First day in the Pyrenees
Total ascent: 700 ish? (Not actually looked today)
Hours in the saddle: 2 hrs 45
Terrain: rolling and mountain
Back on the bike day. Well..after 3 hours on the train to get back on the route through the mountains. Getting the train itself was very straight forward..aside from taking the scenic route to the station. I found out last night that actually the bus is quicker than the train, but it was a matter of principle now after all the many trips to the train stations the last few days..I was going to go on a train dammit!!
There was one other cyclist heading up to the mountains, he had a very fancy bike, and a suitcase..obviously making a weekend of it. It sums up people in the cycling world very well..that bike perving comes way before you actually notice the person actually with the bike. When actually riding it's usually a persons colours, then his bike, then them, always with a wave, nod, smile and a hello..talk about multi tasking!!
I was asked last night by a friend of mine how I felt about going back on the bike..excited or reluctant..and in all honesty I didn't have an answer. I have been so concentrating on actually moving between the cities and getting back on track that I hadn't actually thought about the back on the bike bit. Or that's what I was telling myself. When touring to a set time frame, its not really something you can think about..thinking in general is overated..you just have to do it, regardless. Though having said that I think I was worried how it would go rather than wanting to/not wanting to ride. Which is why the plan was to go the 3 hrs to Jaca and ride, rather than stop and hour into the journey at Huesca and go from there. I just wasn't confident where I would be mentally and physically on the bike. I also wasn't that confident about the Pyrenees and the weather. So a short day to find my legs again.
Jaca is, I guess you would say, on the outskirts of the mountains proper..its in amongst the green 'hills' rather than the grey mountains. Until you spy the snowy mountains in the gaps of the hills, you don't fully appreciate what that means. I don't remember seeing that difference in the Alps but perhaps its there too. I had read a description of the Pyrenees somewhere..saying while the Alps are the more manicured mountains, the Pyrenees are more brutal and harsh. And when I first caught sight of the moody snow capped mountains half hidden by the low clouds..you can certainly see where that came from. There was something very ominous about these mountains, something foreboding. I don't know why but it was enough of a feeling that I was almost praying my road wouldn't take me up one of those monsters. On a few occasions it looked like I was going to be and I had to swallow a huge gulp. But luckily my road went up the bottom of one but then meandered up along the range rather than up the mountain itself. Once reassured I was not going to the monsters, I settled into a training mindset, putting the gears up and leaving them set no matter the gradient. Distracting myself by the games of finding the road ahead in the trees, and making out roadsigns (one I thought was dinosaurs crossing but was actually a q of cars; my favourite is one I always read as 'hello'- it's actually hielo -ice...but where's the fun in that?).
So all in all an alright ride, cold though, very cold. Weirdly it is about 15degrees so its not really but I am still trying to get my toes warm. Tomorrow lots of layers.
I am stopped in Broto tonight, small town on a beautiful blue white river ..not clear glacial blue like in the Pico's...at just over 1000m up. I think its more of a ski town as its virtually deserted, or perhaps sensible people don't come here til the summer when it's warmed up some. Seems really nice though and I would like to come back when the suns out. Its been dry all day, windy but dry, but back to rain again now..and here there have more lightning in the afternoon tomorrow. Very glad I will be long gone by then...it seems I will be avoiding storms for my whole time in the Spanish Pyrenees.