Despite a bad forecast, the day started dry and clouded over towards the end. The afternoon was really hard going as it was mostly up hill and against the head wind. The other thing noticeable is how the road surface changes when a border is crossed between provincial Juntas. The Soria region has a great road surface, but the Segovia Junta seems to be very keen on using pebble dash for a road surface. Hard to ride on and loads of loose gravel!
A short uphill gentle climb to the main highway (N122).
The N Roads are quite amazing. These roads are easy to ride and fairly direct. Sometimes super quite (in this case due to a new motorway).I like the way that there is a hard shoulder to give me space from traffic. Whilst the road surface in Segovia is not great, the layout is the same.
For users of Komoot, the planning is great, but you do need to modify routing to include N Roads and populated are. Spain is a very hot place and if you leave all the planning to Komoot without modification, you risk spending the day in the bush with no opportunity to top up with water!
So I am more than a day from Agreda. This is about the last point I can see the mountain. I must be at least 80 miles down the road.
This is quite random. A Mc D sign in the middle of nowhere. Not that I was looking for fast food. Plenty of better alternatives in Spain.
Another day of nice weather. Plenty of climbing. Weather forecast for the weekend is frankly “Pants”. I have been doing these rides in Spain since 2013 and I have never known the weather to be so unstable.
The destination hotel was very nice. Small village so a real community feel in the bar. Owner spoke English and was very welcoming. After a hot day, beer in a frosted glass is always welcome!
Leaving Agreda starts with a hill. Not my favorite way to start the day. But when the legs warm up, all is fine. The big mountain behind is something I will for some time yet.
Stopped in a village to have a swig from the water bottle and take a 10 min break!
As can be seen from the profile, still plenty of climbing. The Destination is Agreda where I stopped on my 2019 tour. This time I had an apartment with a washing machine so was spared hand washing all my kit!
Map below and as you expect from Spain, some great places to see along the way!
This is wine country and this is the journey Rioja will start making from the vine to my Wine Rack back in England. Across the border in France, it seems that they are drinking too much craft beer and wine is now being converted to “Hand Gel”. My advice is to drink both!
This is a dead village. Ruin church on the top of the hill. Buildings looked like old work houses. I am sure there is some interesting history to this place!
RUHX is one of the two charities I am supporting on this ride. If you have not donated yet, please use the links on this page.
The RUHX team asked me to take a picture. As I am riding solo, I do not have a “Team” so the media team will just have to manage with a selfie:-) That mountain to the left of me is close to Agreda where I am heading. Picture taken at mile 50. I could see tis from mile 5!
About 10 KM from Agreda – closer look at the mountain.
Picture of the Agreda town square after dinner 🙂
Heavy rain all night, so all roads have plenty of surface water. Drizzle was just about constant until I escaped the Pyrenees. The Hotel was really great, but as the route is very popular with the Camio De Santiago fraternity, the catering operation was geared to the Pilgrims. Great quality and value for money.
This is how it all starts….Soggy! Enough said!.
This is where I depart from the route and go up some steep hills. The cars that have move horse power than me (and self contained shelter) gets to take the easy route through the tunnel.
South of Pamplona and its dry. The rain is behind me!
An this is the hotel. When I first approached, I though the hotel was an annex to a church. I stayed in a place near Dax in 2017 which was part of a religious establishment with a very basic hotel open to the pubic. I was worried this place was the same set up. But once inside, it was great. Nice rooms, bar and great food.
Forecast is poor for the next couple of days. The only good thing is that I have a tail wind. This leg take me across the border into Spain. No passport stamping (remember when we could just turn up in the EU from the UK with no passport controls?)
The hotel stop this eve is in Elizondo, my third visit since 2017. Luckily, I go in just before a coach load of folks arrived.
Here are some pictures from today’s ride!
Birds seem to be creative about where they pitch camp ! (and no I was not on a train. This shot taken from the road)
That will be the Pyrenees then…..with a massive side order of showers! As soon as I get to the border, the climbing starts!
This is the peak before Elizondo. During the climb light showers were almost constant. After this peak, it was a very soggy ride down hill as the rain got worse!
Lots of rain in the forecast and dodging rain is going to be the theme over the next few days until I get well into Spain.
Riding getting more interesting as small hill and winding roads replace the straight roads between trees. Faster ride today with a tail wind at the end.
Tomorrow, I say goodbye to France as I cross the border and spend the night at Elizondo,
I deliberately adjusted the route in the Landes region to avoid some of the rough roads I used last year. Unfortunately, I still encountered about 20 miles of rough surface!
Picking up the first signs of the well known pilgrim route. Spotted my first pilgrim today. There will be plenty more over the next few days. Some make quite a noise due to the tapping from the hiking sticks.
The Medoc is very flat and whilst the forest routes have traffic free routes on former railways tracks. The view was just about the same along most of the route. Trees, Trees and more trees!
So far – 444 Miles complete for this tour !
In the past, I have cycled to Lege and then down the Cap Feret strip. Generally not a nice route. This time I headed inland as the old rail route continued. Basically this is a 40 mile traffic free route that still goes on further.
First stop is Soulac Plage for a coffee and Almond Croissant.
The Forrest in the Medoc areas is a huge fire risk! Towers like this all over the place to spot fires. Frustrating to see a walker having a smoke and the flicking his butt into dry grass!
The cycle track is well funded and mostly maintained. Only a few spots where tree roots make the surface bumpy.
An opportunity to give the tires some wind!
I had wanted to go to Soulac-Sur-Mer where I have had some amazing holidays in the 80s. On this occasion, all the hotels were booked, but I did manage to find a nice spot in Le Verdon just up the road.
A nice dry ride today through Vendee. For those that know this area, its very flat, but interesting as terrain changes from Vineyards to coastal inlets where oysters are farmed.
And here area few pictures from the ride!
This bridge is the biggest climb of the day (See KM 74 where there is a single peak). Since I crossed this bridge last year, the cycle route has been moved to East side. This has improved the route into the bridge. The surface is really good with excellent separation from traffic. In 10 years, this is my fourth time across the bridge.
Here is a view of a hanging bridge from the bridge I was crossing. I had always thought that this was redundant structure from a lifting bridge. I was quite amazed to see a suspended platform move across the river.
Gosport is my home town, so here is a mugshot to prove that I was there. I was trying to Scowl like Donald Trump who also had a mug shot published today. Think I need more practice to imitate the Donald Grump.
Random picture of my bike posing with some rustic village stuff.
So this is the ferry to Pointe De Grave. Standard design where cars roll on and roll off.
This is one of the older ferries from the 1970s where the sides would drop down and cars would enter from the side.
Weather have been challenging today. I decided on later start (1100 ish) as weather was due to be very wet until 1200. I got 4 miles into the trip and the heavens opened up! Luckily I was passing a cafe, so dropped in for coffee.
So this is the view from the hotel! The rain stopped a hour later so I set off, and still got wet!
Lots of rain around and chasing me very hard. After the first drenching, I managed to miss most of the storms.
Eventually, it dried up and a very nice end to the day. Downside was that the hotel for the night was in a small village where the only Restaurant had closed for good.
Good progress today as I continue South towards Spain. It was a bit overcast to start with, then the sun came out where it got to a very humid 32 degrees. Here is the route map.
Weather forcast is for storms in the morning so its going to be a late start. Just as well as I cannot get into the hotel at the destination until after 1800.
Todays route was a mile longer due to a detour I had to take as a rail crossing was closed.
Just under 10 miles from the Hotel and its time for the first coffee of the day in Redon Port.
The rather odd looking plane flew over me during the ride. It belongs to Airbus and used to transport wings.
At mile 50 its the Loire crossing. Free of charge. During my last visit, there were bars on each side- both now closed – victim of Covid 19 lockdowns?
Mile 55 and I am about to pass through a village full of very clever people.