holiday' after all. So I found a couple of good articles, main points were as follows
- start looking for shelter as soon as you hear thunder or when it is 10km away (using 3 seconds per km rule). Shelter being a house not a tree. Sit and wait it out until thunder is back to being a good distance away for however long that takes.
- lower your elevation as much as possible. If you are up a hill/mountain come down it
- research your route and weather, and plan accordingly.
Taking those points against what I knew for my planned route:
- the route I was on was not the most populated. There were villages but not regularly past a certain point.
- there was three mountain peaks
- looking at the forecast along the route..while the beginning and end only seemed to have storms early afternoon, mid points had lightning forecast all day.
All in all not looking great..if there was lightning and I got off and got shelter, there was no telling how long I would have to be there for for it to pass through.
But I still wasn't 100% convinced..so I decided on a test..a test of the weather forecast against reality. So from 9 onwards rain was predicted in San Sebastian, previously I had seen storms predicted but that seemed to have gone. So 9 came and went, 10 also..and nothing. But then...Big rain and thunder and lightning!! Holy crap-a-doodle!!! Not get me on the bike for life nor money after that!!
So with a little more confidence in what the forecast was saying I looked further into it..and the storms would continue on my path the whole of the next day too not great. Time for an intense rethink as I had to keep moving east to keep to the schedule. It hurt, I tell you that. My poor brain. Anyway the outcome was to public transport it in a parallel route for those two days. Research into the where and how and all sorted.
Obviously things wouldn't go smoothly..ha! Where is the fun in that. I slept badly and the train I was planning on taking was leaving early. Before 7 I was making my way down the road to the station, only to find it wasn't the right station. Hoik across town to the other station, to find by very very diluted rapid Spanish speak that actually no, no bikes allowed. Fine. Bus. Back across town to down the road from the first train station for the bus station. Eventually find the ticket person, buy the ticket, all fine. But. 'Need to wrap the bike up'. 'With what?! This is all I have?!' 'Plastico, try the supermarket down the road'. 'Fine'. It's not even half 7 in the morning, the bus goes at half 8, nothing is open. This was turning into a version of the krypton factor! Eventually a market opened, I tried to explain what I needed and she gave me some black bin liners. It would have to do. When I got back to the bus station, my bus had just come in..and I grabbed the driver, and in probably the most pathetic Spanish ever explained that me and the bike were going with him, and pointing at the black bags. I think the pathetic talking, and the generally pathetic and disheveled and tired look worked, he just tapped my shoulder and told me it was all ok. We put it on the bus with no plastico at all.
Sitting on the bus..and relaxxxx..still no rain outside but the lowest cloud I have ever seen. We were not high up at all but the countryside was covered in dense cloud. An hour or so later and we are in Pamplona. Its a funny old place..obviously I have no expectations of it as I was not meant to come here..apart from the bulls I know nothing. The lonely planet has a funny description of it..along the lines of if you come outside the bull festival, you can't help but feel you have missed the party. I thought that was an odd thing to say but I can actually understand it now. It's actually a very quiet and sedate town...quite pretty in an understated way. Although I have to say most of it probably passed me by as I was so knackered by the early start and travelling. Usual getting lost meandering walking took place, though it is a hard place to get lost in. Plus sleeping and more planning. This public transport thing is quite stressful, but I think that's only because of the bike.