In the pursuit of hilly climbs, I joined the hundreds of grimpeurs cycling up to the summit on a perfect day. No wind and a view worth making the climb for.
It’s hard to describe the mixture of trepidation and exhilaration when approaching the base of a mountain like Covadonga on a bicycle, knowing you are going to have to keep going till the summit, not allowing yourself to entertain the thought that you will give up half way up, yet secretly harbouring that destructive thought.
Once you get going, however, all those feelings are replaced by the simple physical exertion. Although its only 1134m a.s.l., the road reaches a gradient of 15% over an 800m length towards the end of the climb. It was a beautiful day when I went up, and well worth the effort to be able to descend without any effort whatsoever – just like being on a motorbike, but MUCH quieter and more enjoyable!
I have just come back from a 500 mile cycling tour of the Picos in Northern Spain. The region’s scenery is majestic, and I found myself running out of superlatives trying to describe it. Sometimes the bicycle gets to stay in the most luxurious stable; always treated with great respect by all the hotels and pensions! This time, it was even invited to a wedding reception!
A rather baleful and impotent bear watching over the bike. Its a bit ironic that throughout history, humans have decided they needed to eradicate bears; and yet now, when they have all gone, they are so often held up as the symbols of the wild and wonderful areas they used to roam in.