Cycling in Spain will be our way to meet Ailsa’s Travel Theme Challenge this week. The search is on for PINK.
Warning : This post may cause increased heart rate, sweating and dehydration. Proceed at your own risk.
The quest begins in Santillana. Described as the prettiest Iittle village in Spain, the collection of stone houses wind around three narrow, cobbled roads.
This would be the starting point of our cycling through the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain. Pico translates to peak…summit, pinnacle, high point, bloody tall mountain….you get the drift.
On the first day of cycling our Spanish guides arrived with bikes and suggested we should do an ‘easy loop’. We have come to know this warm up means, ” Let’s have a look at all of you and see if we need to carry a defibrillator in the support vehicle.”
I knew things were off to a challenging start when the guides suggested I take my bike for a bit of a try on the flat spot to see if the seat height was right. In true European style, the flat location they chose for the test varied from my idea of flat by twenty degrees or so.
As the ten day tour progressed my cycling jersey was not the only thing that was pink. Just looking at the elevation map for the next day sent my face into a flushed state. In the photo below Hubby and I have left ahead of the group out of the beautiful Posada de Valdeon. Can you see my pink face?
There are some things that are certain in life. In this case it would be that since our arrival to the valley was via a steep 10 km descent, unless a helicopter was lifting us out over these Massifs, there was going to be some serious hill climbing in store. After a flat 200 meter warm up (one would hate to overdo things) the ascending began.
With 60 kilometers behind us we reached the town of Potes. I noted on a digital thermometer the temperature read 33 degrees celsius. What remained was a 13 km climb to Liebana near Fuente De. Suffice it to say that at this point all layers of clothing that could be legally removed were long gone
The guide’s additional advice, and this one directed to me, was to take any extra gear or weight off my bike and give it to Hubby to carry. Should he have taken any more he would actually have had my bike perched on his back.
I leave you with my final contribution of PINK from the tenth and final day of cycling with two of three mountain passes completed and the third pass just ahead. With my skin on fire and sweat dripping on the pavement, the guide asked if I wanted to continue.
I asked how many more kms of climbing there were until the descent into our destination of Cabuergina. She thought about 4kms. I told her with a grin that if I had to drag my bike up the final bit I would. ” Oh Suuueee. You are doing so gooood” said the smiling guide.
I believe what she really wanted to say “Oh Suuueee. I am soooo happy I did not need to use the defibrillator!”
Do you have a cycling story? I’d love to hear it.
Now a bonus question…who knows what the significance of the pink cycling jersey is?
Map and image #7- Nichols Expeditions