Saturday, 23 August 2014

Pyrenees: Day 9

Col D' Aspin

As we are going away in just shy of a week to Scotland, I am trying to get as much of the Pyrenees trip of last year written up as possible! I now have a new 11" laptop so I plan to take this with me, meaning I will be updating the blog as much as I can on the next trip - meaning I won't still be writing about it a year later!

Pyrenees: Day 9, Ansalonga, Andorra - Esquieze Sere, Pyrenees, France, 4th September 2013 (210 miles)

After another freezing cold night in Andorra we got up to make the long trip to the Midi-Pyrenees where we planned to spend 3 nights. 

We got through the French borders and as we tackled the tight bends down the mountain I was having a few issues with my gears. Every time I tried to put the bike into first it would slip into neutral - giving me several heart attacks when going round hair pins! We stopped so Emma could take a very quick look but there was nothing she could see and wasn't anything we could do really until we got to our destination. To be honest, I still have the problem occurring every once in a while now. The only way is to use a lot of force to ensure it bypasses neutral. It may however be something common in both curvy and pointy SVs as Emma's gear shift is pretty dodgy too (but that's probably from years of abuse...).

We stopped amongst the mountains to have lunch alongside the company of a few cows. Despite the cold, we had lovely blue skies and riding conditions were fantastic. Compared to Spain there is less dried grass and the greenery is lighter in shade. The views again were amazing and they are one of the main reasons for doing a trip like this.

The further into the Pyrenees we went, the more difficult and narrow the roads became. When I planned these routes I used the best biking roads website (link to the left). What I didn't realise however is that the routes it suggested were the same roads used for the Tour De France. This became clear as we stopped in one of several well-known cycling locations -  Col D' Aspin. There were many tourists around here - cyclists, bikers, walkers - all stopping to take pictures of the mountains.

In the picture below you can see how bendy some of these roads are. In front of us a biker, who I think was riding a GSXR, navigated these bends with ease, a lot quicker than I was able to. Maybe he was familiar with the roads, but they are also rather narrow and it can be difficult to overtake when you also have cars towing caravans driving along them.

We arrived at the campsite as the sun was beginning to set. Earlier in the day, back in Barcelona, Rob had taken Casey to the airport and started to make his way up to meet us. With a slightly more challenging journey of 259 miles, Rob followed main roads with the aid of his sat nav until he reached the mountains. Unfortunately he then had to navigate the mountain roads in the dark until he finally reached the campsite, arriving some time after 10 at night. Me and Emma did save Rob some dinner so he didn't have to cook, but it was a bit cold by the time he arrived (not that he seemed to mind too much!).

Below is possibly the route that Rob took to meet us, but if this is wrong I am sure he will correct me so I can update the post!

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