- Elizabeth Cameron-Smith
Day 18 - Getaria to Las Arenas -mountainous Spain
Cycling in Pyrenee country is not for the faint hearted!
Crazybikeguy left Getaria on a warm Saturday morning- blue sunny skies heralded a new day filled with riding promise. The plan was to ride along the coast for a while, it lent itself to fast riding as it was flat. The cycling paths were packed with hundreds of cyclists enjoying the warm weather and fantastic sea vistas. Most were riding road bikes; a testament to the huge popularity of cycling in Spain.
Grant stopped at Ondarroa- another stunning port town, for a short break and then followed on to Deba where he was meant to cross over a bridge and to his surprise the bridge shown on the map was under construction and part of it was no longer there!
Quick adaptation of the route meant a longer ride inland in search of a bridge that was in fact there....and then a ride back so that he could continue along the original route.
Lekeitio - one of the most important Spanish ports, was the next stop.There was music in the air and the town was in full celebration of a festival of sorts which had brought children into the squares doing traditional dancing;one of the dances involved throwing dolls up into the air while dancing to music played by local musicians.
Crazybikeguy hung around for a while soaking up the vibes, had some lunch in an outdoor restaurant and made his way to a store to buy batteries for his satellite transponder...for a change!
The next part of the day's ride entailed leaving Lekeitio and moving inland eventually riding through the amazing forest of Urdabai and although the natural surrounds were beautiful and being out in nature was exhilarating, the climbing was very difficult.
Pushing on through Guernica, ( the bombing of Guernica is depicted by Pablo Picasso in one of the 20th Century's most famous images)- with its outdoor tapas restaurants and bars along cobble stoned streets and people enjoying the warmth of a Saturday afternoon.
On reaching Urduliz, the map was too confusing and caused some direction taking issues and Grant spent some time trying to work out how to get out of the area and on the track to Las Arenas, a lot of going around hills and over hills to get to the coast again.
It was totally worth the effort as the last 20 kms of cycle ways into Las Arenas awaited! Outstanding cycling conditions into the city with under pass riding lanes under highways and bi-ways. At times the paths ran next to walkways and major roads yet were totally safe and in amazing condition and it turned out to be the most interesting fast ride into the beautiful city of Las Arenas where Grant wanted to spend the night.
A wonderful way to end a very hard day spent doing 115km with more than a 1000m of climbing!! Impressive going with a sore knee and the smatterings of a cold coming on.
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