So the alarm went off at 05:48 nothing unusual in that other than normally I would be awake waiting for it. Today however it was like being next to a starting pistol.
The IBIS budget breakfasts have been a huge hit with the team and we suspect the price will be going up across Europe very shortly.
Team meeting was held in the usual way and bikes prepared for the day ahead.
We were soon underway along the beautiful river out of Bayonne. We passed alongside field after field before we eventually spotted the start of the Pyrenees ahead of us.
Having been so lucky with the weather thus far it was with some reluctance we put on wet weather gear as we began the pre-climb climb!
With architecture starting to change we headed along the valley to our last van stop before the climb.
We happened upon a SPAR where we stocked up on bananas and chocolate.
Refuelled we started the pre-climb with Barry J at the front leading his children like Captain Von Trapp.
At this point I would like to point out that Barry has been exceptional on this trip, his leadership on the road impeccable despite the behaviour of some of the group, sorry all of the group! Barry has been assisted by Chris G a former Ion Man athlete who’s experience and bike skills have assisted the Group tremendously. It’s been good cop good cop all week!
We approached the end of the pre-climb climb and above us the vultures were circling, literally!
We knocked the door of a local restaurant who looked shocked and surprised to see us not least as I ordered 8 bedrooms instead of 8 coffees!
Double espresso loaded we headed for the climb and boy did we.
The climb reaches 32% at the start something none of us had ever experienced before or want to again. We passed the Vultures on the way up who by know expected rich pickings.
(Special thanks to Helen O who suggested Yaz and ‘the only way is up’ for the climb which I hummed merrily all the way.)
After what seemed like an eternity we arrived at our lunch stop a bizarre restaurant at the top of the first climb.
Lunch consumed we headed for the final climb and the border. Sadly no welcome committee and only a small sign!
The decent was stunning but not as quick as expected years of logging lorries had damaged the roads making them a Little treacherous. (Would not have happened on the French side)
We cycled into Pamplona the pick up point for the day most satisfied with our efforts.
Sadly the conversion to Spanish hasn’t been easy we presented ourselves at the reception of our hotel only to be told we were in the wrong town! Ah well tomorrow should be a little easier!
Casualties today Neil 2 falls, Richard 1 fall, 2 flat tyres 1 broken spoke and a buckled wheel.
Nearly 700 miles into the ride, we have been touched by the messages of support it does make a huge difference.