Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 22: Espana!!!

So, after the previous day of fixing a broken spoke, I had been mulling over the fact that I had yet to have a puncture on the trip. Lucy had just 2, and 4 of my spokes had given way at various points, but no puncture. I put this down to the clean roads in France, and the fact that you don´t find yourself cycling through glass as I so often did on the Pacific coast of the US.

So what a suprise that on our final day, and after I had loaded up my bike, that I noticed my back tyre was pretty flat. In fact as flat as a pancake. I can now clarify that my thron resistance back inner tube is not thorn resistant, as a bloody great thorn had punctured it!!

A quick change of innertube and we were heading off, with Spain and San Sebastian in our sights. We negotiated Bayonne with a little difficulty... big towns are a bit of a nightmare on a bike, especially when all the signs seemed to direct us towards motoways, and then cruised through Biarritz. I´m exceedingly happy we didn´t end up making it there the previous night, as it is likely it would have cost us an arm and a leg to stay there. Swanky doesn´t even begin to describe it!

The roads were getting hillier, but we made it to the border around 2 in the afternoon. I´m not sure what I was expecting at the border... we kind of thought that there may not be much of a border crossing as we are in the eurozone afterall. I wasn´t expecting to see a load of gun totting border guards, one holding what can only be described as a gaunlet to throw under a cars wheels to blow the tyres! Although Lucy gave a chirpy Hola! to them not one of them broke their ice like stares. We could only assume they were waiting for someone smuggling something.

It took about 2 minutes for a car to beep us in Spain... the traffic definitely moves alot faster in these parts as well! We stopped to see if we could get a map, which we couldn´t, so decided to follow Nick´s GPS to the road we knew climbed a massive 455 metres (or 1500 ft) and technically was our final pyrennes section.

It was a struggle.. a real struggle! Not only that, but about halfway up it started to rain. The climb must have take an hur or so, and some of it was a quite steep. But as we reached the top it was worth it as the view over San Sebastian and the Atlantic ocean was awe inspiring. Lucy took a photo of her bike by the sign reading 455 metres, we had a quick break, and then braced ourselves for the descent.

The descent was great, it only took about 10 minutes, and slowing for the corners almost had smoke coming off my tyres, but boy was it fun! I hit 40.4 miles per hour on my speedo (or 65km per hour) most definitely the fastest top speed of the trip!

As we came into Lezo, which is the town just before San Sebastian we were then greeted by a final climb to get over the hill between the two, and once we were over it we came into San Sebastian. I can only say that it is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever seen. The sea meet the town, with the mountains in the background, and some of the architecture is outstanding.

After a quick trip to the toursit office (yes, an open tourist office!) we decided to treat ourdelves to a hostel.

53.41 on the speedo for the last day, and a satisfying 832.6 miles on the odometer. A fantastic trip, and one I would happily do again. Big up to Lucy as well, she found the first week a bit of a struggle due to the weight, but only got stronger form then on, and if anything finished stronger than me.

Pictures and films to follow when I can.... and even though I´ve finished it doesn´t mean you don´t have to sponsor me ;)

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