Epic day. Steep Marie Blanque, Col d’Aubisque, Col Saurol, then the “terrible mountain” Col du Tourmalet topped at 9:30pm! Big meal at La Mama
We’ve been fortunate to get a bit a unlocked WiFi on this trip to stay in touch and update this site. But if I had wanted some cellular data coverage, that’s another story. I normally pay 2 cents a MB in Canada. Fido offers me a roaming rate of $30 a MB. Ouch. Are you kidding?? Their prepaid package is $5 a MB with minimum $50. Come on now! Anybody in communications should be ashamed that roaming is such a ripoff for no good reason. Thanks Fido/Rogers.
Only about 160km today but so much elevation and some epic climbs as we get deeper into the Pyrenees. This morning was a solid climb back into France, to 130km in Spain. Apparently it was raining all day in France. Spain was humid then sunny. The finishing climb was a wall of mountain — you look around and wonder where the hell the road is to get you over — up to Puerto St Martin then over into the ski station on the French side with a sea of rain clouds below. We’ll delay that descent until tomorrow and are watching the sunset from above the clouds tonight.
We’re off the plane in Biarritz after 3pm and make it past the Atlantic Ocean beaches into the Pyrenees foothills and over into Spain by 7:30. And wow what a hotel.
Two beds, super cheap Spanish style 60 Euros, 3 star, North American style shower, cervesas delivered to the room, and most importantly, a room still available at 7:30pm for guys who may not often make reservations on these Victour trips.
63km over two Cols, the low rolling Col de Saint Ignace, and a significant 530m 7km climb up Puerto Otxondo on the Spanish side. Jesse was not feeling great after a big wedding the previous night, and well, I’m blaming jetlag and a failed sleep last night. Of course. It only takes one good excuse.
But these are beautiful roads and hills and where else would I rather be.
The Ryanair flight was so horrifying. What a mistake. 40 Pound fee to print a boarding pass for Jesse. Even though he already checked in online. Then there’s actually flying — the least legroom I’ve ever seen and seats that do not recline. But if that sounds complaining, the takeoff and landing made grown men squeal. Then laugh. Then cry. Then wonder who the hell they let fly those planes.
We built the bikes in the terminal. A man asked with bravado “What do you do with the boxes?” referring to our temporary cardboard bike cases. Our first answer was “get another one on the other end.” Second answer was “we might just not go back home.”
Living it up at the Hotel Ursua now stuffing massive amounts of calories at one of the two restaurants we have the freedom to choose from.
On August 8, the two Victour creators are heading to the Pyrenees, cycling from Biarritz on the Atlantic coast to Collioure on the Mediterranean coast. Along the way, we’ll be riding nearly every significant Col, including some of the legendary Cols from this year’s Tour de France, the Tourmalet and Balès, rolling through Spain and little Andorra, and eating and drinking a lot of French delicacies. We’ll have our cherished race bikes (Victoria and Overdue), small backpacks, credit cards, and no reservations.
Here’s an idea. Stay tuned right here!
Follow this epic trip at maddogsenglishmen.blogspot.com
Friday, May 16, 2008
Early start of breakfast at the hotel of fruit and scones. We headed up the coast, past surfers and irresistible strawberry shortcake which offered a “10% bike in discount.” 80 kilometers in, we hit Half Moon Bay for lunch: sandwiches at San Benito. The road got busier up Pacifica, then Skyline, then Great Boulevard, San Francisco beach, Golden Gate Park, Oak, and arrival at the hotel! And that’s the end of LA-SF 2008.
Total mileage: 1345km plus local riding in LA and SF
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Days like this should always start with a big breakfast at Deetjen’s. We detoured to a little known and secluded beach enclave around Big Sur and explored a bit. The road out of Big Sur was just as breathtaking as the way in, just less hilly. We road around Pebble Beach and grabbed Jamba juice and lunch in Monterrey, then followed whatever path off the highway we could to get to Santa Cruz.