Left the windiest town I can recall visiting in recent memory and headed for Narbonne where Mark.S would get his train. Supposedly. Apparently. Not.
However that’s for later after I’ve done yesterday’s epic ride over the Pyrenees from Spain into France.
We left Figueres early and after passing several piggeries whose aroma made one gag , we were blessed with one last Dalí sculpture to remind us of his place in Figueres history.
The ride up to the border with France wasn’t nearly as bad as we had expected but along the busy N-11 it wasn’t an overly joyful experience. The border crossing itself. Is unpoliced and consists of one Main Street adorned with countless shops selling tobacco products.
Bonjour France ...
Now in France we rolled down to the base of the hills and basically turned sharp right to head straight for the coast along a series of cycle paths and quiet country lanes. We were in boulangerie and patisserie country now and it didn’t take much to entice us into the first one we saw.
It’s also the land of Moules Frites so along with two French beers that had lunch solved.
Looking at the map we wanted to try and get as close to Narbonne as possible (it was just a little too far to do in the one afternoon) to leave ourselves as little distance to ride today for Mark to get his train to Barcelona and flight back to London. Port la Nouvelle some 44 km away looked doable . The map terrain looked flat , very flat , so how hard could it be? Buoyed by our lunch we set of with what turned out to be severely misplaced optimism. One thing google maps or STRAVA don’t and can’t tell you is the climatic conditions of the day. So we were somewhat bemused to find ourselves cycling into a head wind of unfathomable strength.
This what you do when you’re down on energy and battling a headwind. You draft in the wake of your riding partner. Let him take the brunt of the wind and you get pulled along with him. Just don’t tell him.
This section of road was a effectively a causeway between two large shallow lakes. Unprotected from the side wind I was pedalling as hard as I could and only doing 9kph.
It’s well known the French have a certain panache and style. Even the local suburban sewerage pump houses in this part of the world have character.
Even the beauty of the Mediterranean just meters to our right for most of the afternoon didn’t help detract from what was fast becoming a nightmare of a slog. Pretty soon we were stopping every 11km to catch breath and Mark who had previously begrudgingly allowed me photo stops was willing me to stop and take as many as I liked.
We finally arrived at Port La Nouvelle where delightful Caroline at the tourist office not only organised us a hotel but also informed us that “it’s always windy here we’re famous for it”. Staying the bleeding obvious.
“Shattered “ personified. We both agreed later it was the hardest wind affected riding we had endured in memory.
A little research reveals all......
In fear of this app not allowing me the data to download two days and thus losing what I have typed so far I will conclude today’s ride on another page... see you over there for part II