- Elizabeth Cameron-Smith
Day 49 - Andorra La Vella to Puigcerdà, Spain
The only way out was UP!
A flat front tyre was the gift that Grant woke up to this morning. After having to deal with that, he realized that the rest of his day was going to be spent going up...as he said, the only flat place was the reception of the hotel!
Leaving Andorra La Vella was interesting.The temperature (-3 Deg) had dropped considerably and the icy wind coming down off the snow covered peaks made it very nippy!
The climbing was arduous and unrelenting, with many switchbacks along the route coming to an end only when Grant reached the summit, which was covered in snow and freezing!
Just before Grant left, Grant had chatted to two police men and asked them for their advice: he needed to leave and wanted to be sure the route he was taking into France was the correct one.
They were very interested in Grant's bike and the fact that he was riding to France and had come from Spain.
" They asked me if I had and e bike. I said no. They wanted to know if I had a "motor", and when I said no they just laughed at me...I told them that I used my legs as my motor and they said I was crazy and laughed and laughed.
They told me I should take that road ( the one going up), and keep going up and up and after 30 km I should be at the border of France"
- Grant- Voice note
Cyclists are not allowed the use the long tunnel that cuts through the mountain, as the tunnel is only for cars and trucks and motorized vehicles...so the cyclists have to go over!
After reaching the summit, Crazybikeguy had something to eat and drink to warm up, dressed in warmer clothes and set off down the steep path on the other side, hoping to overnight in France.
This was a scary downhill ride which was very steep and windy and although Grant freewheeled most of the way to the bottom, he really kept his speed in check as it was quite dangerous because of the incline.
Crossing over into France Grant realized that the flat track lasted only for a while and another mountain climb awaited!
The beautiful towns of Porta and La tour-de-Carol welcomed Crazybikeguy with their stately bridges and character filled streets and lanes.
A short while later a man scooted by in a little car and stopped and got out to talk to Grant. He introduced himself as Frederic. He was very interested to find out if Grant was ok, if he needed any help or needed a place to stay.He chatted for a while and helped Grant get onto the right road to get back to the border, as Grant had discovered that the accommodation in France was very expensive and he was going to cross over to the border and find a cheaper place there.Frederic said goodbye and wished him well.
Crazybikeguy rode back over the border through the rain and muddy tracks to Puigcerdà and found a place to stay for the night.
" A foot note to myself - carting a fully laden bike over steep slopes while walking on a wet surface is a highly overrated experience!"
Grant- voice note
He found a hotel that was a tastefully converted railway station to spend the night, his legs were very sore from the last few days of constant climbing and little rest.The cycle the day before was particularly tough because of the wind and the incline!
Out Mission. Their future.