Made an early start (08.21 says Garmin) and it was a little nippy and I was glad to have two tops on for the first hour or so as the sun started to throb. However, there was a thin but pretty complete layer of high cirrhus cloud. I think that was sent by my lovely friends in Barcelona as I’d Emailed them to say that I’d gotten into Spain, which was good, if not Catalunya, but how do you turn the heat down. Guillem said when it gets too hot for them they just go to the beach and Juan Carlos said it will get cooler in another 300km or more. I think they were embarrassed and sorted out the high cloud. Whoever did it: more please!
The road was a bit weird at first: I thought I had anohter day of having an old N road very much to myself with a new A road alongside it and it looked that way until this:
Yes. That road really does just stop there, about 150m before the bridge and become, well, nothing. It was actually easy to hop onto the real road on the left there and plough along the hard shoulder. I was relieved to see a local cyclist going the other way and concluded that I was legal and the road surface was so much better than sharing the camino with the walkers (it’s a gravel track most of the way, fine on a mountain bike and Toto and I could have done it but it chops at least 15% off speed/efficiency I’d say). Basically, I stayed on that hard should for 78.11km. Elevation:
I’m intrigued to see, to the extent one can on these plots, that I’m higher than where I started as the last stretch from that lump of green hills the road went straight through felt like it lost all I’d climbed. Anyway, much more subjectively important, gradient:
Oh yes, that red bit! The bit where a gentle climb out of a village suddenly got steeper, softened again, and then said in bright red and yellow: “6% for 3km”! That was tough but I seemed to have so much better legs than yesterday. The rest was really fine so I did 78km pretty much in one go bar a couple of brief stops to take ‘photos or to open a “gel”: experimenting with what the real cyclists do!
That brought me to Burgos. For what it’s worth, here’s speed:
There were a couple of lovely fast, yellowish 50+kph downhills but most of the last 20km were lovely with sun still not burning and the garmin on the handlebars saying “-1%” gradient most of the way.
Yup, those 3km of 6% and sometimes more did get the heart pumping.
One really weird thing happened on that climb: the words “He who would valiant be, let him come hither” came into my head, complete with (a very poor version of) the notes, and then the whole of the first verse of “Onward pilgrim soldiers”. Now youngsters reading this who didn’t have “school hymns” probably won’t know this but a bit of sleuthing here on the internet revealed all three verses and the origins in Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”. I had NO conscious thought of the pilgrim bit at the time and no idea where the hymn had come from.
That led into some interesting reflections on what I call “martial christianity” and how much I mistrust all martial religion.
I found a hotel (OK to good), had lunch (ditto and included some black pudding which Juan Carlos recommends as a speciality round here (this is Burgos/Castille). Then I did some “site/blog” work and went to see the cathedral. And that’s the architectural equivalent of doing a full 12 round professional boxing match I think. I’ve never seen anything like it and I think it’s a total mess and much of it horrible but you can’t not admire the aspirations and the hubris. That will have to wait for another day though as I know I need sleep if I’m to blitz the “high meseta” in the next two days and survive the hills that follow.
On the run in to Santiago now and I think I will make it though it’s by no means a given. Have had a lot of thoughts about how to continue the life changing thinking and experiencing, the emotional processing and personality review that it’s involved on my returrn and I’m clear now that will take months, several years I think. I think that’s a common reaction of people who do this or one of the many similar things, including psychotherapy. In the last ten years I’ve said things like: “You think these 18 months are tough and the gist of it. Well they are tough but they’re not the gist of it’s the next 18 months that you do on your own, the next 18 years, that really matter.” I guess this is very similar.
OK. Out to sample the café/bar life of evening Burgos. Apparently it stops about 02.00. I’ll be long abed by then!
OH, nearly forgot. Cumulative Garmin trace is 1,999.1km. As it’s not recorded everything, for various reasons, I’m well over 2000km. There’s a thought and here are the pictures:
Doesn’t vary much at this scale eh? And speed ditto: