The Long Ride of my holiday

Through the Andora valley. What should have been a great ride but turned out to be horrible. From our rented holiday house in Eller. I got up early so as to avoid the worst of the heat, ha, and descended the 400m vertical to the main road down the 8km track.

Then to Puigcerda and across into France, the Police were actually at the border but did not stop me then up the main road to the Col De Pimorent (1920m) which is a great climb. There is now a tunnel so most of the cars take that leaving what would have been the substantial main road to me. On Descending that I met the traffic jam which went all the way through the border post (not stopped again) to El Pas De La Casa, which appears to be just a shopping outlet where most of the traffic stopped. Alas it also started raining quite hard here. So it was on with the rain top (full water proofs would have been more appropriate) and over the Port d'Envalira (2408m) and start the descent, which had been the whole purpose of the trip.

It should have been fantastic a 1700m drop over about 30km along roads that were wide and well maintained. However in the wet doing anything over 38mph was beyond my level of insanity plus some kind soul had laid a trail of Diesel down the middle of the road making for a very nervy descent. However this was not the real problem. A bit of the way down my bike developed a shake. Odd as this bike had never done this (my old tourer would shake quite violently at certain speeds depending on load) but the Principia was usually good as gold. Then I realised it was not the bike. I was shivering violently. No fun, no fun at all.

Plodded on feeling depressed that the ride of the holiday turned into an endurance test and not the fun it was supposed to be. The traffic in Andora was terrible so even as I warmed I was held up. Got to the Spanish border where again I was not stopped to the low point (vertically as opposed to my morale) at la Seu D'Urgell at 700m and then had a plod up the Valley to Bellver and the turn off to Eller. I had always expected the climb back to the house to be hard but had hoped to have memories of a great sweeping descent into Andora, rather than wet feet.

94.8 miles in 6 hours 34 minutes.

Footnote. I wrote this in the afternoon after I returned. I now look back on the ride fondly, only really recalling the nice climb.

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Comments:

Amused that you consider 37mph in wet disel to be sane :) I read simlar comment about the effects of exosure in Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods... excellent book, too...

Posted by Calum Mackay on September 01, 2005 at 06:40 PM BST #

I was wearing a cycle helmet (due to it being the law in Spain) so I was completely safe.;-)

Posted by Chris Gerhard on September 03, 2005 at 10:45 AM BST #

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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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