Spain - Day 2 : Port de Larrau
Around 5:45, we were thrown off the bus somewhere near the Pyrenees. It was dark and drizzling. Another man was getting off as well. He was looking for the train station, but it was too dark to see. I brought a few cycling magazines on the bus to kill some time. It would be a waste to throw those away, so I put them in a plastic bag and hid them in a tree. If we were lucky, we could take them out for the bus ride back. Now there was not much left to do except cycling. We set out one and a half hours earlier than planned, happy we could get on the road. We put on some warm clothes, and with only our headlights and GPS to light our way, we descended into the night.
The first 15 km were all downhill. Then the hills started. After cycling for a long while, the sun rose. In the twilight a deer walked onto the road. A car came around a corner and, luckily, braked in time. The deer slipped on the asphalt but managed to run off. When we started to get hungry we bought our default cycling-in-France food: yogurts, fruit, jam, and baguettes. Bram looked at his odometer and was surprised; we had already cycled 100 kilometers. When we looked at the time, we were even more surprised, it was only 11. We had never cycled this far so early.
We were looking forward to the col that would bring us over the Pyrenees and into Spain all day. We weren't exactly sure when it would start. We found ourselves on a familiar road in Larrau. During the 100 cols tour part II, we had gone downhill here at the end of the day. This time we were climbing upwards. I knew the col was around 1600 meters high. When we started, we were less than 300 meters above sea level. After half an hour of dying and sweating we found a fountain. There we drank a liter of water and threw some more over our heads. We looked at what elevation we were still only at 600 meters. This was going to be tough..
While climbing, my GPS showed it would be another 5 kilometers to the border. We assumed that the summit would be there as well. Every time I checked, it still seemed 5 kilometers to the border. Due to the fog we couldn't really see how high we were. On top of the mountain it was drizzling. The top seemed 5 kilometers away for an entire hour and then 300 meters away for another 30 minutes. Then the road stopped climbing. In the thick fog we couldn't see any signs indicating the col or border.
Bram on the Port de Larrau
Bart, with his waterproof jacket and trousers
On top of the mountain, Bram realized what his annual 'oh-shit-I-forgot-this' thing was, his waterproof trousers. Now we just needed to hope it would be sunny in Spain. The descent was freezing, but we were pleasantly surprised that we reached Spain on the first day of cycling. In a village 20 km past the descent we didn't feel cold anymore. There was also a campsite there. It was only 6 o'clock, but we had already cycled 170 km. As it was only the first day we didn't want to exhaust ourselves just yet, so we decided to stop. We bought some food and a bottle of wine. Then we went to shower. Bram had a nice stall, but I had to choose between a stall that didn't open or one that didn't close. I decided to put a garbage bin in front of the stall that didn't close and hang my clothes over the door. We didn't finish the wine because it tasted horrible. At night it rained.
The route of day 2.
Distance cycled : 176.15 km