28 June San Sebastian to Bilbao

120km and the toughest day yet. Mostly because I took a route to avoid the autovia and ended up climbing a mountain. I reached a part that was so steep that as i tried to move into a low gear, the chain slipped off and I jarred my left knee as I tried to stop Silver (my bike) and all my luggage falling onto me. A basque country guy told me it was too “duro” (tough) to cycle these roads. I laughed and said “Si yo se” (yes I know), we had a little chat and said “agur” (Euskera for goodbye). I then spent 20 mins walking and pushing Silver uphill.

At one point my iPhone lead me to a path back to a main road. Unfortunately I could see the road but not reach it. It was blocked by a landslide. So it was back to pushing Silver uphill…

I had done 10km and I was exhausted. I asked a lady at the top if she had some water and she took me into the barn with the cows to fill the bottles. The cows didn’t seem too bothered. The lady said some people come this way to do the Camino de Santiago, but they walk. They never do it by bike. It was good to know.

After this, it got better. I found the N634 which was still hilly but manageable. 105km of this would take me all the way to Bilbao and after my mountain in the morning, all the climbs didn’t seem so bad.

I had breakfast in Zarautz and recharged my batteries with coffee and juice and a big plate of Steak, egg and chips.and a coke. I also stopped at a supermercado in Deba to get water, and cakes and sweets. I also got a bottle of Aquarius, which is coca cola’s answer to Gatorade and lucozade. It is widely available in Spain and tastes pretty good.

It was a strange day of slow hill climbs, at 5-10km per hour and flying downhill at 40km per hour. And even shooting along flat parts at 35km per hour. I also attached myself to the back of a road cyclist to ‘catch a ride’ (it’s about 20% easier to cycle behind someone) He seemed relieved when he eventually dropped me.

I loved the views on the hills and the coast but it was a very hard day! Fortunately, the next few days involve chilling out and resting in Bilbao. I hope to be adding some fantastic photos of the Guggenheim very soon. 🙂
1527km so far.
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