When I found out that the cruise finished one week before the Catalunyan MotoGP I took that as a sign that I was meant to stay in Spain for an extra week and watch the bike racing. So with a week to kill I found a great tour company called IMTBike who rent bikes and had a self guided tour of the Pyrenees including the MotoGP. And all the dates lined up. It was like it was meant to be.
So on Sunday we left the cruise ship and went our separate ways, Deb and her mum were off to England for a weeks tour and I was off riding bikes in the mountains. Everyone was happy.
From the ship I made my way to the IMTBike headquarters in Barcelona were we met and completed the briefings, the paperwork, and loaded the bikes. By 11:30 we (Keith from Canada is also doing the tour) were heading out of Barcelona and into the mountains.
The normal run for the first day is 215km but we added an additional loop which took it out to about 260km. This was a good opportunity to get to know the bikes and each others riding styles.
It appears that I use a bit more fuel than Keith as my fuel light came on with 25km to town. The trouble was it was showing that I had less than 10km range. It was a very gentle ride into town but we got there okay.
We had our first night in an old medieval town and upon walking around stumbled onto a Corpus Chriti March. It was a nice old village with heaps of history and colour around every corner.
At our briefing in Barcelona it was mentioned that the 3km Bielsa tunnel back to Spain is closed until 7pm at night so we decided to add an extra 130km loop into our plan taking us through Andorra and back around to Sel d’Urgell we were started the day. So before lunch we ventured from Spain into Andorra then into France before returning to Spain, then back to France. That’s not something this Aussie is used to at all!
Andorra was cold with snow on the nearby mountains and 3.5 degrees showing of the dash we decided to put a few more layers on to stave off the cold.
From here the weather cleared up and we enjoyed clear skies and dry roads. But as we climbed and descended the ribbons of tarmac the clouds on the higher passes were beginning to build and by our lunch stop they had caught us and for the rest of the day we were either in rain, or on wet roads. But hey we are in the Pyrenees and these roads are great wet or dry.
We were still way too early so we decided to sneak a ride up tomorrow’s ride up one of the many famous Tour de France climbs, the Col de Aspin including one piece of road that is often featured in snippets advertising the cycling race.
And then after a cuppa (as we were still early) with a number of other fellow riders in a small town just before the tunnel. we proceed to our hotel in Bielsa.