What a baptism!!

They said that the first leg of El Camino would be the toughest.  It was unbelievably difficult. Brutal at best.

In all of my cycling, I have never had a tougher 15 miles.  For those of you that don’t know, I have done the Seattle to Portland and the Seattle to Vancouver two day rides.  I retraced the 3600 mile Lewis & Clark Trail on a bike.

And I have been training for this. While in New York City in the last few weeks I cycled from lower Manhattan out to Coney Island and back.  Ditto Staten Island and ditto Far Rockaway (a 6 hour round trip).  Went to a NY Yankees game in the Bronx by bike. Of the 40,000+ fans in attendance, only one came by bike!

But none of the experience and training helped in crossing the Pyrenees.

It took me 8 hours to do 15 miles.  That is less than 2 miles an hour. I usually assume 10 miles an hour counting stops. 

What made it so tough?

The terrain. You are climbing non stop for 7+ hours before you desend. The elevation gain is 1450 meters, which is about 9/10th of a mile. 

The road or trail. As you can see from the pictures the path left a little to be desired at times. 

The elements.  Rain on and off all day.  In the clouds the entire day unfortunately. And a little cool. I came so unprepared for this, thinking it was going to be hot, hot, hot.

The weight of the bike from the gear that I am carrying. I have no idea how heavy it is, but, I can assure you that it is not light!

You put all of these factors together and you have an “im”perfect storm.  

It was so difficult that I would guess that I had to walk (I.e., push) my bike at least half the time. 

It was hell. 

Having said that, I made it!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *